Louisiana Homeschoolers Laws, Field Trips, Support Groups and Free Resources

Louisiana homeschool laws, field trips, support groups and free resources

 

Welcome to the first post in a series of four about homeschooling in Louisiana! You can find the other posts here:

  1. Louisiana Homeschool Laws- You’re here!
  2. Homeschool Field Trips in Louisiana
  3. Louisiana Homeschool Support Groups and Co-ops
  4. Louisiana Homeschool Free Resources

According to the state of Louisiana, more than 18,000 LA families opt to teach their children at home. Children in Louisiana are not required to begin school until age 7. If you live in the great state of Louisiana and you’ve decided to homeschool your child(ren) there are a few things that would be beneficial for you to know. I’m going to break this down into sections so you can scan and look back as necessary. If you have any questions please ask in the comments.

What are the laws concerning homeschooling in Louisiana?

In Louisiana you have two options for homeschooling your child(ren).

1st Option Registered Nonpublic Schools (those not seeking the state’s approval)

Actual downloadable pdf of Louisiana Registered Non Public Schools (homeschool) Guidelines from the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.

This option means you are not seeking the state’s approval. Registered schools must register each year in order to be in compliance with Louisiana’s compulsory attendance law (180 days per school year). Other than that you will enjoy a great bit of freedom by choosing this option. Your teaching methods, educational materials (or lack thereof), child’s level of learning, and record keeping is all solely at your own discretion. This makes Registered Nonpublic Schools the most popular option for homeschooling in Louisiana. You are simply required to send one letter of intent to homeschool per year. The letter must include: the school year, name of your school, contact information, and number of students enrolled and proof of immunization. House Bill 178 of the 2008 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature now requires evidence of current immunization against meningococcal disease as a condition for students eleven years old entering any grade.

  • Students who are eleven years old must be immunized against meningococcal disease.
  • Exemptions include: parent/guardian waivers for religious or personal reasons, or a written statement from a physician stating contraindicated medical reasons, including shortage of supply of vaccine.

Families and schools have two options on how to submit their registration:

  1. A new, simple, user-friendly online registration system; or,
  2. Submitting an official signed letter to the Louisiana Department of Education.

Registered Nonpublic Schools
Office of Portfolio
P.O. Box 94064
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064

Please note that students enrolled in a Registered Nonpublic School (Not Seeking State Approval):

  • are not considered enrolled in a BESE-Approved Home Study Program or BESE-Approved Nonpublic School;
  • are not eligible for Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarships; and,
  • are not required to take state testing. However, testing is available upon request through the local school system for only the 4th and 8th grade LEAP. Contact the school system in January for applicable testing dates and fees.

Due to the inability to qualify for TOPS Scholarships most parents transition their students to a BESE Approved Home Study Program around the equivalent of grade 8.

2nd Option  BESE Approved Home Study Program

Actual downloadable pdf of Louisiana Home Study (homeschool) Guidelines from the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.

A BESE-Approved Home Study program provides Louisiana families the opportunity to independently educate their child.

  • Parents who enroll their child in a home study program are solely responsible for deciding the curriculum and providing instruction.
  • Louisiana does not provide funding for home study programs.
  • Students in a home study program are not required to take state assessments.
  • Students in home study programs 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. Participation at a non-public school is at the sole discretion of the governing authority of such school [refer to R.S. 236.3]. Restrictions apply.
  • Diplomas awarded through an approved home study program are recognized by all post-secondary educational institutions.
  • A child who participates in a BESE-Approved Home Study program is considered: a) in attendance at a day school; and b) compliant with state compulsory attendance laws (180 days per school year).
  • To be eligible to participate in a home study program, a child must be: a) eligible by Louisiana law to attend a Louisiana elementary or secondary school (minimum must turn  5 years old by September 30th or Louisiana age of requirement to attend school is 7 years of age) ; and b) 18 years of age or younger.

Students enrolled in BESE-Approved Home Study Program for both 11th and 12th grade are TOPS eligible if they meet the TOPS requirements.

Curriculum Guidelines Under BESE Approved Home Study Program

  • Parents have complete control over selecting the curriculum to use to educate their child.
  • Parents must use a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.
  • A parent or tutor may be permitted to provide the instruction; there are no teaching certification requirements.
  • Parents have the option to utilize textbooks from the local school system if extra copies are available.

Grade Level Guidelines Under BESE Approved Home Study Program

  • Parents determine the grade level at which they plan to teach their child during the upcoming year.
  • The LA Department of Education does not make assumptions or judgments about the grade level provided by the parent.
  • Retroactive changes to a student’s grade level are not allowed.

Application Guidelines Under BESE Approved Home Study Program

  • Parents must submit an initial application to the LA Department of Education to receive BESE Approval. Birth certificate and *proof of immunization must be submitted with initial application.
  • Once initially approved, parents must submit a renewal application within 12 months.
  • The  LA Department of Education has designed a simple, user-friendly online application system to help parents easily submit this application. Using the online system allows the  LA Department of Education to send you automatic e-mails confirming both: a) when you submit the application; and, b) when the  LA Department of Education approves the application.
  • Parents without internet access may still submit a paper application to:

ATTN: BESE-Approved Home Study Program
Louisiana Department of Education
P.O. Box 94064
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

*House Bill 178 of the 2008 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature now requires evidence of current immunization against meningococcal disease as a condition for students eleven years old entering any grade.

  • Students who are eleven years old must be immunized against meningococcal disease.
  • Exemptions include: parent/guardian waivers for religious or personal reasons, or a written statement from a physician stating contraindicated medical reasons, including shortage of supply of vaccine.

To comply with state attendance laws, parents who want to educate their children in a home study program must apply and be approved annually by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Renewal applications must submit documentation that provides satisfactory evidence that the home study program offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. Parents have three different options of the type of evidence they can provide. Parents only have to provide documentation for one of these options when they submit their renewal application.

Option ONE: The Curriculum Packet

Families may submit a packet of materials which demonstrates that the home study program offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. This packet of materials may include such documents as:

  1. A complete, but simple, outline of the subjects taught during the previous year;
  2. A complete, but simple, list of books and materials that were used;
  3. A statement from a 3rd party (e.g. relative, friend) observing the student’s progress;
  4. Copies of a small sampling of the student’s work from the previous year. Please send only 1-2 pages per core subject area taught (i.e. Math, English, Social Studies, Science); and,
  5. A report card and/or copies of standardized tests.

Parents are asked to only submit copies of these documents. Mailed documents may not be returned.

Option TWO: Standardized Test Scores

Families may submit verification that the child has taken a standardized examination and scored at or above the grade level or the child has progressed at a rate equal to one grade level for each year in home study program. Standardized exams may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  1. iLEAP English Language Arts and Math tests or grades 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9;
  2. Louisiana LEAP for grades 4 and 8;
  3. End of Course Exams for grades 9-12;
  4. ACT;
  5. The California Achievement Test (CAT);
  6. Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS); or
  7. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

Option THREE: Certified Teacher Statement

A statement from a teacher certified to teach at the child’s grade level that the teacher has examined the program being offered and that, in their professional opinion, the child is being taught in accordance with a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level, in the case of children with mental or physical disabilities, at least equal to that offered by public schools to children with similar disabilities.  Any such teacher evaluation provided for in this Subsection shall be subject to review and approval of the State Board of Education.

Other Resources:

HSLDA Summary of Louisiana Homeschooling Laws

Louisiana Home Education Research Institute




web counter

%d bloggers like this: