Alaska compulsory school attendance age
Alaska law requires children “between 7 and 16” to attend school or comply with the homeschool law. An exception to the rule is if a child is 6 years old and is already enrolled in the 1st grade in public school. In that case, the child must continue attending school, unless the parent withdraws the child from public school within 60 days of enrollment. If the child is withdrawn after 60 days of enrollment, the child is subject to the compulsory attendance requirements and must comply with the homeschool law.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Alaska law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver’s license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
Withdrawing your child from his or her current school
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Alaska available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
Complying with Alaska’s homeschool law
In Alaska, there are four options under which you can legally homeschool. Once you have chosen one of the following four options, follow the listed requirements.
Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
This option allows you to educate your child in your home as long as you are the parent or legal guardian. There are no requirements to notify the state, seek approval, test, file forms, or have any teacher qualifications.
Option 2: Homeschooling with a private tutor:
Children can be instructed at home by a tutor who is an Alaska-certified teacher.
Option 3: Homeschooling with school board approval:
Your child does not have to attend public school if he “is equally well-served by an educational experience approved by the school board.” In order to homeschool under this option, you must submit a written request to the principal or school administrator of the school your child attends and receive a written excuse from school attendance.
Option 4: Homeschooling as a religious private school:
1. File a notice of enrollment.
You must file an annual private school enrollment reporting form with the local superintendent by the first day of public school. You must use the Enrollment Reporting Form for School Districts provided by the Department of Education on its website.
2. File the Exempt Religious & Other Private Schools Enrollment and School Calendar forms.
These forms must be filed before October 15 each year with the Department of Education. You must use the forms provided by the department on its website.
3. Maintain monthly attendance records.
Your school must maintain monthly attendance records showing 180 days of school attendance each year.
4. Maintain permanent records.
You must maintain and certify to the Alaska Department of Education that you are maintaining permanent records of immunization, courses, standardized testing, academic achievement, and physical exams. Use the Affidavit of Compliance provided by the department on its website.
5. File a corporal discipline policy.
If your school has children of more than one family, file a corporal discipline policy with the Alaska Department of Education. Use the Corporal Punishment Policy form provided by the department on its website.
6. Do not accept any state or federal funding.
Private or religious schools by definition cannot receive direct state or federal funding.
7. Comply with testing requirements.
Standardized testing is required for 4th, 6th, and 8th grades. Test results must be made available to the Department of Education upon request. The parent may select any nationally standardized achievement test that measures achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Alaska’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.