It’s popular and easy to homeschool in Alabama!
Alabama homeschooling law requires ‘compulsory attendance’ for all children between the ages of six and 17–though parents may have a child excused until age seven by providing written notification of such intent. Also, children enrolled at a church school (which includes home schools, see below) may withdraw from school at age sixteen.
Home schools have two options in the state of Alabama. Operating as a church school is the popular option. Churches may operate a school as a non-profit ministry and actually establish individual schools within each home. No teacher qualification or certification is necessary under this option. Parents file a form (provided by school superintendents) at the initial enrollment (not annually) of their child. Attendance is to be kept for the school year and instruction offered in grades K-12. Church schools are required to report if a child no longer is attending.
No other regulations govern church schools. There are many church schools (covering all types of denominations! Even secular options like Sacred Grove Academy) already established with a Local or State focus. Church schools range in participation from just filing the form for you all the way to full class schedules. You should investigate whether joining an established church school program or establishing a new program for your family home study is appropriate. Home education has grown substantially in Alabama and this “law” has not deterred parents from selecting home education.
Wikipedia: [A church school] includes only such schools as offer instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof including the kindergarten, elementary, or secondary level and are operated as a ministry of 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.
HSLDA: According to an Alabama Attorney General’s opinion dated January 3, 1997, “[o]ther than the state laws requiring parents to report attendance and for church schools to report if a student is no longer in attendance at such a church school, there is no provision of Alabama law that permits or requires any state or local authority to regulate a church school.”
The second option involves private tutoring. Under this option, teachers must be state certified and provide instruction at least three hours per day (between the hours of 8 and 4) for 140 days per year. Tutors are required to file an education plan with the county superintendent, keep a register of work including hours and attendance as well as provide reports. Private schools and/or private tutor options for education require teacher certification. Standardized tests are not required.
Overall, it is easy to start homeschooling in Alabama! Make sure you take advantage of organizations that specialize in providing legal advice and general knowledge specifically for homeschoolers and Alabama homeschooling laws such as HSLDA and HLA.