An overview of the homeschool laws and regulations of Nebraska, along with links to legislative source information, additional reference materials and government resources on homeschooling.
Nebraska Education Code For Homeschooling
Home schools are considered “private schools” in Nebraska.
Laws Pertaining to Private Schools that are Home Schools from the Nebraska
HEADING Chapter 79. Schools.
CATCHLINE Compulsory education; attendance required.
LAW 79-201. Except as provided in section 79-202, every person residing in a school district within the State of Nebraska who has legal or actual charge or control of any child not less than seven years of age and not more than sixteen years of age shall cause such child to attend regularly the public, private, denominational, or parochial day schools which meet the requirements for legal operation prescribed in Chapter 79 each day that such schools are open and in session, except when excused by school authorities, unless such child has graduated from high school. The school term shall be as provided in section 79-211.
HEADING Chapter 79. Schools.
CATCHLINE Minimum school term.
LAW 79-211. The school term shall not be less than (1) one thousand thirty-two instructional hours for elementary grades and (2) one thousand eighty instructional hours for high school grades in any public school district or private, denominational, or parochial school. …
HEADING Chapter 43. Infants and Juveniles.
CATCHLINE Schools; home school; duties.
LAW 43-2007. (3) The parent or guardian of a child who is receiving his or her education in a home school subject to sections 79-1601 to 79-1607 shall, not later than October 1 of the first year of the child’s attendance at the home school, provide to the Commissioner of Education either (a) a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or (b) other reliable proof of the child’s identity and age accompanied by an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate.
HEADING Chapter 79. Schools.
CATCHLINE Private, denominational, or parochial schools, teachers, employees; laws applicable; election not to meet accreditation or approval requirements.
LAW 79-1601. (2) All private, denominational, or parochial schools shall either comply with the accreditation or approval requirements prescribed in section 79-318 or, for those schools which elect not to meet accreditation or approval requirements, the requirements prescribed in section 79-318 and subsections (2) through (5) of this section. Standards and procedures for approval and accreditation shall be based upon the program of studies, guidance services, the number and preparation of teachers in relation to the curriculum and enrollment, instructional materials and equipment, science facilities and equipment, library facilities and materials, and health and safety factors in buildings and grounds. Rules and regulations which govern standards and procedures for private, denominational, and parochial schools which elect, pursuant to the procedures prescribed in subsections (2) through (5) of this section, not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements shall be based upon evidence that such schools offer a program of instruction leading to the acquisition of basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health. Such rules and regulations may include a provision for the visitation of such schools and regular achievement testing of students attending such schools in order to insure that such schools are offering instruction in the basic skills listed in this subsection. Any arrangements for visitation or testing shall be made through a parent representative of each such school. The results of such testing may be used as evidence that such schools are offering instruction in such basic skills but shall not be used to measure, compare, or evaluate the competency of students at such schools. (3) The provisions of subsections (3) through (5) of this section shall apply to any private, denominational, or parochial school in the State of Nebraska which elects not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements. Elections pursuant to such subsections shall be effective when a statement is received by the Commissioner of Education signed by the parents or legal guardians of all children attending such private, denominational, or parochial school, stating that (a) the requirements for approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education violate sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents or legal guardians, (b) an authorized representative of such parents or legal guardians will at least annually submit to the Commissioner of Education the information necessary to prove that the requirements of subdivisions (i) through (iii) of this subsection are satisfied, (c) the school offers the courses of instruction required by subsections (2) and (3) of this section, and (d) the parents or legal guardians have satisfied themselves that individuals monitoring instruction at such school are qualified to monitor instruction in the basic skills as required by subsections (2) and (3) of this section and that such individuals have demonstrated an alternative competency to monitor instruction or supervise children pursuant to subsections (3) through (5) of this section.
Each such school shall
- (i) meet minimum requirements relating to health, fire, and safety standards prescribed by state law and the rules and regulations of the State Fire Marshal,
- (ii) report attendance pursuant to section 79-201, and
- (iii) maintain a sequential program of instruction designed to lead to basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health.The State Board of Education shall establish procedures for receiving information and reports required by subsections (3) through (5) of this section from authorized parent representatives who may act as agents for parents or legal guardians of students attending such school and for individuals monitoring instruction in the basic skills required by this subsection.
The Regulation of Private Schools In America: A State-by-State Analysis Nebraska law provides for accredited private schools, approved private schools, and schools that elect to comply with limited state regulation. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-328(5)(c).
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Private, denominational and parochial schools must comply with accreditation standards or approval requirements established by the State Board of Education, or parents may elect to comply with state requirements, Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-1701(2)-(4), when state accreditation and approval requirements violate sincerely held religious beliefs of parents/guardians. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-328(5)(c).
When parents elect to enroll their children in schools that do not meet state accreditation or approval requirements, parent/guardians must sign a statement that a) the accreditation and approval requirements violate sincerely held religious beliefs; b) an authorized representative of parent/guardians will submit annually to the Commissioner of Education information to show the school meets minimum requirements relating to health, fire, and safety standards; report attendance records; maintain a sequential program of instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health; and that parent/guardians are satisfied that individuals monitoring instruction are qualified and have demonstrated an alternative competency. The State Board may require visitation of these schools and regular achievement testing. Nothing in these requirements shall be construed to interfere with religious instruction. Schools that are not inspected by an area or diocesan representative holding a Nebraska Administrative and Supervisory Certificate or a Nebraska Professional Administrative and Supervisory Certificate must be inspected twice a year by local superintendents. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-1701(2); 79-1703. Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools must notify in writing persons enrolling new students that within 30 days they must provide a certified copy of the student’s birth certificate or other reliable proof of the student’s identity and age with an affidavit explaining why the birth certificate is inaccessible. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 43-2007(2). On the third day of classes, private, denominational, and parochial schools in a Class I district must forward to the County Superintendent the names, ages, grades and addresses of every student enrolled. In all other districts, the information must be filed with the district Superintendent. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-207. Private, denominational, and parochial school teachers must keep a record of the name, age, and address of each child enrolled, the number and county of the school district, the number of days present and absent, and the cause of absence. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-207. Length of School Year/Day: Under Nebraska’s compulsory education statute, students must attend not less than 1,032 instruction hours for elementary school and 1,080 instructional hours for high school. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-201. The state may impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education based on its responsibility for the education of its citizens. Douglas v. Faith Baptist Church, 301 N.W.2d 571 (1981). Instruction in English: Instruction must be given in the English language in private, denominational and parochial schools. Neb. Const. Art. I, Sec. 27.
Teacher Certification: Private, denominational, and parochial school teachers in accredited and approved schools must hold a valid Nebraska certificate or permit issued by the Commissioner of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-1233. Employees of schools electing not to be accredited or approved are not required to meet certification requirement but must take appropriate subject matter components of a nationally recognized teacher competency examination or offer evidence of competence through informal methods of evaluation developed by the State Board of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-1701(3).
Curriculum: Private, denominational, and parochial schools, K-5, must devote at least one hour per week for stories of American history and American heroes, singing patriotic songs and memorization of the Star Spangled Banner and America and the development of reverence for the flag and proper conduct in its presentation. In 2 grades from grades 5-8, private, denominational, and parochial schools must devote at least 3 periods per week for American history from approved textbooks, taught to make the course interesting and attractive, and to develop a love of country. In at least 2 grades of every high school, 3 periods per week must be devoted to civics, including the constitutions of the United States and Nebraska, the benefits and advantages of our form of government, the dangers and fallacies of Nazism, communism, and similar ideologies, and the duties of citizenship. Appropriate patriotic exercises must be held for Lincoln’s birthday, Washington’s birthday, Flag Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day. Nebraska requires that all of these history courses stress contributions of all ethnic groups in the growth of America, art music, education, medicine, literature, science, politics, government and war service. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-213. Private schools must provide regular periods of instruction on fire dangers and fire prevention. Neb.Rev. Stat. ? 79-4, 123. Private schools may request materials for a comprehensive health education course prepared by the Commissioner of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-4, 140.18.
Private, parochial and denominational school teachers must give special emphasis in their instruction to common honesty, morality, courtesy, obedience to law, respect for the national flag, the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of Nebraska, respect for parents and the home, the dignity and necessity of honest labor, and other lessons which promote an upright and desirable citizenry. Neb. Rev. Stat. ? 79-214.