Home Schooling (Private Instruction)
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Families may choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or nonpublic school; this is called homeschooling or private instruction. Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, which is why there are several private instruction options in Iowa:
- Competent Private Instruction (CPI) provided or supervised by a licensed practitioner (Option 1), which may include:
- Enrollment in the resident district’s home school assistance program (HSAP; if offered),
- Instruction by an appropriately licensed teacher that is privately retained (i.e., at their own expense) by the family, or
- Instruction provided by an appropriately licensed parent, guardian, or custodian.
- CPI by a parent, guardian, or custodian (Option 2), such as a homeschooled student in a non-accredited nonpublic “school.”
- Independent Private Instruction (IPI).
For more information about your private instruction options, see the Private Instruction Handbook.
Note on Noncompliance With Private Instruction Laws: A parent, guardian, or custodian that does not comply with CPI or IPI laws is subject to truancy prosecution. The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld truancy convictions for both failing to file Form A at all (State v. Skeel, 486 N.W. 2d 43 (Iowa 1992)) and not filling it in fully or accurately (State v. Rivera, 497 N.W. 2d 878 (Iowa 1993)). However, it is important to note that options are now available that do not require the filing of Form A.
Competent Private Instruction
Competent Private Instruction (or CPI) means private instruction:
- Provided on a daily basis for at least 148 days during a school year;
- To be met by attendance for at least 37 days each school quarter;
- Provided by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under ;Iowa Code section 299A.2 (Option 1) or provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian under Iowa Code section 299A.3 (Option 2); and
- Which results in the student making adequate progress (Iowa Code § 299A.1(2)“a”).
District Issuance of Diplomas: The decision to issue a diploma to a student receiving private instruction is up to the student’s resident district. The resident district is not compelled to issue a diploma, and the Iowa Department of Education cannot issue one. If a parent, guardian, or custodian desires a diploma for their child, they should contact their resident high school’s administrators during the child’s eighth grade year to coordinate these credits.
Independent Private Instruction
Independent Private Instruction (or IPI) means private instruction that meets the following criteria:
- Is not accredited;
- Enrolls not more than four unrelated students;
- Does not charge tuition, fees, or other remuneration for instruction;
- Provides private or religious-based instruction as its primary purpose;
- Provides enrolled students with instruction in mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and social studies;
- Provides, upon written request from the superintendent of the school district in which the IPI is provided or from the director of the Department, a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the IPI, and names of the students enrolled;
- Is not a nonpublic school and does not provide CPI as defined in Iowa Code section 299A.1 and the rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 31; and
- Is exempt from all state statutes and administrative rules applicable to a school, a school board, or a school district, except as otherwise provided in Iowa Code chapters 299 (Compulsory education) and 299A (Private instruction; Iowa Code § 299A.1(2)“b”).
Select Guidance Excerpts
- Private Instruction Comparison Chart - Compares the three private instruction options available to families: CPI Option 1 (provided or supervised by a licensed practitioner), CPI Option 2 (provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian), and IPI.
- CPI Timelines and Procedures - Provides important dates and deadlines for students under CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with dual enrollment or optional reporting.
- CPI Annual Evaluation Flowchart - Provides a visual of the three evaluation options available to CPI students to fulfill the initial baseline and annual evaluation requirements: standardized assessment, portfolio assessment or evaluation, or accredited correspondence school report card or transcript.
- CPI Acceptable Tests for Baseline and Annual Assessment - Provides the list of Department-approved standardized assessments to fulfill the initial baseline and annual assessment requirements. If a parent, guardian, or custodian would like to request an alternate assessment, they must complete the request for consideration form.
Parent, Guardian, and Custodian Forms
- Form A: CPI Report (Due September 1) - Provides the required form for a parent, guardian, or custodian of CPI student under CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with dual enrollment or optional reporting.
- Request Form for Alternate Standardized Assessment for Annual Achievement Evaluations - Provides the alternate assessment request form for any parent, guardian, or custodian of a CPI student subject to an annual evaluation.
School District Forms
- Annual Evaluation Notification Form - Provides the text a district must use to fulfill its obligation to notify parents, guardians, and custodians of a CPI student under Option 2 with dual enrollment or optional reporting of their annual evaluation options.
- FERPA Annual Notification Form: Independent Private Instruction - Provides the text a district must use to fulfill its annual obligation to notify parents, guardians, and custodians of IPI students of their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- FERPA Annual Notification Form: Competent Private Instruction - Provides the text a district must use to fulfill its annual obligation to notify parents, guardians, and custodians of CPI students of their FERPA rights. This form should accompany Form A at the time it is provided to a parent, guardian, or custodian.
- Form C-1: Progress Form for Student of Compulsory Attendance Age Under CPI Option 2 With Dual Enrollment (Due by August 31) - Provides a form that the district must complete if a student receiving CPI under Option 2 with dual enrollment failed to make adequate annual progress and is of compulsory attendance age.
Senior Year Plus and Dual Enrolled Students - Provides information about accessing Senior Year Plus programs for dually enrolled private instruction students.