Homeschool Versus Church School Laws

There are 3 laws that regulate compulsory education policies outside the public school and the private school laws.

Church School law is the one we-DSA- legally work under. It is set up so that a church school has a home education covering that parents are enrolled in. A church school can be on campus or off campus or a combination of both. Each church school can set their own policies and requirements on everything from curriculum used, required religious beliefs, approved teacher (such as only the parents), no single parents or grandparents, church attendance and even days of attendance required. They can also offer on campus classes, activities and testing days such as for SATs. But all of these are their own policies, not state law.

Required of us as your Church School Cover:

  • Keep records of attendance
  • Notify the local Board of Education when a student withdraws or fails to re-enroll

Required of you, the Parent/Legal Guardian(s):

  • Submit a signed and validated enrollment form to their local Board of Education superintendent upon enrollment with a church school
  • Submit attendance records to the church school

The main thing to remember when talking to the officials of Alabama is that there is a difference in homeschooling i.e. tutorial law, private school, and church schooling i.e. church school laws. When discussing the path you have taken with any school personnel or BOE office always ALWAYS state you are enrolled in a church school. It is NOT home schooling according to the state laws. This is important because often even school officials don’t know the difference thus they will tell you wrong information for your enrollment requirements.

Church Schools can require anything they want and find a church school that supports your choices in educating your children and encourages you to educate them as you see best without interference can be tough.

As a church school, we are exempt from much of what private schools or tutors are required to follow.

Helpful Links:
Alabama SB 38:
HSLDA’s summary of Alabama SB 38 is here:

Alabama Code – Article 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS

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 and report attendance. Please feel free to contact my legal assistant, Daniel Davis, with any questions you may have about the new law.Sincerely,
Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel