*** This is not intended to serve as legal advice.****
In New Jersey, there are no requirements or hoops to jump through.
No portfolios, no standardized testing, no formal assessments or interviews.
If you are removing your child from school, there may be paperwork associated with the removal process. Otherwise, the state is your educational oyster. You shouldn’t take my word for it, as I said this isn’t intended as legal advice, but below are some of the highlights you’ll find while researching more in depth on your own.
N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 states that “every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between six and 16 to ensure that such child regularly attends the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.” There are fines for not complying with this statute.
Two of the main court cases regarding homeschool law are State v. Vaughn 44 N.J. 142 (1965) and State v. Massa 95 N.J. Super 382 (1967).
The Vaughn case deals with when a parent is educating children under N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 the burden of proving the statute is not being followed is with the State.
The Massa decision is in regard to the expectations of what is necessary to be compliant with N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25. Parents are required only to show that “the instruction was academically equivalent to that provided in the local public school.”
What about High School?
Yes you can homeschool in high school. They do not earn a diploma from your local school. However, there are options depending on your needs including online schools that will certify your work and issue an official diploma, 30 general education credits from an accredited institution of higher learning and proficient scores in all sections of the HSPA will qualify your child for a state issued diploma, pass the General Education Development exam (GED), or you can produce your own official non-accredited diploma.
The state leaves much of the decision making regarding whether kids can participate in extracurricular activities in the local district up to the board of education. Some do, some don’t. There are families who have successfully rallied to be included in events.
Many families find that once they start homeschooling the social opportunities are abundant. The biggest complaint I hear, in this regard, is that there is lots of driving involved our kids social calendars. Friends are not limited to kids of the same age on the streets right around your block; friends will be of varied ages with varied interests and may be spread throughout the state.
In a Nutshell.
You must provide education to your kids if they are between 6 and 16. While the “system” has become more and more rigorous for children under 6. It is important to recognize that the skills they learn through unstructured play are invaluable in the early years. Education is not a race it’s a journey. We wish you the best of luck on your unique path.
More detailed info: