Does the home page need to be a front page menu item?
From Joomla! Documentation
Revision as of 17:03, 29 July 2008 by Dextercowley
No. In Joomla! 1.5, the home page can be any type of menu item and can have any name. The only requirement is that one menu item must be assigned as the "Default" menu item. This is the menu item that will display when a user navigates to your URL.
Also, any menu item can be assigned to use the "Front Page" menu item type.