Yes! In fact, it is legal in many states!
"In New Jersey, the Legislature under the compulsory education law (N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25) has permitted children to receive “equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school,” including the home."
"When a child returns to school following a period of homeschooling, the local board of education treats the child as any other new or returning child (i.e. assessed as to the acceptance of credits and the appropriate grade level for purposes of placement). There are no special provisions made for the child who was educated at home. Placement should be based on an objective assessment that is given to all students for that subject or grade. In assessing the child educated elsewhere than at school, the child may not be held to a higher standard than similarly situated students within the district or transferring from other public or nonpublic schools. Also, if a child educated elsewhere than at school re-enrolls in the public school in order to obtain a high school diploma, an assessment is made as to the child’s compliance with state and local requirements, as the board of education would with any new or returning student, since no diploma can be issued when such requirements are not met. Their assessment may include one of the following applicable to grade of entry: NJ ASK 3, 4; NJ ASK 5, 6, 7; the Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA); High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA); or the Special Review Assessment (SRA) and Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA)" From the Dept. of Education's website
In some ways, home-schooling is similiar to having a child in private school, meaning that the state is not in control of assessing what home-schooled students learn. Again, the state can not demand a child be be tested.
There are many ways to assess a students' learning. Some home-schoolers use standard means of assessment, such as using tests from books, whereas others opt to keep portfolios of the students' work, or have the student complete projects or assess them orally.
Anyone thinking about home-schooling should read the book, The Homeschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith which offers pros and cons to various forms of assessment tools.
There are many reasons why people choose to home-school their children. Some people choose to home-school because they are dissatisfied with the current options they have when it comes to educating their children; it could be that their local schools aren't producing results they are proud of, or private school is too costly. Some do it to be able to spend more quality time with their children. Some do it for cultural reasons; others do it for religious reasons. Each family tends to have a different reason for choosing to home school.
Some advantages to home-schooling include; a smaller class size, more one-on-one attention, flexibility to learn all day, everyday, not just Monday-Friday 8-3:00, knowing that your child is learning what you deem to be important...the advantages are endless!
Although this is a subjective question, many home-schooled children tend to be very well-adjusted and even OUTGOING.
Home-schooled children tend to participate in many extra-curricular and co-curricular activities which means that, despite belief, they are not sheltered from the world. Because these students tend to spend a lot of one-on-one time engaged in conversations with and around adults, they tend to be sociable with their peers, as well as adults.
Take a look around you! Many times, students who are home-schooled tend to have an academic and social advantage over children their age.
First of all, make sure your intentions are pure; this is not a decision to be made on a whim. You must honestly ask yourself whether or not you are up for the challenge. Homeschooling requires a lot of time, dedication and patience.
Do your research! Read as much as you can about home-schooling. Become familiar with the laws in your state. Become familiar with the core curriculum standards and benchmarks for your students. Decide what you want your students to learn and what curriculum you will use. Become familiar with your curriculum! Understand how your students learn best and plan to make accomadations when possible/neccessary. Additionally, consider if this is something you'd rather do alone or with the help of others. Some people rely on co-ops. In a co-op, the adults in a homeschooling group take turns teaching. Whereas a co-op may work well for some, others find it easier to teach every subject themselves.
Although home-schooling offers flexibility, generally speaking, children tend to work well when they know what to expect. In other words, you may want to devise a schedule for your day and try to stick to it.
Finally, if your children are currently enrolled in school, although it's not required, it's suggested that you notify the Superintendent and your child's current school of your intentions to home-school.
Bottom line: Home-schooling is really about trial and error. Once you learn what works well for you and your students, replicate it! Keeping a journal/plan book is a good way to remember what worked well. Be willing to learn and grow with your students and admit that you do not know everything!
To avoid burn-out, take a break when needed and be willing to enlist the help of others. Most importantly, enjoy the time that you and your students share together. Most of all, have fun and instill a love of learning in them! Once they love learning, they'll continue to do it, even when you're not around!
A myriad of resources!
Look at the world as your textbook! For example, don't view a walk with your child as just a walk. During a walk with your child, you can expose him/her to scientific discovery by examining the different shapes and sizes of leaves; or, indirectly, teach him/her civility as you converse with your local baker; or about supply and demand during your next trip to the grocery store.
Confuscious once said, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." The same thing holds true for learning. You can learn something from EVERYTHING, just learn to look at the world/things differently.
In addition to those things, you can ask your local school system to allow you to borrow textbooks or you may choose to purchase your own. There are also on-line curriculum that you can purchase.
To supplement your core curriculum, you may be interested in purchasing various age-appropriate magazines or newspapers (Highlights Magazine, Time for Kids and Weekly Reader are good assets).
Check out different school's websites; many times they have links to other websites on their page, as well as information about what their students are learning.
Additionally, be willing to accept donations. Many times, daycare centers, schools and other homeschoolers get rid of tons of resources every year. Ask to look at their resources before they throw them out. As the saying goes, "Trash to one person may be a treasure to another."
And finally, many homeschoolers like to share their resources or what they know. Locate other people/homeschooling networks in your area.
When parents have children that vary in ages, many times they set aside time during the day to work with each child (creating a schedule would facilitate that process).
Many times the children are grouped together when they are close in age.