Nebraska compulsory school attendance age
You must enroll your child in school if he or she will be 6 years old on or before December 31. If your child is 6 years old, but will not turn 7 on or before December 31, you can obtain an exemption for that school year by filing a notarized statement with your local public school district.
Your child is required to attend school until he or she turns 18 years old. If your child graduates from your homeschool program prior to turning 18, you can obtain an exemption for subsequent school years by filing Form D with the Nebraska Department of Education. If your child has not yet graduated, but is over the age of 16, you can obtain an exemption by filing a notarized Form C with the commissioner of education.
All homeschool exemption forms can be obtained from your local school district or the Nebraska Department of Education’s website.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Nebraska law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver’s license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
Withdrawing your child from his or her current school
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Nebraska available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
Complying with Nebraska’s homeschool law
In Nebraska, a homeschool is considered a private school that elects not to meet accreditation or approval requirements for religious or nonreligious reasons. You first need to set up a private school in your home, and then enroll your children in it. Here’s how:
1. Annually file a Parent or Guardian Form.
Both parents must sign and file a notarized Parent or Guardian Form (Form A). This form requires you to state under oath that requirements for state approval and accreditation of your school either “interfere with my decisions in directing my child(ren)’s education” or “violate my sincerely held religious beliefs.” This form must be filed promptly upon beginning homeschooling in Nebraska and by July 15 each year thereafter.
The first year that you homeschool, you must send a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate (or other reliable proof of your child’s identity and age accompanied by an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate) to the Nebraska Department of Education. If for some reason both parents cannot or will not sign Form A, HSLDA members may contact us to discuss what options may be available to you.
2. Annually file a Parent Representative Form.
You must file the Parent Representative Form (Form B) to affirm your acceptance of certain responsibilities. These include the duty to submit information on student enrollment and attendance, monitors, and the sequential program of instruction. This form must be filed promptly upon beginning homeschooling in Nebraska and by July 15 each year thereafter.
3. Annually file an Information Summary.
The Information Summary is a supplemental sheet to Form B. You must file this within 30 days of the first time you file Forms A and B, and by July 15 each year thereafter. It must include:
- a calendar for the school year (July 1–June 30) indicating a minimum instruction of 1,080 hours in secondary schools and 1,032 hours in elementary schools. (For a homeschool, this can be a general statement of when the school term begins and ends.)
- a list of all “instructional monitors” in the homeschool (typically the parents), including their names, ages, and highest levels of education completed.
- a scope and sequence for each grade level being taught.
4. Teach the required subjects.
On your Parent or Guardian Form (Form A), you must indicate that you will provide instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health, and that you, as the parents, are satisfied that the instructor(s) are qualified to monitor instruction in these skills. Nebraska does not require any specific qualifications to teach these subjects other than the parents’ satisfaction.
5. Comply with vaccination requirements.
If you indicate a nonreligious reason for homeschooling, you must also affirm that you understand that your school must comply with vaccination requirements (unless you have an exemption from vaccinating).
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Nebraska’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.