How Do I Homeschool In Louisiana?


Homeschooling has become a popular option, especially in Louisiana. The latest record of approved home study students showed that more than 13,000 homeschooled students were approved statewide by the Louisiana Department of Education in 2018, which points out that homeschooling in Louisiana could be reasonably simple.

To start homeschooling in Louisiana, you must select a homeschooling option from the ones available in the state. Either a home study program or a home-based private school. From there, you must register for it, select a quality curriculum and comply with the regulations and law.

Before starting a homeschooling journey, there are several points to consider before making the big jump. In the following sections, you’ll have all the information needed to get you started with homeschooling.

Homeschooling Options In Louisiana

There are two legal options for families that want to start homeschooling in Louisiana:

  • Register as a home study program. The Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is an award based on the student’s ACT scores. With this program, the student can apply for a TOPS scholarship if he or she does not go further than the end of the 10th grade.
  • Register as a home-based private school. With this option, if the student goes all through high school, he or she will not be eligible for a TOPS award. Also, this setting does not qualify to receive or accept any federal or state funds, not directly or indirectly.

Before You Begin Homeschooling

What Are The State Laws?

The state laws and regulations will depend on the option you choose. There are, however, some laws that apply to both options:

Home-based private schools.

  • It is a low regulation option.
  • Must fill an online registration form.
  • It is required to share the name of the school with the Louisiana Department of Education.
  • Must specify the total number of enrolled students to the LA Department of Education.
  • Provide to the LA Department of Education the contact information of the school administrator.
  • This option has a yearly renewal process.
  • The decisions about the operation, recordkeeping, and all other processes are subject to the administrator, and no information is required.
  • Official notification of enrollment letters must be sent to the schools the students are attending ten days before the withdrawal.
  • Should operate for 180 days per academic year.
  • Must report the total attendance to the Louisiana Department of Education by the 30th day of the school term.
  • Louisiana children enrolled in a nonpublic school (not seeking state approval) must attest that they fulfill necessary school attendance to get a driver’s license or learner’s permit, according to LA R.S.32:431.1.

Home study program.

  • A home study application must be submitted either online or by mail to the Louisiana Department of education; the application must include the child’s birth certificate.
  • Once the application is approved, families should provide a copy of the approval letter to the kids’ school.
  • It is necessary to operate the home study program for 180 days each school year.
  • The curriculum should be comparable to those used in public schools, ensuring they have similar subjects with the same grade level as in public schools.
  • The application should be renewed every 12 months. With the renewal, documentation should be submitted, verifying the home study program offered a quality curriculum comparable to what is being provided in public schools at the same grade level.
  • Regulations for Implementation of the Children with Exceptionalities Act
  • Educational Opportunities for Students with Exceptionalities
  • Privacy Statement Policies and Laws should be followed. Taking into consideration the following:
    • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 USC §1232g; 20 USC §1232g (a) (5) (A); and 20 USC §1232g (a) (5) (B).

What Is The Registration Process?

Home-based private school.

  1. Go to the Louisiana Department of Education.
  2. Click on “Enter Attendance Information For a Nonpublic School (Not Seeking State Approval)”
  3. Complete the form online.
  4. Provide an e-mail address.
  5. Click on “Submit.”
  6. You will receive an e-mail containing the official registration letter once you have submitted your application.

Home study program.

There are two options for applying: online or by mail.

Online

  1. Go to the Louisiana Department of Education and proceed to the Home Study section.
  2. Click on “Click here to submit a home study application online.”
  3. Complete the form and upload any required documentation.
  4. Register your e-mail address, optional. This facilitates communication with you.
  5. Once the form is completed, click submit.
  6. The Louisiana Department of Education will review the application. Follow-up questions might be necessary.
  7. You will receive an e-mail or letter stating the approval of the application.

Mail

  1. Complete the form found on page 12 of this PDF Document.
  2. Make copies of the required documentation.
  3. Mail the form and documentation needed to the indicated address.
  4. The Louisiana Department of Education will review the application. Follow-up questions might be necessary.
  5. If approved, you will receive an official approval letter. This might take 1 to 3 weeks.

What About The Cost?

The cost of homeschooling is subject to the program and activities that the student will get involved with. If the program includes co-ops, enrichment classes, online courses, and sports, it could cost around $300 to $500 per student. If opting for video courses, tutors, or all-inclusive curriculum packages, the cost can be $500 and up.

Louisiana’s Curriculum Standards

The Louisiana Department of Education has divided the standards per category and grade level. You can find different PDF documents with the following criteria:

  • Academic Standards + Grade Level Expectations.
  • Louisiana Connectors for ELs.
  • Louisiana Connectors for Students with Significant Disabilities.
  • Health Standards.
  • Physical Education.
  • World Languages + Immersion.

Record Keeping & Testing Requirements For Homeschooled Student

Record keeping is not a requirement for homeschooled students in Louisiana, but it is recommended to keep a record of their education such as:

  • Record of attendance.
  • Lists of textbooks, workbooks, and material used.
  • Samples of the student’s work.
  • Correspondence with school officials.
  • Portfolios.
  • Test results.

Regarding testing requirements, standardized testing is not required for homeschooled students in Louisiana. On the other hand, some people opt to take these tests to fill verification criteria. Other homeschool parents encourage their children to take standardized exams to measure their growth and compare them to public and private schools.

Record keeping can be done through several different methods, but an all-in-one online program such as Applecore or Homeschool Tracker can offer many benefits for students and parents.

Homeschooling And Special Education Services

The state’s regulations should be followed when homeschooling a child with special needs under the home study option; no additional requirements are established. With the private school option, the student might be eligible for special education services.

Homeschooled Students And Public School Access

Louisiana homeschooled students are allowed to participate on public school sports teams after receiving approval from the school’s principal.

However, the Louisiana Court of Appeals decided in 1970 that kids enrolled in a private school were not allowed to participate.

Graduation Requirements

In Louisiana, there are no specific requirements for graduations. The parents of the students are the ones who decide the appropriate courses and the credits assigned to the program.

For high school students, the parents should determine, under their criteria, when they are capable enough to receive a diploma. The diplomas given to homeschooled students are recognized by all public secondary educational institutions, agencies, boards, state departments, and commissions.

Field Trips For Homeschooled Student

With homeschooling, the schedule can be flexible enough to fit more field trips than a regular classroom. There are some destinations with programs or discounted rates for homeschooled students. Here are some places to consider when going on a field trip:

Homeschool Associations, Groups, And Co-Ops

InstitutionTypeLocated
Openminded HomeschoolersGroupAvoyelles Parish
Berean Homeschool Co-opCo-OpBaton Rouge
SALT Educational Co-OpCo-OpBaton Rouge
Holy Family HomeschoolersGroupBaton Rouge
CHEF of Baton RougeOrganizationBaton Rouge
Christian Family EducatorsGroupBossier/Shreveport
Roman Catholic Homeschool Association of Louisiana (RCHAL)GroupCovington
Homeschool GumboGroup / Co-OpDenham Springs (Baton Rouge area)
Buckles AcademyCo-OpGonzales
St. John Bosco Co-opCo-OpGonzales
NOLA Learning OdysseyGroupGreater New Orleans area
Raising Arrows Homeschool Co-OpCo-OpHammond
Mighty Arrows Co-opCo-OpHolden
Key Homeschool AssociationAssociationJefferson Parish
Agnus Dei Catholic Home School AssociationAssociationKenner, Metairie, St. Bernard, the Westbank
Christian Home Educators Fellowship of LafayetteGroupLafayette
Westbank Homeschool Organization, INCOrganizationLouisiana Statewide
Homeschool LouisianaOrganizationLouisiana Statewide
Inclusive Homeschool Network of Northeast LouisianaGroupNortheast Louisiana
Homeschool GumboGroup / Co-OpOsyka
Christian Home School AssociationAssociationPineville
Cenla Christian Home School AssociationAssociationPineville
Cenla Catholic HomeschoolersGroupPineville
Bravo Homeschool GroupGroupPrinceton
Ruston Christian HomeschoolersOrganizationRuston
CREDO Homeschool Co-OpCo-OpShreveport
Shreveport Area Secular HomeschoolingGroupShreveport-Bossier City Metro Area
Southwest Louisiana Christian Home Educators Fellowship Inc.GroupSouthwest Louisiana
St. Bernard Christian Homeschool AssociationAssociationSt. Bernard Parish
Northeast Louisiana Christian Homeschool AssociationAssociationWest Monroe
Cornerstone Homeschool Co-opCo-OpZachary

Conclusion

It is best to select a homeschooling option that will suit the interests, values, and approach you would like to give to your kid’s education and growth. It is also important when selecting or creating a curriculum to consider going alongside the state’s standards. This way, you make sure to comply with college and university admission requirements.

Other essential factors to consider are time, space, and interest. You will have to fully commit to your kid’s education in time and interest. You have to take the time to prepare for classes, mentoring, field trips, among other activities, which will also require interest on your part. Besides, you will have to prepare a space for the learning process, with all the necessary tools and furniture, with enough lighting and no distractions.

Sources:

https://hslda.org/post/how-to-comply-with-louisianas-homeschool-law

https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/louisiana/

https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/louisiana/laws-requirements.html

https://hslda.org/post/public-school-access-for-homeschoolers-in-louisiana

https://louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/school-choice/guidelines

https://hslda.org/post/special-education-provisions-for-louisiana

https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/nonpublic-schools

https://hslda.org/post/the-importance-of-recordkeeping-in-louisiana

https://www.powerhomeschool.org/homeschooling-by-state/louisiana/

https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/homeschooling-in-louisiana/homeschool-organizations-support-groups/

Heather Hanrahan

Thought creator. Idea harvester. Builder of things. Nature and natural beauty admirer. I enjoy traveling (constant wanderlust), photography, hot springs, mountains, beaches, hiking, books, music for the mood, sci-fi, water, wine, and coffee. I speak fluent sarcasm and laugh at my own jokes. I spend most of my time working on my websites, learning and trying new things, finding myself on hiking trails, and discovering my next favorite song.

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