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.
State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Iowa and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Forms
Which forms do you need to fill out? Where can you get them? Here is a list of useful forms for homeschooling in Iowa.
Legal Support
If you need legal information or have run into a legal situation regarding your decision to homeschool, these resources will be helpful.
Lobbying Groups
A listing of local and national lobbying groups and information on how you can become involved in the political process to ensure the freedom to homeschool is protected.
Attorneys
When searching for an attorney, it is helpful to know whether he or she has experience working with homeschoolers and is interested in protecting the right to homeschool.
Legal Issues
Is homeschooling legal? Which laws pertain to homeschoolers and which don't? How do homeschoolers protect their rights to freely educate their children and to preserve their privacy?
Government Resources
A listing of local and state government resources, including your state's Department of Education, school districts, and Senate and House of Representative information.
What's Popular
Plan of Instruction Form-Unlined
This "Plan of Instruction" form has been designed by HSLDA and NICHE. Plan of Instruction forms -- lined or unlined -- may be used to comply with the requirement on the Competent Private Instruction Form (Form A) for an attached outline of course of study. Please keep in mind that the Iowa law & rules are silent as to what subjects must be included on the Plan of Instruction. NICHE "Plan of Instruction" forms have been used and submitted by home educators all across Iowa, and have been accepted...
299.3 Reports from accredited nonpublic schools.
Within ten days from receipt of notice from the secretary of the school district within which an accredited nonpublic school is conducted, the principal of the accredited nonpublic school shall, once during each school year, and at any time when requested in individual cases, furnish to the secretary of the public school district, within which the accredited nonpublic school is located, a certificate and report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district of the names and ages of...
281—31.2 Reports as to competent private instruction.
31.2(1) Reporting. The parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who does not enroll the child in a public school or Iowa accredited nonpublic school shall complete a report in duplicate on forms created by the department of education and provided by the resident public school district, indicating the parent, guardian, or custodian’s intent to provide or arrange for competent private instruction for the child for each school year. The report shall be...
Independent Private Instruction Form
This form may be used by parents using the Independent Private Instruction (IPI) option when contacted by either their resident school district superintendent or by the director of the Department of Education with a request for information about the IPI. Because parents are required by law to respond to this written request with specific information, NICHE has created this template form to expediate the process.
299A.1 Private instruction.
The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction shall provide, unless otherwise exempted, competent private instruction in accordance with this chapter. A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction which is not competent private instruction, or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter, is subject to the provisions ...
Homeschool Options in Iowa
This chart offers a clear look at all of the homeschool options available under current Iowa law.
299A.7 Notice to parents--remediation.
If a child is placed under competent private instruction and the child fails to make adequate progress under competent private instruction, the director of the department of education, or the director's designee, shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child that the child is required to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school, unless approval for competent private instruction under a remediation plan is granted. The director, or the director's designee, may provisionally ...
The Iowa Legislature
This website includes links to the Senate and House sections, legislators' contacts, pending legislation, and more.
Iowa School Districts
A listing of all the school districts in Iowa.
NICHE Political Updates
Stay current of legislative issues concerning our liberty to home educate our children, be aware of political candidates' positions on issues of homes schooling, and receive notice of political opportunities to support those issues and/or candidates.
Home School Assistance Programs (HSAP)
A Home School Assistance Program [HSAP] is a program the local school district may offer to families in their district. School districts are not required to provide HSAPs and parents are not required to enroll their homeschooled students in a HSAP, if their district provides one. The Home School Assistance Programs that do exist across the state of Iowa vary widely as to how they operate and the services they offer, but, in general, all HSAPs provide a supervising teacher for HSAP-enrolled s...
Report of Portfolio Evaluator Selection Form
If you will be using the portfolio evaluation method, you may find this simple optional form helpful. When filled out and submitted to your resident school district, it provides a mechanism to fulfill the legal requirement of seeking the school district superintendent's approval of your selected portfolio evaluator. This approval process is simply a check of the appropriateness of your evaluator's license.
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.
299.24 Religious groups exempted from school standards.
When members or representatives of a local congregation of a recognized church or religious denomination established for ten years or more within the state of Iowa prior to July 1, 1967, which professes principles or tenets that differ substantially from the objectives, goals, and philosophy of education embodied in standards set forth in section 256.11, and rules adopted in implementation thereof, file with the director of the department of education proof of the existence of such conflicting t...
Competent Private Instruction Report
The Competent Private Instruction Report is also published annually by the Department of Education. All homeschooling parents in Iowa using the Competent Private Instruction (CPI) Option 1 or Competent Private Instruction (CPI) Option 2 with Opt-In must file a Competent Private Instruction Report for every child of compulsory school attendance age (6-16) -- if your chid is age six or older on September 15 and younger than 16 on September 15.
Featured Resources

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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...
Home Education: A Homeschooling Classic
Home Education consists of six lectures by Charlotte Mason about the raising and educating of young children (up to the age of nine), for parents and teachers. She encourages us to spend a lot of time outdoors, immersed in nature and handling natural...
Serving Homeschooled Teens and Their Parents (Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians Series)
This guide for librarians addresses the needs of homeschooled teens and how a library can meet those needs. Includes ideas like developing a homeschool resource and book collection to creating special homeschool programs. While this book was written ...
Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
There can be no greater delight in parenting than passing on the Faith to the next generation. To help with that glorious responsibility comes Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, a parents handbook to home-based religious instruction for the youngest ...
Choosing & Using Curriculum: For Your Special Child
Homeschooling a child with special needs can be challenging. This book lays out a discussion of different reading and math programs, how to adapt materials for special situations, resources for blind, deaf and speech/language, and curriculum types an...