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Considering homeschooling in New Jersey? As a teacher turned homeschooling mom in the great state of New Jersey, let me be one of the first to say “welcome to the family!”
New Jersey residents have plenty to disagree about. Sprinkles or Jimmies? Ocean City or Asbury Park? Pork Roll or Taylor Ham?
For the record, it’s “pork roll,” (and Sprinkle and Ocean City) but I’m willing to bet that every single homeschooler in New Jersey will agree that homeschooling in New Jersey is pretty darn amazing.
Why is homeschooling in New Jersey awesome? Let’s chat a bit, shall we?
I feel like we should get to know each other a little bit, right?
Hey hey! I’m Elizabeth and I’m a proud born & raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 3 boys (2 human, 1 canine). As a former special education teacher, I’ve taught in both New Jersey and Florida, and am now homeschooling my two boys in New Jersey.
We LOVE homeschooling and, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t know that we’d ever willingly return to the public school system. It’s been such a great experience for our family!
I believe learning should be meaningful, memorable, and fun and do whatever I can to infuse that belief into our day to day activities. I love music (especially The Beatles and Harry Styles), watching movies with my family, shopping, traveling, and…if I’m being completely honest…sleeping past 8am. #momlife
Ok, moving right along…
New Jersey Homeschooling Regulations
Why is New Jersey such a great state in which to homeschool? Well, to put it simply, families homeschooling in New Jersey have complete freedom.
Unlike a number of states in our country, New Jersey does not require homeschooling families to keep track of educational records, participate in state testing, use specific curriculum, or even provide an “intent to homeschool,” every year.
New Jersey makes homeschooling easy peasy.
Regulations, of course, may change, but, when it comes to homeschooling, the state of New Jersey “only” requires that kids ages 6-16 receive an equivalent education to the one they’d receive at a state-run school.
Notifying Your Local School District
Because you don’t want to chance any trouble with NJ truancy laws, you may need to first notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool your kids.
If your child has never been enrolled in a NJ school, you do not need to notify the local school district of your decision to homeschool. After all, your child has never been enrolled, so they don’t even have a record of your child.
If your child has been enrolled, though, you will need to send a letter to unenroll your child. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recommends sending a letter via certified mail with a return receipt.
In the local homeschooling community, there’s mixed feelings on sending a letter to both the school principal and the superintendent. Many say to just send a letter to the principal but, when I unenrolled my kids, I sent letters to both the principal and superintendent to make sure I dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts, you know?
The HSLDA does offer a letter template with the purchase of a membership. If you’re not ready or interested in an HSLDA membership, though, I’m willing to bet that a quick search online or in your local homeschooling social media groups will result in a sufficient template.
Or…If you’d like a copy of the letter I sent to unenroll my own kids, just click here!
Finding your New Jersey Homeschooling Community
Once you’re officially a homeschooling family, you might want to find some friends!
First, I just need to make something clear. I’m sure you’ve heard people say that “homeschooled kids aren’t socialized” before? That is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the biggest misconceptions of homeschooling.
Of course, all families are different but, if you ask me, my kids are way more social now than they were while they were public school students. Not only do they chat with their peers, but they carry on conversations with adults all.the.time. Awesome, right?
We have really made some great friends in the local homeschool community and I bet you will, too!
When it comes to finding other families that are homeschooling in New Jersey, I have had the best luck by searching through Facebook. A quick “NJ Homeschool” search should bring up a number of groups. From there, you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to join and even narrow your search by adding even more focused keywords to your search like:
- Your location/county
- South/North Jersey
Some helpful New Jersey homeschooling groups I’m in are:
Homeschooling Fun in New Jersey…and beyond!
You have to admit, we have so many opportunities for fun & educational field trips and adventures in New Jersey. Not only are there awesome places in New Jersey, but, depending on where you live, you could be super close to Philadelphia or New York!
There are SO many possibilities!
We live in an area that’s filled with history, close to a number of beaches, and we get to experience all 4 seasons. We’ve got the best of so many worlds, you know?
When we were making the decision to homeschool our kids, one of the points on the “pro” side of our “pros & cons” list was that we’d have the ability to travel more in New Jersey and beyond.
Because we are able to homeschool in New Jersey, without restricting requirements that many homeschoolers in other states must adhere to, we are able to travel throughout the year. No more waiting to travel in the summer or during typical school breaks and holidays.
If we want to travel during the first week of September, when public school kids typically go “back to school,” we can! If we want to take advantage of off-season pricing the first week of January, when public school kids return to school after winter break, we can!
There are so many benefits to homeschooling in New Jersey, that this article really is just the tip of the iceberg! If you have any questions about beginning (or continuing) your homeschooling journey in New Jersey, I’m here to help out however I can!
Are you homeschooling in New Jersey? What tips and advice would you offer to new homeschooling families? Drop a comment below!
And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):
Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.
About the Author
Elizabeth is a proud born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 3 boys (2 human, 1 canine). Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020.
In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music, being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling.
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