Everything you need to know about homeschooling in Louisiana

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We decided to homeschool our kids when my oldest (now 22) was in first grade. Things didn't work out for him in the public school system because of his ADHD and a severe peanut allergy.  We homeschooled him through high school and he's currently in college. My youngest was homeschooled from Pre K through 7th grade, she went to a local Catholic school for 8th and half of 9th grade and came back to homeschooling this year. 

Homeschool student in Louisiana working on grammar at desk

For us, homeschooling has been the best decision for our family. The benefits of homeschooling for our family include: traveling more, slowing down the pace of things when we need to, filling in gaps that were missed along the way, being able to take time off when we are sick or when a season of life is just too overwhelming. 

If you decide homeschooling is your family's choice, here is everything you need to know about homeschooling in Louisiana. 

Requirements for homeschooling in Louisiana: 

There are two ways for Louisiana families to homeschool their children. Each allows you, as the parent, to choose the homeschool curriculum that best fits your child's needs, and both require 180 days of enrollment each school year. Remember that the state's compulsory attendance laws require all children age five by September 30th to be enrolled in one of these two options. 

If you are withdrawing your child from a public school and using this option, you also have to send the school a written notification of enrollment within ten days of withdrawing. You can find a sample letter in the Louisiana Homeschool Support Group on Facebook.

Siblingings working on an art project while homeschooling in Louisiana

BESE Approved Home Study Guidelines: 

Under this option, it is a requirement for homeschoolers to submit the initial home study application for approval no later than 15 days after the start of the school year. Each application must be renewed by October 1st of the school year or within 12 months of your initial application, whichever is later. Applications are valid for one year; however, if your child's grade level changes within that year, you must submit a renewal application. It is also suggested that you submit your application for the home study option before withdrawing your child from their current school. 

 Applications must be submitted each year with the following information:

  • Student Information, including name, date of birth, age, child's grade level, and school year
  • School Information, including the type of school previously attended, name of the school, address, phone number, and Parish/School District 
  • Family Information, including the name of parent or legal guardian, address, local school district, phone number, and email.
  • A statement addressing the immunization status for meningococcal disease for a child aged 11 years old.
  • Disclosure of Information Statement
  • Birth Certificate

Renewal applications must include one of the following: 

  • Curriculum packet of materials that includes copies of the student's work 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 from one of the following tests: iLEA English Language Arts and Math tests for grades 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9, LEAP for grades 4 and 8, End-of-Course Exams for grades 9-12, SAT or ACT scores, CAT test, or Sandford Test. 
  • Teacher evaluation by a certified teacher that states the child is being educated following a quality curriculum at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. 

While approval of the home study program requires more from the parent and more oversight from the state, it has its pros. For example, home-study students can participate in interscholastic athletic activities at a public high school or state-approved nonpublic high school that is also a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, and students enrolled by the end of 10th grade are also eligible for the TOPS Scholarship Program. More Information and the application for the Home Study Program can be found on the Louisiana Department of Education Website. 

Preschooler learning the letter B while homeschooling in Louisiana

Registered Nonpublic School Not Seeking State Approval (AKA Private School)

The private school option is the easiest option for homeschool families in Louisiana. Most families use this option until their kids become high school students. With this option, you do not have to test your child, get a teacher evaluation, or put a packet of materials together to be approved. With this option, your homeschool is its own private school. All you have to do is fill out the online form that includes your school name, school year, contact information, and the total number of students enrolled, and agree to Louisiana's compulsory attendance laws. 

Once you submit your application, you will receive an email letter. Be sure to keep a copy for your records. I also suggest keeping attendance records. More information on the Registered Nonpublic School Not Seeking State Approval can be found on the Louisiana Department of Education Website.

Boy reading a book while being homeschooled in Louisiana

Public School At Home 

Louisiana has another option if you wish to keep your child at home but don't feel comfortable going the traditional homeschool route. The New Orleans area has four online public school options. Each school has its own requirements, which can be found on its website.

Are there any local homeschool groups in New Orleans?

Ok, the word that all homeschoolers dread… socialization.

When you tell someone you homeschool, the first question 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.

Girl reading a book while homeschooling in Louisiana

There are various local homeschool groups that offer field trips, park days, homeschool co-op classes, dances, and other activities.

These are just a few of the many homeschool groups in the New Orleans area and around the state of Louisiana.  Many local homeschoolers I know are members of different groups because they each have something to offer our kids.  In addition to groups, there are extracurricular activities such as:

In addition to groups, there are extracurricular 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 how to homeschool in Louisiana or homeschooling in general?  Did we miss your local homeschool group or organization on our list? Let us know in the comments!

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