Homeschooling was officially recognized in the Iowa Code in 1991. For over twenty years, homeschooling in Iowa was legally defined as "competent private instruction" under Iowa Code Chapter 299A.
In 2013, legislation was passed and signed by the governor that significantly changed the homeschool options in Iowa.
The information presented on this page outlines the homeschool options currently available under the provisions enacted in 2013.
Three Options for Iowa Homeschooling Families
Independent Private Instruction (IPI) CHOICE #1 Iowa Code Section 299A.1(2)(b) This new option (proposed and sponsored by NICHE) allows for the private instruction of children, including not more than four (4) unrelated students, in mathematics, reading, language arts, science and social studies.
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with no reporting CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out CHOICE #2 Iowa Code Section 299A.3 This option was formerly the CPI annual assessment option with required reporting. With the 2013 Iowa Code change (not proposed or sponsored by NICHE) of a few deleted & inserted words, all reporting requirements -- including the initial CPI Form A filing & the annual assessment results filing -- were made optional. The only defining legal description of CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out is found in 299A.1(c): "...instruction using a plan and course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school."
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with reporting CPI Option 2 with Opt-In CHOICE #3 or CPI Option 1 WHICH INCLUDES CHOICE #4 & #5 Iowa Code Section 299A.2 & 299A.3 This option includes what was formerly the CPI supervising teacher option & the annual assessment option. Instruction must either (1) be provided by or supervised by an Iowa licensed teacher (CPI Option 1), or (2) must demonstrate adequate progress through submission of annual assessment results (CPI Option 2 with Opt-In).
Independent Private Instruction (IPI) No report filing required unless written request is received While those who use this option do not have to file notification with their resident public school, they are required to respond to a written request from their resident public school superintendent or the Department of Education director with a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the IPI, and the names of the students enrolled. NICHE has created a template form for this purpose.
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with no reporting CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out No Report Filing Requirements NICHE has created a form for CPI Option 2 Opt-Out families to use (1) to initially notify school officials of their intent to remove a child from public school enrollment in order to provide CPI through the Option 2 Opt-Out, or (2) to provide documentation of the provision of CPI through the option 2 Opt-Out when applying for access to parent-taught driver education.
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with reporting CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with Opt-In CPI Form Required Filing Deadline = September 1 Those who use this option are required to file the annual CPI Form A. The form must include an attached outline of course of study and an immunization record or exemption form. Those who use annual assessment, rather than a supervising teacher, must report adequate results by June 30.
Access to Public School Dual Enrollment including public school classes, activities, athletics, and Senior Year Plus Programs like Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) Click here for more info on Dual Enrollment - Click here for more info on PSEO Note that access to free standardized testing at the public school is no longer provided through dual enrollment. It is now available, upon request, to any resident student.
Independent Private Instruction (IPI) No Access to Dual Enrollment The Dual Enrollment section of the Iowa Code (299A.8) specifies that Dual Enrollment is available to students under CPI only, and the definition of IPI states that IPI "does not provide competent private instruction" -- 299A.1(b)(7). IPI students can, however, access Senior Year Plus District-to-Community College Sharing and Concurrent Enrollment programs -- 261E.8.
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with no reporting CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out No Access to Dual Enrollment Access to Dual Enrollment is gained by marking the Dual Enrollment item on the CPI Form A, and either arranging for supervision or annual assessment reporting. Parents using CPI without reporting relinquish their access to dual enrollment.
Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with reporting CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with Opt-In Complete Access to Dual Enrollment, if desired As in the past, CPI students can access Dual Enrollment for public school classes, activities, athletics, and Senior Year Plus programs like PSEO. Access to Dual Enrollment is gained by marking the Dual Enrollment item on the CPI Form A.
For More a More Detailed Look at These Options NICHE Provides This Side-By-Side Comparison Chart Note that we've provided separate columns for all 5 legal option choices: IPI, the two ways the CPI Option 2 can be implemented and the two ways the CPI Option 1 can be implemented
For detailed descriptions of IPI, CPI Option 1, CPI Option 2 with Opt-In, & CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out, provided by the Department of Education in its Private Instruction Handbook, click here.