Frequently Asked Questions
Is it hard to homeschool in AL?
Homeschooling in AL is very easy. There are 3 ways to homeschool in our state–please see the page on here regarding the laws. You can enroll in a church school, register with the state as a private school, or be a certified teacher and use the tutor option. The main point is to be officially enrolled. After enrollment you have leeway in choosing the methods you use–some require a lot of parental involvement and others do not.
Is it expensive to homeschool?
That is up to you. It depends on the choices you make. Joining a church school has a cost and sometimes they have their own sets of rules. Forming a private school does not cost monetarily, but does require more steps.
Curriculum can cost hundreds of dollars for one that includes everything you need in one box, or you can find resources or even complete curriculum for FREE. Many people use a combination of free resources and mixed and matched curriculum options.
What is the difference between DEschooling and UNschooling?
DEschooling is a time of decompressing at the beginning of homeschooling after being in public school.
UNschooling is an actual homeschool method (See Methods tab). Under this format parents take a child-led approach to education instead of using a set curriculum.
What are learning styles?
Learning styles are the way your student best learns and retains information. Some examples are Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. For more information on learning styles and how to find your child’s click here.
Will my kids be able to socialize?
Most areas of our state are rich with opportunities for students to meet others. There are homeschool specific groups for:
4H * Girl Scouts * Jr. Civitan * robotics teams * archery * art * sewing * bowling *choir * band * swimming * karate * horseback riding * skating * …and more!
In addition there are often group learning situations such as classes at local colleges & universities as well as classes offered by many community learning centers like art museums, historical sites, and environmental centers.
There are also an increasing number of purely social activities such as proms, dances, and graduation! You have to actively choose to be unsocial to be not social. Your best resource to find these groups are home school Facebook pages geared to your area, or here on this site as we add regional information.
How do I know what to teach?
Most of the curriculum you buy is broken up into grade/age levels. When it comes to upper middle and high school, the choice broadens, much as it does in public school. What you will find is that the BEST way is to follow your student’s capabilities!
You will find that one student may be on one grade level for one subject, and on a different level in another. This is where the freedom of homeschooling really benefits your student.
Choosing curriculum can be THE most daunting part of getting started. One suggestion is to frequent different groups with veteran homeschool moms where you can ask questions and even see curriculum samples in person. There are also websites to help you choose curriculum and sites to assist you in learning what is traditionally taught in each grade level.
When do you know to test/move on?
Curriculum often comes with end of chapter and end of curriculum tests. You will probably find this isn’t as important as it would be in a classroom setting as you will be seeing when your child is getting the information and ready to move on, or if they need to spend a little more time to fully grasp it. While yearly testing isn’t required of homeschoolers in Alabama, some parents find that they want to do so. This site includes some options available to you.
How do you structure each day?
Every homeschool is structured differently. Some wake early and knock their schoolwork out early. Many working parents school in the late afternoon or evening. A typical time to start seems to be around 9am. You will find homes that stick to the public school calendar and others that school year round to allow for greater flexibility in days off. No matter what, your homeschool day shouldn’t be lasting the 7 or 8 hours a public school day lasts. Early Elementary students may only need a couple of hours a day. Middle School students might finish in 3 or 4 hours a day. Most high school students will need to be certain the material is covered, but will likely finish in 5-6 hours a day, depending on the student’s diligence.
How do you balance being a parent versus being teacher?
This may take some time to learn to navigate. The thing is, you have always BEEN teacher and parent. So has dad, and so have grandparents. There is no magic line once they turn 5 that suddenly means you can no longer be the teacher and the mom you have always been. Museums, Exploreums , arts and crafts, and nature hunts have always been a part of their lives. There really is no ‘versus’. A parent is a teacher. Always.
What do you do when they reach the level in a subject that is beyond your ability?
The best part of the vast curriculum options is that, as they surpass what you are comfortable teaching, there are choices in curriculums that will teach it for you, as well as other options. For example Teaching Textbooks is a math that teaches the lesson, provides the practice, and administers the tests complete with showing how to arrive at the correct answer all the way up to Pre-calculus. There are also virtual classes taught online, in real time, by people who are experts in the subjects. Some parents utilize an academic co-op situation. Then you also have early enrollment in college options, where, in addition to taking the teaching out of your hands, your student earns college credits alongside their high school ones!
Can my child go to college?
Short Answer: YES! Longer answer: Many homeschooled students enter college with college credits already under their belt from early enrollment programs. By having a school enrollment requirement, many colleges are quicker to accept Alabama’s homeschool students over those in states with no requirements or oversight at all. Be prepared to have your student provide an ACT or SAT score (or both) and a good transcript. By following our state’s laws, the homeschool diploma is just as legitimate to state colleges and universities as a public school student’s is!
Will they/can they finish early and graduate early?
There is certainly the flexibility to be able to move ahead and graduate early in homeschooling! As long as a student earns the high school credits required by the college he or she wants to attend, there is nothing stating how long they must take to do it. There are several stories of homeschooled children graduating VERY early!