Thoughts on public schools, home schools and Christian schools

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Pastor Tim,

This is only barely germane to this article, but my wife and I are long-time homeschoolers, and something you either wrote or said on a podcast 5 or so years ago was very impactful on me and I want to thank you for it. You said that boys should not be homeschooled by their mothers past 8th grade. You shared that you had done this with one of your boys (Pastor Joseph, I think), and that it had been very fruitful.

My eldest was about ready to start 9th grade when I heard you say that, and I decided to take over from my wife as his teacher. It was wonderful and bore a lot of fruit. He graduated this past spring.

My next boy requested that I take over as his teacher last year when he was starting 8th grade, so I did. I pray that I’m able to school all four of my boys from 9th-12th grade, at least.

Thank you.


I am probably thinking of the same podcast. I recall something to the effect that it would be a tragedy for a boy to grow up into manhood and the only functional authority he’s had in his life is his mother. Was very thankful for that as well.

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Thanks, men. And pls thank your wives. We’ve had one family that homeschooled their ten or so kids, and did a great job. I think they’d agree with the cautions given here. Love,

My wife and I have been homeschooling for fourteen years (@blacknazgul13 is our first graduate), and the more time goes by, the more inclined I am to agree with the warnings of @tbbayly. That said, I would like to make two points.

  1. There seem to be two kinds of Christian schools in my area. The first kind is expensive and provides an excellent education, but has the problem that many parents are trying to get their kids into elite colleges just like secular upper middle class professionals. Even if I could afford it, I wouldn’t want to send my kids to these schools because the academic environment is filled with toxic pressure and striving. The second kind is cheaper and provides a poor-to-mediocre education. I am less familiar with these schools, but I’ve heard stories from teachers about how some parents send their troubled children there and expect the school to take exclusive responsibility for Christian character development. I wouldn’t want to send my kids to these schools, either.

  2. The practice of homeschooling described by @tbbayly seems foreign to me. We are part of a big Christian homeschooling group that offers a large number of academic and non-academic classes taught by other parents and adults in the broader Christian community, plus there are a large number of clubs, field trips, and social events. The classes are mostly in-person and meet one day out of the week, and parents are expected to keep their children studying and doing the assigned work the rest of the week. At the middle school and high school level, a very large number of kids are taking at least half of their classes from adults other than parents, and many of the teachers are men. My own teenagers are spending four days a week at academic classes and clubs outside the home. So it’s like a school, except it is still homeschooling because the teacher provides instruction, homework, and tests but is not responsible for motivating the student to work. Some families fleeing the public schools and new to homeschooling fail to understand that they must now take responsibility for the learning of their children and that the teacher is only assisting.


I’m experienced with both these types of private schools (public to you UKers), almost all of them with some claim to be “Christian.” Our children attended some of each, and both our children and grandchildren have been in such schools and long participated in the same sort of cooperative groups you do. Also, we hired tutors and, as a homeschooler, our eldest son had completed almost two years of IU before starting at Vandy as a freshman. Also taught a class in one of these homeschooling co-ops. Only to say I’m not unfamiliar with the diversity of option and involvement of other adults, including sometimes men.

Certainly hybrids work best, if a family is to homeschool. It’s a rare homeschool that does well without some sort of outside direction and accountability. Still, even in the best homeschooling, the mother remains the main accountability through high school, and it shows. Power plays between moms and teenage sons are not pretty, and dad is relegated to night time adjustments, when he’s not tired from his own day job. There are exceptions, but I’m convinced boys in jr and sr high should have male primary schooling authority/daytime leadership. This goes for public and private schooling, also. I think Scripture teaches us that there’s just something about a man.

Let me also say the other thing I am convinced of, which is that homeschooled children young and old were the least respectful of authority in our congregations over the years. FWIW. Love,