How to Start Homeschooling in Nebraska
1. Pray for godly wisdom in all your decisions.
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/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)
NCHEA membership is $24 annually. Membership benefits include:
- The NCHEA's newsletter
- A $20 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 $115 unless you are a member of NCHEA. NCHEA members are eligible for a $20 discount, resulting in a HSLDA membership fee of $95. 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).
HSLDA provides legal counsel and representation by qualified attorneys to every member family who is legally challenged in the area of homeschooling. All attorney's 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 “special needs” children 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 a Synopsis of Nebraska Education Statutes Applicable to Home Education (Sections 79-201, 79-211, 79-217, 79-1601). Nebraska law recognizes homeschooling for two reasons, when attendance at an approved and accredited school would:
1. Violate sincerely held religious beliefs of parents or legal guardians or
2. 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 or Rule 12 Form.
Request or print a copy of Rule 13 (homeschooling for religious reasons) or Rule 12 (homeschooling for other than religious reasons), the regulations that implement 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 going to their webiste.
These forms should be filed 30 days prior to when the exempt school begins (for first year filers) or by no later than July 15 for families seeking to renew their exemption for the next school year (refer to Rule 12 or Rule 13, Section 003.02A).
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
. 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 currriculum.
©2008, 2013 Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA), PO Box 57041, Lincoln, NE 68505-7041