Homeschooling is one of the fastest-growing forms of educational choice available today.
Many families decide to homeschool every day, whether it is because parents want more control over what goes into their kids’ minds and how much time they spend learning or because they feel there isn’t enough accountability in public schools.
We spoke with a few experts to help us understand why so many people are turning to homeschooling.
To start homeschooling in Nebraska, follow these steps:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws and regulations in Nebraska.
- Notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool by submitting a notice of intent or a homeschooling application.
- Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress, including attendance and instruction, and provide them to the local school district upon request.
- Provide instruction in specific subjects as required by Nebraska state law.
- Meet the attendance requirements as set by Nebraska state law.
- Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.
- Start homeschooling and keep records of your child’s progress.
- Be aware that Nebraska does not require standardized testing for homeschooled students; however, it’s still recommended to evaluate your child’s progress regularly.
- Keep in mind that Nebraska allows for different types of homeschooling options. It’s important to check with your local school district or the Nebraska Department of Education for specific guidelines.
It’s important to note that Nebraska requires no notification or assessment for homeschooled students. Still, keeping records of attendance and instruction and evaluating your child’s progress regularly is recommended.
What Does Homeschooling Mean?
“Homeschooling” can mean different things to different people.
For some, it means teaching all subjects from scratch — including math, science, history, and language arts. For others, it simply means taking advantage of learning opportunities through hands-on activities outside the classroom.
Regardless of which definition applies, the bottom line is that when you decide to homeschool, you will be responsible for educating your child.
And while most parents don’t do this full-time (and many never do), even part-time homeschooling can still add up to thousands of hours per year spent teaching your child.
That being said, if you’re considering homeschooling, you’ll need to know exactly what it entails before starting down the road.
What You Need To Know Before You Begin
The first thing you should do is talk to your local school district.
Not only will they answer any questions you might have about starting homeschooling, but they may also be able to provide information on resources and support groups within your community.
If you plan to use textbooks as part of your homeschool curriculum, you’ll also want to contact the publishers directly. Many textbook companies offer discounts and special deals to homeschoolers looking to purchase their products.
In addition, many churches and homeschool organizations host book fairs throughout the year, allowing you to browse dozens of used books at reduced prices. Finally, the school district administration may be able to refer you to a local library that offers free tutoring to homeschooled students.
How Do I Register My Child For Homeschooling?
Before homeschooling your child, you must file several essential documents with the Nebraska Department of Education.
First, you’ll need to fill out a parent/guardian form. This form outlines fundamental information about your family, such as your name, address, phone number, and email address. It also asks whether you plan to homeschool your child for religious or philosophical reasons.
Next, you must submit a copy of your child’s birth certificate to the Nebraska Department of Education the first year you begin homeschooling. You’ll also need to complete a parent representative form.
This form enables parents or guardians to represent themselves during meetings with the Nebraska Department of Education representatives. Finally, you’ll need to submit an information summary.
This document details your homeschool program, including how long you’ve homeschooled, your student’s age, grade level, and previous academic performance.
What If There Is Another School Nearby?
While homeschooling has become increasingly popular in recent years, plenty of people still question its merits. One common argument against homeschooling is that it prevents children from interacting with peers and getting social skills.
But those who believe homeschooling doesn’t prepare kids for life after high school tends to overlook that homeschool graduates are often better prepared for college than their classmates. Regarding finding another option besides homeschooling, remember that many charter schools allow parents to pick specific curricula for their children.
These include online classes, virtual lessons, and correspondence courses. Not only does this give parents greater flexibility in scheduling, but it also gives them access to a wide range of options.
What Are The Costs Of Homeschooling?
Costs vary depending on your circumstances.
Some families rely solely on donations to pay for their homeschool expenses. Others get by just fine without spending anything at all. But whatever your budget looks like, remember that homeschooling can save you money in the long run.
You’ll cut back on transportation fees, tuition payments, and extra supplies by eliminating the costs associated with attending a traditional school. Plus, since you won’t need to pay for meals at school, you’ll also avoid having to buy lunch each week.
What About Transportation?
Since many homeschoolers live close together, transportation shouldn’t pose too many problems.
However, if you live farther away from other homeschooled families, you may need to drive your child to school. Fortunately, many homeschool associations offer transportation options, both organized and unorganized.
These include carpools, vanpools, bike rides, and field trips. Of course, these aren’t always easy to arrange, primarily if you work full-time and don’t have much time to spare. In that case, you may consider using a local homeschool shuttle service instead.
Many cities and towns now offer bus routes explicitly designed for homeschoolers. These buses usually stop near homeschool associations, giving homeschoolers quick and convenient access to the school building.
Just check ahead to see if the bus route covers your area.
What About Social Activities?
Parents who opt to homeschool often worry that their children won’t be able to participate in extracurricular activities. After all, unlike traditional schools, homeschoolers don’t receive physical education classes or sports teams.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach your child valuable life skills through fun outings. For example, you could organize a group trip to visit museums, zoos, parks, and aquariums. Or you could volunteer your time to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity.
Whatever your plans are, make sure to communicate them to your child beforehand. Your child will probably appreciate exploring new places and meeting new friends.
What About Testing And Evaluation?
Regarding testing and evaluation, homeschoolers face fewer restrictions than their counterparts in public schools. If your child receives appropriate instruction and passes their state assessments, no one will ask them to sit for standardized tests.
On top of that, homeschoolers can use alternative methods for evaluating their progress.