REGISTER WITH LOUISIANA
I WOULD LIKE TO HOMESCHOOL MY CHILD – WHERE DO I START?
1. First, you will want to acquaint yourself with the homeschool regulations in Louisiana. In Louisiana we are required to register our homeschool with the state annually. There are two options under which you may register:
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved Home Study Program
Registered Nonpublic School (not seeking state approval)
The home study program requires submission of a curriculum “packet” (including immunization forms) and/or standardized test scores. The benefits of registering as an approved home study program is that students participating in these programs for 11th and 12th grade are eligible for TOPS scholarships (pending other eligibility criteria) and are allowed to participate in local school activities at the discretion of the school principal. Families choosing to homeschool under the registered nonpublic school (not seeking state approval) option are simply required to complete an annual registration form indicating your intent to homeschool. The benefit of registering as a nonpublic school is that there is no additional documentation required, however students in this program are not eligible for TOPS scholarships or participation in local school activities (Note: this option is often referred to as the “private school option” by local homeschool families). Visit the Department of Education of Louisiana website for more information.
2. Withdraw your child from school. If your child is currently attending school you will need to withdraw your child. If you are planning to begin homeschooling after the school year is complete, you will need to notify the school that your student will not be returning. Helpful information can be found at HSLDA If your child has never been enrolled in school, this does not apply.
3. Connect with other homeschool families. Support – whether virtual or in real life – is vital! Local support groups provide in-person support for parents and activities for students. Virtual support groups offer a wide variety of ideas and friendships not constrained by geography. Support groups can also offer help with the next step, defining your educational philosophy.
4. Define your educational philosophy. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have EVERYTHING figured out before you begin, but you may want to have some idea of what you’d like your homeschool to look like. Many parents come to homeschooling from a traditional school background so that is all they know. As homeschoolers we are not confined to “school at home,” but are able to craft a truly customized education for our students. Excellent resources for this step include “102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum” by Cath Duffy (2014). This book offers a great introduction to different homeschool philosophies, learning styles and specific curriculum materials.
5. Keep good records. Whether you are homeschooling under the BESE approved home study program or the registered nonpublic school (not seeking state approval) option, you will need to keep records of attendance, curriculum, and progress at the minimum. Other records may be required depending on your homeschool choices.