Our decision to homeschool was not an easy one. I have two children with autism, and finding them the appropriate setting for their elementary and secondary education has always been a challenge.
We started in Jefferson Parish schools. One of my children participated in the Pre-K full-day program, and one was in a part-time program that he only went to for a couple of days a week in a completely different area of town. The logistics to this were almost impossible, and I had to stop working to navigate this schedule.
The next year, they were both in the same school, but my youngest had a teacher that was not happy to be in the classroom and overwhelmed with the job. My son was traumatized, and I lost faith in Jefferson Parish.
We moved to St. Charles Parish after hearing the rumors of better schools. We were impressed. The elementary setting in St. Charles Parish was warm and welcoming. I give them credit for taking two almost nonverbal children and helping them learn to use their differences as an advantage.
By the end of our time in elementary school in St. Charles Parish, my children were verbal and above grade level. Of course, there were challenges along the way, but they worked with them and challenged them more than I could have hoped.
However, when we reached middle school, we hit a wall again. Our schools' testing environment and the pressure teachers and administrators are under finally caught up with us.
My new sixth-grader was coming home overwhelmed, his behavior was declining, and he started to threaten to commit suicide.
I was meeting with the school principal about a recent behavior concern, and she asked me what I wanted for my child’s future.
I said that I just wanted him to be happy. She went on about how important college was and how he needed to be college-ready. All I could think is that I needed him to be alive and happy, and the pressure they were putting on him was in direct conflict with that goal.
I let him finish the year, and as my youngest was about to start at the same school, we withdrew and applied for home study.
As a full-time working mom, the adjustment was difficult at first. We signed up for an online program that provides academic work. I supplement our homeschool curriculum with activities.
The subjects taught are every bit as challenging as the school program, but the environment makes a huge difference.
They are excited to learn. When they find a concept that they want to learn more about, we take the time to explore that interest. They choose what activities they want to work on for that day. Adding in the elements of choice and curiosity has allowed them to enjoy learning again.
If you want to know more about the options for homeschooling in Louisiana and the Louisiana homeschooling laws, see below.
How do I homeschool in Louisiana?
BESE Approved Home Study:
Under this option, it is a requirement for homeschoolers to submit a home study application for approval no later than 15 days after starting 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 the 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
Renewal applications 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 following the 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 has its pros.
Students enrolled in an approved home study program can participate in interscholastic athletic activities at a public or 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. You are basically declaring your homeschool a private school, not seeking state approval with this option.
All you have to do is fill out the online form or send in a letter stating your school’s name, school year, contact information, and the 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 within 10 days of withdrawing. You can find a sample letter in the Louisiana Homeschool Support Group on Faceboook.
What are the free homeschooling programs in Louisiana?
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 has a different enrollment and other requirements.
Are there any homeschool groups in New Orleans?
Ok, the word that all homeschoolers dread… socialization. The first question 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.
- New Orleans Homeschool Misfits
- NOLA Homeschoolers
- Northshore Explorers
- CHEF of GNO
- St. Tammany Parish Homeschoolers
- Agnus Dei Catholic Homeschool
- Wild Azaleas
- Homeschool Heroes
- Louisiana Homeschool Support
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 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!
Thank you for this information. I’m very interested in homeschooling my son with special needs. He is severely disabled so how do I go about picking out a program for him? If going by age appropriate grade level he will be in 3rd grade this year but cognitively he is about 18 months to 2 years.
Jennifer for you child I would do the private school option and search for Tot School activities such as these http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/totschool.html adapted to his level. The beauty and joy of homeschooling is being able to meet your child at their level, so personally I see no reason to purchase 3rd grade material if he’s not at a 3rd grade level. Hope that helps!
Thank you for this! It’s just the info I’ve been looking for. My daughter is 5 and will start kindergarten this fall. We plan on doing the private school option. Do I need to register this year? Or wait until next year?
Jenny you don’t have to register until she turns 7! I will probably register my youngest next year (2015/2016) because she turns 7 right after the start of the school year.
Can you offer some suggestions on curriculums? It’s a little daunting, after doing a quick Google search and getting so many results.
It depends on your child’s learning style and what you are looking for in a curriculum. I personally like Oak Meadow and that is what I’m using for both of my kids this year. It’s a little light and touchy feely in the younger grades but ramps up around 4th grade.
I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions for my daughter. She’s in the 4th grade as a repeat. She didn’t fail her classes but she didn’t pass the Leap test at the end of the year. She’s been really struggling and needs a lot of one on one that her school does not have the resources for such as tutoring. I’m wondering if homeschooling could be an option for her in the middle of the school year. My husband is military so we’ll be stationed up north for the next school year, so I’m not sure if I should make that change for such a short time. But I really want her to be ready for the next grade. She’s in danger of failing and I’m at the point that I don’t know what to do.
Sorry for such a long message. I’d really appreciate another mothers opinion. Thank you.
My son has a an IEP and I would like to get some information for homeschool. For him
Do you have a question? We can try and help!
This is our first year homeschooling. I registered as Home Study but next year I want to register as Non-Public. So my question is…Do I still have to send in this years standardized test scores? Kinda confused, any tips would be greatly appreciated!
I don’t know, you’ll probably have to call the state and ask them.
on the option of declareing my home as private without state assistance it says there are no test no evaluations and no packets. how do we teach our child?
You have to purchase curriculum from various sources. We use Growing with Grammar programs for language arts for our 4th grader, reading novels, Teaching Textbooks for math and unit studies for science and history.
what are the requirements to home school my child in Shreveport, Louisiana? I don’t think I can put up with public schools another year. Do I have to be a certified teacher myself, or will one be appointed to him online? What time would his classes start online? If he has trouble understanding the work is there assistance for him? a What computer is best for online classes, must I furnish one for him? so many questions so little time, desperate mom. please help I only have my son’s educational interest at heart.
The requirements to homeschool in Shreveport are the same for the entire state which are outlined in this post. You don’t have to be a teacher to homeschool. The only way he would have a teacher is if you signed him up for one of the virtual schools. As far as what they do and require, I don’t know because each one is different you will have to contact them.
Hello I have a question about the not seeking state approval school, I was hoping you can answer. If my child returns to school later in life will they let him in? And into the correct grade? Or will they not because it’s not state approved?
From what I understand each Parish has their own way of handling this. My friends children had to take a test I think. I’m not familiar with the process though.
Hey! I feel as though my answer has already been answered in a round about way on your post but just need a clarification. I sent in to the base home approved study today. March 10 2018. My daughter is 5 in public school. Since I have sent in the application and also being that she is only 5 can i keep her home learning from here on out ? Or do I have to await the letter of approval before formally withdrawing. I don’t want her to have to go another unnecessary day to this prison yard
I think you can go ahead and withdrawal but I’m not 100% sure. I would suggest you join one of the homeschool groups on Facebook like Louisiana Homeschool Support and ask there. Those ladies are so knowledgeable.
Hi. I homeschool my son who is in the 6th grade. I am registered as private not seeking state approval. However, do I need to change this when he begins high school curriculum? Also, what about a diploma when he has completed high school? Thanks!
If you want to apply for a TOPS scholarship you have to change to homes study the last 2 years of high school.
Can you homeschool other children? Like your nephew or niece? I am asking because I am a certified teacher in the state of Louisiana. I’m a stay at home wife. All my kids are finished college, working and living on their own now. My nieces and nephews parents are thinking about homeschooling their children but want me to do it since I am a certified teacher in grades 1-8 and Special Education Mild/Moderate grades 1-12th and do not work. If so, is it a program that I can get funding from to homeschool them, can I homeschool others children and how do I apply. I kindly await your reply.
I honestly don’t know the answer to your question. You should join some of the groups mentioned in the post or contact NOLA Homeschoolers and they may be able to answer this for you.
Hi Cara, I’m considering enrolling my daughter in Home Study for high school. My concern is – what subjects & tests are mandatory for her to get admission into Louisiana Universities (LSU for example). What do I need to do in order to ensure my Home Study for her is giving her the right subjects, tests, etc that will qualify her for (1) Admission to LSU (or similar) (2) Qualification for TOPS Scholarship.
You would be best to contact LSU admissions for that information.
We have a 10 y/o special needs daughter. In Central Florida. Not sure what grade she would realistically even be in. Unfortunately, medical conditions requiring nursing care and a first language of ASL (but hearing) has eliminated private schools for us. We have been in the public school system for a few years, but have faced many battles. Ultimately, it was not working for our daughter’s education. We are just now starting to homeschool, but I feel like we are missing a regiment/routine. To make it more complicated, there is a chance that we might relocate this year or next to Louisiana.
Any suggestions on a program or routine? We understand her learning style is a factor, but we feel like we will be able to make the necessary adjustments for her.
Each family needs to come up with a routine for the day that suits their needs. I can say that after years, our routine changes weekly, sometimes daily. Right now we are using Power Homeschool from Accelus and it’s working well for us at the moment. https://www.powerhomeschool.org/
The best advice I can give you is to be flexible in your routine, this isn’t traditional school and doesn’t have to feel/look the same.
I have a half 10th grader what is your Recommendation on should I do K12 or University view Academy, I am new to the homeschool am very scared , She has a 504 plan and cannot function in a regular public school Too much bullying and They don’t take their time with her
I couldn’t personally tell you which one is better of the two as we don’t use either program.
Do you know of any online homeschooling Louisiana accreditation that actually mail the books and workbooks to Home to do the work and then mail them back with no computer
I’m not aware of any programs like this that are free.
Is there a way to speak directly with the author, Tammy? I have so many questions for her?
I too have a son with autism in Jefferson, probably going to withdraw him from the most violent middle school in Jeff. before it starts in Aug. The elementary was okay, teacher was overwhelmed to the extent of being put on meds.. seriously. However I’m havin the anxiety over this middle school.
With this COVID kicking back in I’m very skeptical about sending my little walking talking allergy ridden child into that for various reasons.. I’d be on the news if my kid got bullied, js.. I digress.. Great info, thanks!
Eddie, I’ll reach out to her and ask her to reply.
Hi, Eddie! This is Tammy, the author of the article. My email is email@example.com. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.
I see that this is an old post, but I think my question would still be answered the same way. I am seeking the nonpublic school option (not seeking state funding or approval) for my child. One of the questions is the name of your nonpublic school. Would this just be our last name? Or, do I need to name my family homeschool?
Your name can be anything you want it to be,I named mine “Last Name Homeschool”
Thank you so much!
So, I submitted the nonpublic school attendance information through the website. It doesn’t ask for student’s names or really much information at all. I saved my confirmation for my records and also our homeschool activities and paperwork just in case it is ever needed. But, is there anything else that I need to submit with the student’s information on it? Or, is this all that I need to do each year for this purpose?
That’s it! That’s all you need to process this year for the non-public school option.
Great resource!!!!!! I will be homeschooling this July in new orleans with my 12 year old daughter. Im open to others pre teens to work and play together. She loves drawing and travel and all pre teen stuff lol. We would love to have students with nero specifically like Tourette’s syndrome