Ways to Legally Homeschool in Alabama:
HSLDA Legal Analysis
1. Enroll in a Church School - This is the option that most homeschoolers use in Alabama. Everest Academy is a church school.
2. Tutor Law - You can use a tutor who is a certified teacher. The teacher will report directly to the board of education.
3. Private School - Passed in 2014
SUMMARY OF ALABAMA'S PRIVATE SCHOOL LAW: Several of you have been asking about this. There has been lots of confusion. Here is an email I received from HSLDA. Hope it helps with the confusion:
Summary of Alabama’s New Homeschool Law
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
With the enactment of Alabama Senate Bill 38 as it was signed by the governor on April 2, 2014, there have been several favorable changes to the law affecting home educators. I summarized these changes in an article in HSLDA’s Weekly Update emailed to our members and friends on April 8, 2014. Since that time I have revised our summary of Alabama’s homeschool law as it appears on HSLDA’s website, and I wanted to provide all of you with the most recent version by email as you consider your options for the upcoming school year.
For those of you who received a copy of our summary at the CHEF of Alabama conference in Gardendale last week, please note that I have made a minor change in the paragraphs that include the definition of a church school and private school. This change in the summary was made to clarify that neither a church school nor a private school that has home programs must have a location where a day school is conducted. This is not a change in the law. Many church school coverings for home educators have been conducted over the years without operating a day school for other students.
In our opinion, a home program of a church school remains the best option for parents conducting home instruction for their children. This is because there is so much less reporting to state officials required of church schools compared to what is required of private schools. The reporting requirements for church schools were not changed by the new law. Parents need only file the church school enrollment form with the local public school superintendent.
Please feel free to contact my legal assistant, Daniel Davis, with any questions you may have about the new law.
View HSLDA’s law summary for Alabama: http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/Alabama.pdf
Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel
The answers below apply specifically for those enrolled in a church school.
- Is homeschooling legal? Yes, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Each state has different laws.
- Will I get in trouble for homeschooling? Why would you get in trouble for doing something that is perfectly legal?
- Do I have to be a certified teacher to homeschool my child? No.
- Should I worry about DHR visiting my home? The only reason you should worry about DHR is if there is some sort of abuse or neglect in your home, and this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you are homeschooling. *Please note that I am not saying that there is not a possibility of this happening. I am saying you don't need to worry about it if you are not doing anything wrong. Is this a normal occurrence? No. Please see more information below.
- Should I worry about a truancy officer visiting my home? If you turn in the legally required paperwork to your local Board of Education, then you do not need to worry about a truancy officer. *Please note that I am not saying that there is not a possibility of this happening. I am saying you don't need to worry about it if you are not doing anything wrong. Is this a normal occurrence? No. Please see more information below.
- Why do I need a church school (aka cover school, umbrella school, etc...)? In the State of Alabama, we do not have a homeschooling law. We have a church school law, tutor law, and private school law. In order to legally homeschool in Alabama, you must be enrolled in an Alabama-based church school such as Everest Academy, utilize the tutor law, or join/start a private school. Please see a full listing of the laws below.
- Online Program - Can I use an online program such as Pen Foster? If you enroll with Everest, you are certainly welcome to use any curriculum you choose, including an online program. Please note that you will still need to enroll either in a church school, private school, or utilize the tutor law even if enrolled in an online program.
- Can my child return to a school setting after homeschooling? Yes. The new school will probably require a copy of a transcript for the work completed at Everest Academy. Please see information below.
- Will the new school test my child for grade placement? Not normally, but it is up to the new school. Please note that there is not a law that dictates what the public/private school may require from a homeschooler entering their school. They could request samples of work, testing, etc. It is completely up to them as to what they may require. It is up to each parent to research requirements and regulations of other schools including public schools, private schools, church schools, and colleges when considering enrollment in these institutions.
- Past School Records & Immunization Forms: Everest Academy does not hold any past school records. If the school before Everest sent in any records, they have already been forwarded to you.
- VERY IMPORTANT: You cannot legally be enrolled in two schools at one time. When you enroll in another school, you legally withdrew yourself from Everest Academy.
For excellent information on homeschooling in Alabama, please look here:
- Always ask for identification. Make sure you are familiar with Alabama State Law regarding homeschooling in Alabama.
- Inform them that you are legally enrolled with a church school and have filed your Church School Enrollment Form with the Board of Education.
- If persistent, show them a copy of your CSEF. There is no law allowing them to ask for anything other than the CSEF. Request all other inquiries be sent to you in writing with a copy to Everest Academy.
- If the Board of Education has lost your copy, offer to mail or fax a new copy to them.
- National Home Education Legal Defense - NHELD is an acronym for National Home Education Legal Defense, a national organization open to all who wish to join, that seeks to protect and defend the rights of families who wish to educate in freedom.
- HSLDA - Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed. (Please note: We do not offer a discount code for HSLDA membership. We have offered it in the past but have not had sufficient interest to continue.)
- Southeast Law Institute - We provide free legal assistance and advice through our cooperating volunteer attorneys to persons, churches and other religious organizations on religious, family and related issues.
- Association of HomeSchool Attorneys - “AHSA is an informal network of attorneys and legal experts in the United States supporting homeschooling and homeschoolers by providing legal information about homeschooling issues, empowering homeschoolers to have the legal tools they need to meet homeschooling challenges, and providing a network of attorneys for legal representation.”
- National Home Education Network - “The National Home Education Network exists to encourage and facilitate the vital grassroots work of state and local homeschooling organizations and individuals by providing information, fostering networking and promoting public relations on a national level. Because we believe there is strength in a diverse network of homeschoolers, we support the freedom of all individual families to choose home education and to direct such education.”
- Section 16-28-3 Compulsory school age 6 - 17 (The compulsory school age changed from 7 to 6 on May 8, 2012 and from 16 to 17 in 2009.) Attorney General Opinion: If your child begins homeschooling before he/she turns 16, then child may graduate at 16. If child begins homeschooling after turning 16, then the compulsory school age is 17.
- Section 16-28-7 Report of enrollment by the parent.
- Section 16-28-8 Attendance Records.
- Section 16-28-15 Unexcused absence.
- Section 16-28-23 Attendance register and rules and regulations as evidence.
- Section 16-28-24 Church schools may waive exemptions specified in this article.