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Home schooled students in Iowa could get easier access to online courses

ELDRIDGE, Iowa-- Jessica Holst is a teacher and a mom of six. She's home schooled them all.

Right now there are online classes for students offered by the state called Iowa Learning Online. Public and private schools use the resources, but in order for home school students to have access to the classes, they have to be dual enrolled with a public or private school, meaning families have to follow more school curriculum guidelines at home.

But the Iowa Department of Education wants to get rid of that dual enrollment hurdle.

"Being able to take advantage of the same things the public school kids are, as far as online classes, will help those kids have more career choices," says Holst.

The idea is to offer more options for learners no matter where they are taught.

The additional learning tools won't just help the students.

"Anything that will assist parents to feel more competent will be a good thing," says Holst.

Iowa Learning Online offers a variety of math, reading and science courses along with five foreign language options and art history, subjects many adults might not be familiar with.

There would be a fee home school families would pay to access the services. Public and private schools who use them pay the fee already.

Right now the bill is a prefiled bill, meaning it's the Department of Education's idea. It will go to the chair of education next to be filed, then a subcommittee in the Iowa Legislature would vote on it.