Uncertainty surrounding the 2020-21 school year has parents considering homeschooling
Homeschool filings are up 21% per the Nebraska Department of Education.
Home school filings are on the rise in Nebraska.
According to the Nebraska Department of Education, homeschool filings are up 21% from last year. COVID-19 can be considered a contributing factor to the rise in filings, as there have been 25,157 positive cases and 321 deaths in Nebraska to date.
Liz Davids is the president of Heartland Home Schoolers, an organization that serves as a support group for homeschool families in Lincoln. She’s noticed the change.
“There’s lots of conversations about, ‘I don’t want my children to wear masks,’ or ‘I’m concerned that we might go back to remote learning and that was really a struggle for my children,'” Davids said. “There have been hundreds more parents who are considering this.”
In Nebraska, there is a homeschool law known as Rule 13, which gives parents the option of applying for exemption election. In other words, parents have the ability to decide not to have their children attend a state-approved school. In order to do so, parent representatives must provide information about the instructors who will be teaching their students, the curriculum, and the resources that they will use to teach. Instructors are required to teach a minimum of 1,080 hours in secondary schools (9-12) and 1,032 hours in elementary schools (K-8) in the subjects of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health.
“I think it’s exciting and encouraging and scary for [parents], but a lot of people are considering it,” Heartland Home Schoolers membership coordinator Tori Ryan said.
Exemption election submissions are due every year before July 15, although there is a provision that allows parents to apply after that date.
Heartland Home Schools is one of several organizations that assists homeschool families in the Lincoln area. They provide several resources to families including 12 to 15 enrichment and educational events for children, like spelling bees and science fairs, as well as community forums and classified advertisements.
Davids and Ryan both homeschooled their children. They can relate to what parents considering home school for their kids are feeling.
“A lot of the same things that people are thinking right now are exactly what we thought when we started to think about homeschooling,” Ryan said.
“I would say that you could do it,” Davids said. “A lot of us start off really terrified and feeling insecure like there’s no way I could possibly educate my own child and as we step into that journey and we find out that there’s a lot of wonderful curriculum choices, there’s a lot of curriculum choices that meet our individual children’s needs and that we love to do so we get to learn with our kids.”