Q: I'm new to homeschooling. Who can I talk to for more information?
A: If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you at our earliest convenience. We all homeschool too. We are all volunteers, and we look forward to hearing from you! Also, you could ATTEND the CHEF of Baton Rouge Homeschool Kickoff seminar (usually held in late July or early August). Information about the Kickoff will be available on the website in the weeks prior to the event. Members also enjoy use of regional volunteer support groups. Go to "Support Groups" on this website for contact information.
Q: What are the benefits of being a CHEF of Baton Rouge member?
A: Members can participate in support groups, classes, clubs, and competitive sports programs for homeschoolers. Members also receive a valuable monthly Newsletter, receive a membership directory, a Calendar of Events, all kinds of classes, father daughter picnics, father son campouts, end of the year swim part and many other fee & free events for homeschoolers in the area. Currently members of CHEF of Baton Rouge are entitled to the benefits of a group membership to LRCE (Louisiana Resource Center for Educators). LRCE offers a variety of educational materials for free to Members. (Otherwise use of the LRCE is $35.00 per family.) You can check out what they have to offer at www.lrce.org
Q: Does CHEF of Baton Rouge have a "Statement of Faith"?
A: Yes we do. You can read it here.
Q: What are Louisiana's requirements for homeschooling? (More can be found on this topic under the topic "Louisiana Home-School Laws", under "About Homeschooling"
A: Two types of home schools may operate in Louisiana: Approved Home Study Programs and Private Schools. The two differ in the information you send to the State Department of Education (DOE) each year.
Note: You need not register with the state until your child's 7th birthday. 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.
To operate as an "Approved Home Study Program" you must send in an application form yearly. Go to the DOE web site, print the application form, complete it and make two copies. Mail the original and one copy to the address on the application form (we recommend Return Receipt mail) within 15 days after the beginning of your school year. Keep the second copy for your files. For the first year only, include a certified copy of your child's birth certificate. You may send a photocopy if the notary seal is legible.
If you do not have internet access, you may request the DOE to mail the form. 342-9969
To operate as a Private School, send a letter to the state DOE each school year notifying them of the number of school-aged (7-18 year old) children you are currently teaching. The letter should include contact information (such as the name and address of your school) and your starting date for the current school year. Send only one copy, and mail it within 30 days after your first day of school. (We recommend Return Receipt mail). Keep a copy for your records. You are NOT required to include ANY information about your children besides the total number enrolled. Include:
1. The name and address of your school
2. The number of students enrolled.
3. The date you began school this year.
4. Your name.
Private School Requirements LA R.S. 17:236
Louisiana Compulsory Attendance Law R. S. 17:232
For more information, including a sample letter, go to http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/curr/2158.html
Notifying Your Public School
When removing a student from a government funded (public) school, you must notify the school in writing that the child will no longer be attending. This step is required by law if you choose to operate as a private school, and is highly recommended if you choose to operate as an approved home study program. (This is not required if the child is leaving a private school to be home schooled.) The letter must contain the child's full legal name, date of birth, race and gender. The letter may contain a request for a copy of the student's transcripts. Send it within 10 days of enrollment in your home school. (We recommend Return Receipt mail.)
Which Option is for Me?
Whether you choose to operate as an "Approved Home Study Program" or as a "Private School" is up to you. Your choice is only limited under the following circumstances:
1. Home Study Students Are Not Eligible for Special Ed Services
If you have a student with special education needs, such as a speech impediment, and you want to make use of a program at your local school that may help him, such as speech therapy, your student is only eligible for that program if he is a "private school" student. The school districts help only a few at a time. "Home study" students are not eligible.
2. Private School Students Are Not Eligible for TOPS
A private school student is not eligible for TOPS unless he graduated from an approved private school. The home school "private school" option is not approved for TOPS purposes. The home school equivalent of state approval, for TOPS purposes, is the Approved Home Study Program. Official wording says a home schooled student must be enrolled in an "Approved Home Study Program by the end of his 10th grade year" in order to be eligible for TOPS. I've had discussions with TOPS officials and reminded them that we don't send info to the DOE at the end of our school years, but at the beginning. They assured me that if it's sent in by the beginning of the 11th grade, that's sufficient, because what they are really looking for is the last two complete consecutive school years. By the way, the other requirements are that the student score at least two points higher on the ACT than last year's state average (he would currently need a 22), and that you apply by filing a FAFSA form by all the appropriate deadlines.
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 the following ways:
· Verification that the child has taken the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), California Achievement Test (CAT) or another approved 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. Note that the same Home Study Application form is used for the initial application and for renewal applications.
· 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.
· Verification that the child took the State Basic Skills Test (LEAP) and scored at or above the state performance standard.
· Presentation of a packet of materials which may include 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 the program being offered.
Most parents choose to submit a copy of their child's results from a standardized test. 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 above for the initial registration under the private school option, updating the information to reflect the new school year.
Is it legal to homeschool children that are not your own? What are the laws, if any, regarding that?
It is our understanding that the intent of La. R.S. 17:236.1 is for the Parent/Legal Guardian to perform the education in their own home. According to La. R.S. 17:236 (definition of a school), anyone (individual, church, business) may start a private school. In order to operate legally, the school must meet the specifications in this definition and must also fulfill the state requirements included in La. R.S. 17:232 concerning attendance records and annual notification of enrollment, and La. R.S. 17:221.3 concerning notice to a public school a student leaves.
In the case of a parent starting such a school for the purpose of teaching his own children, fulfilling the requirements of the statutes mentioned above will satisfy state and local laws. However, when an individual decides to take in other students, especially if any fees are involved (such as tuition), things get more complicated. The law looks upon this as a business (whether it's for profit or not), and other legal requirements and obligations arise at the state, parish, and possibly even the city level. There are tax and business codes to abide by, fire marshal and safety codes, school/daycare laws, etc.
Homeschools (parents teaching their own children) are not required to meet all these extra rules and regulations because the home is recognized as a home first and foremost. While it has never been tested in a Louisiana court to our knowledge, the standard set by courts in other states has been that if the home is sufficient to live in, it's sufficient to school one's children in.
But when someone takes in children who are not their own, the government feels the need to step in and inspect for the safety of those children. And when money changes hands (tuition), the school is a business, so now tax laws are involved. And since the type of business is a school, school laws are involved--health and safety inspections, employee screening, and mandatory reporter requirements, immunization requirements, etc.
So CHEF's position is: If you want to start a private school, go ahead. But if it is not the parents teaching their own children, it should not be called a homeschool.
Note: By the way, there are some homeschool families in which a very involved grandparent does the bulk of the actual teaching. That is still homeschooling as the student is still primarily taught in his own home..
Source: Beryl Amedee, CHEF of Louisiana http://www.chefofla.org
If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com and we will respond at our earliest convenience. We all homeschool too. We are all volunteers and we look forward to hearing from you!