Back to School: Homeschool Style

Yes! Back to School Homeschool Style!

It's time to prepare for a successful homeschooling year.

Take these five simple steps to help get off to a great start:

• Settle on Your Style
• Assemble Your Supplies
• Create Your Schedule
• Comply with the Law
• Connect with Others


Settle on Your Style

Your homeschooling journey will run much more smoothly if you’re using a teaching style that fits you.

Are you organized and methodical? Are you creative and free-spirited?

Which one of these sounds most like you?

Much like a traditional institutional school, this style uses graded textbooks or workbooks that systematically cover each subject.

This approach delivers the same ordered instruction of basic subjects as the Traditional style, but in a digital format.

This style presents core knowledge and skills in a step-by-step way based upon three natural stages of student learning development.

Named after its founder, this approach uses guided discovery, "living books," narration, copywork, and the building of good habits.

A more informal approach, this style encourages children to follow their innate curiosity and desire to learn.

Subjects are combined under a common theme or topic in the Unit Studies approach. All-in-One-Programs bundle projects, assignments, and needed materials into a single prepared package.

As the definition of the word "eclectic" implies, this approach combines or incorporates portions of the different homeschooling styles listed above to create a new, unique, and personalized method.

Click on your preferred style from the list above, and check the “Explore More” section there. It includes links to available resources for that particular approach.

Now, before we move on, what about your student’s preferred style of learning?

Your child will learn much more quickly and effectively using instruction tailored to his or her style of learning.

If you’re not sure, take a quick look at our simple learning styles guide.



First, let's head to the seasonal school supplies aisle in your favorite store. Even though we're doing Back to School Homeschool Style, you'll find much of what you need there.

Here's a suggested list to help you get started with your shopping.


Create Your Schedule

Next, you can block out some tentative schedules for your homeschool.

Each family’s schedules will be different. And schedules can be flexible and change over time.

As long as you meet the minimum legal requirements, you can do what works for you family.

Iowa law and rules do not specify the length of a school day.

CPI requires 148 days per school year, with 37 days per quarter. IPI has no designated number of school days per year.

Grab a calendar and pencil-in the framework of your vision for the coming school year.

After you have a visual structure of the year, focus on what your normal homeschool week and homeschool day might look like.

Here are some basic components of a successful homeschool schedule:

Check this helpful blog post that includes a sample schedule from one of our Homeschool Iowa Regional Representatives.


Comply with the Law

Back to School Homeschool Style also means identifying and following the legal requirements.

In Iowa, there are five legal option choices for homeschooling. Here are links where you can find what’s required for the option you’ve chosen.

Independent Private Instruction

Competent Private Instruction with Opt-Out

Competent Private Instruction Option 2 with Opt-In

Competent Private Instruction Option 1 with Parent-Selected Teacher

Competent Private Instruction Option 1 with HSAP Teacher

In general, the first two options do not have required reports to file. They also do not offer access to most public school services and activities.

The last three do require a form filed with the public school as well as additional follow-up requirements. They do allow for access to public school services and activities through dual enrollment.

Are you removing your child from the public school to begin homeschooling? If so, we advise you to notify your school district office in writing when you begin home instruction.

Check the section at the bottom of our Know the Law & Rules webpage to see how to complete this notification.


Connect with Others

It's vital to your success as a homeschooler to get connected with the homeschooling community.

Here are some ways you can find and interact with other home educators.

Join Our Homeschool Iowa Facebook Discussion Group

Ask for a Homeschool Iowa Support Group Referral

Check with Your Homeschool Iowa Regional Representative


Back to School Homeschool Style
Is Just the Beginning of
Your Yearly Homeschool Journey!

After you’ve made it past the back-to-school threshold, make sure to check out additional helps from Homeschool Iowa provided below.

Blessings to you and your family as you enjoy your homeschooling adventures!

More Posts to Help You on Your Homeschooling Journey:

Homeschool Recordkeeping
How to Evaluate Your Homeschool Student's Progress

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