Alabama Homeschool Alliance
Alabama's Education Laws Pertaining to Homeschooling

*Disclaimer: We are NOT attorneys, therefore this is NOT to be deemed legal advice. The following is for informational purposes only.  
Also, if you are doing Virtual Schooling through the public school system, these laws do not pertain to you. Virtual school students are not considered homeschoolers, but are enrolled with, and considered members of, the public school system. 

If you look back at the history of homeschool freedom in Alabama, you'll find that it was actually illegal in 1981.  With a law change in 1982, homeschooling became a legal option for educating our children!   (If you want to read the original act from 1982, see that here.) 

Currently in Alabama, there are three legal ways to homeschool, but there is not a definition of the word “homeschool” in our legal code. We will explain each option and provide the actual wording from each portion of law that states the information.



In 1982, Senate Bill 38 (SB-38) was passed, and homeschooling by enrollment in a Church School and having “off-campus classrooms'' became a legal option.   If you read the law carefully you will see that "home program" is the exact term in our current code

Other states call this option “using a cover school” but that wording is NOT in our Alabama law. This is how the CURRENT LAW states this information:

(2) CHURCH SCHOOL. Includes only schools that offer instruction in grades K-12, 
or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs, 
and are operated as a ministry of a local church, group of churches, denomination, 
and/or association of churches which do not receive any state or federal funding.

To use this method, the parent or legal guardian enrolls each student with a legal church school in the state of Alabama. A Church School Enrollment Form that states that a student is enrolled and will attend that church school (through a home program; see code above) is delivered to the local school board superintendent.  This is the parent’s responsibility, according to the code of law:

The enrollment and attendance of a child in a church school shall be filed 
with the local public school superintendent by the parent, guardian, 
or other person in charge or control of the child on a form provided by the 
superintendent or his or her agent which shall be countersigned by the administrator
 of the church school and returned to the public school superintendent by the parent.

We highly recommend that you do this in one of two ways: a) mail this form to your local superintendent via Certified Mail with return receipt requested OR hand deliver it to the local school board and have the recipient initial your personal copy so that you have and maintain a record that they received your documents.

Please note: if a church school is not requiring of you what the state law requires (such as filling out a church school enrollment form and sending it to your superintendent, AS WELL AS submitting attendance to your church school), take caution in enrolling there. We want YOU (homeschoolers) protected. SOME church schools have additional requirements, but, at minimum, a church school should require those two things to truly be your protective “cover” with enrollment.  Beyond that, each church school may set its own rules, regulations, and options. 

ALHSA will be offering an updated list of as many church schools in the state as possible, along with comprehensive information on their requirements, offerings, and contact information, if available. 



Most recently, in 2014, Alabama’s legal code added wording which allowed for parents to homeschool under the private school laws by expanding the definition of private school.  This allowed parents to form and register as a private school in their own home.  (This is also known as the "no cover" option.) 

(1) PRIVATE SCHOOL. Includes only such schools that are established, conducted, 
and supported by a nongovernmental entity or agency offering educational instruction 
in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or 
home programs.

LINK to FORMS on our website:  FORMS (

We highly recommend that you educate yourself on the laws for Private Schools before you register as one. These laws were likely never intended for home schools, so it is unclear as to which of these laws could or would be required of a homeschool registered as a private school. 

What *IS* still required is for parents to complete a process of ENROLLING their student(s) in a school with a form delivered to the school board. The Private School form must be filed ANNUALLY. 

All private schools or institutions of any kind having a school in connection therewith, 
except church schools as defined in Section 16-28-1, shall register annually on or before 
October 10 with the Department of Education and shall report on uniform blanks furnished 
by the Department of Education, giving such statistics as relate to the number of pupils, 
the number of instructors, enrollment, attendance, course of study, length of term, cost of tuition, 
funds, value of property, and the general condition of the school. This section may not be 
interpreted or construed to authorize the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, 
or the State Superintendent of Education to license or regulate any private, nonpublic, or church 
school offering instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof.

Section 16-1-11 (

**Neither of the above options require parents to report grades or submit their students to testing by the state of Alabama. If you choose a church school, the individual school may require it, but the law does not.



The Alabama legal code does allow for other forms of education to be provided at home. One option is when a certified teacher offers instruction to students in the student’s home. This was primarily intended to help homebound students receive an education, and few people utilize this option. There are requirements for certification and the tutor reports to the State and Local Boards of Education. 

Private tutor.

Instruction by a private tutor means and includes only instruction by a person who holds a 
certificate issued by the State Superintendent of Education and who offers instruction in the several 
branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state, for at least three hours a 
day for 140 days each calendar year, between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., and who uses the 
English language in giving instruction. Such private tutor shall, prior to beginning the instruction of 
any child, file with the county superintendent of education, where his place of instruction is in territory 
under the control and supervision of the county board of education, or the city superintendent of 
schools, where his place of instruction is in territory under the control and supervision of a city board 
of education, a statement showing the child or children to be instructed, the subjects to be taught and 
the period of time such instruction is proposed to be given. Such tutor shall keep a register of work, showing
 daily the hours used for instruction and the presence or absence of any child being instructed and shall 
make such reports as the State Board of Education may require.

Section 16-28-5 (



More recently, the public schools offer a virtual school option that can be used at home. While some people mistakenly believe that “virtual school” is homeschooling, in actuality, those students who are enrolled in “Alabama virtual schooling” are still enrolled in the public school system while working from home. Those students use public school curriculum and public school grading and oversight. While being done at home, it is not technically homeschooling at all.



Each year’s legislative sessions bring possibilities for more changes to the legal code and laws. We will not only be watching but also informing readers of any items that come up that could directly impact homeschoolers in Alabama.  

ON THAT NOTE, we want you to know and always remember that, when you choose to home educate, YOU become the legally responsible party for your student’s education. 

Once you withdraw your student(s) out of the public school system, you are no longer under the authority of the local school system. You may choose to send your students back to public school, but the school system is NOT your guide when it comes to homeschooling.



There is no such thing as a "letter of intent" to homeschool in Alabama. You do not “intend to homeschool”. You are offering "home programs" through the above listed options. If you choose not to enroll in a Church school, which is perfectly legal, you must declare yourself a private school and you need to use the official form provided by the state (as stated in the law). There is NO “nonenrollment” option in our current laws. (See the Compulsory Attendance Statute of our code: 

Ages of children required to attend school; exemption for church school students; transfer students.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), every child between the ages of six and 
17 years shall be required to attend a public school, private school, church school, or be 
instructed by a competent private tutor for the entire length of the school term in every scholastic 
year except that, prior to attaining his or her 16th birthday every child attending a church school 
as defined in Section 16-28-1 is exempt from the requirements of this section, provided the child 
complies with enrollment and reporting procedures specified in Section 16-28-7. 

There never was a time that the law added or changed something to allow for no enrollment at all. The law change, that so many refer to, occurred in 2014--but that law was NEVER intended to be applied to homeschoolers. Legally, the wording DOES allow for a parent to register their home as a Private School using the proper paperwork (reporting to the state) and enroll their children in that private school. However, it did NOT open a door for NONenrollment.

IN FACT–the law clearly states:

(a) It shall be the duty of the county superintendent of education or the 
city superintendent of education, as the case may be, to require the 
attendance officer to investigate all cases of nonenrollment and of nonattendance. 

And here is full code regarding enrollment below:

Report of enrollment.

At the end of the fifth day from the opening of the public school, the principal teacher of each 
public school, private school, and each private tutor, but not church school, shall report on forms 
prescribed by the State Superintendent of Education to the county superintendent of education, 
in the event the school is operated in territory under the control and supervision of the county board 
of education, or to the city superintendent of schools, in the event the school is operated in territory 
under the control and supervision of a city board of education, the names and addresses of all children 
of mandatory school attendance age who have enrolled in such schools; and thereafter, throughout the 
compulsory attendance period, the principal teacher of each school and private tutor shall report at least 
weekly the names and addresses of all children of mandatory school attendance age who enroll in the 
school or who, having enrolled, were absent without being excused, or whose absence was not satisfactorily 
explained by the parent, guardian, or other person having control of the child. The enrollment and attendance
 of a child in a church school shall be filed with the local public school superintendent by the parent, 
guardian, or other person in charge or control of the child on a form provided by the superintendent or his 
or her agent which shall be countersigned by the administrator of the church school and returned to the 
public school superintendent by the parent. Should the child cease attendance at a church school, the parent, 
guardian, or other person in charge or control of the child shall by prior consent at the time of enrollment 
direct the church school to notify the local public school superintendent or his or her agent that the child no 
longer is in attendance at a church school. This section may not be interpreted or construed as authorizing 
the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, or the State Superintendent of Education to 
license or regulate any private, nonpublic, or church school offering instruction in grades K-12, or any 
combination thereof.


We want you to act RESPONSIBLY. KNOW ALL of the laws FOR YOURSELF.  Don’t rely on a school, school board, facebook group member, or even ALHSA (in this compilation of information). Read the laws for yourself and determine, for yourself, what they say. Better yet, consult an attorney that is familiar with education law for their legal assistance in understanding them.

If you’d like to discuss any of this, feel free to email us at  Someone on our team will reply, or we can schedule a phone call, if you’d like. Even if you disagree with something here, we will gladly have a civil discussion with you, and we have had many with those of opposing viewpoints.

Information courtesy of Alabama Homeschool Alliance