In Alaska, the percentage of homeschooled students peaked at 27% of families during the pandemic.

History

Alaska is located in the extreme northwest of the North American continent. Homeschooling was legalized in 1997. Prior to the official legalization, homeschooling families practiced as private or correspondence students, a practice that continues today given the remote location of many families.

Regulation

Parents of students from 7 to 16 years old, who want to homeschool are not required to notify the state of their intent in Alaska. No specific parent-teacher qualifications, instructional hours, or curriculum are required under the homeschooling statute. Parents may school from home by using a tutor or private school, but those options have different requirements. For example, a tutor must be certified, and private schools must provide attendance calendars and corporal punishment policy. As mentioned, families can also learn via a correspondence program.

Alaska does have a statute on public education access that allows all nonpublic students access to public school courses but does not guarantee admittance to extracurricular activities. Alaska Stat. §14.30.365 (also here). These courses are publicly funded and unlimited.

State Data

Since Alaska does not require parents to file a notice of intent to homeschool, the state does not collect or report any data on homeschool participation. As a result, there is less information about homeschooling numbers in Alaska. The best evidence comes from the 2020 U.S. Census which estimates that 9.6% of families homeschooled in the state before the pandemic. By the fall of 2020, homeschooling in Alaska increased to 27.5%. This is over double the national average of 11% during the same time and the highest in the country. More recent U.S. Census estimates indicate that, during the 2022 and 2023 school years, an average of 10.3% of K-12 students in Alaska were homeschooled.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

We cannot calculate a cross-sector comparison because we lack information on homeschool participation.

School Choice Context

In Alaska, parents have multiple school choice options in addition to homeschooling. These include traditional public, private, magnet, limited charter, and virtual online school options. Boarding and residential schools are also necessary options, given the dispersed population. Alaska prohibits inter-district choice but permits intra-district choice if the assigned school is unsafe. While lawmakers have considered voucher and Education Savings Account (ESA) programs, none are currently available.

Commentary

If the Census estimates are correct, Alaska has one of the highest homeschool participation rates in the country. More research and data are needed.

Last updated December 2023.