Making the decision to homeschool can be a tough choice that requires a lot of research and planning. Each state has their own separate laws and regulations concerning homeschooling, which can be very confusing. While one state requires notification, testing and approval of curriculum, another state requires no notification at all. If you live in the state of Alabama and are considering homeschooling, here is what you will need to know.
Alabama is a very unique state when it comes to homeschooling, as it has no homeschooling statute. However homeschooling parents in the state have worked with lawmakers and have arranged a situation in the state of Alabama that allows homeschoolers to follow one of two very different homeschooling paths. Although the laws, and requirements of Alabama seem impossible to follow at first, don’t be discouraged, once you understand what is asked of you as a homeschooling parent the process is a very simple one.
Homeschoolers in Alabama may follow one of two different laws when educating their children at home; those two laws are the “Tutorial Law” and the “Church School Law”.
Under the “Tutorial Law”, which is Alabama Code §16-28-5, parents may hire a state certified teacher to tutor their students privately. The tutor is monitored by local school districts and is required to hold school a minimum of one hundred and forty days per year for at least three hours per day between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. This option can be quite costly, and is often not a favorite of many homeschoolers.
The second law the “Church School Law”, which is Alabama Code §16-28-3, is the method that most homeschoolers in the state of Alabama choose to follow. Under the “Church School Law” children ages seven and sixteen may attend a school operated by a church or association of churches. Under this law parents are only required to the local school district office which will tell which church school their child is enrolled in. This may sound like your child will be attending a private church school but this is not quite how this works.
In Alabama church schools are exempt from all state accreditation requirements including teacher certification and regulatory requirements. To assist parents in homeschooling many church schools “hire” parents as teachers, and then children are assigned to classes that are to be taught by their parents at home.
Many church schools, often times referred to as cover schools, require no enrollment fees, while others require minimal fees. Some church schools may require parents to follow a specific curriculum and to report in to them on a regular basis, while others allow parents to have total control over their children’s education, which means parents may follow any curriculum or method they choose and are not required to report grades to the school.
For more information on homeschooling in Alabama you can visit the Christian Home Education Fellowship of Alabama website, or The Homeschool Legal Defense Association website.