How to Homeschool in Iowa

How to Homeschool in Iowa

Want to find out how to homeschool in Iowa?
Use this guide to find Iowa homeschooling information.

You’ll learn how to start homeschooling in Iowa
and what you need to make your homeschool journey successful.

How to Homeschool in Iowa

Steps to start homeschooling in Iowa:

  1. Choose your homeschool legal option.
  2. Select your homeschool approach.
  3. Get your homeschool curriculum.
  4. Organize and prepare your homeschool setup.
  5. Expand your homeschool horizons and find support.

Step 1: Choose Your Homeschool Legal Option

Your first step as you consider how to homeschool in Iowa is choosing the legal option you will use.

What is the homeschool law in Iowa?

In Iowa, there are five different legal options for homeschooling.

We'll list them here (and they do have links to more information), but let's not get bogged down with these. We'll come back to them below. For now, just scan through them and move on.

  • CHOICE #1
    Independent Private Instruction (IPI)
  • CHOICE #2
    Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with No Reporting 
  • CHOICE #3
    Competent Private Instruction ICPI) with Reporting & Annual Assessment
  • CHOICE #4
    Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with Reporting & Supervision by Your Selected Teacher
  • CHOICE #5
    Competent Private Instruction (CPI) with Reporting & Supervision by a Public School Teacher

The first two options (in green above) do not have required reports to file.

The last three (in blue above) do require a form filed with the public school as well as additional followup requirements.

Can I access public school classes, services, or activities while homeschooling?

You can use the dual enrollment option to access classes, services, or activities at the public school. Dual enrollment is only available if you use Choice #3, #4, or #5 listed above (in blue).

Here's a simple way to look at this. If you want public school stuff, you'll need to file paperwork with the public school and complete the related requirements.

Can I homeschool if my child is already enrolled in public school?

Yes, you can remove your child to start homeschooling at any time.

If you are removing your child from public school enrollment, we advise you to notify your school district office in writing when you begin home instruction.

If you use Choice #3, #4, or #5 (options listed above in blue), you're  required to file a CPI form, which will serve as a notification.

Since Choice #1 and #2 (options listed above in green) do not require filings with your school district, simply send a brief written notice:

  • identify the child;
  • state that you are removing the child from public school enrollment to begin private instruction,; and
  • provide your name, contact information, and signature.

This step is not required by law, but it does remove any appearance of truancy.

What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?

Each school district sets the requirements for re-entry into their school. Because this is a local decision (not one made by the state of Iowa), requirements vary.

Ask your school district officials about re-enrollment policies if you think you might consider this step in the future.

How do I decide which Iowa homeschool legal option is right for our family?

The options are listed above with links to details and toolboxes full of resources for each.

However, we recommend that you start by visiting our overview page. It presents all five options with brief descriptions and basic lists of requirements. Find it here: Iowa Homeschool Options.

Insider Tip:

If you are homeschooling more than one child,
you can use unique homeschool legal options for each.

mother helping her son with homeschool work

Step 2: Select Your Homeschool Approach

Your second step as you consider how to homeschool in Iowa is selecting the homeschool approach you will use.

What are the most common homeschool styles and methods?

You can choose from a variety of homeschooling styles. Here is a brief list of the most popular homeschool methods:

Traditional Textbook & Workbook Approach
• Digital, Online or Correspondence School Approach
Charlotte Mason Approach
Unit Study Approach
Classical Approach
Relaxed or Unschooling Approach
Eclectic Approach

You'll find details about each of these homeschooling methods in our blog post, What’s Your Style? 7 Homeschool Teaching Approaches.

Insider Tip:

Be mindful that there is no one perfect approach
to homeschooling. 
Your family is unique, 
and your approach will be, too.

mom choosing curriculum to start homeschooling

Step 3: Get Your Homeschool Curriculum

Now, we’re ready for your third step as you consider how to homeschool in Iowa: choosing curriculum.

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can seek and find the learning tools that match your child’s learning style. And you're not limited to one grade level; pick and choose what’s best.

For example, if your child is a math whiz but struggles in language arts, let her move on to a higher grade level in math while focusing on efforts to sharpen her language arts skills .

You can also explore the world of  Senior Year Plus to help your older child get tuition-free college credit while in high school.

How do decide what homeschool curriculum to use?

Homeschool Iowa offers help in selecting homeschool curriculum.

Also, you’ll find instructional resources listed by homeschool teaching approaches in our website blog.

One of the best parts of being a homeschooler is the freedom it provides for unique, individual choices! You can select what best suits you and your family!

Insider Tip:

As with homeschooling approaches,
there is no one perfect curriculum. 
Your children are unique.
Your curriculum choices will be, too.

organize and prepare when you start homeschooling

Step 4: Organize and Prepare Your Homeschool Setup

Your next step as you learn how to homeschool in Iowa is organizing and preparing.

How do I organize and prepare for homeschooling?

Check out the page devoted to tips and tools for organizing and preparing to homeschool in our Homeschool Iowa Start Homeschooling Guide. 

Take a look at our blog post on how to set up your homeschool space, for some extra inspiration.

Insider Tip:

One of the best parts of being a homeschooler
is the freedom it provides
for unique, individual choices!
You can set up your homeschool 
in a way that best suits you and your family!

find support when you start homeschooling

Step 5: Expand Your Homeschool Horizons and Find Support

The final step as you consider how to homeschool in Iowa is to extend your connections and find support.

What are the ways homeschooling meets unique learning needs?

You will find that homeschooling offers more opportunities for “outside the box” learning.

Students with special needs can thrive in a homeschool environment, too.

How do I connect with other homeschoolers?

Find a homeschool support group in your area to:

  • Build friendships for you and your children.
  • Offer encouragement and ideas.
  • Join in activities like field trips, sporting events, play groups, etc.
  • Do co-op classes to help share and expand student learning.

Use our Homeschool Iowa group referral form to find a group near you.

Insider Tip:

Join our Facebook
Homeschool Iowa Discussion Group
to find homeschool support as well.

Should I become a Homeschool Iowa member?

Of course, we enthusiastically  encourage you to become a Homeschool Iowa member!

You'll receive member benefits* and support the provision of the many resources that can help you begin successfully:

  • our amazing team of Regional Representatives, willing and able to provide assistance.
  • our experienced team of Special Needs Advisors, helping you with challenges.
  • our downloadable Homeschool Iowa Planner and Family Field Trip Guide
  • our fillable type-in forms and templates, including high school transcripts.
  • discounts to our annual conference, HSLDA membership, and more.
  • 3-month free subscriptions to and Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
  • and much more. Join now!

* Many member benefits are available on our website Member Portal.

Your Homeschool Iowa membership also provides for our Homeschool Iowa Lobbyist and Advocacy Team dedicated to protecting our homeschool freedoms.

There is no limit to what homeschoolers can do when we join together!

More questions about how to homeschool in Iowa

More Questions about Homeschooling

You still might have some other questions as you consider how to homeschool in Iowa. Here are few common ones.

What's the difference between homeschooling and school-at-home?

If your student is homeschooled, you as the parent direct your child’s education.

You may choose to teach your child yourself or to contract with a private tutor, join a co-op class, or access online courses or college classes to support your child’s education. But you are ultimately in charge, determining your curriculum, your schedule, and when and how your child advances.

If you use a public school online (like, for example, Iowa Connections Academy), your child is still enrolled in public school. The school directs your child's education. You must follow the school’s curriculum and direction, and your child's class daily attendance is monitored by the school.

Do homeschooled students lack socialization skills?

We're glad you asked! People often assume that public school is the best place for getting “socialized.” That's not necessarily true.

Read about the myth of under-socialized homeschoolers here.

How much does it cost to homeschool?

The answer to this question will depend mostly upon the curriculum and program choices you make.

If, for example, you decide to go with an online full-subject instructional service, your costs will be much higher than if you opt to purchase used textbooks or use some of the many free resources available to homeschoolers.

How do homeschooled kids do high school and graduate?

Homeschool Iowa can help you navigate the high school years through graduation.

You may wonder, “How does my child get a diploma?” The simple answer is: “You give them one," but here's a slightly more detailed answer.

As a parent, you can graduate your homeschooled student. Because homeschooling is considered a type of private instruction in Iowa, parents set requirements for graduation. Once your student completes the requirements you have set, you can award a diploma.

We welcome you to participate in our annual graduation service to make the milestone memorable.

You can find answers to ten common questions about homeschooling high school in our website blog post.

Does Homeschool Iowa have other resources for me as I start homeschooling?

Yes, we do! Check out our Start Homeschooling Tool Kit.

Reach out to our Homeschool Iowa Regional Representative who serves your area of the state. Our Reps are experienced homeschool moms who are ready and willing to answer questions and offer encouragement.

Plan to attend our amazing annual Homeschool Iowa Conference to receive inspiration and encouragement and to access hands-on homeschool shopping opportunities.

Family getting ready to start homeschooling

You’re Ready to Start Homeschooling!

With all of this information and available resources on how to homeschool in Iowa, you are ready to begin your homeschool journey.

All you have to do now is jump in and start!

Homeschool Iowa believes that homeschooling is an ideal means of educating children. We are dedicated to supporting you in the vital work of raising and educating the next generation.

Insider Tip:

You can do this!
Know that you are not alone. 
Homeschool Iowa
is here to help you
every step of the way
on your homeschool journey.


Get Started Homeschooling Guide
Start Homeschooling Tool Kit: Resources to Help You Begin Homeschooling

4 Comments on “How to Homeschool in Iowa”

    1. We’d be happy to help you with any questions you have about this process, Kimberly. Please reach out to the Homeschool Iowa Regional Representative who serves your area of the state. We also encourage you to use our Start Homeschooling Guide. Make sure to check the second page for information on the available homeschool legal options and how to notify your school district that you will be removing your child from district enrollment to homeschool.

  1. I have been home schooling my grandson and legal ward for four years and have been using a textbook approach. I would like to do two online courses this year— a foreign language course and one other course yet to be determined would be the online options I seek. Could you recommend any good resources for the online portion — foreign language and one other course. I will continue with math , science, and history. Iowa Virtual Academy is one resource I have considered, but, recently, I have heard some comments that were not so positive.


    1. Your grandson is blessed to have a grandfather who is pouring love and guidance into his life, Dean!
      We do not endorse specific curricula or programs, but we can give general advice.
      Iowa Virutal Academy is essentially an online public school, so, if you’re looking for homeschool options, check out the information and links on this page of our website’s homeschooling guide:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *