Although there is no specific legal provision for establishing home schools in Alabama, Alabama education law states that “a home school can seek qualification as a private school, church school or under the private tutor option.” (Source: Code of Alabama 1975 Sections 16-28-1(1), 16-28-(1)(2), 16-28-5.)
Every child in Alabama between the ages of 7 and 16 is “required to attend a public school, private school, church school, or be instructed by a private tutor certified by the state of Alabama, for the entire length of the school term in every scholastic subject under the compulsory attendance law.” (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 16-28-3.)
To qualify as a private school, a home school “must hold a certificate issued by the state superintendent of education that shows the following requirements are being met (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 16-28-(1)(1):
- Teachers must be state certified;
- Subjects mandated by the state must be taught;
- Instruction must be in English; and
- Regular attendance must be kept and provided to the State Superintendent of Education or county or city superintendent; any reports required by those entities that are related to school attendance laws.”
- Every student enrolled in a private school must show current proof of immunizations or provide proof of valid medical or religious exemption from the requirement.
- Private schools must teach physical education similar to programs taught in public school
Alabama allows private schools to be set up in the home as an extension of an already-existing private school. Private schools, but not church schools, are required to offer instruction “in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools.” (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 16-28-1(1).) Private schools, but not church schools are required to use the English language for instructional purposes. (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 16-28-1(1).) A private school must report to the county or city superintendent of education within five days after the start of the local public school the names of all children enrolled in the private school. In addition, a private school must report on a weekly basis the names and address of all students who enroll in the school or who are absent without a legal excuse.
In Alabama, a church school is a school “operated by a local church, group of churches, denomination, and/or association of churches on a nonprofit basis which do not receive any state or federal funding.” (Code of Alabama 1975 Sections 16-28-1(2) and 16-46-1(3).) If a home school is operated as a ministry of a local church, there are no legal requirements for instructors. Homeschool parents must file a one-time church school enrollment form signed by a parent or legal guardian PLUS the administrator of the church school. Homeschool parents must keep a daily attendance register and comply with all standing requirements of the church school.
Students who choose to homeschool in Alabama and do not qualify as a church school must elect to complete school attendance through use of a private tutor. The Alabama private tutor option is defined as “instruction by a state certified teacher who teaches in English state required courses between 8:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a minimum of three hours per day over the course of at least 140 days during the calendar year.” (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 16-28-5.)
High school diplomas are not required for homeschooled students but are available for nonpublic school students in Alabama.
As of 2016, homeschool and other non-traditional students are allowed to join public school athletic teams. To read about requirements for participation, visit: Amendments to AHSAA Bylaws.
Updated January 2018
Alabama Homeschool State Laws Links:
- Online Private School Accredited in Alabama
- U.S. Department of Education/Alabama
- Alabama Legislative Information System Online
- Alabama Legislature/Education/Code
- Homeschool Support Groups in Alabama
NOTE: HomeschoolFacts does not endorse any of the links or organizations listed above. All of the information provided is intended for research purposes only and is not given as legal advice. REMEMBER: The most important thing you can do to prepare for homeschooling your child is to become familiar with your state’s laws about homeschooling.