So you want to homeschool in Louisiana? But you’re scared, you’re not sure how to go about doing it, if you’re going to get in trouble or if you’re going to screw up your child. It’s scary because education is one of the most important decisions you are going to have to make.
Then there is the dreaded socialization question that EVERYONE asks. Our family has been homeschooling since my now 9th grader was in 1st grade. We pulled him from his very good public school for a variety of reasons; it just wasn’t a good fit for our family or him. Now I couldn’t imagine our life any other way, I don’t think I could go back to the schedule of a traditional school. It honestly is probably the hardest but best decision our family has made for our children.
So now you’re saying BUT Cara, how do I homeschool? What do I need to do in the State of Louisiana? Louisiana is actually one of the easier states to homeschool in. We have two options to legally homeschool in Louisiana, Home Study and Private School. You don’t have to register for either option until the year your child turns 7.
BESE Approved Home Study:
Under this option parents have to submit an application for approval no later than 15 days after the start of their home study program. And applications must be submitted each year with the following information:
- Student Information including name, date of birth (optional), age (optional – paper application only), grade, and school year
- Family Information including name of parent or legal guardian, address, parish or city school district, phone number, and email (optional)
- A statement addressing the immunization status for meningococcal disease for a child age 11 years old.
- Disclosure of Information Statement
- Birth Certificate
Renewals must include one of the following:
- Curriculum “Packet” that demonstrates that the home study program offered is at least equal to that being offered by public schools at the same grade level
- Standardized Test Scores
- Teacher Evaluation by a certified teacher that states the child is being educated in accordance with curriculum that is of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level
While this option requires more from the parent and more oversight from the state, it does have it’s pros. Students who are enrolled in an approved home study program can participate in interscholastic athletic activities at a public or at a state-approved nonpublic high school that is also a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Also students enrolled by the end of 10th grade are eligible for TOPS. More Information and the application for the Home Study Program can be found here
Registered Nonpublic School Not Seeking State Approval (AKA Private School)
This is the easiest option for homeschooling in Louisiana, it is the one we will use until each child enters 10th grade. With this option you care basically declaring your homeschool a private school that is not seeking state approval. All you have to do is fill out the online form or send in a letter that states your school’s name, school year, contact information, and total number of students enrolled. You send this letter to:
Registered Nonpublic Schools
Office of Portfolio
Louisiana Department of Education
P.O. Box 94064
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Be sure to keep a copy of for your records if you mail in the letter but that’s it, that’s all you have to do! No tests, no evaluations, no packets to put together. More information on the Registered Nonpublic School Not Seeking State Approval can be found here. If you are withdrawing your child from a public school and using this option you also have to send the school an Enrollment Notification Letter, with in 10 days of withdrawing. You can find a sample letter in the Louisiana Homeschool Support Group on Faceboook.
Online Charter Schools
There is another option in Louisiana if you wish to keep your child at home but don’t feel comfortable going the traditional homeschool route. These are University View Academy and K12. These are public charter schools that can be done online at home, each have different enrollment and other requirements.
The S Word… Socialization
Oh the word that all homeschoolers dread… socialization. The first questioned asked when you tell someone you homeschool is usually “What about socialization?” Apparently this S word only happens in schools, where I clearly remember being told by teachers that “school isn’t the place to socialize” in some people’s heads. Homeschoolers can get socialization, in fact there is so much to do, that if we wanted we could be socializing five days a week with other homeschoolers. There are a variety of homeschool groups that offer field trips, park days, co-op classes, dances and other activities.
- NOLA Home Educators
- NOLA Homeschoolers
- Northshore Explorers
- CHEF of GNO
- Grace Home Educators Fellowship
- St. Tammany Parish Homeschoolers
- Agnus Dei Catholic Homeschool
- Wild Azaleas
There are just a few of the many homeschool groups in the New Orleans area and around the state of Louisiana. And many of the homeschoolers I know are a member of different groups because they each have something to offer our kids. In addition to groups there are after school activities such as:
- Clubs such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4H.
- Classes – dance, karate, music, art etc
- Sports at local playgrounds and for High Schoolers the Homeschool Saints
So there you have it, homeschooling in Louisiana! It’s simple and easy and there are a ton of groups to find your child the right level of socialization that fits your family.
Do you have any questions about hot to homeschool in Louisiana or homeschooling in general? Did we miss your local homeschool group or organization in our list? Let us know in the comments!