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August 19, 2013

Revolutionary Improvement IV: The Five Homeschool Options Compared


Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Iowa. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

Comparison Chart

View HSLDA’s side-by-side comparison of the five lawful options for homeschooling in Iowa (member’s-only resource).

With the enactment of House File 215, Iowa families now have five lawful options from which to choose when embarking on the homeschool voyage. Bear in mind that if you are going to file a Form A, it is due September 1.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the main features of the five options.

Option 1: Supervising Teacher

A type of competent private instruction, requires filing the private instruction report (Form A)

Nothing has changed about this option except: parent-taught driver education is available, as well as public school driver education programs. The full range of dual enrollment benefits is available. Free testing is available without dual enrolling (because of HF 454); 148 days of instruction (including 37 per school quarter) is required. The family selects and pays for the supervising teacher. No year-end assessment is required.

Option 2: Home School Assistance Program

A type of competent private instruction funded by a local public school, requires filing the private instruction report (Form A)

Nothing has changed about this option except: parent-taught driver education is available, as well as public school driver education programs. The full range of dual enrollment benefits is available. Free testing is available without dual enrolling (because of HF 454); 148 days of instruction (including 37 per school quarter) is required. This is often abbreviated “HSAP.”

Option 3: Private Instruction (PI) With filing the private instruction report (Form A)

A type of competent private instruction, a year-end assessment is required

This is virtually the same as Option 1, except the family does not use a supervising teacher. The family turns in a year-end assessment instead. This is a new option this year, but it is virtually identical to what we formerly knew as CPI using the assessment option. The full range of dual enrollment benefits is available. (Note: this explanation of PI is different from and supersedes what we said earlier.) Free testing is available without dual enrolling (because of HF 454).

Option 4: Private Instruction (PI) Without filing the private instruction report

A type of competent private instruction, nothing ever needs to be filed

This new option comes with no red tape. But the family must (1) provide instruction; (2) use a plan; (3) and use a course of study. The only dual enrollment-type benefits available are free testing from the public school, access to public school driver education programs, and parent-taught driver education.

Option 5: Independent Private Instruction

A brief informational report must be submitted only if the family receives a request

This new option comes with almost no red tape. If the local school superintendent or the Iowa Department of Education sends an individual written request, the family must report the child’s name, primary instructor, location, and person or entity responsible for the instruction. The family must teach math, science, social studies and reading-language arts. Only the following dual enrollment-type benefits are available: community college class concurrent enrollment, free testing, and public school driver education programs. If the Option 5 program itself enrolls more than four unrelated students, charges tuition or fees, becomes accredited, or holds itself out as a school, it will no longer qualify as Independent Private Instruction.

If you choose an option that requires filing a Form A, keep in mind that blood lead testing may be required for your child, and immunization information must be submitted the first time the form is filed with respect to that child.

Since there are now five homeschool options, we believe it is appropriate to give each option its own number (as we have done above) for the sake of easy reference and clarity.

Just a “heads up”—the Department of Education’s Handbook and Form A use a different system for labeling the various options. They use the term “option 1” to refer to both Option 1 and Option 2 above. They use the term “option 2” to refer to both Option 3 and Option 4 above. They give no option number to Option 5 above. The Handbook and Form A are available online.

Coming soon: the fifth and final article in this series, and HSLDA’s new and completely revised summary of Iowa homeschool law!

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