Home schooling in Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Home schooling in Alabama

Posted: Updated:

One of our Facebook friends wrote to ask about home schooling. Paul Baker asked, "What is required to home school and effectively teach a child while keeping them on par with education for their age?"

There are no guidelines set forth by the state Board of Education on how parents should home school their children. However, parents in Alabama are required to home school under the supervision of what the state calls church schools. Church schools do have rules and regulations laid out by state law. Still, when it comes to curriculum, schedules, even grading, that is up to the parent.

Elizabeth McDowell homeschools her three children, ages seven, five and two. She says her decision to do so was based on her own upbringing.

"I was public schooled up until sixth grade until my mom decided to home school me," she said.

McDowell says she was a gifted child, and her mother didn't believe she was allowed to reach her full potential. When McDowell married and settled in Cullman, she came to the same conclusion and decided to homeschool as well.

"It was kind of dependent on where we ended up living at the time because some school districts are really awesome, and if you have that available to you that would be really great. But I pretty much was set on home schooling," she said.

Alabama does not have a law addressing home schooling specifically, but parents are required to enroll in what the state calls a church school.

"You basically have to be in a cover school to home school and there are different ones all over the state and each one of them has their own subset of criteria that you meet," she said.

McDowell says cover schools serve as a resource to guide parents through the home schooling experience. Aside from that, parents are free to educate their children however and whenever they choose.

"I am very eclectic. There are pre-packaged classes and also classes that you take completely online."

McDowell combines text books, iPad lessons, and hands-on projects. So how does grading work? And what if a child struggles in a subject?

"The grading system is up to you. You can choose a pass fail, or the school system's a b c d. You know your kid, you know what they're good at, you know what frustrates them," said McDowell.

Some critics of homeschooling say one concern is whether children who are homeschooled develop adequate social skills. McDowell believes her children get plenty of interaction with other children their age.

"We have Cullman home schoolers on facebook, there is a field trips guide in Birmingham, and we have our regular group of friends," she said.

Many parents who homeschool do not have degrees in education. It's a factor that does not sit well with some. McDowell admits her husband  needed convincing.

"My husband was the devil's advocate. I had to fight you know, and say I can do this, I'm smart enough to teach my own children. and just because I don't have a degree in that particular field doesn't mean I'm not qualified."

McDowell says standardized testing is not required in home school, but she says many parents give their children practice tests. Colleges may still require transcripts, which are kept by the student's church school.

As for attendance, the state does require the parent to keep record of class time each day. Parents can turn in paper work to their local board of education.
 

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:50:59 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:53:43 GMT
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:50:59 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:36:40 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New...More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
  • Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:51 GMT
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
  • Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:14 GMT
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>