Iowa

Iowa’s homeschool statute offers three homeschool options.

  • Independent Private Instruction: Parents must provide instruction in math, science, reading and language arts, and social studies, but there are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.
  • Competent Private Instruction (option 1): Parents must provide annual notice and homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher who will record and monitor the child’s progress. There are no instruction time or subject requirements.
  • Competent Private Instruction (option 2): Parents must provide 148 days of instruction and students must make adequate progress, but there are no parent qualification, subjects of instruction, or bookkeeping requirements, and notification and assessment are optional.

(1) Homeschool Statute: Independent Private Instruction

The Independent Private Instruction option was passed into law in 2013. See Iowa Code § 299A.1(2)(b).

Notification: None. However, upon written request the parents must provide a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the independent instruction, and the names of the students enrolled. See Iowa Code § 299A.1(2)(b)(6).
Qualifications: None.
Days or hours: None.
Subjects: Parents must provide instruction in mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and social studies.
Bookkeeping: None.
Assessment: None.
Intervention: None.
Other: n/a

(2) Homeschool Statute: Competent Private Instruction option 1

This option involves instruction provided “by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.” 

Notification: The parent must file a form with the local school district by September 1 of each school year. This form should be accompanied by a copy of each student’s immunization records.
Qualifications: The parent must homeschool under the monitoring of a certified teacher (chosen by the parent).
Days or hours: Instruction must be provided for 148 days, to be broken down into at least 37 days each quarter.
Subjects: None.
Bookkeeping: None.
Assessment: The supervising teacher must monitor students’ progress.
Intervention: None.
Other: n/a

(3) Homeschool Statute: Competent Private Instruction option 2

This option involves instruction provided “by an unlicensed person.”

Notification: Parents must file a form with the local school district, but are exempted from this requirement if they do not intend for their children to participate in dual enrollment, extracurricular activities, or special needs services. This is called the private instruction exemption.
Qualifications: None.
Days or hours: Instruction must be provided for 148 days, to be broken down into at least 37 days each quarter.
Subjects: None.
Bookkeeping: None.
Assessment: Homeschool parents must have their children assessed by either standardized test or portfolio review and report the evaluations to their local school district, but are exempted from this requirement if they do not intend to have their children participate in dual enrollment, extracurricular activities, or special needs services. This is called the private instruction exemption.
Intervention: The law states that students must make “adequate progress.” If the student is not making adequate progress, the school district may approve continued homeschooling for up to one year under a remediation plan.
Other: n/a

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: CPI students (but not IPI students) may dual enroll in public school to attend individual classes.
Athletics: CPI students (but not IPI students) may dual enroll in public school to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics.
Special needs: All homeschooled students have access to special needs testing in their local public schools. CPI students (but not IPI students) may dual enroll in public school to receive special education services. If a child was previously enrolled in public school and identified as in need of special education services, parents will need to obtain written approval from the special education director to receive special education services as a homeschooled student.
Other: Some school districts operate Home School Assistance Programs (HSAP). These programs enroll CPI students and provide parents with assistance from certified teachers, materials and supplies, and supplemental instruction. Enrollment in a HSAP satisfies the CPI option 1 teacher monitoring requirement.

Background:

The early years of homeschooling in Iowa were difficult ones, as private instruction was not permitted without a teaching certificate. In 1991, Iowa homeschoolers successfully lobbied for House File 455, which made homeschooling without a teaching certificate legal, subject to certain requirements. In 2013, Rep. Matt Windschitl, assistant majority leader in the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives, added a deregulation amendment into House File 215, a bill to reform public education. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law. As a result, homeschooling in Iowa was completely deregulated.

For more, see A History of Homeschooling in Iowa.

Resources:

Iowa Code Section 299A

Private Instruction (Home Schooling), Iowa Department of Education

Private Instruction Comparison Chart, Iowa Department of Education

Private Instruction Handbook, Iowa Department of Education

Iowa, International Center for Home Education Research

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

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