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Homeschooling in Iowa
Hi, my name is Robyn, and I homeschool in Iowa. I am a homeschooling mother of three boys ages 4, 6 and 8. When my children were younger, I studied linguistics and did volunteer work teaching ESL and adult literacy. Now I continue teaching and learning with my children, while also working part time outside the home as a relay operator for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Hi, my name is Linda Kay Taylor and I also homeschool in Iowa. I am married and we have seven children. I have homeschooled my children for six years now. So far I have taught kindergarten through seventh grade.
To find out more about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Iowa, articles, and state-specific resources, you can also visit one of these sites:
Legal disclaimer: This section is two family's stories and how they meet the mandatory school attendance laws in Iowa. It is not intended and should not be used as definitive legal advice. In most states, parents find a variety of legal methods to pursue the educational approach that they prefer for their child.
Robyn's Favorite State and Local Resources
My favorite local resource has got to be the Grant Wood AEA. They allow homeschoolers access to their teacher workstation where you can laminate, make die cuts, buttons, bind books and more. They also have a library of educational materials including books, DVDs, VHS, games and a subscription to Discovery Education streaming. You can find your local AEA at http://www.iowaaea.org/
Robyn's View of Homeschooling in Iowa
I feel like I have a lot of freedom and support as a homeschooler in Iowa. The laws are not the most lenient in the country, but something I can work with. There are some great resources available to homeschoolers in my area free of charge or very cheap. I do feel like the state wants to work with homeschoolers to help them give their children the best education they can. On the down side, I could really go for a bigger, more diverse homeschooling community.
In Iowa, all homeschoolers must submit a form reporting that their child will be receiving education outside of a public or accredited private school. In addition, all children ages 7-15 have to either meet with a licensed teacher four times each quarter, or the parent has to prove they are making adequate progress either through standardized testing, a report card from a correspondence school, or submitting a portfolio which will be reviewed by a licensed teacher. If you choose to submit a portfolio, I believe it has to contain lesson plans, curriculum and a diary of activities. Portfolios for children through grade five have to include information about reading, language arts and math. Higher grades have to also include science and social studies.
We fulfill the requirement by participating in a homeschool assistance program. Ours is at http://homeschool.cr.k12.ia.us. Through this assistance program our children go to school with other homeschoolers for four hours one day each week. During their time there they go to art, music, gym, recess, lunch, the library, the computer lab and each month there is a special subject they learn about such as bees or spelunking. We are allowed to count these classes as half of the contacts with a licensed teacher. To complete the rest of the contacts, they stay after school for 30-45 minutes once each month and do a fun project, usually including a story and some sort of hands-on activity like painting or making ice cream. We also rent curriculum pieces from the assistance program and sometimes join them for field trips. The teachers are very non-intrusive.
For more info, be sure to check out the official Iowa Homeschooling information page from the Department of Education.
Time4Learning is vibrant, engaging, educational, and funny. It sure beats our previous homeschool curriculum which was textbook/workbook based.
Time4Learning is so effective that very little intervention is required. This works great if you're homeschooling multiple children.
What Robyn's Homeschool Day Looks Like
Each day all of my children have language arts and math lessons to do from various books. With three younger children needing lots of one-on-one time, it often seems the hardest part of homeschooling is keeping everyone productive and occupied at once. If I had three children all lined up, each with a different book, asking me for help all at once, nobody would get anything done. Having some of their lessons on the computer helps. On very productive mornings, one child will start with lessons on Time4Learning.com, while another works one-on-one with me, and the other does Spanish or typing practice on the other computer or a puzzle. After that is completed, we read together and do unit study activities and maybe go to the library. On sleepier mornings, the kids will each do their Time4Learning lessons, which gives me a break, and seems less like school work to them than their book work. Then we'll relax and play until we start feeling motivated to get to our book work. On those days, usually one child is in the house doing their lessons while the other two are outside playing with the neighborhood children who are, by that time, home from school. On days that are just too busy for our normal routine, the kids can do a few lessons on Time4Learning pretty quickly, and then I know that school work for the day was not completely abandoned.
Linda's Favorite State and Local Resources
Most of the homeschooling resources and support we have received has come from local sources. The homeschool support group I was involved with had a MNO (Mother's Night Out) once a month, a field trip (planned by a different mother each month) and on Fridays in the winter met at a local hotel to have a swimming afternoon.
The HSAP I was involved with met twice a month for various activities planned by the teacher. Twice a year there were family picnics. The HSAP program was able to provide some textbooks on loan for a year. There were some restrictions. There were also field trips throughout the year.
I couldn't believe that my child was able to take charge and do the program alone! The software is so user friendly and I really do love it!
In this lesson, students are prompted to
Linda's View of Homeschooling in Iowa
I have loved homeschooling in Iowa! My first two years of homeschooling my child was in a HSAP (Home School Assistance Program). The program was wonderful and helped me learn the ropes. In the last four years I have been involved in a homeschool support group for three years, but this last year I slowed down a bit and was not involved with anything outside of homeschooling since I was taking care of our newborn. Both situations worked well for the time.
To homeschool in Iowa, the first thing you need to do is fill out a CPI (Certified Private Instruction) form and have it turned into your local school district by September 15 of each school year. On the CPI, you have a choice of dual enrolling or not. Dual enrolling gives your child the opportunity to participate in school classes or activities. Then, you will need to choose one of four options:
This is my interpretation in a nut shell. So it is short and sweet.
What Linda's Homeschool Day Looks Like
Each year, our homeschool day looks a bit different and this was the ideal plan. Also, throw in stopping to feed the baby several times throughout the day. This year, a day in the Taylor homeschool was a fight to stay on routine. With a new baby in the house, it was a challenge, but we did it! I would try to have the kids up and dressed by 8:00 a.m. (some mornings a few would stay in their PJs and I did not have the energy to fight them). Then each child would draw a stick from the breakfast job cup.
After breakfast was eaten and cleaned up, we would attempt to start school by 9:00 a.m. There were days that I would be teaching the first subject while the kids were eating breakfast. We are doing unit studies now so I could teach all of them at one time for the first subject. Then I would have the oldest two children each get on the computer and one would do math on T4L while the other did language arts. I would then work with another child who is learning to read. Then two more kids would get on the computer to work on either language arts or math while I taught the other student reading. The oldest two would then work on vocabulary. They would switch computers and do the opposite of language arts or math on T4L -- whichever had not been done before by that student. Then I would teach the oldest four students history (unit study) while the kindergartner did math and language arts on T4L and the 4-year-old did a few minutes of T4L preschool and then play learning games on other Internet sites. Then I would teach the second, third, and fourth child science, while the oldest studied science independently.
We would then take a break for lunch. I would then work on some preschool stuff or just play with the 4-year-old while my oldest taught the kindergartner reading activities that came from the T4L lesson plans and went along with the activities on the T4L site. Then I would send everyone to their room from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Each child had to read or look at a book depending on ability. During this time I laid down for rest or a nap. Then after book/rest time, we would attempt to do a little housework and I would work on the laundry.
The children were enrolled in Tae Kwan Do two afternoons a week to give them a physical education activity. Then it was home for supper. My great hubby would then help kids get ready and tucked into bed. The adults would fall into bed in hopes of catching a few hours of sleep between baby and other children waking up during the night. Then start all over again if it was a weekday. If it was the weekend, we would try to sleep in as long as possible!
I LOVE Time4Learning! It holds the attention of my kids, plus I can keep track of their learning without hovering over their shoulders.
I am really pleased with Time4Learning. It has made a world of difference in my son's academic performance in school!
Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Time4Learning's experience shows that there is no single, best homeschool material. Rather than feeling torn between homeschool resources, parents should select a diverse blend of materials and activities.
For families with more than one child, choosing a homeschool program can be more problematic. What works for one child may not work for another. What works for one subject may not work on the next. What works one year, may fall flat the very next year.
Some of the features that make Time4Learning so successful include:
Time4Learning is proven effective with homeschoolers, has a low monthly price, is easy-to-use, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your children!
Sign up for Time4Learning as part of your overall homeschool program.
If you have any more questions or comments about homeschooling in Iowa, head over to the Iowa Parents Forum.
Some Helpful Tools and Resources
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide - Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.
Curriculum Lesson Plans - An overview of what's available for each grade and subject.
Homeschool Portfolio Information - Answers common questions about homeschool portfolios and evaluations. It includes tips on organization methods, what to include and how Time4Learning can be used as part of your homeschool portfolio.
Online Parent's Forum - Reach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.
Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed. Make Time4Learning a part of your children's homeschool resources.