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Are you considering homeschooling in Iowa? I’d love to welcome you to a home education adventure in our great state!
I’ve been homeschooling in Iowa since the 1980’s – back when Iowa law did not even recognize homeschooling as an educational option. It was an honor to work alongside other dedicated parents to change that, and, in 1991, a state law was passed to govern home education in Iowa. Since that time, I’ve been involved as a board member and, now, as administrative assistant for the statewide homeschool organization, Homeschool Iowa.
After over thirty years, our family is still thoroughly enjoying our homeschool journey. Most of our nine children have graduated and moved successfully on to college and employment. Even more important, however, our family has built strong relationships that extend into our children’s adulthoods.
Your family, too, can experience an amazing homeschool journey.
How to Begin Homeschooling in Iowa
1) Define WHY you want to homeschool
Begin with a simple foundational statement about why you believe that homeschooling is best for your family.
Need some help or clarity? Check out the reasons why others have chosen to home educate their children in the Homeschool Iowa online Start Homeschooling guide.
2) Learn about Iowa’s homeschooling laws
In Iowa, the compulsory school attendance age span is 6-16, determined on September 15th of each school year.
In this state, we have a wide variety of educational options for our children including options that have no public-school involvement and options that allow you to homeschool while also having access to public school classes, activities, and/or programs through dual enrollment.
If you DO want public school access, you’ll file a Form A and either:
arrange for licensed teacher supervision from a privately hired or public-school-provided teacher
turn in annual assessment results at the end of the school year.
If you DO NOT want public school access, you can use one of the options that does not require reporting and does not have supervision and testing requirements.
Below is a quick overview comparison chart, but I encourage you to visit the Homeschool Iowa website for more details about the five legal homeschool options in Iowa.
3) Choose WHAT homeschool approach you will use
Decide upon the homeschooling method that will work best for you and your student. You’ll find a list of the most common approaches in the Homeschool Iowa online Start Homeschooling guide. Make sure to consider your family dynamics and your child’s learning style when making this choice.
Select educational materials based upon your choice. Again, the Start Homeschooling guide offers resource links to help you.
Remember that, if what you start with doesn’t work well, it’s okay to change and try something different.
4) Relax and Explore
Relax! Homeschooling is a journey with a lot of twists and turns. You do not need to have your child’s complete education plan from now until they graduate figured out before you start.
Be reassured in knowing that there is no single “perfect” way to home educate, and you can continually make adjustments along the way. Spend some time talking to experienced homeschoolers, reading about home education, visiting curriculum websites, and deciding what you want your homeschool to look like.
Finally, use the listed resources below to help your homeschooling adventure start out well!
Homeschooling in Iowa Resources
- Homeschool Iowa Website
- Iowa Homeschooling Options Information and Comparison Chart
- Start Homeschooling, a 10-page step-by-step guide
- Homeschool Iowa Regional Representatives: Experienced moms who can answer your questions
- Explanations of various homeschooling styles and tools
- Information about homeschooling special needs students and access to Special Needs Advisors
- Guidance for homeschooling high school, accessing college courses, and preparing transcripts
- Referrals to homeschool co-ops and groups across the state
- Referrals to homeschool supervising teachers in Iowa
- Legislative Advocacy Team and Legislative Liaison
- Homeschool Iowa Blog
Homeschooling in Iowa Publications & Events
- Grab this FREE print magazine delivered to your mailbox three times a year
- Email updates with events calendar, discounts, website member portal, and more for Homeschool Iowa members
- Annual Homeschool Iowa Graduation service for homeschooled students
- Annual Homeschool Iowa Conference providing resources and information
- Annual Homeschool Iowa Capitol Day event
Homeschooling in Iowa Social Media Pages
- Homeschool Iowa Facebook page
- Homeschool Iowa Facebook Discussion Group
- Homeschool Iowa Facebook Marketplace Group
- There are also 18 Regional Discussion Groups on Facebook for connecting with local homeschoolers
I hope this helps equip you with information for your journey homeschooling in Iowa! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: what are your favorite resources and tips for homeschooling in Iowa? Let me know!
And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):
Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.
About the Author
Julie Naberhaus has been homeschooling her nine children for over 30 years in a family farm home in Iowa since the 1980’s. She and her husband were founding members of NICHE, Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (now known as Homeschool Iowa) and served 17 years until 2009, when Julie stepped into the Homeschool Iowa Administrative Assistant role. She is passionate about encouraging families on their homeschool journeys. Homeschool Iowa is the statewide homeschool organization in Iowa, a nonprofit run by a volunteer board of directors that is dedicated toward efforts to equip and encourage homeschooling families, and to promote home education and preserve homeschool freedom in Iowa.
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