Continuing After Covid…How to Get Started Homeschooling in Alabama

The coming school year is full of uncertainty for parents and schools. Many parents are wondering what educating their child is going to look like in the months, and maybe even years, ahead. While the crisis-schooling and distance learning that have been taking place across the country ARE NOT true homeschooling, many parents have been given a glimpse into what life could possibly be like if they were to choose this path. They have seen that they can in fact not only take the reins of their child’s education, but sometimes even improve upon it.

The one word I would use to describe a traditional homeschool setting…is freedom. The freedom to choose the curriculum and method of learning that works best for your child. The freedom to create a plan for how and when that curriculum will best work with your family and lifestyle. The freedom to lean into interests that spark a love of learning in your child, which also carries them through the lesser loved subjects. The freedom to make friends of different age levels and interests. The freedom to learn from a vast array of people who occupy jobs in many different fields and to see the world through their varied perspectives.

But first you have to get past the fears–fear of the unknown, fear of the stigmas, and fear of the question, “Can I even do this?”  The idea of teaching your child isn’t as unknown as you think– you have already taught your child from birth, and you know them better than anyone else. The stigmas don’t represent reality as homeschoolers are succeeding at every level. They can be found in starring roles in the arts, in prime positions on the playing fields, at the top of the class in academics, and more. Finally, with the support of our growing community and the multitude of resources available, you can do this. 

It is simple to get started  homeschooling in Alabama, but it is also a point of contention in our state. This can lead to confusion and anxiety. Let me assure you: the information I am about to give you is correct, up-to-date, and has been reviewed by Alabama legal counsel. 

-If your child is already in a public or private school, you will need to withdraw them. {There may be new procedures for this, so contact the school to find out how to do it.}

-Once that is done, or if your child was not previously enrolled in a school in Alabama, you just need to decide if you want to join a church school (there is generally a cost associated with this, but there can be more support, direction, accountability, and even bonus opportunities as well) OR send in the private school enrollment form to your local Board of Education (BOE.) This option is free, but involves some minor record keeping. You will find more details on the law on our website, and you can contact us anytime. 

You will be glad to know that once you pass that point, you will really begin to see the support and encouragement the homeschool community has to offer in Alabama.  Information and support group opportunities are everywhere–both local to you and on social media. 

Now you might be wondering, but what do I teach, and how do I teach concepts I haven’t looked at in decades? This process can feel overwhelming at first. It seems like every choice is a “make-it or break-it” decision. It’s not. The choices you make can be changed. Most homeschool families change curriculum many times. What works one year, or for one child, may not be the best fit for the next. You can even change up curriculum mid-year if you and your child feel like it isn’t working –this is where you truly start to feel the freedom and flexibility you have as a homeschooler.

There are so many options for curriculum, there are complete curriculum sets called “box curriculum”, but lots of  homeschoolers piece together several different curriculum options. The best piece of advice I got when starting out was to NOT spend a lot of money on my first curriculum choices.  You want to buy the BEST, but the best doesn’t always have to mean “costs the most.” There are even some great FREE curriculum options. The best part is that all of these options come with Teacher’s Guides to walk you through planning out what needs to be done when, and giving you the answers to all the questions.

Some things to keep in mind: accreditation doesn’t matter, and colleges, the military, and employers all actively seek out homeschool graduates!  Whether you are about to homeschool elementary, middle, or high school, we have people that can help and guide you. Join us in Alabama Home Educators Community on Facebook for real-time answers and support from these veteran homeschool parents.

FINALLY you will look towards socialization. Fear surrounding this topic persists despite so much evidence to the contrary. In reality what you will find is an amazing number of opportunities for your student to socialize.  There are homeschool 4H groups, Girl scouts troops, co-ops, robotics teams, Jr. Civitan, archery teams, art and sewing classes, bowling teams, choir, band, swimming, karate, horseback riding, skating, volunteer opportunities, classes at local universities, and more. Also, many community learning centers are stepping up to offer classes on their own, with science centers, art museums, historical sites, and environmental centers all adding homeschool-specific classes to their calendars. There are even several prom and graduation options! We are happy to help you find groups in your area that offer local support.

I know you may be thinking that this is a lot of information to take in. It is, but we are here to help. You need to know if you choose this path you do so with information, support, and research and it will be nothing like the shock of suddenly finding yourself distance schooling at the behest of the public school system.  The hardest thing is letting go of the idea that there is only one way for your child to be successful, and only one educational path to get them there. The traditional homeschool option is incredibly successful. You can do this. I promise. Good luck, and we look forward to walking this with you.

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