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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FAQ About Homeschooling in Louisiana

(Acknowledgement: The CCHSA website is a great resource and it was used in constructing this post. CHILD is NOT a member group of Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Louisiana (CHEF of LA), a state-wide homeschool umbrella organization. Their site, however, is a very valuable resource.)

If you find any errors with the links on this page or have additional questions please contact me .

The homeschooling laws in Louisiana are favorable and there are support groups in almost every area of the state. Families are individually responsible for choosing their method of home education. Important: Each family chooses their own curriculum and is independently responsible for meeting state requirements. CHILD is not responsible for these aspects of your homeschool.

Q: How do I register my homeschool with the state of Louisiana?

A: You may register your homeschool under either the “home study” program or as a “private school” (La. R.S. 17:236, Act 828 of 1980).
Using the Home Study Program:
This is an option you will want to consider if you have a child in high school or you have a student who would like to participate in the Interscholastic Athletics program. It allows the high school senior to qualify for TOPS (Tuition Opportunity Program for Students) which is a scholarship program for Louisiana students who attend a Louisiana college or university. If you will be homeschooling using the Home Study program, you will need to send in your paperwork within 15 days of commencing classes. The home study application, general information, guidelines, athletics guidelines and curriculum information can be found here. (Please be aware, the initial application requires that you submit a copy of the child’s birth certificate. Renewal applications require 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.)

Effective August 2010 and thereafter, high school diplomas awarded through your home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are now recognized by all public postsecondary educational institutions, all state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions and all other state and local government entitles to have all of the rights and privileges as those awarded by a state-approved nonpublic school [R.S. 17:236.1.G].

Registering as a Private School (NonpublicSchool):
This is your likely option if you have children 10th grade and below. (It does not allow high school seniors to qualify for TOPS or receive recognized diplomas.) You simply register as a private school and are only required to give the name of your “school”, number of students and name of the parent/educator. If you plan to homeschool in a Private School setting, you must inform the state in writing, no later than 30 days after commencing classes. See this Sample Letter to File with the State of Louisiana for an example of what you need to send. You may also download this Microsoft Word file and personalize. The state guide book for registered nonpublic schools can be found here.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of May 1, 2013, you may now register online with the Department of Education. More information can be found here. Please follow the links below to register with the State of Louisiana online:

From CHEF of Louisiana: "We feel that the online process is recommended as one way to register. The forms are still acceptable; however, we acknowledge that it is much more efficient, and probably more accurate, if we enter our own information into the online registration through the DOE website."

Q: What do I do when pulling my child out of a private school mid-year to homeschool?

A: “The problem is that the Law does not clearly give direction for mid-year activity. It is undefined, so there is no clear correct answer. I would feel that if they register now with the 180 day wording and then again in August, there should be no problem. Then you have over complied with the law by registering sooner, rather than a year later. I would see no problem with this and if any questions were asked, they could be answered very simply by explaining the mid-year change of private school to homeschool. No letter of intent is or was needed because the child was in private school, not public.” Mike Flowers, President, CHEF of Louisiana, 2010.

Editor’s note from CCHSA: Students who are withdrawn from public school during the school year, or who attended public school the year before enrolling in a private school, must provide a written notification of enrollment to the public school he attended within 10 days of enrollment in homeschool. This notification must include: Student’s legal name; Date of birth; Gender; and Race. (See the question below)

Q: What do I do when pulling my child out of a public school mid-year to homeschool?

A: After removing your child from the public school system a letter should be sent within ten days to the school your child attended telling them your child has been enrolled in another school. It is not necessary to tell them it is your own private homeschool. The only information needed in this notification letter is the child's legal name, date of birth, gender and race. Once the local school has been notified it is suggested that you register with the state as a private school. Following this suggestion would be over compliance with the law and should pose no problem. (See previous question above)

Q: I am a home study student. Can I receive TOPS and, if so, are there any special requirements?

A: Yes. The Louisiana Department of Education must certify to LOSFA that you are a student who successfully completed the eleventh, if applicable, and twelfth grade levels of a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

If you ever enrolled in a Louisiana public high school or nonpublic high school or an approved non-Louisiana high school that was or has been approved by BESE, you must have successfully completed both the eleventh and twelfth grades of a homestudy program approved by BESE and the previously attended high school must provide LOSFA with certification that you were in good standing at the time you last attended that school.

In addition, you must have an ACT score of at least 19 for TOPS Tech, 22 for Opportunity, 24 for Performance, or 28 for Honors, or an SAT score of at least 900 for TOPS Tech, 1020 for Opportunity, 1090 for Performance or 1250 for Honors.

Questions and Answer taken from 2014-2015 TOPS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

Q: If my child is in the fourth or eighth grade, am I, as a homeschooler, required to do PARCC testing?

A: No, not if you are planning to continue homeschooling for the following year. If, however, you intend to place your child in a public school in grades 5 or 9, there are special circumstances that apply to 2015. During this transition year, private school and homeschool students may choose to test using the PARCC ELA and Math assessments in grades 4 and 8 but are not required to do so and results will not be returned in time to inform placement. Test results in 2015 will be returned in the fall so that results can be double checked to make sure scoring of students’ results was fair and accurate. Districts should determine guidelines for entry, which can include use of the placement tests as well as other evidence of grade level proficiency (e.g., transcripts, local assessments). The Department will continue to provide placements tests for use as needed. (See p. 1 number 4 of Louisiana PARCC Frequently Asked Questions)


Q: Can my child participate in the sports program at a public school?

A: 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]. Residency and attendance zone requirements apply. More information can be found on page 8 in Section 3 of the La DOE’s guide book for home study programs.

Q: What if my child has special needs?

A: There appears to be conflicting information in regards to special needs children.The HSLDA website says that, under the private school option, students are entitled to special services. However they caution that when receiving government funds some freedom and privacy is lost. They have established the Home School Foundation to help make support available.

The Louisiana Department of Education states in Section 1 on page 4 of their guide book for home study programs that "BESE-Approved Home Study Programs do not qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §1400, et seq., nor for modifications and/or accommodations under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Education Act. (Adopted by the SBESE on November 15, 1984. Revised April 2002.)”
They advise: “Before enrolling in the BESE-Approved Home Study Program or registering as a nonpublic school, not seeking state approval, parents who have children with exceptionalities’ should contact their local education agency to seek advice regarding the free and appropriate educational services that are designed to meet their child’s needs.”

 More information on Special Education Laws can be found in Appendix B on page 12 of the DOE guide book for home study programs.

*I would like to get feedback from Louisiana homeschoolers who have experience with this situation.*

Q: What form do I need to take to the DMV for my child to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit?

A: In order to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit homeschool students must submit a copy of their approved Home Study application or a Certification of Required School Attendance.

Additional Information:
Please refer to HSLDA for more information on the legality and details of homeschooling in Louisiana. They have a summary of Louisiana homeschooling laws here.

If you have additional questions on your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me  for information on how to begin your homeschool journey or transitioning your existing homeschool to Louisiana. We invite you to consider membership in CHILD to take advantage of our member benefits.

Please keep in mind that CHILD is not a group that can provide you with curriculum or a location to bring your children to for education, but we are a group of like-minded Christian individuals who stay in close contact to encourage each other in our homeschooling pursuit. We would love to share our stories with you, our ideas for curriculum options, and the way we homeschool. It might give you some new insights! Anyone on our board of directors would be happy to speak with you.

Other Helpful Resources:

****last update July 14, 2015*******

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