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  1. #1

    Default Best Place to Homeschool in the US

    We are originally from Europe and currently live in Florida, where we are homeschooling three kids (6-12). Next year we want to relocate. We are completely independent and can move anywhere in the US. So we are looking for suggestions.

    What we miss in Florida and want to find in the next place:
    Culture, sophisticated and highly educated people, food diversity, more nature that is accessible for outdoor activities, a more open-minded and secular community, downtown, nice cafes, children who play outside without constant adult supervision, a healthier lifestyle

    I know that every place can be made the "best" place with right mindset. But I would love to hear your experience.
    I would greatly appreciate your help!
    Thank you.

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  3. #2


    Welcome! There are a few states where homeschooling requires more bureaucratic paperwork, but other than that, it really is up to the parent.
    Find a place youd like to live, that meets your other criteria, and its likely that homeschooling there will work for you.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3



    We do not currently live in the US and have never homeschooled there. But we did live there for a while when my oldest was between 18 months and 5 years old. We lived in the San Diego area but travelled around as much as we could. In terms of San Diego, it has lots of easily accessible outdoors. There are beaches and hiking in canyons in the city area. Then it is not far to drive to the Julian, Mt Laguna, Anza Borrego desert, Mt Palomar, Mt San Jacinto areas, or even Joshua Tree National Park. We did a lot of camping and hiking when we lived there. Hiking multiple times per week and camping around once or twice a month. The people we encountered were very into healthy lifestyles but we were out hiking and camping so that is the type that we ran into. There is also food diversity, but not really a downtown that you would want to hang out in, and the cafes, open-minded/secular-ness, kids playing outside without supervision depend on the area you are living in. It is also very expensive!

    Other places we visited were Boston, Washington DC, New York city, Rhode Island, Florida, Portland, a lot of Utah, Arizona, and the central CA area, and we found things to like about most of them. The US is so big (we are from NZ, which is about the size of CA). There are so many places.

    One area we really loved that we visited was Portland. We only had a long weekend there but outdoors access was very easy, people seemed into healthy lifestyles, amazing farmer's markets (San Diego has many but we always found the produce very sad looking and the stuff in Portland was so luscious in comparison), great cafes, functional and rapid public transport (this is something that is terrible in San Diego). I get the impression it is a very open-minded and secular area. The downtown area was nice of what we saw of it. Not sure about the kids playing outdoors.

    I know it is all generalizing. But I would love to hear what people have to say as well. DH is looking at taking a sabbatical for work sometime in the next year. So we could get about 6 months overseas, and I would like to try somewhere in the US. He wants to try Europe, but is open to the US. For the US, he has suggested Denver, CO.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 07-21-2019 at 01:21 AM.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  5. #4


    Thank you very much for this insight.
    Florida, Tampa area, is great for secular homeschooling. A lot of homeschoolers and many enrichment programs and opportunity. We have lived here for five years.
    I also know quite a bit about the Seattle area, which is also a good place to homeschool, but it was always cold and gray when we were there. Beautiful parks and many outdoor opportunities.
    We also spent about two months in Boston and generally the New England states. Homeschooling families will also find a lot of like minded people.
    That's as much as I can tell you.

    I hope that more people will tell us about their cities or areas. I would also be especially interested in Colorado, Boulder and Fort Collins area.
    Also does anybody know about Boise Idaho?

  6. #5


    Michigan has one of the most lax homeschooling laws in the country. It is incredibly easy to homeschool here. There is no reporting, no red tape. We are in Detroit. I've found the secular homeschooling community here to be welcoming, intelligent, helpful. We have the DIA and The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village, as well as a world class zoo, science centers. The food is amazing.

    Detroit is a city that has suffered a lot in the last 50+ years -- really in the last century. But I find the people to be wonderful and there is a lot of diversity to be found here, though there are major problems with hyper-segregation.

    If you want more walkability and a intellectual vibe, I suggest Ann Arbor. It is only 45 minutes away from Detroit and so you can access the culture of Detroit while having the crunchy-ness of A2.

    I'm told Grand Rapids is also great but I haven't spent much time there.

    Michigan is terrific if you love outdoors experiences. The Upper Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Plus, we are close to Canada

    LMK if you have any questions,

  7. #6


    How funny, I just hopped on here to post a similar question. We have the moving bug again and are trying to pick a place to move. We are currently homeschooling in Missouri, and have homeschooled in Seattle. My kids were to young for homeschooling when we were in South Carolina.

    Seattle was lovely... So much to do in the city, lots of year round activities hiking and the like, very active homeschool community.... sounds like what you are looking for. However, it was very expensive and crowded for my tastes. You would enjoy living in Seattle the most, but it would be much cheaper living waaaaay outside and driving in occasionally. Traffic is soooo bad going in and out of Seattle and they are constantly working on upgrades but are always years behind what is needed.

    Missouri has a low cost of living and very lax homeschool laws, but has a very religious mindset and it's hard to find groups that aren't Christian based (typical mid-west) We live near St. Louis and just haven't been happy with the area. We only ended up here because we are originally from Missouri and have family here, but it isn't enough to keep us here.

    Charleston was really neat, everyone there is so darn nice and I loved the history that was everywhere. But my kids were just babies when we were there, so I can't speak for how homeschooling is there. Honestly, a lot of it was a blur back then and I'd love to go back now that my kids are older and could enjoy it.

    Anyways, lucky that you get to go anywhere! My husband works in manufacturing so we are limited by where the job market is strong for him. I also cross-reference that with the states that have minimal homeschool regulations. Then out of those choices I really want something that isn't so... conservative I guess. There are hardly any states that fit all of our "must-haves". I love reading about other states and what it is like, Michigan is on our list so it's nice to read more about it!

  8. #7


    While we don't live in Boulder or Fort Collins, we are in the Colorado Springs area of Colorado. Colo Spgs is known for being very evangelical, so there are many religious homeschoolers. But, because of the sheer number of homeschoolers here, there are many resources around that have made things really easy for us, to the point that while we have been speaking of moving for a few years, I can't imagine it being as easy anywhere else. FWIW Boulder is really expensive, but both Boulder and Fort Collins are college towns, so you'll get those amenities related to education.

    It is very popular here for public schools to host homeschool enrichment classes, where once a week, you can send your child to the public school for art/music/PE/social interaction, etc. You are allowed to enroll at any school you want provided you do it early enough. Also, if you want, you can use the school's curriculum for free plus get a stipend for materials. We did the enrichment program last year, and we aren't returning this year because it wasn't a good fit for us, but other people I know like it and especially like not having to pay for curriculum. Other private schools also host homeschoolers as well for enrichment days.

    Our library system is unreal - I have dual library cards for both local library systems and the Pikes Peak Library System has great resources for homeschoolers (again, tons of them in Colo Spgs). There are several science programs each month, in addition to art classes. The ones that require RSVP fill up immediately, but they also have more open-ended events either for drop-ins, or talks held in auditoriums (one we went to had the local bird rescue bring in 3 different birds of prey and the kids got to hear about them). One library has an "Educational Resource Center" filled with educational games and activities for science, math, language arts (it's open during school hours, really it's for homeschoolers unless it's summer). There are tons of online resources as well that we haven't explored yet. We are doing Build Your Library and besides the spines I've only had to purchase a couple books.

    Many of the Denver-area museums specifically host homeschool events during the school year, so whatever you're interested in, you can probably find. Last year we did a "Dinosaur Botany Adventure" at the Denver Botanic Gardens and next month we will do a clay course at the college fine arts center. There are also sports leagues, dance classes, theatre, orchestra, etc. tailored for homeschoolers. Of course you can access many of these things during non-school hours too, with non-homeschoolers (parks and rec, etc).

    The outdoors are a way of life here and so it's very easy to get outdoors, try sports, and many public areas have kid-friendly areas. I tend to gravitate towards the outdoors-oriented homeschool groups because they seem to be less religious (at least not in your face).

    As far as the law, unless you have a teaching certificate/graduate degree in education, or are in an umbrella school situation, you have to file a LOI to homeschool each year to your local school district and then take your choice of several options of standardized testing in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.

    I think Idaho is known for having no laws. I could be wrong, or it could be because I just read Educated by Tara Westover :/

  9. #8


    I am liking all this information. So does anyone have any info on how long you would have to be in a state to file to be homeschoolers. I am thinking if we are on academic/scholar visitor visas for only 3–6 months that we won't have to do anything?

    For our legality in NZ, I just have to inform the government if we will overseas for longer than 28 days, but our homeschool exemption remains valid. If we are gone longer than 6 months, we not longer get paid the allowance (which is really minimal) and have to reapply for it. So from that side, I think if we are still legal homeschoolers in NZ then we should not have to register in the US.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  10. #9


    @NZ - it looks like probably not. Im not sure if this would apply to you:

    I also cant imagine anyone asking why your girls are “not in school”. (Or you could answer that youre homeschooling from NZ, which will probably shut them up.)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  11. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    @NZ - it looks like probably not. Im not sure if this would apply to you:
    Thanks for the link! We won't be on any of the visas it talks about though. I am not 100% certain, but he will probably be on a J-1 visa and we "dependents" would be J-2's and J-2's are allowed to attend school. If he is not a J-1, it would be an H-1b (and dependents can attend school with that category too), but I think the J-1 is more likely. But I just don't know if we will have to attend school/register as homeschoolers.

    Sorry for thread detour original poster!
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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