Frequently Asked Questions
Is Louisiana law favorable to home education?
Yes, Louisiana law is favorable to home education. Two options are available: (1) the Home Study Law or (2) the Private School Law. This constitutional liberty is protected by the Private Education Deregulation Act (Act No. 828 which amends Section 236 of Title 17 of Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950). However, as with all freedoms, it must be guarded.
Although home study has been recognized since 1980, attempts have been made to repeal that act or chip away at this right. See "History of the Louisiana Home Study Law"
Who may home educate?
Any parent may home educate their child. A parent's constitutional right to home educate comes from the fundamental constitutional principle of the freedom of parents to direct the education of their children. Parents with religious convictions also have the right to home educate as a free exercise of religion. These provisions are in the Louisiana State Constitution as well as the United States Constitution.
When can home education begin?
Home education may begin at any time during the school year, but the application form must be mailed within 15 days after the home study program begins. Only those children affected by the compulsory attendance law must apply with the Department of Education. According to the Compulsory Attendance Law (Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated @ 17:236), all children from the 7th birthday to the 18th birthday, or until graduation must be in school. The law also allows parents to notify the state as a private school with the Superintendent of Schools, Department of Education
Registration under the Home Study Program
When home educating under this option, an initial application must be made within 15 days after the beginning of the home study program. Initial applications must include a certified copy of the child's birth certificate. (A clear photocopy may be sent if the notary seal is readable. When the child is 11 years old, the parent must submit evidence that the child has been vaccinated against meningococcal disease unless they have a waiver for religious, personal or medical reasons. The Department of Education is not responsible for lost or damaged birth certificates.) Send the application by "certified, return receipt" mail to: ATTN: Sue Millican, SBESE-Approved Home Study Program, Louisiana Department of Education, P. O. Box 94064, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064. Note: Parents are responsible for submitting registration materials to the Department of Education. CHEF of Louisiana does not submit these materials.
The Home Study Information Packet, which includes an application, may be printed from the Department of Education's website. If you have questions or need further information, contact Sue Millican at 1-225-342-4776. Students enrolled in a SBESE-Approved Home Study Program may participate in interscholastic athletic activities at a public or state approved private school that is also a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Participation at a private school is allowed at the sole discretion of the administration of that school. (R.S. 236.3) Note: This does not apply to home educated students enrolled under the Private School Option.
Home education under the private school law
A letter is sent to the State Superintendent of Schools informing him that you are starting a private school. Do not send the "Application for Home Study Program" form. Write the letter on your school letterhead. Include the following information: Number of pupils, when the school starts, and number of school days. This must be done by the 30th day after your school session begins. The following is a sample letter:
How do I withdraw my child from public school?
It is best to inform the principal of the school in writing that you are removing the child from school. Avoid meetings or phone calls. Tact is required in presenting a good Christian testimony especially if a school official is not familiar with home study laws.
If you are homeschooling under the private school option, you must notify the school in writing that your child will no longer be enrolled there, butwill be attending your private school. The letter must be sent within 10 days and must include the child's full legal name, birthday, race and gender.
If you are registering under the Home Study Program, this letter is not required by law, but is highly recommended.
How do I renew my application for the Home Study Program each year?
A renewal application must be made by the first of October of the school year, or within twelve months of the approval of the initial application. Renewal applications are approved when parents submit satisfactory evidence that their home school offered a sustained-curriculum of a quality equal to that of the public schools at the same- grade level. This can be done in one of four ways:
(1) Verification that the child has taken the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), California Achievement Test (CAT) or another ap- proved standardized test and has scored at or above his grade level or has progressed at a rate equal to one grade level for each year in home study. A clear copy of the test results attached to the Home Study Application is sufficient.
(2) A written statement from a teacher certified to teach at the child's grade level stating that the child is being taught with a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at that grade level, or in the case of children with mental or physical disabilities, a sustained curriculum at least equal to that offered by public schools to children with similar disabilities.
(3) Verification that the child took the State Basic Skills Test and scored at or above the state performance standard.
(4) A packet of materials may be presented including a complete outline of the subjects taught, list of books and materials used, copies of the student's work, test results, statements by third parties who have observed the child's progress, or any other evidence of the quality of. Most parents choose to send in a copy of their child's test results. Whichever option you choose, proofread for spelling and grammatical errors; and be sure that all required information is included.
How do I renew for the Private School Option?
Send a letter according to the instructions given for the initial registration under the Private School Option, updating the information to reflect the new school year.
Why is a network of support groups important?
We live in an age of information and change, and much of this change challenges the very existence of the family. Such a network provides home scholars with the information needed to influence changes occurring in our nation and state. If we are not involved the laws will change and family life as we know it will be a thing of the past. In addition, if needed, a well-organized support group can quickly respond to any adverse legislation by calling or writing local, state or national governmental officials.