Homeschool Resource For Louisiana Families
The Pelican Institute’s Vision for Education: Every Louisiana family should be able to choose the school or educational environment that best fits the needs of their child. Families have multiple options, including public schools, public charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. Pelican works to expand these and other opportunities for Louisiana families. We have partnered with Homeschool Louisiana, our state’s oldest support group and expert in all things homeschool, to answer some popular questions. Join Homeschool Louisiana at homeschoollouisiana.org.
What is homeschooling? Homeschooling or home education is education taught primarily by the student’s parents and is fully funded by parents. There are a multitude of educational styles in the homeschool community.
How do I know if homeschooling is right for my family? If you are ready to be fully in charge of what and how your children learn, homeschooling can work well for your family.
What things should my family consider before homeschooling? The first consideration is ensuring there is someone (parent, grandparent, caring adult) available to care for your children during the day. Homeschooling can take place at whatever time of day works best for your family, but minor children do need adult supervision. Second, consider whether you are willing to make the financial adjustments necessary to provide for all your students’ educational needs. If you have supervision and finances in place, the rest is a matter of being willing to be a student of your children and learn alongside them. The actual curriculum doesn’t need to be expensive; you can homeschool successfully with just a library card and regular visits to pick up materials (Internet access is helpful as well!).
How can parents homeschool in Louisiana? Homeschool Louisiana has put together a simple-to-follow guide to the law: homeschoollouisiana.org/how-do-i-start-homeschooling.
We have two options in Louisiana:
- NonPublic Not Seeking State Approval: You create a private school for your family and annually notify the state of your school’s name, address, student enrollment number, and administrator name. Homeschool Louisiana recommends this option for students in K-8.
- Home Study: You notify the state that your student is a Home Study student. For the first year, you will submit your student’s name, grade, birth certificate, and address. For subsequent years, you submit the same info as your first year AND one of the following:
- Either a standardized test score
- List of classes taken and samples of their work
- Letter from a teacher certified to teach your child’s grade level, saying your child is being taught a curriculum equal to the public-school curriculum.
Homeschool Louisiana recommends using this option for high school students. The reason is that Home Study students’ high school diplomas are recognized by Louisiana as equal to any public or private school diploma. This makes Home Study students eligible for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), provided they have a qualifying score on the ACT or SAT. TOPS funds some or all of in-state tuition at all Louisiana colleges and universities.
How do I go about withdrawing my child from his or her current school? If your student is not currently enrolled in school, simply notify the state and start your school! If your student is currently enrolled in a private school, inform the school administration that you are withdrawing your student. If your student is in public school, you must give the school “Notice of Enrollment” in your homeschool. You can write a letter citing state law (R.S. 17:221.3), stating that your child will no longer be attending and that your student is now enrolled in your homeschool (list the name). Homeschool Louisiana has created a free form you can use, located here.
What is the best curriculum to use for homeschooling? It depends! The best curriculum is the one your child will complete, preferably with joy. To find the best curriculum for your family, you need to know your homeschool style and your student’s learning style. An excellent homeschool style quiz can be found in Cathy Duffy’s ebook, “How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum.” You can also find free online Homeschool Style Quizzes. Once you know your style, look for a curriculum that fits. For a quick review of homeschool styles, check out this article.
Where can I find instructional resources? Once you know your homeschool style, you can find materials online. Cathy Duffy, homeschool veteran, has reviewed hundreds of homeschool curricula since 1984, and her site is a wealth of information. Other resources include the Homeschool Resource Roadmap, Rainbow Resource Center, and Christianbook. Don’t forget your local library and YouTube – both valuable resources when homeschooling.
How can I connect with other homeschool families? Homeschool Louisiana has an active support group on Facebook, and the moderators can help you find a local group. Homeschool Louisiana also has a list of groups here. Most parishes have a local support group that can be located by googling your parish or city name and homeschool support. Home-school.com has a list of Louisiana groups here.
Can my child still participate in public school sports and extracurricular activities? Home Study students may be able to participate in public high school interscholastic athletics with the permission of the principal. Homeschool families across the state have also stepped up to offer competitive sports for their students. Your local homeschool organization will have information on any sports for homeschoolers in your area. If one does not yet exist, consider partnering with other parents to make it happen.
Do I have to do all the teaching? As a homeschool parent, you are responsible for ensuring your student is educated at or above the level of their public school peers. However, there are many opportunities for your student to take classes from another instructor. A co-op is a group of families that gathers weekly to share instructional time. Some are informal between a handful of families and hosted at a home, while others are more formal and are held at a local church or civic center. Traditional co-ops do not allow drop-offs; each parent must participate by teaching or helping teach a class. Homeschool hybrids are where students take one or many classes a couple of days a week. In many hybrids, students use the same curriculum and are in a classroom setting where they earn grades, complete projects, and are tutored by an expert in the various subjects they take. Parents must notify the state of their nonpublic or Home Study status and are responsible for ensuring that students complete assignments. Hybrids are different from private schools because students spend most of their educational time with parents.
Will my child’s diploma be recognized? Yes! As long as your student graduates from an Approved Home Study program, their diploma will be considered equal to any diploma awarded by a public or private school.
Can my child qualify for TOPS and college admission in Louisiana? Yes! If your student graduates from a state-approved Home Study program, they may qualify for TOPS. Home Study students must score at least a 19 (TOPS Tech), 22 (TOPS Opportunity), 24 (TOPS Performance), or 28 (TOPS Honors). Additionally, students must complete both 11th & 12th grades as Home Study students to qualify. Some exceptions apply; contact the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance for more information. Colleges are seeking homeschool graduates, and many offer generous scholarships to homeschool students. Be sure to keep and provide a transcript for your student to qualify for academic scholarships.
What is a transcript and how do I make one? A transcript is like a resume of your student’s high school career. It is one to two pages long, listing your student’s contact information, courses taken, final grades received, credit earned, and grade point average. A credit is earned when a student has completed between 120-180 hours of work in a specific area or subject. Students need 24 credits to graduate from high school, typically four in each of the following subjects: English, math, science, and history; two in a foreign language and physical education/health; and five electives. However, Louisiana does not mandate any course requirements for homeschool students. The parent decides what courses their student must take to qualify for graduation. Homeschool Louisiana recommends contacting colleges before your student enters high school to learn what courses are required for incoming freshmen. You can then build your student’s high school curriculum based on that information.
For more information about homeschooling, email@example.com.
For information about other educational options available in Louisiana, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.