The Definition of “Homeschooling"

I’m writing this on a splendid Saturday with windows and doors open and a desire to be outside, but I’ve got to get this newsletter article written!

First of all, I want to bring you all up to speed on what’s happening personally with Ron and me.  My 89 YO dad had two major surgeries in August:  his right leg amputated below the knee on August 17; his right leg amputated above the knee on August 31.  All praise to our God, he is home now, continuing his rehab with home health.  He and my 83 YO mother are adjusting to their new life; his countenance improved considerably just coming home after 6 weeks in the hospital!  As you think of it, we’d appreciate your continued prayers for them as they make this transition.  

And I’ve been working on getting our school directory ready to publish, so when you look through it, you’ll see two Landry names in it.  Our oldest son is getting out of the Air Force; he and his family are moving to Leeds while he looks for a job.  They’ll be living in our house, and joined Crossroads back in the summer in preparation for this school year.  I may be participating in more field trips while they’re here!  And I think they’ll be here in time for the October faculty meetings!

Ron & I attended two national conferences for state homeschool leaders in September, and spent time with folks from all over the US.  We learned about attacks on homeschooling freedoms in other states, issues we should be alert to that may be coming to Alabama, things to do ahead of time, etc.  

One of the issues that is already here in Alabama is the definition of “homeschooling.”  

If you read about the young man in South Carolina who allegedly killed his father, before going to a local public school and allegedly wounding 3 other people there, you may have read that he was homeschooled.  The truth about his schooling is that he was expelled from the public school and was enrolled in a virtual public charter school.  There is a difference, and at times folks here in Alabama may be making the same mistake in their thinking.

Many Alabama public high schools now offer virtual public school at home.  But the student is still enrolled in the public high school.  This is not homeschooling.  

Christian homeschooling can be defined as parent directed, privately funded, and biblically based.  For those non-Christians who homeschool, they may leave off that last descriptor!  The point is that homeschooling is NOT public school at home.  

Homeschooled students who are participating in public school sports are required to take two classes at the local public school.  One or both of them may be a part of the virtual public school program.  The difference here is that this is a “dual enrollment” agreement between the student and the public school, similar to what students do with dual enrollment in a community college.  The parents are allowing their students to participate in sports, and to take the required two subjects.  

Additional confusion may arise in Alabama because of the new provision that homeschooling parents can use the private school law to be legal.  Until 2014 all homeschooling families who did not a state teaching certificate had to use the church school law to be legal.  That is the legal provision we use for Crossroads Christian School; we exist as a church school, a ministry of Community Presbyterian Church. 

A number of parents are opting to use the private school law; local school boards are implementing this by a simple “notice of intent to homeschool” or some other name.  However, those families are still legally under the private school law in Alabama.  

Alabama still does not have a homeschooling law.  If you homeschool in Alabama, you do so as a private tutor (must be state certified), or under a church school, or under a private school.  There are legal distinctions, and it is important to know what they are.  

If you have any further questions, please ask me.  See you all at the October faculty meetings!