Like in most states, it is legal in Nebraska to homeschool your child. What makes home school programs different in this state is that, in a sense, you must convert your home into a private school to justify your child taking classes effectively and legally from home.
In Nebraska, homeschools are considered private schools, but they are also considered exempt schools, meaning they can deliberately elect not to meet approval and accreditation requirements. You must file a Parent/Guardian form or Form A every year that you choose to homeschool your child.
You must consequently justify its existence by notifying the Exempt School Program Office that placing the child into the state or private school system would interfere with your decision to dictate your child’s education or is in direct violation of your religious beliefs.
Before You Begin Homeschooling
Every year you choose to homeschool your child, you must file a Parent/Guardian form or Form A. This will let the governing bodies know that you, as a parent or guardian, are exerting control over your child’s education as a personal decision to bypass the schooling system and have your child take on a homeschooling program.
This form must be filed to notify Nebraska’s Department of Education that allowing your child to assist a public or private school would be detrimental. Additionally, going through the formal accreditation process would conflict with your choice of where and how your child is educated, or it would be reprehensible under your religious beliefs.
If you are a single parent, this becomes even more important as it will be required that you attach proof that you are the sole authority on your child’s educational future. This proof acts as a failsafe to avoid the scenario where another parent or guardian chooses to appeal or counter the other decision to homeschool.
All parents must submit a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate during the first year. Once this is done, you must file a Form B, which is filled to appoint someone responsible for the child. This is generally the parent, but it could be a guardian. This is done to place responsibility upon a person to submit information on enrollment and attendance, instructional monitors, and the sequential instruction program.
Additionally, every year after that, you must file an Information Summary that includes a calendar for the school year, a list of instructional monitors, and a scope and sequence for each grade. This means a program has to be established and followed with intent, and it must include teaching the required subjects such as math, social studies, health, language, etc.
Suppose the reason you filed for homeschooling fell outside religious belief infringement. In that case, you also have to file an agreement stating you understand that, like any other school, you exempt private home schools must abide by the vaccination requirements and compliance established by state and federal law. If you have classified your home as an exempt private school for religious or health reasons, these laws could also be exempted.
Record Keeping For Homeschooled Students
Your child has to be between the ages of 6-18 to be homeschooled. There is no requirement for record-keeping and submission to government agencies, but it is encouraged. Also, homeschooling programs like Power Homeschool provide an online directory where information such as attendance reports, transcripts, and progress tracking are made available and at relatively easy reach.
In Nebraska, there are no standardized assessments your child must take to be homeschooled, so you can build the curriculum that best suits your child’s pace and own personal style of teaching. However, there is a benefit to reviewing these assessments sporadically to see how your child’s progress is compared to the required test that state and private schools are undertaking during the school calendar.
Additionally, they are great at helping detect holes or deficiencies in the curriculum you have chosen for your child. The Nebraska State Accountability Assessment is the foremost example of a government standardized test. We can use this to build upon ours to ensure the quality of the education you provide is as good as the states’, which is notably more relevant and the time of transitioning into high school.
Now, while there are no criteria as far as what tests should be taken, there is a requirement that the instruction hours must reach at least 1,032 during the totality of your private school’s syllabus or calendar.
Like in most states, parents are responsible for the graduation criteria the children must meet to receive their diplomas. It is preferable to adjust the graduation criteria based on what the students plan to do after high school, whether searching for employment or pursuing higher or secondary education.
Suppose you or your child is opting for the latter. In that case, most colleges and universities outright share their eligibility requirements for homeschooled students. As a parent, you can use these requirements as the backbone of the education you will impart when building your curriculum.
- Discovery K12 Is one of the most popular home instruction curriculum programs in the state.
- Power Homeschool Services
- School House Teachers
- Alpha Omega Publications
- Acellus Academy
- The prices for online homeschooling can range around $25 per month and up. They help you set the parameters to maximize your child’s productivity and eligibility during and after they receive their homeschool diplomas.
Field Trips For Homeschooled Students
Field trips are an essential part of the school experience, more than anything, because it allows socializing with other students besides the ones from your grade. When we were kids, we never forgot our first time at the zoo, the zoo, or the museum. Becoming a part of these homeschool groups will ensure your child doesn’t miss out on this learning experience.
Homeschool Associations, Groups, and Co-Ops
Homeschooling your child can give you, as a parent, complete control of what your child should learn in school. It gives you free rein over the teaching techniques based on your child’s learning styles. Even after covering any mandated subjects by the state, you can also include everything you deem necessary for a child to know about in the curriculum.
On the other hand, your child will have someone to invest their time in their learning fully and have more time to focus on the task at hand and less time to waste on unnecessary stuff.
Homeschooling is beneficial for both the parent and the child; sometimes, they could still be missing the type of experience that can only be found in a school setting. This is where homeschool associations, groups, and co-ops come into place.
Having first-hand knowledge and help from the people who have been there before you is what’s going to make sure your child doesn’t miss out on some of the things that help socializing with other children
Some great examples of homeschooling groups in Nebraska are:
- Bellevue Area Christian Homeschool Group (BACH)
- Catholic Homeschool Association of Omaha (CHAO)
- Elkhorn Quest Homeschool Support Group.
- Heartland Homeschoolers.
- North Platte Area Home Educators (NPAHE)
- South Central Christian Home Educators Association (SCEA)
Keep in mind that Co-ops are very similar to homeschooling groups but are far stricter and academically oriented than their counterparts. They encourage students to learn together in tandem and lean more into a specific learning method or subject. Some of them are very religious and let their beliefs dictate the pulse of their lessons.
New Year, New School!
The start of a school year should be a stressful moment for neither the parent nor the child. Having the option to homeschool in Nebraska will help alleviate any negative feelings associated with this and give you a sense of control over your child’s education. Check the requirements from the state, get your supplies ready, and let the learning begin.