Getting Started on Your Homeschool Journey
There is so much information about homeschooling that it can seem overwhelming. We've gathered information to help you make your homeschooling decision and to inform you about laws and other legal issues. Here you'll find research and statistics that support the notion that homeschooling provides specific advantages to children and families. And we'll help you take the first steps on the road of your own homeschooling adventure.
Why Homeschool?
The first step to homeschooling is making your decision to home educate your child. It is important to become informed and knowledgeable about some of the main concerns you may have. Explore these areas of our website to learn more about the initial decision to homeschool.
How to Begin
You've decided to homeschool your child! But what comes first? For many parents, knowing where to begin in the homeschooling process can be confusing. Although there seems to be so much information available, it may be hard to get your questions answered. We've put together some resources to start you on your journey, giving you the information and motivation you need to successfully begin to homeschool in Iowa.
Legal/Homeschool Laws
Laws that regulate home education vary from state to state. It is important to understand the legal requirements in your state and to be aware of legislative and other legal issues that affect homeschoolers in your community. We've compiled resources that will help you become informed. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and the vast majority of homeschoolers face no problems, you may find that you need legal assistance at some point in your homeschooling career. We've compiled a list of resources to help you find the support you need. And if you'd like to become more involved in working towards homeschooling freedoms, we discuss some of the issues facing homeschoolers that we hope you find compelling.
History of Homeschooling
How did homeschooling start? When did it become legal? Who were the key players in making homeschooling the social movement it is today? The story of the history of homeschooling in the United States is a compelling tale of dedication, innovative ideas, and personal conviction and sacrifice. We have put together a history of this educational and social phenomenon, hoping it will inspire you to learn from the early and more recent pioneers of home education in America.
What's Popular
Consider Your Style
When beginning to homeschool, you should spend some time considering yourself as a teacher. What are the common homeschool teaching approaches from which you can choose? Which one best fits you and your child? A thoughtful study of these parameters now will help you greatly when you prepare to select curriculum.
Iowa State Board of Education
The Iowa State Board of Education (State Board) works with the Iowa Department of Education (Department) to provide oversight, supervision, and support for the state education system that includes all public elementary and secondary schools, nonpublic schools that receive state accreditation, area education agencies (AEAs), community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.
Home School Supervising Teacher Visitation Log
This optional easy-to-use form is offered to help supervising teachers keep the required log of their visits with homeschooling families.
Necessary and Optional Forms and Resources
NICHE provides a wide variety of free materials that may be used by home educating families in Iowa.
299A.3 Private instruction by nonlicensed person.
A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age providing competent private instruction to the child shall meet all of the following requirements: 1. Complete and send, in a timely manner, the report required under section 299.4 to the school district of residence of the child. 2. Ensure that the child under the parent's, guardian's, or legal custodian's instruction is evaluated annually to determine whether the child is making adequate progress, as defin...
Test Administrator Certification Statement Form
If you choose to arrange for private -- rather than public school or AEA -- standardized testing for annual assessment purposes, this form may be attached to the submitted test results to provide added assurance that the standardized test was administered by a qualified test administrator using proper testing protocol as dictated by the test publisher.
Iowa School Districts
A listing of all the school districts in Iowa.
Private Instruction (Home Schooling)
Private Instruction is instruction using a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school. It includes competent private instruction (CPI) by a licensed practitioner or a nonlicensed person, independent private instruction (IPI), home school assistance programs (HSAP), and non-accredited nonpublic schools.
Homeschool Iowa Foundation
The Homeschool Iowa Foundation was created in December 2012 as a supporting organization of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE). Their mission is to build a legacy of funding and leadership for the advancement of Christian homeschooling and discipleship in Iowa.
Private Instruction Handbook: Home Schooling or Enrollment in a Non-Accredited "School"
This Department of Education publication is published annually to provide information for parents and school district officials on private instruction, including Competent Private Instruction (CPI) and Independent Private Instruction (IPI).
299A.5 Reporting of evaluation results.
The results of evaluations administered to children of compulsory attendance age who are under competent private instruction shall be reported by the evaluation administrator to the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the school district of residence of the child, and the department of education. Personally identifiable information relating to or contained in the evaluation scores is confidential and shall not be released without the prior consent of the child's parent, guardian, or cu...
Organize and Prepare
Home education is a lifestyle! This lifestyle is life-changing in many positive ways. Read over the ingredients for a successful home school, and organization, logistics, and discipline for your home school.
The Iowa Legislature
This website includes links to the Senate and House sections, legislators' contacts, pending legislation, and more.
CPI Student Eligibility Form
The Iowa Department of Education created this form for parents of CPI students to use when certifying that their students meet eligibility requirements set by state associations for participation in actvities accessed through dual enrollment.
Establish Your Goals
Take the time to think and pray about what you want to accomplish as you begin to homeschool your children. What type of goals should you set? What are the goal-writing basics? Setting goals now will help you as you select curriculum and chart your homeschooling success.
Resources
They're Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate

For many people, their schooling was uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes a waste of time and energy. This book offers the idea that the public school system is tragically flawed and that we are able to do better for our own children. Sam Sorbo, mom of three and wife of actor Kevin Sorbo, took the leap into homeschooling and found the joy and success she was seeking. Included are strategies for working parents, those who are scared to take the leap, and anyone who wants the best for their children. 

Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

The Homeschooling Revolution
A readable, scholarly overview of the modern day homeschooling movement. Includes vignettes from homeschooling families, war stories, research information, media reaction, footnotes, and statistics.
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

Kingdom of Children : Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)

More than one million American children are schooled by their parents. As their ranks grow, home schoolers are making headlines by winning national spelling bees and excelling at elite universities. The few studies conducted suggest that homeschooled children are academically successful and remarkably well socialized. Yet we still know little about this alternative to one of society's most fundamental institutions. Beyond a vague notion of children reading around the kitchen table, we don't know what home schooling looks like from the inside.

Sociologist Mitchell Stevens goes behind the scenes of the homeschool movement and into the homes and meetings of home schoolers. What he finds are two very different kinds of home education--one rooted in the liberal alternative school movement of the 1960s and 1970s and one stemming from the Christian day school movement of the same era. Stevens explains how this dual history shapes the meaning and practice of home schooling today. In the process, he introduces us to an unlikely mix of parents (including fundamentalist Protestants, pagans, naturalists, and educational radicals) and notes the core values on which they agree: the sanctity of childhood and the primacy of family in the face of a highly competitive, bureaucratized society.

Kingdom of Children aptly places home schoolers within longer traditions of American social activism. It reveals that home schooling is not a random collection of individuals but an elaborate social movement with its own celebrities, networks, and characteristic lifeways. Stevens shows how home schoolers have built their philosophical and religious convictions into the practical structure of the cause, and documents the political consequences of their success at doing so.

Ultimately, the history of home schooling serves as a parable about the organizational strategies of the progressive left and the religious right since the 1960s.Kingdom of Children shows what happens when progressive ideals meet conventional politics, demonstrates the extraordinary political capacity of conservative Protestantism, and explains the subtle ways in which cultural sensibility shapes social movement outcomes more generally.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
Should I Home School?: How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child

Have questions about homeschooling? This book has the answers. The information in this book will help you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your child. 

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
Featured Resources

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A Reason For® Handwriting
A Reason For® Handwriting provides a fun, meaningful approach to developing effective handwriting skills. Each lesson is built around a Scripture verse chosen not only for proper letter combinations, but also inspirational content. “Border Sheets” en...
Homeschooling Essentials: A Practical Guide to Getting Started
If you're ready to begin homeschooling, then the experiences of others can offer valuable help and encouragement as you jump into this new adventure. This practical guide answers common questions, helps you navigate the legalities of homeschooling, t...
For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School
Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living. Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible....
The Well-Ordered Home: Organizing Techniques for Inviting Serenity into Your Life
Organizing the home is one of those desirable and beneficial activities that remain elusive for many. This practical guide explains the many benefits - physical, emotional, and spiritual - of an organized home and shows how to attain them. Breaking d...
The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason believed that children need to be trained to see, to have their eyes opened, in order to find joy in life. This work explains the value of using the method of writing in journals or notebooks, as derived from the expansive work of Cha...