How Do I Homeschool In Iowa?


Homeschooling was the go-to option for families who lived in remote areas, moved around a lot, or athletes who needed the schedule flexibility. But in the last year, homeschooling has made a comeback, and more parents are interested in their children learning at home. So how do you homeschool in Iowa?

To homeschool in Iowa, you must first inform the school in writing of the student’s withdrawal, choose the homeschooling option that better fits your family, ensure you comply with all the state laws, and let the teaching begin.

Below you will find all the information you need to start homeschooling in Iowa, so read on!

Homeschooling Options For The State Of Iowa

When it comes to homeschooling, people usually picture a parent next to the child focused on some math; fortunately, in Iowa, there are other options besides that one. The state of Iowa legally allows five homeschooling options for a child:

  1. Independent Private Instructor. This is a non-credited school that can enroll no more than four students from different families. These are the requirements:
  2. Teach the five required subjects: math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies.
  3. No forms are required to be filed, but the school officials can request information at any time, and it must be made available to them.
  4. Students won’t have access to public school activities. Still, they can participate in the driver education program and take community classes if the school had previously arranged them under the concurrent enrollment program.
  5. There is not a specified number of days that the student must attend class.
  6. Private Instruction (PI). The teaching must be provided in a location that is not a school.
  7. There are no requirements to teach a particular subject.
  8. No annual assessments are required.
  9. There’s no need to report to the school officials, a least initially.
  10. Students won’t have access to public school activities. Still, they can participate in the driver education program and take community classes if the school had previously arranged them under the concurrent enrollment program.
  11. There is a requirement of 148 days per school year and 37 days per quarter of classes received.
  12. Homeschooling with a supervising teacher. A qualified teacher must contact the child twice, every 45 days of instruction, and at least one of those meetings must be face to face. But a parent with an appropriate license can be their own child’s supervising teacher.
  13. Initial reporting is required, and a CPI Report Form A must be submitted.
  14. There are no school subjects required by law.
  15. There is the option of dual enrollment so the student would have access to public school activities.
  16. There is a requirement of 148 days per school year and 37 days per quarter of classes received.
  17. Homeschooling with annual assessments. Annual assessments are required, and the three that are allowed under the law of Iowa are Standardized Testing Results Report, Portfolio Evaluation Report, and Accredited Correspondence School Report. These annual tests must provide results on the specific subjects of math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies.
  18. Initial reporting is required, and a CPI Report Form A must be submitted.
  19. There is the option of dual enrollment so the student would have access to public school activities.
  20. There is a requirement of 148 days per school year and 37 days per quarter of classes received.
  21. Home School Assistance Program (HSAP). This program is available for students who do not wish to enroll in public school.
  22. Initial reporting is required, and a CPI Report Form A must be submitted.
  23. A qualified HSAP supervising teacher must contact the child twice, every 45 days of instruction, and at least one of those meetings must be face to face.
  24. There are no school subjects required by Iowa law but HSAP
  25. can decide on their own rules or regulations.
  26. There is the option of dual enrollment so the student would have access to public school activities.
  27. There is a requirement of 148 days per school year and 37 days per quarter of classes received.

All five options require a formal withdrawal from the school, whether in the middle of the school year or before the new one starts. Also, regardless of the type of homeschooling is chosen, students in Iowa have Parent-Taught Driver Education available.

Before You Begin Homeschooling

Choosing a homeschool is difficult, but it is not just saying yes to it. Many things go into place before the actual teaching and learning process starts. Creating a checklist of the things to keep in mind is an excellent way to start:

  • Where should the “classroom” go? The space dedicated to the learning process must be free of distractions. The location designated within the home should be where people won’t constantly be walking by, with good lighting and set up with a desk and a proper chair. The desk should be equipped with all the necessary tools and materials to use during the class.
  • What time does class start? Setting up a schedule would be the next step, but it shouldn’t come from the parent only. Children should be involved in setting up the hours for each day, along with breaks or pauses. When children are included in the decision-making, it feels less like an imposition and more of a responsibility.
  • How much will this cost? The cost associated with homeschooling is directly proportional to the resources used.
  • When deciding to go with a certified teacher, the budget can get up to $100 or more per hour (resources may or may not be included in this rate).
  • If choosing an online homeschooling program, monthly fees could be applied, and all resources would have to be covered by the parent.
  • When the parents do all the planning and supervision, the only cost would be the resources to use. This would be the most affordable option available.

What Are The State Laws?

With the state of Iowa having different options for homeschooling available, most state laws will apply to some but not all. Here are all the mandated regulations, but remember that not all will be required depending on the homeschooling option you decide.

  • Mandatory attendance.
  • A specific number of classroom hours.
  • State-mandated subjects.
  • Assessments ordered.
  • Immunization requirements.
  • Notification is required from the parents.
  • Records and reporting are needed from the parents.

Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum

Iowa doesn’t have a homeschool curriculum, so parents can tailor their classes to the teaching model that better fits their children. Still, depending on the homeschooling option the parents choose, specific subjects may be required. To get your curriculum search started, here are a few popular homeschool curriculum options other families have chosen:

  1. ABC Mouse
  2. Adventure Academy
  3. School House Teachers
  4. Calvert
  5. Abeka
  6. Alpha Omega Publications
  7. Khan Academy

Record Keeping For Homeschooled Students

Iowa homeschooled students are not required to present their records but are encouraged to keep them as they may be necessary for future requests in higher education. Some of the things that the parent should save are as follows:

  • Attendance records.
  • Health records.
  • Assignment records.
  • Test scores and grades.
  • Transcripts if a high school student.
  • Homeschooling and Special Education Services
  • If the parent of a child with special needs wishes to homeschool their child, they do not need authorization from the state to provide adequate education to such child. Parents should follow the regular homeschooling regulations for the state of Iowa.

Using online services like Homeschool Panda https://www.homeschoolpanda.com/, Applecore https://www.applecoresystem.com/, and Homeschool Tracker https://www.homeschooltracker.com/ make record keeping easier and manageable.  

Homeschooled Students And Public School Access

Homeschooled students in Iowa can access public school programs and activities as long as the homeschooling option they follow allows dual enrollment.

Testing and Graduation Requirements

Testing requirements are available under the homeschooling option the student belongs to. For graduation purposes, the parents are the ones who set their children’s needs for graduation and receiving a diploma. If students seek higher education, they must research what a particular college or university requires and meet such qualifications.

Field Trips For Homeschooled Students

Field trips would fall under the same benefits of a public school program. Activities such as field trips will be made available if a student has dual enrollment as a supplemental part of the homeschooling experience.

Homeschool Associations, Groups, and Co-Ops

The experience of a public school may be hard to accomplish while homeschooling. This is why being part of a co-op or homeschool group can be substantial. You’ll get first-hand information on how to improve your child’s school experience. some of these groups are as follows:

  • Dubuque Area Homeschoolers
  • Iowa City Secular Homeschool Group
  • HEED “Home Educators for Excellence in Des Moines”
  • Central IA Homeschool Band & Instrumental Music Lessons/Classes
  • Central Iowa Homeschool Softball
  • FISH Homeschooling Co-op
  • Hoeden At Home Co-op
  • 360* Homeschool Co-op

School At Home

Homeschooling is a personal choice that has been around for many years, mainly in rural areas, and done out of convenience. Still, with times changing, it has become an alternative for many and not just as a last resort. If homeschooling is the right choice right now, get going and get all the info before you start.

Sources:

https://www.wrdw.com/content/news/Schools-in-danger-of-losing-their-accreditation

https://www.care.com/c/how-much-does-a-tutor-cost

https://hslda.org/post/how-to-comply-with-iowas-homeschool-law

https://homeschooliowa.org/iowa-law/competent-private-instruction-cpi/cpi-option-2-opt-in-reporting/

https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/state-laws/iowa-homeschool-state-laws.html

https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/iowa

https://hslda.org/post/special-education-provisions-for-iowa

Heather Hanrahan

Thought creator. Idea harvester. Builder of things. Nature and natural beauty admirer. I enjoy traveling (constant wanderlust), photography, hot springs, mountains, beaches, hiking, books, music for the mood, sci-fi, water, wine, and coffee. I speak fluent sarcasm and laugh at my own jokes. I spend most of my time working on my websites, learning and trying new things, finding myself on hiking trails, and discovering my next favorite song.

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