Proposed homeschooling changes postponed

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Updated: Fri, 08 Nov 2013 06:35:14 CST

The Nebraska Department of Education is holding off on proposed rule changes for home schooling.

The changes were intended to avoid truancy issues, but instead they've caused a lot of confusion.

This all stemmed from a case that made its way to the Nebraska Supreme Court this past spring.

A Farnam couple was convicted of violating the state's truancy laws. They didn't notify state officials on their decision to home school before the public school year started.

The Nebraska Supreme Court sided with the couple, so the Department of Education took action to prevent other families from making the same mistake.

Kelly Luvaas has homeschooled her 3 kids for the past 11 years.

As a board member of the South Central Home Educator's Association-she sees a lot of parents with questions over the proposed changes in recent months.

"As far as I could see, their wording on it wasn't done real well. It sort of made it look like everybody regardless of if they were renewing or if they were a new homeschooler would sign up by July first." Said Luvaas.

The proposed changes would move the annual notification date from July 15th to the 1st, but according to Russ Inbody with the Department of Education, families could still decide to home school after that date.

Luvaas enjoys the freedom of timing and curriculum that homeschooling her kids allows.

She says there's been a drastic increase in the number of families choosing the same path in recent years.

There's nearly 150 homeschooling families in the Hastings area alone.

She says the new rules make it more difficult to home school instead of being easier.

"They kind of just had this quick, knee jerk reaction and wanted to throw out these changes without really thinking it through and getting the opinions of the thousands of people in the state that it affects." Said Luvaas.

Her concerns were echoed by hundreds of parents at a public hearing last month.

Questions still linger over when parents can pull kids out of public school to start home schooling.

Inbody told News 5 on Friday,"We need to make that clear and it wasn't clear in the changes."

The Department of Education plans on meeting with home schooling organizations in the state to hear their opinions.

It could be a matter of months before they submit any new changes to the Board of Education for approval.