Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 6 through 18.
In Nebraska, "home schools" are referred to as exempt schools and are considered private non-approved and non-accredited schools. By filing for and receiving exempt status, parents are electing not to have their child attend a school that meets State approval or accreditation requirements while also complying with the compulsory school attendance law. Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-201(e).
Parents or legal guardians who elect to homeschool their child because the requirements for school approval and accreditation interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal guardians in directing their child's education do so under 92 NAC 12. Parents or legal guardians who elect to homeschool their child because the requirements for school approval and accreditation would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs do so under 92 NAC 13. Each parent or legal guardian, regardless of the justification they use, must sign a separate statement of objection and assurances. 92 NAC 12 §§001.02, 003.01 and 13 §§001.02, 003.01
Thirty days before beginning homeschooling, and annually thereafter by July 15, the parent representative must file a statement containing the names and ages of all children in the school and the names of their parents or guardians, and containing assurances regarding submission of information on enrollment and attendance, signed in the presence of, and acknowledged by, a notary public upon oath or affirmation with the statements of objection and assurances. 92 NAC 12 §03.02A and 13 §03.02A
Upon enrollment of a student in an exempt school, the parent or guardian must provide the commissioner of education with either (a) a certified copy of the student's birth certificate or (b) other reliable proof of the child's identity and age with an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate. 92 NAC 12 §009 and 13 §009.
Each exempt school that is not exempt for religious reasons shall require each student to be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus prior to enrollment. On and after July 1, 2010, every student entering the seventh grade shall have a booster immunization containing diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and an acellular pertussis vaccine. 92 NAC 12 §013.
Exceptions to the immunization requirement can be found in 92 NAC 12 §013.
The parent representative of each exempt school must submit an information summary to the commissioner or designee prior to the date that the exempt school begins operation, and annually thereafter July 15, that includes: (1) a calendar of the school year indicating the hours of operation; (2) a list of all instructional monitors including their addresses, ages, highest levels of education completed, educational institutions attended and years of attendance, and summaries of prior teaching or monitoring experience; (3) a chart or written summary showing the scope and sequence of the curriculum; and (4) the names of the residential public school districts and counties of the students. 92 NAC 12 §004 and 13 §004.
In order to verify information submitted for students in exempt schools, the Department may deem it necessary to conduct regular achievement testing. Department officials shall contact the parent representative and a test, a time, and a procedure shall be mutually designated and established. Denial of student testing in such a case shall be cause for the Department to determine that the school is not meeting the curriculum requirements. Therefore, it shall not be deemed an exempt school. 92NAC 12 §008 and 13 §008.
Students who attend an exempt home school shall be allowed to enroll part-time in their local public schools. Specific policies and procedures depend on the school district. 92 NAC 12 §012 and 13 §012.
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2295
In Nebraska, “home schools” are referred to as exempt schools and are considered non-approved or non-accredited schools.
By filing for and receiving exempt status, parents are electing not to have their child attend a school that meets State approval and accreditation requirements while also complying with the mandatory school attendance law (Section 79-201 R.R.S.).
Parents/Legal Guardians must file for exempt status (under Nebraska Rule 13 (PDF)) with the Department of Education (NDE). By filing for exempt status, a parent is electing to have their child attend a school that does not meet the requirements for approval and accreditation in the state but remain in compliance with the mandatory school attendance law. The parent is also promising to comply with the state requirements for exempt schools, and that the information provided is true and accurate.
The deadline is July 15 of each year the school will be in operation, whether using the online system or mailing or dropping off paper documents to NDE. We will begin processing forms for the 2021/22 school year in June. For purposes of the rule, the record-keeping year is July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 (refer to Rule 13, Section 002.07).
The state's preferred and quickest method of filing is to submit online through the Nebraska Exempt School Program. Instructions for submitting online are included on this website as well.
If you cannot submit online, the forms and related information can be printed from the Nebraska Exempt School Program website , under the “Forms for the 2021/22 School Year” tab, or downloading Nebraska Instructions for Paper Submission (PDF).
If you are filing by paper, make a copy of the documents for your records first, then mail the original documents to the following address:
Exempt School Program Office
Nebraska Department of Education
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4987
Each parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a separate Form A - Statement of Election and Assurances (refer to Nebraska Rule 13 (PDF), Section 003.01). Do not use “fill & sign” applications such as Adobe to replace the actual signature.
If the filer is a single parent, that parent must complete Nebraska Exempt School Form A (PDF) and provide sole custody verification. A parent claiming to be a single parent is representing that he or she alone is responsible for making the decisions concerning the educational placement of the child(ren). Sole custody verification includes (but is not limited to): an order of a court of law having proper jurisdiction providing that the filing parent has sole custody of the child(ren), a birth certificate that lists only the filing parent as the parent, or a death certificate if one of the parents is deceased.
You as the parent or legal guardian are responsible for finding a curriculum that fits the needs of your exempt school student. Curriculum materials, books, and outlines are not available from the Nebraska Department of Education. Your program of instruction must lead to the basic skills in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and health (refer to Rule 13, Section 004.03).
For information about organizations which may help parents obtain curriculum information and provide support for exempt school families, visit the Nebraska Exempt School Program website, under the “Resources” link. These are private organizations and are not affiliated with NDE.
The parent (school operator) assumes all costs. Curriculum materials, books, guidelines or technical assistance are not available from the Nebraska Department of Education.
Exempt schools are welcome to visit the Nebraska Open Educational Resources website; Nebraska's statewide platform for open educational resources where educators collaborate to discover, create and share openly licensed content.
Approved or accredited schools are under no obligation to provide assistance to exempt schools. If they choose to do so, it is entirely up to the local school board or governing body. Exempt schools are not eligible to participate in the Rule 4, Textbook Loan Program.
There are no legal or regulatory requirements other than that you must provide 1,032 hours of instruction (elementary grades) or 1,080 hours of instruction (secondary grades) for the school year. The particulars of your school “calendar” in providing those hours is up to you.
This is a student who is attending more than one school at the same time. This would include a student attending the exempt school part-time while simultaneously attending a Nebraska public K-12 school or a Nebraska private approved or accredited K-12 school.
The student would not be considered dual enrolled if:
The student is taking courses through a post-secondary school (e.g., community college), those courses are considered part of the exempt school’s program of instruction/curriculum.
The program of instruction/curriculum is received through an online school,
Your program of instruction must lead to (but is not limited to) the basic skills in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and health (refer to Rule 13, Section 004.03). The program of instruction is provided through either:
1) an outline, or
2) a listing of textbooks (including title and publisher), or,
3) listing by subject the name of the curriculum series or online program to be used, whichever applies.
While record keeping and retention are not addressed in Rule 13, it is advisable that you keep records including, but not limited to, attendance data and a transcript of classes taken with grades received for each child. NDE does not collect grades or require progress reports; the exempt school parent representative is responsible for their own record keeping.
Section 43-2007 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska (part of the Missing Children Identification Act) requires that "Upon enrollment of a student who is receiving his or her education in an exempt school subject to 79-1601 to 79-1607, the parent or guardian of such student shall provide to the Commissioner of Education either (a) a certified copy of the student’s birth certificate, or (b) other reliable proof of the student’s identity and age accompanied by an affidavit (notarized statement) explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate."
For births occurring in Nebraska only, contact HHS (Vital Records) at 402/471-2871 or visit the Nebraska HHS website.
Source: Nebraska Department of Education
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