New Jersey

  • Alternative education provision: New Jersey law exempts students who “receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must provide “equivalent instruction” between ages 6 to 16, but there are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Education Elsewhere

State statute requires that students “attend 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.” See New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-25.

None. However, the New Jersey Department of Education requires that if a “parent/guardian decides to remove an enrolled student from his/her high school educational program, the parent/guardian will be required to complete a transfer form which includes information related to the intent to provide instruction elsewhere than at school for the purposes of collecting accurate data on high school enrollment.” See N.J. Homeschooling FAQ.

None. All children, including homeschooled children, must be educated from age 6 to 16. New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-25

Instruction must be “academically equivalent” to that provided in public school.



Failure to educate is included in the state’s definition of neglect. Should a homeschool be reported for educational neglect, a state official may investigate to determine whether equivalent instruction is being provided. Should a local board of education become concerned that a given homeschooled child is not receiving equivalent instruction, the they may request evidence of the child’s education from the parent. In either case, the parent must provide evidence that the child is receiving “equivalent instruction,” but the state then has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a family’s curriculum is not academically equivalent to a public school education. See State v. Massa 95 N.J. Super 382 (1967).

A parent or guardian who fails to educate their child “shall be deemed to be a disorderly person and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $25.00 for a first offense and not more than $100.00 for each subsequent offense.” New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-31.


Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Yes, at the district’s discretion. 

Yes, at the district’s discretion. 

Yes, at the district’s discretion. School districts must review requests for special education evaluation, but school districts are only required to offer services if the child is enrolled in the public school district. However, school districts may choose to nevertheless offer services to homeschooled children. See N.J. Homeschooling FAQ. However, a New Jersey court has held that homeschool students may have a right to access to special services through the public schools if 1) the special services are provided on the premises of the public school; and 2) the public school is making such services available to private school students. See Forstrom v. Byrne, 341 N.J. Super. 45, 64-65, 775 A.2d 65, 77-78 (App. Div. 2001).



Early homeschoolers educated under the state’s compulsory attendance statute exemption for those receiving “equivalent instruction elsewhere.” In 1997, the state’s Education Commissioner issued guidelines requiring parents to submit an outline of their curriculum to local school boards, but these guidelines were rescinded after protest by the state’s homeschoolers. In 2004, after four adopted children were discovered in a state of intense malnutrition, the New Jersey legislature attempted to pass a bill requiring testing and medical examinations of homeschooled children, but were unsuccessful.

For more, see A History of Homeschooling in New Jersey.


Here’s how to report educational neglect. Have you reported educational neglect in this state? Please tell us about your experience.

New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-25

New Jersey Department of Education Homeschool FAQs

New Jersey, International Center for Home Education Research

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. Last updated April 2023.

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