Iowa Homeschool Laws

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Iowa Homeschooling Laws

Iowa Homeschool Laws
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Homeschooling in Iowa

To homeschool in Iowa, there are five options under which families can legally homeschool. Parents are free to choose the option that best meets their family’s needs. The 5 options to homeschool in Iowa are:

Option 1: Homeschooling by Independent Private Instruction (IPI)
Option 2: Homeschooling by Private Instruction (PI)
Option 3: Homeschooling with a Supervising Teacher
Option 4: Homeschooling with an annual assessment
Option 5: Homeschooling with a Home School Assistance Program (HSAP)
The legal criteria will differ depending on which choice you select. To prevent any issues, each method has a set of rules that must be followed. This page contains information on these rules as well as information on:

· The requirements to homeschool in Iowa

· Notice of intent to homeschool

· Recordkeeping for homeschoolers in Iowa

· Requirements for graduation

· Switching from homeschool to public school


*This information is by no means intended as legal advice; its purpose is merely informational. It is each parent’s responsibility to get informed and understand the applicable homeschooling laws which regulate homeschooling in his or her state.

Requirements and Laws on Homeschooling in Iowa

The law in Iowa mandates all children between 7 and 15 years of age to receive compulsory education, either in public school or a homeschool. Parents make the decision as to which option is best for their child. In Iowa, homeschooling has few regulations that must be observed. The options of homeschooling include:

1. Independent Private Instruction (IPI)

Below are requirements under this option:

· The local superintendentmay request through writing for a report with the particulars of the homeschool including the number of students, their names, the address of the homeschool, the name of the instructor as well as the authority for independent instruction.

· With prior notice from the parent, the student shall sit for a standardized test provided by the district at no cost. No annual evaluation is forced on students.

· Include math, science, social studies, reading and language art as part of the subjects to be taught.

· The student shall not participate in extracurricular activities or have dual-enrollment under IPI.

· There is no time limit set to give instruction or teach a subject in a year.

Some of the programs homeschoolers may access from public schools include:

· Free testing

· Undertake a driver education program

· Attend community college classes offered by the local school

IPI homeschoolers are denied access to other programs available for other homeschoolers such as:

· Dual enrollment for classes or access to participate in extracurricular activities

· Driver education taught by parent/guardian

· Post high school classes, enrollment college classes

· Open enrollment to other public schools

2. Competent Private Instruction, with opt-out Reporting

The requirements include:

· Have 148 days of instruction every year and 37 days every schoolquarter.

· The instruction may be given by:

I. A licensed practitioner

Under this option:

i. Immunization evidence shall be required

ii. Form A shall be submitted before 1st September to the school district.

iii. A record of the progress made by the student

Students are allowed to participate in extracurricular activities including athletics and special education. Dual enrollment is also allowed.

II. A person not licensed

Under this option:

i. Form A may be submitted before 1st September to the school district.

ii. Students are allowed to participate in extracurricular activities including athletics and special education.

iii. Dual enrollment is also allowed upon submission of annual results and form A

This method allows homeschoolers to participate in:

· Post high school classes and enrollment college classes.

· A free test offered at the local school

· A driver education provided in the public school

3. Competent Private Instruction, with Opt-In Reporting

Form A must be submitted before 1st September of every homeschool year. For students starting homeschool program in the middle of the year, the form must be submitted within 14 days of beginning the homeschool program, at least partially completed but must be fully completed and submitted within 30 days. The form shall include information regarding the child’s age and immunization records. The following information is required:

· The amount of time in days the instruction will be given. 148 being the minimum.

· The course books used

· The identification of the child; that is name and age.

· The subjects taught, time spent learning and the plan used to give instruction.

i. The child must be evaluated before 1st May and have the results submitted to the school by 30th June. The evaluation is for children in grade 5 and below which shall include language arts, math and reading.

ii. For grade 6 and above the assessment shall be for the following subjects: math, language arts, science and social studies.

iii. When the child turns 7, an assessment has to be filed by 15th September of that year and submitted to the local school. For children older than 7, the evaluation shall be submitted after the 1st homeschool year.

With this option, parents are allowed to teach their child driver education (provided there were not under IPI during the previous year). Homeschoolers are denied some programs such as:

· Post high school classes and enrollment college classes.

· Open enrollment to other public schools

· Dual enrollment for classes or access to participate in extracurricular activities

For the homeschooler to access these programs, he/she is required to fill Form A and be enrolled in dual schooling before the deadline or meet the qualifications provided in option 3, 4 or be part of the home school assistance program. Undertaking either of the above options changes the option the student is considered to be homeschooled under.

4. Competent private Instruction with Teacher of your choice

  • The teacher has to be licensed in Iowa
  • A parent with a teaching license from Iowa state can act as the teacher
  • A parent has to submit Form A in 14 days of beginning the homeschool program

Students are allowed to take part in dual enrollment; the application has to reach the school before 15th September to have the child granted access to classes and extracurricular activities

5. Competent Private Instruction with Homeschool Assistance Program (HSAP)

  • Submit Form A before 1stSeptember of every year
  • HSAP is a program offered in public schools but a student in this program is not considered a public school student
  • Parents starting the homeschool program in the course of the school year shall submit a partially completed Form A within 14 days of starting the program and have it fully completed within 30 days.


Notice of Intent to Homeschool in Iowa

There is no law in Iowa that requires parents to file a notice of intent to start a homeschool program. Each option of homeschooling in Iowa has different requirements; the option the parent chooses may or may not require him/her to submit a form that acts as a notice of intent to start a homeschool.


Recordkeeping for Homeschoolers in Iowa

In as much as it is not a requirement by law to maintain records, it is beneficial when creating homeschool transcripts, returning to public or private school after homeschooling, applying to colleges, universities, and workplaces, as well as the military. Some of the things parents should include in the homeschool portfolio are:

· A detailed high school transcript for students in high school

· A report of the progress made each year

· A record of the standardized tests taken, if any, and the results thereof

· Health records

· Samples of completed assignments

Requirements for Graduation in Iowa

Homeschool parents in Iowa are free to set the graduation requirements for their student. Parents also determine if and when their student will graduate and are also able to award a high school diploma under their own terms. Parents are advised to consult with colleges the student may be interested in to know the requirements the child must meet so as to align the homeschool goals and curriculum with those requirements.

The chart below shows the comparison between graduation requirements in public school and homeschool in Iowa.

 Public/Private SchoolHomeschool

Diploma requirements in Iowa

To graduate, the student must complete 24 credits to be awarded a diploma in Iowa.

Parents in Iowa have the liberty to determine if and when their student will graduate. They then proceed to award the high school diploma under their own terms. Institutions also give diplomas to students in private/online schools.

Testing requirements in Iowa N/A

There is no law in Iowa that compels or forces homeschoolers to undertake a test as a requirement in order to graduate high school.

Iowa high school transcripts

Transcripts shall include particulars of the student, information on the attendance of the student, the totals of the credits taken, the test scores, a conclusive history of records that includes the grades awarded, the titles of the courses and the overall grade for each course taken.

Parents in Iowa can create the homeschoolers’ transcripts which may include information they considered relevant to institutions the homeschoolers may intend to apply to. This may include schools, colleges, workplace organizations, or the military.

High school course credits in Iowa

To graduate in Iowa, high school students must obtain the following:

  • Language arts: 4 credits
  • Mathematics: (Algebra 1 - 1 credit, Other math - 2 credits, Consumer Math or Intro to Business - 0.5 credit)
  • Science: 3 credits (Physical Science - 1 credit, Biology - 1 credit, Other science - 1 credit) 
  • Social studies: 3 credits (Geography - 1 credit, U.S. History - 1 credit, American Government - 0.5 credit, Economics - 0.5 credit)
  • Physical education: 2 credits
  • Health: 1 credit
  • Personal Finance: 2 credits
  • Fine Arts: 0.5 credit
  • Successful completion of a CPR training course

Parents decide when it is time for their student to graduate high school in Iowa. Many parents choose to specify or assign academic credits to the courses taken during the homeschooling period as this may aid during the transcript creation process.

Eligibility for GED in Iowa

To take the Iowa GED test, you must meet the following eligibility requirements: At least 18 years of age or older. Iowa resident. Withdrawn from high school for a minimum of six months

Homeschoolers in Iowa are eligible if the meet the same criteria as public school students.


Homeschool High School Transcript Template

Track your homeschooler’s credits, courses, and accomplishments with this free homeschool high school transcript template.

Download the transcript template


Switching from Homeschooling to Public School in Iowa

Each school in Iowa applies different guidelines for grade placement and enrollment of students. You will find that some schools in Iowa let you register your child for the grade you wish him/her to attend while others require information on the student’s progress and the curriculum used during homeschooling. Other schools in Iowa will have your child take an assessment test to determine the appropriate grade level your child belongs in. Lernsys Homeschooling provides transcripts and curriculum records which include course average grade/final grade, quizzes/tests grades, lessons and topics covered, among other things. Lernsys Homeschooling makes it easy to keep a summary of the curriculum used including grades, topics covered, quiz and test scores, teacher credentials, etc.


Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Iowa

Have other questions about homeschooling in Iowa? You may find the following pages helpful.



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