How to Homeschool in Iowa: 2024 Unbiased Guide

Looking for an unbiased homeschool resource that doesn’t have a hidden agenda? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to homeschool in Iowa.

To homeschool in Iowa, a parent or guardian should become familiar with Iowa homeschooling laws and regulations. Families must decide on a curriculum that fits their needs and be prepared for the self-discipline required to maintain a robust academic schedule.

Home helping homeschooled daughter

How to Homeschool in Iowa

To homeschool in Iowa, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Notify your school district in writing that you intend to homeschool your child. This should be done within 14 days of starting to homeschool.
  2. Develop a plan for your child’s education. This should include the subjects you will teach, the materials you will use, and the goals you have for your child’s education.
  3. Teach your child using the plan you have developed. You will need to provide instruction in the core academic subjects of reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies.
  4. Keep records of your child’s progress. This may include attendance records, work samples, and assessments.
  5. Participate in an annual evaluation of your child’s progress. This can be done through a portfolio review, a standardized test, or a teacher evaluation.

Educational and Interactive Word Search Puzzles

It’s important to note that Iowa law requires that homeschooled students receive instruction in the core academic subjects for at least 4 hours per day for at least 36 weeks per year.

In addition, you will need to ensure that your child is receiving an education that is equivalent to the education provided in public schools.

If you have any questions about homeschooling in Iowa, you should contact your school district or the Iowa Department of Education for more information.

Homeschooling with a private tutor

Free Iowa Homeschool Programs

Iowa homeschool programs that are free of charge can be an excellent way for families to customize their children’s learning based on their needs and lifestyle.

These free programs can give you access to quality courses, offer guidance from virtual learning communities, and provide support from qualified teachers.

Parents have the ability to personalize their kids’ learning materials, create lesson plans, track student progress, and take part in various educational activities.

By enabling students to learn from home in a secure environment, parents and children can build strong connections as they delve into different topics and complete their tasks.

Iowa offers free homeschooling programs allowing families to craft a personalized educational plan with their own values and principles at the center.

The Iowa Department of Education provides supplemental homeschool support for parents in the state of Iowa.

Parents who are homeschooling in Iowa can find help at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) with updates on homeschooling laws, webinars, and articles.

Between 2019 to 2020, the percentage of homeschooled students changed from 3.4% to 9%.

Does Homeschool Have to be Accredited in Iowa?

In Iowa, families do not have to get their homeschool curriculum accredited. It is up to the family to choose which program works best for them, and the state does not track or monitor any decisions made by the family.

Iowa parents who pursue homeschooling still have to meet state assessment standards, even though they don’t need accreditation.

Educational instruction must cover core curriculum subjects like language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies at the least according to these regulations.

Parental duties include giving an annual report on their child’s academic progress every year while they are homeschooling.

Homeschooling in Iowa does not require accreditation; however, families should review the state’s legal requirements to make an informed decision about their child’s education.

67% of the homeschooled students successfully graduate from college.

Iowa Accredited Homeschool Programs

For accreditation, homeschools must provide enrollment and attendance records, maintain grades, take state-mandated standardized tests yearly, have a supervising teacher who holds at least a high school diploma or equivalent and keeps up with required curriculum changes.

Private schools seeking accreditation must include in their admissions policies a declaration of compliance with state laws and regulations pertaining to compulsory attendance.

Homeschooling, accredited by proper authorities, allows parents to provide their children with an excellent education from the comfort of home.

Boy at home studying

Create a Designated Learning Place

Homeschoolers should have a specific area set aside for learning, to help establish a daily routine and provide an environment where their child can concentrate on schoolwork.

A dining table is an ideal spot for studying. It’s easily cleared off at the end of each day which allows it to be used for eating as well.

You can also provide your child with their own desk in their bedroom for added privacy and the opportunity to decorate it. Whatever you decide, be sure to create an environment that helps them focus on learning.

Over 300 million students were homeschooled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay On Track with a Daily Schedule

Sticking to a daily schedule for homeschooling has many advantages; here are some of them:

  • Establishing a daily routine can help homeschoolers prioritize tasks, complete more in less time, and improve productivity. Families with multiple students or other outside commitments may particularly benefit from this strategy.
  • Effective time management begins with planning. A daily schedule makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when, and prevents feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Allocating specific blocks of time to tasks can help your family stay organized.
  • Homeschooling can provide a sense of structure and regularity, especially beneficial for kids accustomed to attending a traditional school. This can make them feel safer and more prepared to learn.
  • Families can benefit from daily schedules to stay accountable and meet their homeschooling objectives. This is important for those who tend to be easily distracted or delay their tasks.
  • Having a daily schedule in place can facilitate better communication among family members, helping to avoid misunderstandings and building a stronger bond between them.
Homeschool Calendar

Ease Into It

Homeschooling for new parents can be a big shift, so it’s crucial to not apply excessive pressure from the start. It is best to ease into this transition and move forward at a steady pace.

Homeschooling parents can begin with just a few basic supplies and then build on their resources as they get more confident with the homeschooling process.

When it comes to homeschooling, there are numerous options, so you should find one that works best for your family. Don’t be afraid to venture out and experiment with different techniques; the less stressed you feel, the more successful your learning experience is likely to be.

Regardless of the educational level of their parents, homeschooled students score between 80% and 90%.

Involve Your Child in Setting Learning Goals

Involving your child in homeschool assignment planning and curriculum scheduling is important for several reasons:

  • Offering students a sense of importance and ownership in their education will provide them with motivation and boost engagement.
  • Involving them in the homeschool process will help them feel that they are part of it, rather than it being done to them.
  • Getting your child involved in the homeschooling decision-making will give you a better understanding of their likes, talents, and shortcomings; allowing you to modify the learning environment to better accommodate them.

Generally, having your kid involved in homeschooling planning is key to a successful experience for everyone.

Mom and children looking at a globe.

Explore Other Ways of Learning Outside the Classroom

Homeschooled kids have an advantage as they can explore many educational possibilities not found in a regular school. This helps them gain a diverse range of knowledge and experience, resulting in a more comprehensive education.

In many cases, homeschoolers benefit from strong connections in the community. These relationships can open doors to new learning opportunities, such as classes and workshops taught by experts or members of the community.

Parents who homeschool their children should seize these chances to broaden their kids’ education.

Homeschooling families can give their children a very enriching education by exploring different learning techniques.

Children learning at a museum

Reach Out to Other Homeschool Families

Homeschooling can be difficult, especially for families without a support system. Luckily, there are various ways to make connections with other homeschoolers and build a community. One way is by connecting with local homeschooling organizations.

Homeschool groups can provide emotional support, practical advice from experienced homeschoolers, and opportunities for field trips and social interactions.

Joining an online forum or Facebook group is an excellent way to network with other homeschool parents.

Joining a parenting group can be helpful for exchanging resources, asking questions, and obtaining advice from parents who have the same experiences.

Making connections with other homeschooling families can help parents lessen the feeling of isolation and build a supportive environment for their kids.

When educated at home rather than in public schools, boys do 44% better on reading examinations.

Can Homeschooled Students Play Sports in Iowa?

The Iowa Legislature states that homeschooled students may take part in public school sports only if they are receiving instruction from an experienced teacher, tutor, or someone equivalent.

As a student, you must only receive instruction from a certified teacher or tutor; private instruction that is not given by an educator is not allowed.

If the necessary criteria are met, homeschoolers in Iowa can take part in extracurricular pursuits, including sports.

To get a better understanding, it’s best to contact the Iowa Department of Education.

Homeschooled boys playing soccer

How to Homeschool When Both Parents Work

Iowa parents who opt to homeschool their children have to be creative with balancing work and school, as it is a difficult task.

With some ingenuity, it’s possible to work and homeschool at the same time. Let’s examine some pointers to help you achieve it.

Prior to February 2020, just 68% of parents who had homeschooled their children said it had been a success.

Get Your Childcare Involved

Some parents are lucky enough to have assistance in homeschooling while they’re away at work due to childcare.

When it’s not achievable or budget-friendly for all households, one should think outside the box to devise a plan that fits everyone’s needs.

Boy doing schoolwork

Delegate Chores

Involving your children in household tasks is an effective method to reduce the strain you may be facing between work and homeschooling. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn about responsibility.

It’s prudent to be mindful of your child’s abilities. A five-year-old probably won’t be able to do the laundry, but they can lend a hand with things like dusting or laying the table.

As they age, give your children more chores. By involving them in household tasks, you can reduce your work while teaching them essential life skills.

Before the epidemic, 69% of homeschooled children expressed a desire to continue their studies in this manner for the upcoming school year.

You and Your Spouse Work Alternate Shifts

Balancing homeschooling with both parents working can be difficult, especially if you and your partner have alternating shifts. Here are some strategies to help make it work:

  • It’s important to organize your week in advance by creating a schedule that includes all of your work hours and other responsibilities. This will help you plan effectively for homeschooling.
  • Make use of online materials: Utilizing online components like lesson plans, videos, and virtual excursions can be a great way to supplement your kid’s schooling when you are not able to be with them in person.
  • Be flexible with your homeschooling: If your daytime commitments don’t make 9 to 3 schooling feasible, think outside the box. For instance, you can do lessons at night or at the weekend. Or, break up the day into shorter chunks of time for educational activities.
  • Ask for assistance: Don’t be scared to look for support when you need it. This could involve employing a tutor or nanny to aid with home-based instruction while you are busy, or requesting the aid of relatives and friends.
  • Homeschoolers should be aware that it’s okay to take breaks. Finding a balance between work and homeschooling will help ensure that commitments are met on both fronts.

Homeschooling can be a tricky task if both parents are working. But it can be done with the right amount of planning and creativity, making it an enriching experience for the whole family.

Girl doing schoolwork on the computer

Take Advantage of Online Curriculums

Homeschooling is a great option to personalize your child’s education, yet it can be difficult to fit work and school into one schedule. To make it easier, why not opt for an online curriculum?

Structured learning programs can assist your child in their development and ensure concentration while you are away.

Furthermore, online learning can be tailored to your child’s individual requirements, making it convenient to discover a course that suits their distinctive learning approach.

In their children’s upcoming academic year, 54% of parents who were homeschooling before February 2020 were likely to do so full-time.

Assign the Child Solo Activities to Do While You’re at Work

Parents in Iowa who teach their kids at home must find ways to keep their children entertained while they are working. One way is to assign independent curriculum projects.

Tasks such as reading assignments, research projects, and math and writing exercises may be included.

It’s essential to select activities that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level.

If your child attends childcare, ask your provider to remind them to complete their homeschooling tasks daily.

Proper planning can help your child become independent and accomplish tough tasks during the workday.

Homeschooled girl doing school work

Allow Yourself Flexibility and Grace

Balancing a job and homeschooling can be difficult for parents, so it’s vital to give yourself some leniency and kindness while managing these duties.

Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal that can lead to disappointment. Focus on the successes, no matter how small, and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Keep in mind that your kids are observing you, and will take after you. By displaying a positive outlook and openness to change, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Balancing work and homeschooling can be difficult, but it also presents an excellent opportunity to impart valuable lessons to your children. Show them how to be adaptable and graceful in any situation, setting them up for victory down the line.

The typical cost of homeschooling is between $350-$750 per year for the parent(s).

Iowa Homeschool Curriculum Requirements 

Iowa law requires that instruction in the following subjects be included:

  • Reading
  • Language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Health.

The teaching methods should be tailored to the needs of each student.

Parents or guardians who wish to homeschool their child(ren) must inform the superintendent of their local school district. They must present evidence of vaccinations and keep records of attendance.

Iowa has a range of homeschooling regulations that parents must adhere to, and there are helpful resources available to ensure their child receives a quality education.

Parent writing a letter of intent to homeschool

Letter of Intent to Homeschool in Iowa

If you wish to homeschool your children in Iowa, you need to submit a letter of intent to the local school district superintendent.

This letter must list the names and ages of all homeschooled children, as well as details of the parent or guardian responsible for their education, including their name and address.

The superintendent could also ask for extra documentation, like immunization records, as needed.

After the letter of intent is accepted, Iowa parents can legally begin homeschooling their kids.

The federal government saves $24 billion in taxpayer money thanks to homeschooling.

Is the Iowa Homeschool Curriculum Free?

In Iowa, those who decide to homeschool their children must provide curriculum materials and related items such as books, software, and supplies. Fortunately, economical options can be found at libraries or online.

Homeschooling is often more affordable than private school tuition for families.

You can save money on homeschool curriculum materials by shopping online or looking for used books at bookstores.

Even though the Iowa Homeschool Curriculum is not free, it is a cost-effective solution for many families.

Older girl sitting holding a jar of money

How Much Does It Cost to Homeschool in Iowa?

In Iowa, the cost of homeschooling can depend upon a family’s needs and financial situation. Some opt for getting curriculum packages, while others create their own. Generally speaking, the most expensive items to consider are educational resources such as textbooks and other materials.

Joining a homeschooling cooperative is another option for families; it usually requires an annual fee.

To help their children learn specialized areas, some families choose to hire a tutor or instructor for music or a foreign language.

Homeschooling in Iowa is affordable for the majority of families.

Through careful planning, parents and children can find a cost-effective solution that works for everyone.

A safe environment was cited as the main motivation by 50% of parents who homeschool their children.

How Many Days Are Required for Homeschool in Iowa?

According to the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa law requires students homeschooling under a private, independent homeschool to receive instruction on a daily basis for at least 148 days during a school year. This requirement is further defined as at least 37 days each quarter.

The amount of time spent on the required subjects, including weekly hours and days, is set by the parent or guardian and should be based on the student’s progress and age.

Homeschooling months of the year

Iowa Homeschool Record Keeping 

Homeschools are expected to keep records of their academic and attendance activities, as well as other things that make sense to keep track of. Recordkeeping is an important part of homeschooling, so it is a good idea to keep a portfolio of work samples, as well as any testing or evaluation data.

Record keeping can be time-consuming, but it is a necessary part of homeschooling and helps to ensure that students are making progress and meeting all required standards.

Here are some things that are important to keep a record of during the homeschooling years:

  • Test results
  • Samples of your student’s academic work
  • Documentation of the type of curriculum being provided to your child
  • Dialog with state and/or school officials
  • Attendance records

A good rule of thumb is to save these records for at least two years or longer if required.

Therefore, it is essential for homeschoolers in Iowa to keep careful records of their educational activities.

Test results, extracurricular activities, and socialization were mentioned as reasons for homeschooling by 14% of the parents.

Iowa Homeschool Graduation Requirements 

Iowa law requires that all homeschooled students receive instruction in math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies. However, participation in state assessments is not required.

Despite this, many homeschooled students choose to participate in state assessments in order to demonstrate their academic progress.

In addition, participating in state assessments can also help to identify areas of strength and weakness, informing future instructional decisions.

Ultimately, while homeschooled students are not required to participate in state assessment, it can still be a valuable tool for academic growth.

HS diploma

Iowa Homeschool Diploma 

For homeschooled students in Iowa, earning a diploma can be an even greater accomplishment. Homeschooled kids don’t have the structure of a regular school schedule, so they have to be self-motivated and disciplined to do well. A high school diploma is a symbol of hard work and dedication.

Earning a diploma shows that they have what it takes to set goals and achieve them.

In addition, a diploma for Iowa homeschoolers can open up new opportunities, such as colleges and scholarships.

For homeschooled students, a high school diploma is an important milestone on the road to success.

As of February 2020, at least 9 million Americans had been homeschooled at least once.

How Does a Homeschooled Student Get a Diploma?

Parents in Iowa who homeschool their children have the unique opportunity to be the sole provider of their child’s high school diploma. This means that they get to decide what criteria must be met in order for their child to earn the diploma.

Of course, parents will want to ensure that their child meets all the necessary requirements for graduation, such as taking required courses and passing exams.

However, they also have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to their child’s interests and learning style.

As a result, homeschooled students often emerge with a well-rounded education that prepares them well for success in college and beyond.

Before COVID-19, 42% of parents said they wished their kids had more freedom to pursue their hobbies.

Are Homeschool Diplomas Valid?

The homeschooling movement has been growing steadily recently, as more parents opt to educate their children at home. While homeschooling can provide a number of benefits, there is one potential drawback: homeschool diplomas may not be as recognized by colleges or employers.

Some institutions may require additional testing or coursework for homeschooled students, so students should be prepared to take some tests to show their level of academics.

It’s not uncommon whatsoever for homeschooled kids to be more academically advanced than their peers who attended a public school, so in the long run, homeschoolers are quite capable of holding the advantage.

However, it is important to note that homeschool diplomas are becoming increasingly common and should be accepted by most colleges and employers.


Although the information in this article was researched with the utmost integrity and sincerity, it cannot be held legally liable or expected to take the place of legitimate legal advice for your specific situation.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.