Private Instruction (Home School)
What is competent private instruction?
Competent private instruction (CPI) is private instruction provided on a daily basis for at least one hundred forty-eight days during a school year, to be met by attendance for at least thirty-seven days each school quarter, by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under Iowa Code section 299A.2 and this chapter, or other person under Iowa Code section 299A.3 and this chapter, which results in the student making adequate progress. The CPI category includes home schooled children who are not enrolled in independent private instruction and those in non-accredited nonpublic “schools.” 281-IAC chapter 31.
Option 1: Private Instruction under the supervision of a Licensed Practitioner
Under Option 1, a parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian simply completes the report of Competent Private Instruction (Form A – available from district of residence) and returns it to the resident district by September 1 or within 14 days of commencing CPI.
NOTE, however, if a child has been identified as requiring special education programs or services, prior written approval must be obtained from the special education director of the Area Education Agency (AEA) in which the child resides before the child may be home schooled or enrolled in a non-accredited nonpublic “school.” This consent is not required if the parent, guardian, legal, or actual custodian does not consent to initial evaluation or to reevaluation of the child for receipt of special education services or programs. Iowa Code sections 299.4, 299A.9; 281-IAC rules 31.5(1) (f), 31.10.
Option 2: Private Instruction by a non-licensed person
Under Option 2 a parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian may meet, but is not required to meet, all of the following requirements:
- Complete the report of Competent Private Instruction (Form A-available from the district of residence and found on pages 20-21 of this handbook) and return it to the resident district by September 1 or within 14 days of commencing CPI. (Iowa Code section 299.4)
- Ensure that the child under the parent’s, guardian’s, or legal custodian’s instruction is evaluated annually to determine whether the child is making adequate progress, as defined in Iowa Code section 299A.6 and this chapter.
- Ensure that the results of the child’s annual evaluation are reported to the school district of residence of the child and to the department of education by a date not later than June 30 of each year in which the child is under competent private instruction.
A parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian who chooses Option 2 with no reporting is utilizing the “private instruction exemption”, and by doing so relinquishes the ability to dual enroll for academics, extracurricular activities, or special education services. Dual enrollment requires compliance with the reporting requirements of Iowa Code section 299.4 and the assessment requirements of 299A.4. A parent who dual enrolls for academics, athletics, or special education services relinquishes the option to utilize the private instruction exemption, and must complete Form A.
A parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian who chooses Option 2 and chooses not to report to the district (i.e., uses the private instruction exemption) may wish to provide the district notice of the decision to use the private instruction exemption. Doing so will create a presumption that a child of compulsory attendance age is in compliance with the compulsory attendance requirements of Iowa Code chapter 299.
NOTE, however, if a child has been identified as requiring special education programs or services, prior written approval must be obtained from the special education director of the Area Education Agency (AEA) in which the child resides before the child may be home schooled or enrolled in a non-accredited nonpublic “school.” This consent is not required if the parent, guardian, legal, or actual custodian does not consent to initial evaluation or to reevaluation of the child for receipt of special education services or programs. Iowa Code sections 299.4, 299A.9; 281-IAC rules 31.5(f), 31.10.
Independent Private Instruction (IPI)
Independent Private Instruction (IPI) means 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 independent private instruction is provided, or from the director of the department of education, a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the independent private instruction, and the name of the students enrolled.
- Is not a nonpublic school and does not provide competent private instruction as defined in Iowa Code section 299A.1 and these rules.
- 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 and 299A.
Home School Assistance Program (HSAP)
Districts are not required to have a HSAP. If a district does have such a program, the district must employ one or more properly licensed instructors to provide instruction or instructional supervision of CPI. The instructor is required to have contact with the child and the child’s parent, guardian or legal or actual custodian at least 4 times per quarter, half of which contacts must be face-to-face with the child. The instructor is also to advise the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian about lesson plans, instructional materials, teaching/learning techniques, evaluation of student learning, planning, etc. A HSAP is not available to children receiving IPI.
Enrollment Forms and Department of Education Guidance