How Do I Begin Homeschooling My Kid (in Alabama)?
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Maybe you’re thinking about homeschooling or have already decided that homeschooling your children is right for you and your family. If so, you’re probably wondering what the process looks like for enrollment as well as the legal requirements. Here is a glimpse into the homeschooling enrollment process for those who live in the state of Alabama.
If you live in the state of Alabama and have a child between the ages of 6 and 17 years old, the law requires that they be enrolled in some type of school or education program. This can be a public school, a private school, or a homeschool. In some cases, it is also possible for a parent to request to postpone their child’s initial school enrollment until the age of 7.
Has your child already been enrolled in a public or private school?
If your child has already been enrolled in a public or private school, the first thing you’ll need to do is have them formally withdrawn from the school in which they’re currently enrolled. You can do this by using a copy of an Alabama Letter of Withdrawal that's readily available online. You can also consult the administrative staff at the school your child is currently enrolled in to acquire the proper documentation. This form will then need to be filled out and provided to the school. Ideally, you should use USPS’s “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested” service to confirm and have receipt of delivery. You’ll need to be sure to keep copies of all documents, receipts, and additional related paperwork for your records.*
(*Important note: When it comes to homeschooling, make and keep copies of everything you file, submit, or otherwise need to have documented.)
Which type of school do I need to enroll in now?
In the state of Alabama, you have three options when it comes to homeschooling. Many homeschooled students choose to enroll in church schools or other cover schools. Otherwise, you can also enroll your child in a private school that offers home education. You may also choose to have them work with a private tutor for their homeschooled education.
Enrolling in a Church School
When a child enrolls in a church school in Alabama, they are technically enrolled in an extension of the “ministry” of a local church. This may also include a group of churches, an association, or a particular denomination. However, their enrolled students “just happen” to receive their education within their own homes. (On a side note, it is very common for church schools to also provide on-site courses and extracurricular activities in addition to serving as a cover school.)
The first thing you’ll need to do when enrolling in a church school in Alabama is to find one. A current list of schools can be found here. As soon as you’ve filed your withdrawal forms, you’ll also need to file a “Church School Enrollment Form” with your local school superintendent. The church school typically provides this form, and it will need to be signed by both a parent as well as the administrator of the church school. Church schools tend to have very helpful office staff to make this process as painless as possible.
Once you’ve finished enrollment, you will typically receive either a booklet or a collection of materials of school policies. You may also receive online access to all of their legal content and guidelines. These often include curriculum requirements, attendance requirements, and paperwork deadlines. (There will be plenty of mandatory school-related and state-required paperwork, such as grades and attendance logs!) These materials will also likely provide additional information on school programs, such as art classes, sports, or other opportunities for extracurricular activities. States and counties tend to all share the same general curriculum guidelines. However, you should certainly expect to have biblical studies as a required subject when enrolled in a church school.
Enrolling in a Private School Offering Home Education
Another option for homeschooling in Alabama is enrolling your child in a private school that offers “home education.” Private schools offer classes for all grades on-campus, but many are now offering home education opportunities as well.
To enroll in one of these private schools, the process is often similar to enrolling in any private or public school. However, you will need to check with administrative staff to ensure all criteria have been met and all paperwork has been filled out properly. This information should be filed accurately with the school system’s superintendent. Otherwise, you may run into concerns with truancy or incorrectly documented absences.
Immunization requirements typically apply when a child enrolls in a private school, even if they are homeschooled through the entity and not present in an on-campus classroom setting. However, this may vary in certain cases. Sometimes, religious exemptions are accommodated as well.
Homeschooling with a Private Tutor
Homeschooling with a private tutor is another possible option for parents. This is ideal for those who can afford a private tutor but is quite rare in the state.
In these cases, the majority of the burden of homeschooling falls on the tutor. They become fully responsible for ensuring that curriculum requirements are met as well as keeping accurate attendance. They also have to keep a daily schedule of the material taught and the hours in which schooling occurred. According to Alabama state law, the tutor must be an Alabama state-certified teacher. They are required to teach a minimum of three hours each day for a total of 140 calendar days. All instruction must fall between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm and be fully taught in English.
More information on homeschooling options and requirements:
A great resource is the Alabama homeschooling page of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education’s website. This page provides a more detailed breakdown of the state of Alabama’s homeschooling options.
Another website with more information is HomeschoolAlabama.org.
More information, as well as downloadable and printable enrollment and withdrawal forms, can be found on the Alabama HSLDA website.
Click here for a copy of Alabama’s Letter of Withdrawal form.
Click here for copies of some additional forms for private school homeschooling.
The Alabama Private School Enrollment And Absence Report form can be found here.
For more information on homeschooling, courtesy of Tired Mama Resources, check out our Homeschooling page for more articles.
(Directories for Alabama homeschooling cover schools will be added soon!)