"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Off to a Great Start

Hi All,
I am super excited about this school year. It has been so busy and I am sure will continue to be so, but we have some great new events we are planning to add this year! Also, we have some wonderful new families who have joined and with all of us working together the load won't seem so heavy.

Our 4-H group is really doing great. So great that we now have two options for where you can attend the monthly meetings. In an effort to keep group members from having to drive so far to attend, we have one meeting at the north end of our group area and another meeting at the south end. We have also added in Cloverbud activities for our 3rd grade and under kids. We still have a few kinks to work out but doing these two things has more than doubled our participation in 4-H. We have some wonderful community service events coming up and the kids seem really excited about it all. In fact, in a few weeks, the kids will be helping with a community health fair by volunteering in a "Germ Tent"! Should be a "germ-tastic"time!

Two new events we have in the works for this year are a Father-Daughter Formal and an Awards Banquet. We are trying to promote two things that I personally feel are very important: the relationship of our children with their parents and celebrating the successes of our kids. After having a personal relationship with Jesus, I think these two things do more to shape our children's future than anything else. I am so excited to see these events come to fruition as we celebrate the wonderful children the Lord has blessed us with!

Through out the year we will also have our regular activities, Lord willing. These include monthly field trips, back-to-school party, Christmas party, valentine party, spelling bee, bike-a-thon, field day, standardized testing, scholastic book orders, yearbook staff, pre-k/kindergarten graduation, high school graduation, and end-of-the-year party.

If any thing about our group sounds interesting to you please feel free to send a message. You can find us at any of the links at the top of the page. :) Lord bless you in your homeschool adventure :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FAQ About Homeschooling in Louisiana

(Acknowledgement: The CCHSA website is a great resource and it was used in constructing this post. CHILD is NOT a member group of Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Louisiana (CHEF of LA), a state-wide homeschool umbrella organization. Their site, however, is a very valuable resource.)

If you find any errors with the links on this page or have additional questions please contact me .

The homeschooling laws in Louisiana are favorable and there are support groups in almost every area of the state. Families are individually responsible for choosing their method of home education. Important: Each family chooses their own curriculum and is independently responsible for meeting state requirements. CHILD is not responsible for these aspects of your homeschool.

Q: How do I register my homeschool with the state of Louisiana?
A: You may register your homeschool under either the “home study” program or as a “private school” (La. R.S. 17:236, Act 828 of 1980).
Using the Home Study Program:
This is an option you will want to consider if you have a child in high school or you have a student who would like to participate in the Interscholastic Athletics program. It allows the high school senior to qualify for TOPS (Tuition Opportunity Program for Students) which is a scholarship program for Louisiana students who attend a Louisiana college or university. If you will be homeschooling using the Home Study program, you will need to send in your paperwork within 15 days of commencing classes. The home study application, general information, guidelines, athletics guidelines and curriculum information can be found here. (Please be aware, the initial application requires that you submit a copy of the child’s birth certificate. Renewal applications require documentation that provides satisfactory evidence that the home study program offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.)

Effective August 2010 and thereafter, high school diplomas awarded through your home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are now recognized by all public postsecondary educational institutions, all state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions and all other state and local government entitles to have all of the rights and privileges as those awarded by a state-approved nonpublic school [R.S. 17:236.1.G].

Registering as a Private School (NonpublicSchool):
This is your likely option if you have children 10th grade and below. (It does not allow high school seniors to qualify for TOPS or receive recognized diplomas.) You simply register as a private school and are only required to give the name of your “school”, number of students and name of the parent/educator. If you plan to homeschool in a Private School setting, you must inform the state in writing, no later than 30 days after commencing classes. See this Sample Letter to File with the State of Louisiana for an example of what you need to send. You may also download this Microsoft Word file and personalize. The state guide book for registered nonpublic schools can be found here.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of May 1, 2013, you may now register online with the Department of Education. More information can be found here. Please follow the links below to register with the State of Louisiana online:

From CHEF of Louisiana: "We feel that the online process is recommended as one way to register. The forms are still acceptable; however, we acknowledge that it is much more efficient, and probably more accurate, if we enter our own information into the online registration through the DOE website."

Q: What do I do when pulling my child out of a private school mid-year to homeschool?
A: “The problem is that the Law does not clearly give direction for mid-year activity. It is undefined, so there is no clear correct answer. I would feel that if they register now with the 180 day wording and then again in August, there should be no problem. Then you have over complied with the law by registering sooner, rather than a year later. I would see no problem with this and if any questions were asked, they could be answered very simply by explaining the mid-year change of private school to homeschool. No letter of intent is or was needed because the child was in private school, not public.” Mike Flowers, President, CHEF of Louisiana, 2010.

Editor’s note from CCHSA: Students who are withdrawn from public school during the school year, or who attended public school the year before enrolling in a private school, must provide a written notification of enrollment to the public school he attended within 10 days of enrollment in homeschool. This notification must include: Student’s legal name; Date of birth; Gender; and Race. (See the question below)

Q: What do I do when pulling my child out of a public school mid-year to homeschool?
A: After removing your child from the public school system a letter should be sent within ten days to the school your child attended telling them your child has been enrolled in another school. It is not necessary to tell them it is your own private homeschool. The only information needed in this notification letter is the child's legal name, date of birth, gender and race. Once the local school has been notified it is suggested that you register with the state as a private school. Following this suggestion would be over compliance with the law and should pose no problem. (See previous question above)

Q: I am a home study student. Can I receive TOPS and, if so, are there any special requirements?
A: Yes. The Louisiana Department of Education must certify to LOSFA that you are a student who successfully completed the eleventh, if applicable, and twelfth grade levels of a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

If you ever enrolled in a Louisiana public high school or nonpublic high school or an approved non-Louisiana high school that was or has been approved by BESE, you must have successfully completed both the eleventh and twelfth grades of a homestudy program approved by BESE and the previously attended high school must provide LOSFA with certification that you were in good standing at the time you last attended that school.

In addition, you must have an ACT score of at least 19 for TOPS Tech, 22 for Opportunity, 24 for Performance, or 28 for Honors, or an SAT score of at least 900 for TOPS Tech, 1020 for Opportunity, 1090 for Performance or 1250 for Honors.

Questions and Answer taken from 2012-2013 TOPS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

Q: If my child is in the fourth or eighth grade, am I, as a homeschooler, required to do LEAP testing?
A: No, if you are planning to continue homeschooling for the following year. If, however, you intend to place your child in a public school in grades 5 through 9, then your child must take the LEAP for public school entrance with the expected level of achievement. (See p. 3 of SECTION 1: THE LOUISIANA EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, LEAP/GEE 2006–2007 ANNUAL REPORT at the Louisiana Department of Education.)

Q: Can my child participate in the sports program at a public school?
A: Students in home study programs can participate in interscholastic athletic activities at a
public or at a state-approved nonpublic high school that is also a member of the Louisiana
High School Athletic Association. Participation at a non-public school is at the sole discretion
of the governing authority of such school [refer to R.S. 236.3]. More information can be found

Q: What if my child has special needs?
A: There appears to be conflicting information in regards to special needs children.The HSLDA website says that, under the private school option, students are entitled to special services. However they caution that when receiving government funds some freedom and privacy is lost. They have established the Home School Foundation to help make support available.

The Louisiana Department of Education states in their guide book for home study programs that "BESE-Approved Home Study Programs do not qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §1400, et seq., nor for modifications and/or accommodations under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Education Act. (Adopted by the SBESE on November 15, 1984. Revised April 2002.)”
They advise: “Before enrolling in the BESE-Approved Home Study Program or registering as a nonpublic school, not seeking state approval, parents who have children with exceptionalities’ should contact their local education agency to seek advice regarding the free and appropriate educational services that are designed to meet their child’s needs.”
 *I would like to get feedback from Louisiana homeschoolers who have experience with this situation.*

Q: What form do I need to take to the DMV for my child to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit?
A: In order to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit homeschool students must submit a copy of their approved Home Study application or a Certification of Required School Attendance.

Additional Information:
Please refer to HSLDA for more information on the legality and details of homeschooling in Louisiana.

If you have additional questions on your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me  for information on how to begin your homeschool journey or transitioning your existing homeschool to Louisiana. We invite you to consider membership in CHILD to take advantage of our member benefits.

Please keep in mind that CHILD is not a group that can provide you with curriculum or a location to bring your children to for education, but we are a group of like-minded Christian individuals who stay in close contact to encourage each other in our homeschooling pursuit. We would love to share our stories with you, our ideas for curriculum options, and the way we homeschool. It might give you some new insights! Anyone on our board of directors would be happy to speak with you.

Other Helpful Resources:

Let's Talk!

Hi, Fellow Homeschoolers!

It has been a while so let's talk. I pray your homeschooling adventure is going well. If not we should get together for a visit. There is nothing like food, fun and fellowship to recharge your determination. A great place to do that would be at our back-to-school blast off! It is coming up in August so please feel free to contact me for all the details! It would be great to sit down with you for a visit. Whether you are new to homeschooling, just considering homeschooling, or you've been doing it so long you feel like a professional, let's talk!

Our group page can be found at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/childemail/info and we would love to have you visit our site. If you would like to join our group please click the purple '+ join group' button. When you send a request to join, one of the group moderators will reply personally. Please be on the look-out for this email because we really like to talk with those interested in our group before we approve new members. It may seem crazy in this high-tech world but, because there is so much information on our site about the when & where of our kid's activities, we do want to monitor closely who has access to our messages. I hope you understand our caution.

I have recently had requests to join our group from people whom I have never met. So, if that is you, please be on the lookout for an email from me! I would love to chat with you and get to know you better.
Blessings to you,
:) Vicki
kellyvicki2000 at yahoo dot com

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Homeschooling With Peace and Quiet? Is That Even Possible?

I pray everyone had a blessed Holiday season. We had a wonderful time while on our short break and are now back into the school schedule. As usual, the school year is zipping right along and I always feel one step behind. I would imagine most homeschooling moms feel the same way!

Sometimes I meet moms who respond to the idea of homeschooling by saying, "I could never do that! My kids would drive me crazy and I would never get any peace and quiet!". Well, the days here do get a bit crazy at times but it's not because of my kids. Honestly, it is because of me. My schedule stays pretty full because of trying to fit in things that I know my kids enjoy. Let me explain.

Life has a way of filling up with things that are really hard & difficult; like doctor visits, funerals, bills, or repairs to all the things that break around your house (major appliances always "go out" at the same time!). Many things happen from day-to-day that we just have to "tend to" while in the midst of  "schooling". But, to me, these things are actually an important part of educating my children. I pray they see me handling the daily challenges with love, patience, and gratitude.

Even though our schedule is full of places to go and things that have to be done, I still try to add in things that are just pure fun for my kids. I want to be sure they have time to just be kids. For example, just yesterday, my oldest daughter had the best time at McDonald's. Now this may not strike you as odd, but she is 14 and most teens don't enjoy a trip to the McDonald's play land. But she did and it was good for her to just be a kid and play with her younger friends who were on the field trip with us. Did I have plenty to do without adding this field trip to our day? Of course! Did my kids need a break from all the drama of our daily life? Of course! And they got it. Was I tired and worn out? Of course! Was it worth it? Of course! Did I get peace and quiet during my day? Only in my soul; and it was a wonderful day!

Sometimes the adult events that happen around homeschooling kids are unavoidable. Sometimes as a homeschooling mom it is hard to get literal peace and quiet. But always our kids are watching us to see how we handle unexpected or difficult circumstances. And always we need to step back and make sure we are taking the time to just enjoy the days with our children. Not matter how or where we may be spending them.

I know many moms who are so extremely busy and worn out. I pray that the Lord would give them time during their day to really see their children. If only for a small moment, to really see them. Not as a hindrance to their peace and quiet, but as the reason to seek true peace and quiet. God can bring such an awesome peace and quiet into our souls even in the midst of a busy schedule. We must have this; for ourselves and our children. Having personal time with the Lord not only benefits us but also our children. As we seek the Lord, He will give us everything we need to stay on this narrow, and sometimes lonely, rocky, and very busy road which He has called us to walk with Him. It is His peace and quiet that makes all the difference. Seek Him today and be encouraged!

Thanks for reading all the ramblings from my heart. Blessings to you and your sweet families,
:) Vicki

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Much to My Amazement....

...this year is almost half over! To say that life has been busy is an understatement. I'm sure you could echo the same sentiment. We are busy and everyone I know is busy. Here is a recap of what we've been busy doing here at C.H.I.L.D. :
     - February skate was great fun! The kids did an awesome job on their Valentine boxes. As promised, here are pictures of just a few of the boxes.

-In March we took the kiddos to a museum for some hands-on fun, toured a newspaper to see how it all works and then had a picnic at the park.
-Our first ever Spelling Bee was held in April and I really hope we will have one every year. The kids did a super job! Also during the month of April, we did our standardized testing. This was the largest group we've ever had testing and things went really well. We had a great group of moms who did an outstanding job of keeping things running smoothly. Our group is so blessed to have such exceptional moms!
-May brought yearbook pictures, a bike-a-thon fund raiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and our "End-of-the-School-Year Celebration" at the skating rink. The skate party was great fun to wrap up a great school year. We had some families who are new to homeschooling join us and I loved getting to share in their excitement as they begin their new adventure.

The only activity left for the group is graduation. Graduations are always bitter-sweet to me. It is wonderful to see the accomplishments of our children and yet at the same time, it is a reminder of just how fast time goes. Time is such a precious commodity. It reminds me of this quote - Time I have only just a minute. Only sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me, can't refuse it. Didn't seek it, didn't choose it. But it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it. Give account if I abuse it, Just a tiny little minute but eternity is in it.   

How many times a day do I tell my kids 'ok, just a minute'? All those little minutes add up to be a lifetime. Heading into the summer months, when things are supposed to move at a slower pace yet rarely do, I pray the Lord will remind me to consider carefully how I spend my minutes. It is never "just" a minute; it is a fleeting moment that I will never get again. I pray that as moms who daily care for the souls of our children, we see the importance of treasuring each minute and spend our time on things that will matter 100 years from now. May the Lord ever remind me my #1 job is to prepare my children for Heaven, not Harvard.

Blessings to you,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mid-year Withdrawl From Public School

After receiving a phone call about helping a mother to begin homeschooling mid-year, I realized I did not know much about the subject. I asked HSLDA for an article with details on how to begin homeschooling mid-year in compliance with Louisiana law. They have never written an article with the details outlined step-by-step but assured me that is was completely legal. They advised that if anyone was interested in beginning mid-year, HSLDA would be more than willing to walk them through the process.

In my discussion with HSLDA about the whole process, I have developed a "frame work" of the steps to take. The first place to begin is with an HSLDA membership. The online enrollment form can be found here. I pray you never find yourself in a situation where you need legal representation but it is nice to know you always have the option of saying "call my lawyer". You can call HSLDA at 540-338-5600 and ask to speak to the membership department. They will be able to not only process your membership application but also answer questions about what you should do next.

From what I understand, after you remove your child from the public school system, the main point to cover is the truancy officer. A letter needs to be sent within ten days to the school your child attended telling them your child has been enrolled in another school. It is not necessary to tell them it is your own private homeschool. The only information needed in this notification letter is the child's legal name, date of birth, gender and race. There is a great article here that covers this topic and others that are important for homeschoolers to know about. Once the local school has been notified you need to register with the state as a private school. You can find more information on doing that here.

After you've done these three things you are all set. Just as a side-note, it is probably a good idea to keep a copy of your state registration letter with your HSLDA membership card and have them both with you anytime you go out with your children during public school hours. Also, make a copy of you membership card and put it by your telephone so if you ever need their phone number and your membership number in a hurry.

Even though what I've written up is not a legal document, I hope it will be helpful to someone. If you have any questions or need any help, please just ask.

:) Vicki

*****POST UPDATE******JULY 29, 2014****** Some links in this post have expired so a FAQ page is being constructed. Every effort will be made to keep the new page updated for an easy, one-stop location for current information on state requirements.

Common Core Discussion

Many educators have been discussing the Common Core issue lately. I must admit I had never followed the details of it closely and considered it a public school issue. Then providers of homeschool curricula began to "align". This got my attention and I thought I would post links to articles giving details on how homeschoolers are or may be affected. I hope you find it helpful.
:) Vicki

HSLDA article on Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Popular Homeschool Curricula and the Common Core

Here is a link for The Educational Freedom Coalition (TEFC). This group exists for homeschool parents who seek to maintain educational freedom from CCSS.

****POST UPDATE****JULY 29, 2014****** The Educational Freedom Coalition link provided above has been redirected to The Homeschool Resource Roadmap website. Their common core information can be found here.