Homeschooling in Louisiana
Hi, my name is Linda, and I homeschool in Louisiana. I'm a 49 year old mother of one daughter, age 10. I have a B.A. in English Literature, with more minors than I care to count --I liked going to college! I love to garden, read, and completely adore bad science fiction movies. I am a writer with several published stories and a number of contest wins under my belt.
To find out more about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Louisiana, articles, and state-specific resources, you can also visit one of these sites:
Legal disclaimer: This section is one family's story and how they meet the mandatory school attendance laws in Louisiana. It is not intended and should not be used as definitive legal advice. In most states, parents find a variety of legal methods to pursue the educational approach that they prefer for their child.
Finding Support and Information in Louisiana
Though this is our third school grade to homeschool, we have not been at it three years. We continue to seek homeschool-friendly activities. Our local group has a weekly Park Day where the children play and the parents get a chance to have adult company and compare notes on homeschooling.
There are several homeschool groups in the Great Baton Rouge Area ranging from the local chapter of CHEF(Faith based), to the Holy Family Homeschool Group (Catholic families), to the more secular BRHA (Baton Rouge Homeschool Association). Our local TaeKwonDo school offers a homeschool TaeKwonDo class once a week. We do not participate in the daytime course because we do TKD as a family in the evenings, but the class does seem to have quite a following. Several other martial arts schools also offer classes during the day time, specifically aimed at homeschoolers. This not only helps fulfill a physical education course, but is great for reinforcing courtesy, respect, integrity and self-discipline.
As for sources of information, I find the Internet a wonderful resource. Unfortunately, the sources I use most are not state specific. I would recommend the Louisiana Board of Education website for state specific requirements, Parish specific (in Louisiana we have parishes not counties) department of education websites often provide information about what the students in public schools are learning. A to Z Home's Cool, Homeschool Legal Defense Association and About.com/homeschool are three sites that I use often, not just for information but for encouragement. I would recommend these sites to anyone considering homeschooling, not just in Louisiana but other states as well.
My daughter always liked learning, but Time4Learning has turned "like" into love! I've never seen her so excited to do lessons, before!
It's amazing how quickly my kids are learning difficult concepts. The animation really helps them apply the lessons to something tangible!
Homeschooling Options in Louisiana
I think that homeschooling in Louisiana is easy, fairly painless, and an excellent option if you can do it. I feel like my child is getting an education that is more tailored to her learning style. So far, the state of Louisiana is fairly homeschool-friendly and that makes the choice an easy one for us.
The law states that children ages 7 to 18 (or graduation) are required to attend school. A 180-day school year is required. Before the age of 7 there is no need to share information with the state. There seem to be two methods of fulfilling these requirements for homeschoolers. The first, is a home study program. Parents have to apply to the Board of Education and present information on the course content. Progress is measured by the state by way of copies of student's work and letters from outside sources (certified teachers or another "qualified" person) stating the student's progress and standardized testing.
The second method requires much less state intervention and reporting on the part of the parents. This method involves sending a letter to the Board of Education stating that you are running your homeschool as a private school, not seeking accreditation. All that is required is the number of students and the number of days you will be operating (180 days). No reporting of curriculum, test scores, or information from third parties is required. Either the application for the home study program, or the letter of intent for the private school option must be submitted annually.
The private school option is the one we educate under. Within 15 days of the beginning of our school year, usually in August or September, to coincide with the public school calendar, I send in a certified letter of intent to the Board of Education in duplicate. Usually within a week, they send me a response and a copy of my letter with a date stamp on it. Since we school all year long, we have no problem meeting a 180 day schoolyear requirement. We include field trip days as school, but not things like grocery store or doctor's appointments, despite the fact that those things can be educational.
The biggest difference between the two methods (home study or private school) occurs for high school students. To qualify for TOPS (state supplemented scholarships to universities), a student must be a graduate of an accredited high school. The private school option does not allow students to qualify for TOPS, but the home study program does. The switch from non-accredited private school (homeschool) and home study program for the purpose of qualifying for TOPS must be made by the beginning of 10th grade.
Time4Learning Is Our Launching Pad
Our family just might be the very definition of "accidental homeschoolers." It was not my intent to homeschool; however, things happen and plans change. I was terrified when I decided homeschooling was the course for us. We tried a membership to T4L over a Thanksgiving break and were hooked!
A typical day for us begins around 9:00 a.m. We get up, eat breakfast and do pet chores, then straight to T4L. T4L is our core curriculum, so the majority of our work is done online. This works out great because my student has difficulty writing, but no problems reading or listening. We work on T4L until lunch time. Sometimes, this means we get the number of lessons I require done and we move on. On those days, the afternoon is usually spent on educational programming like National Geographic or other science-based shows, or special projects like our Medieval times unit. Sometimes we study things like a specific holiday or cultural event. In a perfect world, on perfect days we would finish by 2:00 p.m. Oftentimes, learning takes much longer for us. Many of the lessons on T4L lead to other discussions, the need to research some idea or piece of information further, or simply send us off on a tangent to learn more or seek a book. In that world -- the one we live in -- T4L is a launching pad. I feel confident that my student is getting an excellent basic education from T4L. I also know that T4L makes her hungry for more knowledge.
The language arts is GREAT for helping with phonics and beginner reading skills... Plus, the lessons are thoroughly entertaining!
Here at Letter Stadium, first graders learn
Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Time4Learning's experience shows that there is no single, best homeschool material. Rather than feeling torn between homeschool resources, parents should select a diverse blend of materials and activities.
For families with more than one child, choosing a homeschool program can be more problematic. What works for one child may not work for another. What works for one subject may not work on the next. What works one year, may fall flat the very next year.
Some of the features that make Time4Learning so successful include:
Time4Learning is proven effective with homeschoolers, has a low monthly price, is easy-to-use, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your children!
Sign up for Time4Learning as part of your overall homeschool program.
If you have any more questions or comments about homeschooling in Louisiana, head over to the The Louisiana Homeschool Section.
Some Helpful Tools and Resources
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide - Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.
Curriculum Lesson Plans - An overview of the number of lessons that are included for each grade and subject. All students have access to at least 2 (and in most cases 3) grade levels of curriculum for each subject, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.
Homeschool Portfolio Information - Answers common questions about homeschool portfolios and evaluations. It includes tips on organization methods, what to include and how Time4Learning can be used as part of your homeschool portfolio.
The Lesson Activity Finder - One of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child. You can visit our hints and help section for more information about the activity finder.
Lesson Planning Worksheet - Wondering how many lessons to have your child do each day? Estimate the number of activities per day using this easy to use, printable worksheet.
Online Parent's Forum - Reach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.
Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed. Make Time4Learning a part of your children's homeschool resources.