HOMESCHOOL GUIDELINES AND HARVEST HOMESCHOOL POLICIES
1. Getting Started
Now that you have made the decision to homeschool, getting started on the right track is very important. Deciding what curriculum to use is the first step to take. There are several curriculums available to home educators. You can decide to use one or mix and match subjects from different resources. Every family and child is different and may have different ways of learning and in no way are we endorsing the use of any one curriculum. It is your family’s responsibility to decide and acquire homeschool curriculum. A list of recommendations is located on our website under the homeschool resources tab.
Harvest Homeschool highly recommends enrolling in CHEAHA (Christian Educators At Home of Anniston), a support group of homeschooling families who have come together to offer educational field trips, SAT test administration, day activities, Junior/Senior community involvement opportunities, and a Spring prom. With the minimal yearly membership fee, you will have access to information on events and activities in the area for homeschoolers and other resources to help you in your homeschooling journey. It is not mandatory that you join CHEAHA.
2. Alabama Law
There are very few laws in the state of Alabama concerning homeschoolers. One of these laws is that every child ages 6-17 must be enrolled in either a private, public or church school. Homeschoolers fall under the category of church school. Every school year and for each child a Church Enrollment form must be submitted to the Superintendent of the Board of Education in which the student(s) would be enrolled in public school. Harvest Homeschool will provide the form for each student enrolled in our church school and will submit these forms to the Superintendent of the Board of Education. Families who wish to start educating their child or children before the age of 7, will need to fill out the form for church records, but will only be sent to the Superintendent if requested by the parent. Other records that must be kept and submitted to Harvest Homeschool are attendance and grade records and high school transcripts starting in grade 9. Public and private schools require 175 days of attendance each year and 140 days required for private tutor. Attendance for homeschoolers is determined by “instructional days.” Instructional days are any day you designate as a day of learning whether you are actively pursuing your educational objectives or simply going on a field trip in which learning is taking place. Harvest Homeschool requires a minimum, but not limited to, 160 days a year. Harvest Homeschool has an attendance form and a grade report available under the Student Forms section of our website. At the end of each semester these forms can be submitted online under the Student Attendance and Progress tab, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to Harvest Church of God PO Box 1888 Anniston, AL 36207. For more information on Homeschool laws visit the HSDLA website.
3. Keeping Records
The only records required by the state of Alabama is an attendance record and transcripts for students in grade 9-12. However, Harvest Homeschool requires a mid-year grade report and end of year grades as well as attendance records for all students. If this is your first year homeschooling after having been in public school, you will be required to withdraw your child from the public school. Harvest Homeschool will request records from the school(s) your child attended. It is not the responsibility of Harvest Homeschool to keep records for you. When records are received in our office from a previous school, we will make a copy for your child’s file and send records to you. The school records will be sent to you to keep should the need ever arise that they be transferred to another school. Furthermore, should you decide to withdraw from Harvest Homeschool, you must complete a Church Covering Withdrawal Form. This will be sent to the school district in which your student lives as notification that your student is no longer enrolled in Harvest Homeschool. Should your child graduate from Harvest Homeschool, we will keep a permanent record of his or her transcripts and or other pertinent information. Harvest Homeschool will send two copies of high school transcripts to the colleges or selected branch of the military at the request of the parent or student. Any additional requested transcripts will be sent for a $5 fee.
Testing is a great way to see how your child is doing academically. Although not required of homeschoolers, Harvest Homeschool recommends that your child be tested around the 3rd or 4th grade and from then on. There are many tests available to homeschoolers. Listed below are some of the tests available for different grade levels. Harvest Homeschool is not responsible for administering or providing these tests.
For Grades 3-6:
- Personalized Achievement Summary System (PASS) 1-360-835-8708
- California Achievement Test (CAT) administered at home 1-847-259-4444
For Grades 7-12:
- Stanford Achievement Test offered through CHEAHA Homeschool yearly
- Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
- IOWA Basic Skills Test 1-800-845-5731
The parent may administer the PASS and CAT tests at home. If your child will be going on to college, the college ACT or SAT are required and are only administered through local colleges or high schools. Alabama colleges typically require the ACT.
You can also find a list for testing under the resources tab on our website.
5. Legal Advice
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides legal services for homeschool families from all over the nation. Membership in HSLDA is optional and the responsibility of each family covered under Harvest Homeschool. The cost of membership is about $100 per family per year. With membership, HSLDA will provide legal counsel and pay all legal fees if you are taken to court for an education related issue. Applications are available by calling 1-540-338-5600. Being a member of CHEAHA allows you to receive a membership discount. If you do not wish to use HSLDA, you can get a referral by contacting the Alabama Bar Association. Visit HSDLA website.
6. Progress Reports
Harvest Homeschool is in no way responsible for the rate of progress of your child. However, we think it is a good idea to make a progress report on your child’s year. This will be an evaluation of how your child is progressing in his or her education. Each child is different and each child will learn at his or her own rate. Setting educational goals at the beginning of the year and evaluating the progress of reaching those set goals can be a good way to determine how well you and your child are doing. A mid-year grade and attendance record and an end-of-year grade and attendance record are required to be submitted to Harvest Homeschool each year.
PARTICIPATION IN HARVEST HOMESCHOOL GRADUATION WILL NOT BE APPROVED UNTIL GRADE AND ATTENDANCE REPORTS ARE SUBMITTED.
Re-enrollment or withdrawal letter(s) will not be completed until all grade reports and attendance records are current in your child’s file.
7. Registration and School Fees
A Registration Form must be completed for each student each year. There is a non-refundable yearly registration fee. We require a copy of the parent or guardian’s high school diploma, post secondary diploma, or GED certificate to be on file.
Each year, your family will receive:
- Enrollment forms and letter of intention to homeschool sent to your local Board of Education.
- A copy of your child’s enrollment form and any letters of withdrawal needed for public or private schools.
- Records request upon first time enrollment.
- Parents will be sent a copy of any form filled out for their child.
- Copies of yearly registrations, letters to schools and school boards, grades and attendance kept in homeschool office.
- Email updates where applicable.
- Prayer and support.
Note: Certain additional fees may apply to cover the cost of diploma and/or graduation ceremony.
8. High School Diplomas/Transcripts
Harvest Homeschool is not a state accredited school. Lack of Accreditation should not hinder the acceptance of our diploma and transcripts for higher education. Many Colleges and Universities are now seeking out homeschool graduates. Keeping good records during high school years is very important if your child is to pursue a higher education. Beginning in the 9th grade, we recommend using our Graduation Checklist to record credits needed for graduation. We offer 2 types of diplomas to Harvest Homeschool graduates: Academic Achievement Diploma and a Life Skills Achievement Diploma.
Academic Achievement Diploma (25 credits)
English 4 credits
Mathematics 4 credits (one credit in Algebra 1)
Science 4 credits (one credit in Biology)
Social Studies/History 4 credits (in succession World History, Am. History 1, Am. History 2, Government/Economics)
Electives 9 credits *(must include: (1 credit Foreign Language, 1 credit Physical Education, 1 credit Health, & 1 credit Bible) *Electives can be, but are not limited to, computer, music, art, driver’s education, home economics, electronics, wood shop, and auto mechanics class.
Life Skills Achievement Diploma (24 credits)
This diploma is offered to those students who plan to enter a certain occupation or life skill that does not require a college degree (i.e. homemaker, trade skill, etc.)
English 4 credits
Mathematics 4 credits
Science 4 credits
Social studies 4 credits (in succession World History, Am. History 1, Am. History 2, Government/Economics)
Electives 8 credits (should be oriented towards students’ specific life skill and can include 1 credit Health, 1 credit Bible, & 1 credit Physical Education.)
Two official transcripts will be sent to requested institutions at no charge. Additional copies are $5 each. Transcripts are not official until approved by Harvest Homeschool Administrator. Transcripts will not be accepted by any institution unless stamped, signed, and delivered in a sealed envelope directly from Harvest Homeschool.