More Nebraska Parents Are Homeschooling This Year

Sept. 16, 2020, 3:29 p.m. ·

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More families than ever are filing homeschool applications this year and there are more phone calls and memberships requests to homeschool associations in Nebraska.

Home schooling is nothing new, but because of the pandemic, families who’ve never considered it before are now. The Nebraska Department of Education received more than 13,000 fillings this school year for homeschool students, a 56% increase compared to last year.

Kathryn Dillow is the president of Nebraska Home School, a non-profit association that helps support parents of homeschool children statewide. She said the department’s report reflects the significant increase they’ve had in homeschool inquiries.

"We in the past would maybe get anywhere from 10 to 12 inquiries per month in previous years, but then when COVID started, everything just took off," Dillow said. "We were holding several mentoring sessions via Zoom because the quantity was so large."

Austin Martinez is the vice chair for the Valley Home School Association, a homeschooling information and organization in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She said typically, the members of the association are long standing homeschool educators, but not this school year.

"This year we did see a higher than normal number of families who did not intend to homeschool. Some of them are younger families that were kind of waiting to see what the public schools did," Martinez said. "We did see a couple families with younger children who just didn't like the policies of the school."

She said they’ve seen roughly a 10% increase in families in the homeschool association compared to last year. This year they have roughly 200 active children or 63 families.