July 3, 2013

Revolutionary Improvement III:
New “Private Instruction” Homeschool Option

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

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.

PI as a Type of CPI

PI can stand on its own two feet as a homeschool option. However, the Iowa Department of Education has also recognized PI as a type of CPI. This has opened the door for PI families to have access to public school driver education classes, parent-taught driver education, and community college concurrent enrollment classes. Free testing through the local public school is also available.

However, the post-secondary enrollment option (free or low cost college classes), regular public school classes, and public school extracurricular activities are only available to PI families if they also elect to follow the optional protocol.

PI With the Optional Protocol

The optional protocol involves filing the Form A and submitting a year-end assessment. PI with the optional protocol is very similar to—and actually takes the place of—what we formerly knew as CPI with the assessment option. Families who want the full array of dual enrollment benefits but do not want to hire a supervising teacher or join a HSAP should choose PI and follow 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.

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Protect Your Family

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 >>