Getting Started

Homeschool Starting

How to Start Homeschooling in Nebraska

1. Pray for godly wisdom in all your decisions.

Mother and child reading a book

2. Educate yourself about home education by reading books and periodicals about home education.

The following may be helpful:

  • The Right Choice: The Incredible Failure of Public Education and The Rising Hope of Home Schooling by Christopher Klicka
  • The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris
  • Starting a Home School by Richard Fugate
  • You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick
  • How To Tutor by Samuel Blumenfeld

Other sources of information include the public library, your local support group’s lending library, and homeschooling friends. Read and discuss with other home educators their various teaching and learning styles and approaches. Many books are available at greatly discounted prices at the NCHEA’s annual Conference and Curriculum Fair (C&CF) or from advertisers in the “shopping bag” provided at the C&CF.

3. Determine and document your personal convictions and/or reasons for homeschooling.

By writing out your convictions for why you are homeschooling, you will be able to refer to them if you are ever tempted to be discouraged.

Remember:  What God has called you to do, He will equip you to do (See Phil.4:13).

4. Develop “goals” and a “plan” for the school year.

Determine what subjects you must teach in order to comply with the homeschool laws and what subjects you want to teach. Do your plans include the spiritual, academic, physical, and social development of your child? (See Luke 2:52). Remember — You don’t have to do everything the veteran homeschooler is doing or have your child involved in all the activities. Determine what funds you have available for curriculum and materials. You can add or expand your resources as you gain experience.

Adjust your curriculum, etc., to the learning style of each child. If your child has been in government schools, you may have to adjust the grade level of the curriculum and/or cover a subject matter that was not covered in the government school. You may want to use a lower grade level of curriculum until the child is at the grade level of the homeschool curriculum or review phonics, fractions, parts of speech, etc.

5. Join the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association.

NCHEA membership is $30 annually. Membership benefits include:

  • The NCHEA’s newsletter
  • A $15 discount on HSLDA’s annual membership fee
  • Legislative updates and legislative action alerts
  • Discounted admission to the NCHEA’s C&CF.

6. Join the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

HSLDA’s annual membership fee is $130 unless you are a member of NCHEA. NCHEA members are eligible for a $15 discount, resulting in a HSLDA membership fee of $100. Families applying for HSLDA membership must indicate on HSLDA’s membership application form that they are members of the NCHEA Group Discount Program (Code #293207). See www.HSLDA.org.

HSLDA provides legal counsel and representation by qualified attorneys to every member family who is legally challenged in the area of homeschooling. All attorneys’ fees and costs are paid in full directly by HSLDA. Your membership helps HSLDA in defending parental rights in cases that could impact your parental and home education rights.

7.  Join a local support group.

Local support is important as a source of encouragement and fellowship. Contact the NCHEA to locate a group near you.

Families with children who have special needs are encouraged to contact NATHHAN (Nationally Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network) and may want to obtain Strategies for Struggling Learners by Joe P. Sutton, Ph.D. and Connie J. Sutton, M.A. Ed., and Home Schooling Children with Special Needs  by Sharon Hensley.

8.  Know the Law.

Review our page on State Requirements. Nebraska law recognizes homeschooling for two reasons, when attendance at an approved and accredited school would:

  • Violate sincerely held religious beliefs of parents or legal guardians or
  • Interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal guardians in directing their child’s education.

9.  Notify the Nebraska Department of Education of your intent to homeschool by completing and submitting the Rule 13 Forms.[1]

Request or print a copy of Rule 13 (covers both homeschooling for religious reasons and homeschooling for other than religious reasons), the regulation that implements the statutes described above, from the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). The NDE will send you the needed forms, or you can obtain them by following the link to the NDE web site at the Forms page on this web site.

Rule 13  says that Forms A and B should be promptly filed prior to when the exempt school begins with Section 004 information filed within 30 days for initial filers (see Rule 13 Sections 003.02A1, 003.02A2, and 004), or that Forms A and B and Section 004 information should be filed  by no later than July 15 for families seeking to renew their exemption for the next school year (refer to Rule 13, Section 003.02A).

Thus, if you are a potential first-time filer but are unable to make the decision to homeschool in time to file by July 15 then file as soon as you have decided as indicated in Rule 13 excerpts cited below:

003.02A1 Parents or legal guardians and child(ren) that were not residents of a Nebraska school district as of July 15 of any school year in which they elect to have such child(ren) enroll and attend a school established or to be established under this Chapter, shall cause the parent representative designated under this Section to promptly file Forms A and B after the parents or legal guardians and child(ren) have established a residence in Nebraska. (See Appendices A & B.)  [Bold emphasis added]

003.02A2 Parents or legal guardians of any child about to be or presently enrolled in an approved or accredited Nebraska school, who, after July 15, elect to have such child enroll and attend a school established or to be established under this Chapter, shall cause the parent representative designated under Section 003.02 to promptly file Forms A and B. [2]  (See Appendices A & B.)  [Bold emphasis added]

004 Information Summary. The parent representative will submit to the Commissioner the information described in Sections 004.01, 004.02, and 004.03 of this Chapter. For the initial year of operation, this summary will be submitted simultaneously with, but no later than 30 days after, the filings described in Section 003.02 are made. After the initial year of operation, the summary will be submitted annually by July 15.[3]  [Bold emphasis added]

Per Rule 13, “For initial year filings, the election is effective upon receipt by the Commissioner of the properly completed Forms A and B, but continued effectiveness is contingent on the receipt of the information required in Section 004.”[4]  [Bold emphasis added]   No doubt the local school will call if your children do not show up at school.  If you have filed your Form A and B documents, you can tell the school to check the “portal” and see your filing on the NDE website, and that your filing is “effective” until proven otherwise.   Once your Forms A and B are filed and Section 004 information documents (possibly filed up to 30 days after Forms A/B) are reviewed and determined that everything is in order the NDE will send you and your local school a letter stating your paperwork has been received and you are homeschooling/have established a homeschool and thus your children should not be considered truant.

Note:  You are not requesting permission to homeschool but are simply notifying the state of your intent.

It is recommended that you keep a copy of the completed forms for your records and that you send the originals by certified mail with a return receipt. The NDE will respond by letter acknowledging receipt of your notification not to meet the approval requirements.

Footnotes on Section 9:

[1] This information does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

[2] NDE Rule 13, https://cdn.education.ne.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Rule13_2016.pdf, page 4, sections  003.02A1 and 003.02A2.

[3] Ibid, Rule 13, p. 5, section 004.

[4] Ibid, Rule 13, p. 5, section 005.

10.  Annual testing is at the discretion of the parents; however, it often provides a means of determining the strengths and weaknesses of your child and your curriculum.

 

©2008, 2013, 2016, 2020,Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA), PO Box 57041, Lincoln, NE 68505-7041