Originally Sent: 7/3/2013

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Revolutionary Improvement III: New “Private Instruction” Homeschool Option

Homeschooling in Iowa

Your support helped bring greater freedom.

Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In this, the third installation of HSLDA’s comprehensive explanation of the epochal advance of homeschool freedom in Iowa wrought by HF 215, we explain the new “private instruction” (PI) option.

Before the enactment of HF 215, “private instruction” (PI) had an official definition, but it seemed oddly out of place. Like a useless appendage, it served no function at all.

But HF 215 takes PI, The Weakling, and turns it into PI, The Man of Steel. Now it is a stand-alone homeschool option. The only requirements are the three contained within the definition itself: “instruction using a plan and course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school.” You must therefore: (1) provide instruction: (2) use a plan; and (3) use a course of study.

Serious Freedom

Under the PI option you do not need to file a CPI form—or any other kind of form. Nor do you need to file a year-end assessment or hire a supervising teacher.

These requirements seem minimal compared to the morass of red tape families faced before, but they should be taken seriously. If a PI family is challenged in court, they will need to present evidence that they instructed their children in good faith with a plan and course of study. While these requirements for PI are more subjective than those that apply to the other homeschool options, they are clear enough to permit appropriate enforcement.

PI could be summarized this way: the red tape is gone; the substance remains.

Because the requirements for PI are somewhat subjective, it will be slightly harder for you to prove your compliance in court. Therefore, if you believe your homeschool program is especially vulnerable to a court challenge—like from a disaffected spouse or because of prior unfavorable encounters with government agencies—you may want to pick a homeschool option other than PI. You could chose CPI, or IPI, or PI with the optional protocol, which I will explain below.

Optional Protocol

HF 215 sets up an optional protocol that families choosing PI can follow if they wish. Under the optional protocol, you file an annual notice, submit a year-end assessment, and show adequate annual progress. In fact, the optional protocol consists of essentially all the duties that were mandatory under what we formerly knew as CPI with the assessment option. So if your homeschool style has always been to follow CPI with the assessment option, you can simply switch to PI with the optional protocol and do virtually the same as you always have.

But just like the “Man of Steel” was surprised to find he turned weak in the presence of Kryptonite, PI has an inadvertent weakness. In the vigorous push to move the boundaries of freedom forward, the friendly legislator (to whom we are very grateful) who wrote the language for the PI option did not link it to dual enrollment, parent-taught or school-based driver education, or the post-secondary enrollment option program. This means that (until a patch can be installed), you should not count on getting access to any of those programs if you operate under PI, with or without the optional protocol.

We may experience a few growing pains as we expand into the new world of freedom that HF 215 has brought us. But HSLDA will be there every step of the way to help nurture and protect the spanking-new homeschool options.


Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel, HSLDA

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you. Thank you for all you do for freedom! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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