Question: My home-schooled five year old will turn six this year; should I enroll her in a church school according to Alabama law?
As a background, compulsory age in Alabama used to begin at 7 years old. In application, that meant that your child had to be enrolled in school on the first day of the public school year following their 7th birthday. In 2012, the lower end compulsory age was changed to 6 years old. However, the public rose up in concern, resulting in the legislature providing an “opt-out” provision for those parents who wanted to delay enrollment until 7 years old. HSLDA drafted an opt-out letter which includes the legal description of this provision. Therefore, you do not need to enroll your 5 year old for the upcoming school year, since her birthday falls after the first day of the public school calendar. If you want to take advantage of the opt-out provision, you won’t even need to enroll her for the next school year, since her 7th birthday falls after the the first day of the start of public school. You would just need to send the opt-out letter to the school board next summer.
Individual families make the decision about using the opt-out provision. If the child in question is your oldest, and you plan to homeschool through graduation, you would have no compelling reason to fully enroll. If you already have other children enrolled, and you want to have a “complete” transcript from K or 1st grade, you might want to go ahead and enroll either for K or for 1st grade.
Visit this link, http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/al/201205170.asp, to read more about this on the HSLDA website and to find the opt-out form referenced above. Please email me further questions.
~ Retta Franklin, Administrator