August 12, 2020

Riffs: 12:12:06: Challies on Why He Doesn’t Homeschool

logo1.gifUPDATE: Noel Heikkinen writes a wonderful endorsement of Challies’ post from his own experience.

UPDATE II: Challies does Part II.

Tim Challies starts a series on why he doesn’t homeschool. IM readers know the subject of options in education is near and dear to my heart and I want to urge you to read Tim’s blog (like he needs my blog for the traffic) and to participate in the discussion. The comments will be an education, I assure you. Watch for the “public schooling is child abuse” committee to make an early appearance.

I’m a public school grad- proudly- and a supporter of community schools. I work at a private school and believe strongly in that option. I appreciate and support capable, conscientious homeschoolers. I believe the church should support all three options, and especially teachers in all three.

The IM essay you’ll want to read on this subject is the famous/infamous “Is School Out For Baptists?” in which I defend public schools. As part of a private school that ministers to kids who don’t do well in other schools, I believe we must support parents making difficult choices in education. I oppose those who insist that homeschooling is the only Biblical way to go.


  1. My husband and I don’t even have kids yet, aren’t even thinking about having kids yet, and this has been an ongoing discussion. With public schools, we would have the advantage of teaching our kids to be incarnational in their everyday life. But I struggle with the education of public schools, not because it’s secular, but because the standards have deteriorated. There’s a great International private school near us, but let’s be honest, who can afford it?
    Oy vey.
    The stress.

  2. I have a problem anytime I read these types of posts and it’s not because I am teaching my kids at home. I have the same reaction when I read articles in many homeschooling magazines written by parents describing why they have chosen to homeschool in such and such a way. Instead of simply presenting what they do and the specific benefits they have found for their particular family there is often the undertone and implication that either everyone should be doing what they are doing or at least, if they were smart, caring, or truly righteous they would.

    Now, I understand that it is virtually impossible to avoid some implied criticism of other options when one is defending one’s reason for making one choice over another. However, if we truly believe that there are different paths to which Believers can be called without one being right and the other wrong, then we need to present our thoughts and opinions in a way that confirms that we truly believe this. In other words, just saying “I don’t think there is only one right way to do this…” then going on to discuss why we think others have made different choices and the problems we see with their choices (and attitudes and beliefs), to me, appears contradictory and, unintentionally dishonest. Why not simply state what we have chosen to do, the factors that we have prayerfully considered: family situation, financial limitations, private school options, safety, academic opportunities, personal educational and childrearing philosophies, etc….and leave it at that. Why do these types of articles, posts and comments inevitably have to lead into discussions about which is the more ‘godly’ option? Whether its homeschoolers claiming that they are avoiding worldliness or public schoolers claiming to be more missional—they all comes across as “You can do what you want, but I’m the ‘stronger’ brother, and here’s why…”