Iowa Homeschool Laws

Homeschooling in Iowa

How do I start homeschooling?

Depending on the option you choose to homeschool under, the steps to getting started will vary. However, most options share in the following:

  1. Choose the homeschooling option that best works for you.
  2. Withdraw your student from school if he or she is currently enrolled in order to avoid truancy.
  3. Choose your curricululm.
  4. Teach the required subjects, for the required number of days or submit annual assessments.

Modify™ can help you with your tracking, portfolio and record keeping. Download the app today.  

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Homeschool Laws

According to Iowa Code § 299.1, “Except as provided in section 299.2, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age shall cause the child to attend some public school or an accredited nonpublic school, or place the child under competent private instruction or independent private instruction in accordance with the provisions of chapter 299A, during a school year, as defined under section 279.10.”

Compulsory attendance age is described as follows (Iowa Code § 299.1A):

  • “Except as provided in subsections 2 and 3, a child who has reached the age of six and is under sixteen years of age by September 15 is of compulsory attendance age. However, if a child enrolled in a school district or accredited nonpublic school reaches the age of sixteen on or after September 15, the child remains of compulsory age until the end of the regular school calendar.
  • A child who has reached the age of five by September 15 and who is enrolled in a school district shall be considered to be of compulsory attendance age unless the parent or guardian of the child notifies the school district in writing of the parent’s or guardian’s intent to remove the child from enrollment in the school district.
  • A child who has reached the age of four by September 15 and who is enrolled in the statewide preschool program under chapter 256C shall be considered to be of compulsory attendance age unless the parent or guardian of the child submits written notice to the school district implementing the program of the parent’s or guardian’s intent to remove the child from enrollment in the preschool program.”

According to the Iowa Department of Education, there are four options for homeschooling:

  1. “Full-time home school with the support of a certified teacher (Competent Private Instruction): Home instruction is supervised by a teacher hired by the family or provided by a district’s Home School Assistance program (HSAP).
  2. Full-time home school without the support of a certified teacher (Competent Private Instruction or Independent Private Instruction): The family provides the total educational program with no interaction with a public school or certified teacher.
  3. Part-time homeschool with part-time enrollment in a school district (Competent Private Instruction): The student completes some instruction at home and participates in a public school for some instruction or extra-curricular activities.
  4. Attendance at a non-accredited school (Competent Private Instruction): A student attends a school that does not meet accreditation standards.”

All options meet Iowa’s compulsory attendance and truancy laws (Iowa Code § 299.1 and Iowa Code § 299.8).

For purposes of this post, the focus will be on Independent Private Instruction (IPI), which meets the following criteria:

  • “Is not accredited.
  • Not more than four unrelated students.
  • No tuition, fees, or other remuneration.
  • Private or religious-based instruction as its primary purpose.
  • Teaches mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and social studies.
  • Provides report on request.
  • Not nonpublic school or CPI [Competent Private Instruction]
  • Exempt from all state statutes/rules except as otherwise provided in chapter 299 and 299AIowa Code § 299A.1 (2) (b).”

For information on the other three homeschooling options, see the “Private Instruction Comparison Chart” and detailed information in the current “Private Instruction Handbook,” both found on the Home Schooling (Private Instruction) page on the Iowa Department of Education website.

Homeschool Requirements

Even though Iowa does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Iowa homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:

  1. Begin homeschooling by age 6 (or earlier without prior written notice if your child reaches the age of four (for preschool) or the age of five by September 15) (Iowa Code § 299.1A).
  2. Notify the district of residence of the intent to homeschool.
  3. Submit a report “identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the independent private instruction, and the name of the students enrolled,” if requested by the superintendent of the district of residence.
  4. Teach the four required content areas: mathematics, science, reading and language arts, and social studies

    Be sure to stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.

Record Keeping

Recordkeeping is an important part of homeschooling.  Homeschooling families in Iowa are not required to submit their records, but maintaining records may be requested for a variety of different reasons ranging from your child’s desire to participate in sports to college applications. For those reasons it is a good idea to maintain the following records:

  1. Attendance records
  2. Health Records
  3. Completed Assignment records
  4. Test scores, assessment records, and grades
  5. Transcripts for the High school students

Modify™ offers a easy and reliable place to track the necessary things and keep records for your students. 

Graduation requirements

Homeschoolers are not subject to the same requirements for receiving a diploma as traditionally schooled students. The state of Iowa does not mandate requirements for graduation.

Parents are free to set their own graduation requirements, create their own transcripts, and certify their own homeschool high school diploma.

It is important to keep in mind that college and universities have certain requirements for students who wish to apply.  Be sure you are fully aware of those requirements to ensure your child meets both the credit hours as well as specific courses necessary to apply.

Modify™ helps homeschoolers to keep all necessary records and transcripts. 


Iowa Code § 299.1 and 299.2

Iowa Code § 299.1A

Iowa Code § 279.10


Note: All information on this site is provided with no guarantee of accuracy. Modify™ is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or outdated information, or for the results yielded through use of this information.

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