Interested in Unschooling in Louisiana? We can help

We’re lucky to be living in a country that allows parents to take their kids out of school and educate them at home. However, there are still often a lot of regulations placed on homeschoolers, especially if you’re living in a stricter state like Louisiana.

This can be a problem if you want to do unschooling — that is, to let your children chart their own educational courses on their own timelines. How do you give your kids authentic freedom if they have to take tests and are required to learn certain subjects by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

Louisiana’s Regulations

In Louisiana, there are two options under which you can legally homeschool: 1) Homeschooling as a home study program, and 2) Homeschooling as a home-based private school.

1. Homeschooling as a home study program

  • Must apply to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval of the home study program. This must be renewed annually with a submission of either:
    • A complete outline of each subject taught, a list of books and materials, copies of work samples, copies of standardized tests, and statements of third parties who have observed your child’s progress
    • Your child’s passing score on the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) test, your child’s score on a California Achievement (CAT) or other standardized test approved by the state board of education, and a written statement by a teacher certified to teach at your child’s grade level 
  • Must teach for 180 days each year
  • Must teach using a curriculum of a quality that is equal to what is taught in public schools, and subjects must be taught at the same grade level as public schools
  • Must provide evidence of immunization for meningococcal disease to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unless you have a waiver for religious, medical, or personal reasons

2. Homeschooling as a home-based private school

  • Must provide notification of enrollment if your child had been attending public school
  • Must not accept any federal or state funds
  • Must provide annual notice of attendance to the Louisiana Department of Education
  • Must teach for 180 days each academic year

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Louisiana, you are required by law to abide by the above regulations. However, these regulations may or may not be enforced at the local level. If you are interested in unschooling, you can give your local school district a call to find out what guidelines they actually enforce.

This can go the other way too. If your local school district is asking for something that is not required by the state, there are homeschool legal defense associations that will step in and help you maintain your rights.

Loophole #2: Online self-directed private school

If your child is enrolled in a private school, they are not considered a homeschooler and are exempt from all homeschooling regulations.

But isn’t the whole point of unschooling that the child is not in a school?

Enter The Open School. We have a virtual program that you can enroll in from anywhere in the world. And as a self-directed school, our program is perfectly aligned with unschooling. We have no required subjects and no tests. Instead, students design virtual activities to do with other students and staff, including art projects, video games, workshops, one-on-one lessons, and anything else you can imagine. It’s a community of self-directed learners, and a great place for unschoolers to make deep, lasting friendships.

If you want your child to be a free learner in Louisiana, without being subject to standardized tests or a strict curriculum, a virtual private school may be your best bet. You can read more about our virtual program, or contact us directly, by clicking one of the buttons below.

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