3 Ways Everybody Homeschools: Whether Your School is Public, Private Or The Dining Room Table.

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Last Updated on August 8, 2021 by Sarah McCubbin

What does that even mean…Everybody Homeschools? Years ago, when I was in the thick of raising little kids (we had 7 kids ages 9 and under!), homeschooling, and foster parenting, I came across a book that argued that every parent homeschools. I immediately dismissed the idea at face value. NOT EVERYONE was buying curriculum, making lesson plans and struggling to teach children to read in between dirty diapers, making endless meals, and trying to keep the toddler from repainting the living room.

Clearly, the authors were wrong.

Everybody homeschools
In 2014 we had 7 kids + 1 foster child not pictured! Is this required to Homeschool?!?

I correlated the stress of having children at home all day as being part of the homeschool experience. And to some, it might be. However, as my kids grew older, I realized that our HOMEschool experience was changing. We added co-op classes once a week and athletic teams on other days. We started paying for private courses and another son joined the public school Debate team. Eventually, our teens started working at McDonald’s and taking early college classes. All of this happened while they were HOMEschooled.

Our world had gotten much bigger. Where school once centered around the dining room table, it was now happening in many different places. So, if my kids could do activities with public school kids, in private courses, in homeschool classes, and with athletic teams, then homeschooling was not really about the location. It was about something else.

What does it mean that “Everybody Homeschools?”

1. All Parents are 100% Responsible for their Child’s Educational Experiences

When you HOMEschool, it is common to pick and choose activities that support your family values or goals. By picking and choosing, parents are able to tailor the experiences of each child so they can develop their giftings and abilities.

The truth is…ALL parents are 100% responsible for their child’s education. Whether they own it or not, they are responsible. If your kids are public, private or HOMEschooled, it is your responsibility (and mine!) to navigate your chosen option and seek out the best choices for your kids. If your current educational choice is not healthy for your child or family, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to look at other options. This is a slightly terrifying reality at first. But the truth is…we all have some options.

Ways to stay involved in your child’s education:

  • Maintain a positive relationship with the teacher – being a teacher is hard. Appreciating them for what they do well will translate into a lot of goodwill in your communication with them.
  • Assume those teaching your children have good intentions. (they usually do)
  • Read with them or listen to audio books or stories together
  • Volunteer in the school or classroom
  • Get to know families that have chosen other educational options
  • Investigate all the options…even if you don’t need them right now.
  • Don’t assume some options are off the table. There are ways to HOMEschool or go to private school that you may not know about.
  • Remember everybody homeschools, so no matter what you choose, you are capable of making the best choice for your kids!

Many schools have systems set up for parents to get involved. But even if they do not, the interactions and conversations you have at home are POWERFUL influences on your children.

Teaching our kids does NOT mean that we need to have it all together…dirt, messes
and imperfection are all part of the process!

2. All Parents are Guides

Oftentimes, parents HOMEschool their children to keep them close, build a solid relationship and have the opportunity to customize the learning environment. They may also want to preserve the innocence of their children while they are young and impressionable. And all of this is very good. But parents who send their children to school also have the same responsibility in molding and shaping their children. We are all responsible to teach our kids who they are, how to know what they believe, and how to navigate life both now and in the future. ALL PARENTS HOMESCHOOL because we all communicate and support our values…either intentionally or unintentionally.

The ways to talk about those values are endless, but here are a few easy ways you can use time at home to establish your values with your kids:
  • Watch movies & talk about them
  • Allow kids to “vent” about their peers or teachers & talk through WHY people are acting or reacting a certain way
  • Build happy memories & laugh about the times things went wrong
  • Do hard things so that kids learn that they CAN do things that are difficult, unpleasant, dirty or “not fun.”
  • Talk about your faith and what you believe as part of daily life. Don’t just leave it for Sunday or whenever you gather.
  • Provide opportunities to combat wrong mindsets your children may have. There are lots of ways to do this but getting a job did this for our teens.

The reality is, what we do at HOME teaches our children far more than outside influences.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

3. All Parents Have Insecurities – Our Failures are SUPER POWERS!

HOMEschoolers often buy a LOT of curriculum and books. That was probably my favorite part of HOMEschooling…I love books! But as parents, we have something else that is an amazing FREE curriculum for raising our children. Mistakes…our mistakes…they are SUPER POWER curriculum. Dig back into childhood. You are a treasure trove of childhood success and failure. Kids love to hear our stories. And when we talk about life, sharing our own mistakes…big or small, it builds trust with our kids and helps them understand we are not being “strict” for no reason….it is because we care.

Every parent has made mistakes in their lives…you…me…everyone.

Do you want to prevent your kids from doing the same things? Do you want to shortcut that learning process for them? The KEY to doing this well is being willing to talk about your own mistakes.

Here is an example from my life. I was a very rude child and teenager. I thought that it was good to be “honest.” I had this whole package of delivering “honesty and truth.” I was very direct, insensitive, and selfish in my approach. I thought that as long as I was being “truthful” that nothing else mattered. As you can imagine, I did NOT have a lot of friends.

As an adult, I have worked really hard to develop people skills that can deliver honesty in a much kinder way. Because I had this problem as a child (and still fight it now sometimes), I will often tell my kids specific stories of when I was rude and how I could have handled it better. I want my children to know that they can be both honest and kind (most of the time!)

Walk Confident in Your Choice Because Everybody Homeschools

Everybody homeschools….whether their current educational model is public, private or the dining room table. I have HOMEschooled for 14 years, but this year, 8 of my 9 children are going to school and I will only HOMEschool my preschooler. This is a big change for us. However, while our schooling location has changed…our philosophy has not. We are still 100% responsible for our kids education and are so excited to see what these new opportunities bring.

When the school year starts, I often hear rumblings of frustration or self-doubt. You’ve got this!! Over the years, I have seen many parents navigate education well. There has also been a handful that did not too. I’ve seen parents in all kinds of schools who are proactive, responsible, and hardworking. I’ve also seen a few (from all kinds of school options) that are entitled, distracted, and detached. Whatever choice you are making for your family this year, know that YOU are the most important part of a successful school year. Your kids will learn from YOU how to navigate life.