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A2Z Homeschool - THE A-to-Z of Homeschooling
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Alabama Homeschooling Laws

Alabama Education Code For Homeschooling

Is a “cover school” required for home schooling in Alabama?

​It is the opinion of the State Superintendent of Education that a “cover school” is not required of parents who choose to home school their children. 5/26/2016

Compulsory attendance – Between 6 and 17 years of age. The parent, legal custodian, or guardian of a child who is six years of age, may opt out of enrolling their child in school at the age of six years by notifying the local school board of education, in writing, that the child will not be enrolled in school until he or she is seven years of age.

FAQs for Non-Public Schools, including homeschools, in Alabama

Disclaimer: These Alabama homeschooling laws may not be the most recent version. Alabama may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.

Department of Education
2014 Code of Alabama
Title 16 – EDUCATION.
Chapter 28 – SCHOOL ATTENDANCE.

CERTAIN LAWS AND STATE BOARD RESOLUTIONS THAT PERTAIN TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN ALABAMA (Excerpts from Code of Alabama 2014)

16-1-11. Private schools to register and report.

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.

16-28-1. Private School.

For purposes of this article, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the following respective meanings, unless clearly indicated otherwise:

(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.

(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.

16-28-3. 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 such child complies with enrollment and reporting procedure specified in Section 16-28-7. Admission to public school shall be on an individual basis on the application of the parents, legal custodian, or guardian of the child to the local board of education at the beginning of each school year, under such rules and regulations as the board may prescribe.

The parent, legal custodian, or guardian of a child who is six years of age, may opt out of enrolling their child in school at the age of six years by notifying the local school board of education, in writing, that the child will not be enrolled in school until he or she is seven years of age.


16-28-5. 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.

16-28-6. Children exempt from attending public school.

(a) The following children, when issued certificates of exemption by the county superintendent of education, where they reside in territory under the control and supervision of the county board of education, or the city superintendent of schools, where they reside in territory under the control and supervision of a city board of education, shall not be required to attend school, or to be instructed by a private tutor:

(1) Children whose physical or mental condition is such as to prevent or render inadvisable attendance at school or application to study. Before issuing such certificate of exemption, the superintendent shall require a certificate from the county health officer in counties which have a health unit, and from a regularly licensed, practicing physician in counties which do not have a health unit, that such a child is physically or mentally incapacitated for school work.
(2) Children who have completed the course of study of the public schools of the state through high school as now constituted.
(3) Where because of the distance children reside from school and the lack of public transportation such children would be compelled to walk over two miles to attend a public school.
(4) Where the children are legally and regularly employed under the provisions of the law relating to child labor and hold permits to work granted under the terms of the child labor law.
(5) Otherwise qualified children who withdraw from school pursuant to Section 16-28-3.1.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to deny any right to any child granted under the provisions of Sections 16-39-1 through 16-39-12.

16-28-7. 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.


16-28-8. Reports required must be furnished.

All school officers, including those in private schools, or private tutors, but not those in church schools, in this state offering instruction to pupils within the compulsory attendance ages, shall make and furnish all reports that may be required by the State Superintendent of Education and by the county superintendent of education or by the board of education of any city with reference to the workings of this article. The principal teacher of each public school, private school, church school and each private tutor shall keep an attendance register showing the enrollment of the school and every absence of each enrolled child from school for a half day or more during each school day of the year.

16-28-11. Enrollment report and list of potential students compared.

The county superintendent of education or the city superintendent of schools, as the case may be, shall upon the receipt of the report from teachers and private tutors showing the enrollment of children of mandatory school attendance age, compare and study the reports with the list which has been compiled of the children who should attend each school and ascertain what child or children required to attend school are not enrolled.

16-28-12. Person in loco parentis responsible for child’s attendance.

Each parent, guardian, or other person having control or custody of any child required to attend school or receive regular instruction by a private tutor who fails to have the child enrolled in school or who fails to send the child to school, or have him or her instructed by a private tutor during the time the child is required to attend a public school, private school, church school, denominational school, or parochial school, or be instructed by a private tutor, or fails to require the child to regularly attend the school or tutor, or fails to compel the child to properly conduct himself or herself as a pupil in any public school in accordance with the written policy on school behavior adopted by the local board of education pursuant to this section and documented by the appropriate school official which conduct may result in the suspension of the pupil, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($100) and may also be sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than 90 days. The absence of a child without the consent of the principal teacher of the public school he or she attends or should attend, or of the tutor who instructs or should instruct the child, shall be prima facie evidence of the violation of this section.

16-28-13. Burden of proof on person in loco parentis.

No parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of any child shall be convicted for failure to have said child enrolled in school or for failure to send a child to school or for failure to require such child to regularly attend such school or tutor, or for failure to compel such child to properly conduct himself as a pupil, if such parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of such child can establish to the reasonable satisfaction of the court the following:

(1) That the principal teacher in charge of said school which he attends or should attend or the tutor who instructs or should instruct said child gave permission for the child to be absent; or
(2) That such parent, guardian or other person is unable to provide necessary books and clothes in order that the child may attend school in compliance with law, and that such parent, guardian or other person had prior to the opening of the school, or immediately after the beginning of such dependency, reported such dependent condition to the juvenile court of the county and offered to turn the child over to the State Department of Human Resources as a dependent child; or
(3) That such parent, guardian or other person has made a bona fide effort to control such child and is unable to do so, and files in court a written statement that he is unable to control such child; or
(4) That there exists a good cause or valid excuse for such absence; or
(5) That such parent, guardian or other person has made a bona fide, diligent effort to secure the regular attendance of such child and that the absence was without his knowledge, connivance or consent.

A good cause or valid excuse, as used in this section, exists when on account of sickness or other condition attendance was impossible or entirely inadvisable or impracticable or when, by virtue of the extraordinary circumstances, the absence is generally recognized as excusable.

16-28-15. Absence must be explained.

Every parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any child required to attend public school, private school, or church school, shall as soon as practical explain the cause of any absence of the child under his control or charge which was without permission of the teacher, and a failure to furnish such explanation shall be admissible as evidence of such child being a truant with the consent and connivance of the person in control or charge of said child, unless such person can show to the reasonable satisfaction of the court that he had no knowledge of such absence and that he has been diligent in his efforts to secure the attendance of such child.

16-28-23. Attendance register and rules and regulations as evidence.

The registry of attendance of pupils kept by any public school, private school, church school or private tutor in compliance with the provisions of law or any rule and regulation promulgated by the State Board of Education shall be admissible as evidence of the existence or nonexistence of the facts it is required to show. A copy of any rule and regulation of the State Board of Education duly certified as true and correct by the State Superintendent of Education shall be admissible as evidence of the provisions of such rule and regulation, and the statement in the certificate of the State Superintendent of Education of the date of the promulgation shall be admissible as evidence that such rule or regulation was duly promulgated on the day and date named.

16-4-16. The state superintendent: Forms and Blanks,

The State Superintendent of Education shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, and submit for approval and adoption by the State Board of Education a uniform series of forms and blanks for the use of county boards of education, boards of education of cities, school officials and teachers, and it shall be his duty to see that all financial matters and all educational records are made according to these forms and blanks. He shall also prepare, or cause to be prepared, and submit for approval and adoption by the State Board of Education forms and blanks to be used in the annual report and in the monthly reports of persons conducting private schools and of private educational associations, corporations or institutions except church schools as defined in Section 16-28-1.


Section 10.

Notwithstanding entitlement to the exemptions provided church school sunder Section 16-28-1, 16-1-11, 16-28-3, 16-28-7, 16-28-8, 16-28-15, 16-28-23 and 16-40-1 any church school s defined in Section 16-28-1 (B) shall certify to the local public school superintendent on forms supplied by the superintendent to the requesting church school that the exemptions specified herein are waived.

Testing is not mandatory.

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One Response to Alabama Homeschooling Laws

  1. Alabama Homeschooling | A2Z Homeschooling on May 25, 2015 at 10:11 am

    […] to A2Z Home’s Cool Alabama Homeschool page. The state of Alabama, AL, has some unique home schooling laws, or rather, lack of home schooling laws and Ann has provided you with some links to follow and […]

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