HOMESCHOOL IOWA 7
Among the 22 Dallas County Support Group members
who attended this meeting, 10 later became charter board
members of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educa-
tors: Paul Bonstrom, Doug & Marylou Findley, Dave Koch,
Garry & Julie Naberhaus, Don & Marie Nevins, Gary Pa-
tience, and Mary Stuart.
Senator Jim Riordan and Representative Dave Hibbard
(both Democrats) joined the group for this meeting,
spending the afternoon becoming acquainted and shar-
Was this unpretentious meeting between local home-
schooling families and their elected representatives (and
the subsequent communications that were enabled as its
result) an insignificant event? Judge for yourself as you
continue to read this account.
In the period leading up to the 1990 Iowa Legislative Ses-
sion, the Iowa Department of Education presented a num-
ber of conditions for inclusion in a homeschooling bill.
Here are some of the proposals:
The Iowa insert to
‘The Teaching Home’
Jan 1989-90] reported that the 1990 Iowa Legislature
would open Monday, January 8, and that the Department
of Education planned to propose new homeschooling leg-
islation (dubbed “The Governor’s Bill”). This bill was to be
“a compromise position acceptable to the State Board of
Education,” according to Kathy Collins, the Department of
Education legal consultant.
In the opening days of the 1990 Legislative Session, the
so-called truancy bill, SF 149, which had passed the Sen-
ate in 1989, was placed on the House calendar and quickly
passed with some changes included. Its next destination
was to be a conference committee charged with ironing
out the differences between the two chambers.
Homeschool families, including many of the Dallas Coun-
ty Homeschool Support Group members, frequented the
statehouse, talking to their legislators and watching for
the convening of this committee.
Days – and then weeks – passed. It appeared that differ-
ences between the two chambers – such as the setting of
the compulsory attendance age and deciding whether
to attach The Governor’s Bill to SF 149 – were stalling
By mid-March, the constant monitoring for the conven-
ing of the SF 149 conference committee had begun to
take its toll on the homeschool legislative watch volun-
teers. However, a friendly House Republican who was a
staunch homeschool supporter promised that he would
alert homeschooling families tracking the legislation if all
the conference committee members left the floor of the
House at the same time. There were a few false alarms, but
this approach gave another level of security to those mon-
itoring the statehouse.
Finally, during the waning hours of the 1990 legislative
session, a call came from the homeschool-friendly legisla-
tor. The SF 149 conference committee was going to meet
immediately. Within fifteen minutes, several dozen home-
schoolers located the tiny room where the committee had
convened and squeezed in to observe the process.
With impressive efficiency, the conference committee
hammered out differences and filed their finished product
– a combination truancy bill and homeschooling bill – on
April 6, 1990.
Although some parts of this legislation closely resemble
our current Iowa homeschooling law, in contained a num-
ber of odious provisions, including:
Continued on page 8
Minimum course of study requirements
Local district approval of submitted
Mandatory verification visits
Automatic enrollment in public school for
“failure to make adequate progress”
Initiation of CINA proceedings for “failure to
make educational progress”
Mandatory dual-enrollment in public school
Fire code applicability to homeschool sites
Minimum daily instructional periods of at least
5½ hours per day.