"I think anyone needs to be aware that generalizations are never good." - MsMom

We keep our eye on links to Baylyblog. Recently, a gab-site called The Well-Trained Mind Community resurrected an old Baylyblog post and asked its members for their thoughts. It's worth pointing out the post was not written by David, me, or any other pastor. The post is the work of an elder of Clearnote Church who is a founding board member of a ministry of Clearnote Church, Bloomington, called Bloomington Christian Schoolhouse.

I don't know if I've ever done this before but I'm notifying readers of the discussion and linking to it because it opens up to our view the world of conservative, somewhat religious homeschooling mothers. Read the comments—all of them—and take the measure of these women. Hard to fathom, isn't it?

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

I know "feeding the Trolls" is never a good idea, but I have to point out my Favorite comment so far from the Forum:  "What I think is that I would never take advice on my children's education from someone who randomly capitalizes terms that are not proper nouns."

Personally, I am Skeptical about advice from Someone who does Not practice capitalizing Very Important Words.

In other news, I've got a nickle that says this lady has no problem whatsoever with A.A. Milne :)

-Jim

From "Hive Mind Queen Bee For a pastor, his writing sucks.  And he is supremely sexist, besides sounding coo-coo for cocoa puffs neurotic."

I wonder if she asked her husband before she posted this diatribe.....  "Hive Mind Queen Bee" pretty much tells us all we need to know about her.  I didn't read every comment, but for the most part the comments were rude, disrespectful to a pastor, and didn't engage with what he actually said. 

We used to have some neighbors that homeschooled five children.  I will say their home was run by the dad who was in all ways the obvious leader, but this appears to be the exception rather than the rule. 

Blessings,

Nancy

I just got it!

oh the irony!

Wow, what happened to humility and being able to receive instruction?

Here in the UK I have only ever met one Christian homeschooling family and the mother ruled the roost and the son did not possess the masculine ingredient but was a very gelded young man.

Only a sample size of one but still....

Wow! Seems that you've struck a nerve amongst these ladies who, methinks, protest too much. Not the smallest cause for concern is the lack of reading comprehension skills.

I'm a regular reader of both this blog and the WTM community site. It saddens me to see this back and forth. I'm really surprised that you chose to extend it by answering the fools according to their folly. Why the vitriol?

Please note that the site managers did not start that silly thread; Rather, someone with just a few posts (aka troll) did. And relatively few of the site members are joining in the "discussion." This is not necessarily representative of the minds of conservative homeschooling women, or even of the "WTM community" as a whole. Some of the women are religious and others are plainly pagan. The common thread is homeschooling. The site does not claim any religion.

"Hive Mind Queen Bee" and other such titles come with post counts. Some people with that computer-given "title" may be gab queens but may also just have posted a lot of curriculum questions over time. How mean spirited and lacking in grace. I expect better from you, Nancy. I also read your blog.

My husband is the head of our home, even though we don't send our kids to the nearby Wilson-style classical Christian school. I'm not sure why his headship is in question just because I teach our children phonics while he's out winning our bread. He oversees everything with excellence, thank you very much.

As for the old post, I thought the original letter included several good warnings about the pitfalls of the Fortress School. Thank you for that. Please don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. Some families, like ours, arrive at the decision to homeschool with much prayer and trepidation. It's sad to come to the blog of a brother and find that "it is not an enemy who taunts me--then I could bear it."

Susan,  I am pretty sure that the Nancy Wilson who posts here is NOT Mrs. Douglas Wilson.  Just FYI.

Susan,

Kim is correct.  I'm not Mrs. Douglas Wilson.  Same name, different person.

As per your comment about my post on "Hive Mind Queen Bee", it wasn't just her name that I was commenting on.  The point was how rude and disrespectful her reply was to the Pastor.  

She didn't interact with what he actually said, but instead replied with childish name-calling etc.

This is what she said to/about him - “For a pastor, his writing sucks.  And he is supremely sexist, besides sounding coo-coo for cocoa puffs neurotic."  Makes you wonder what her children are “learning” from her.    

Blessings,
Nancy

Susan, I'm Tim's daughter. I think you've really misunderstood this blog post to take offense at it in this way. Where are you seeing vitriol? The point of the blog post isn't to start a little back-and-forth or a good round of mud-flinging. The point is that the level that this particular WTM forum thread descends to is proof of the objections raised in the first place. 

Brian's letter was not written to condemn homeschooling families, and certainly this post was not written to condemn you. (Brian's family, after all, home schools!) Brian's letter lists some pitfalls of various types of education, in an attempt to warn families away from the pitfalls. And this post is meant as a warning, too. It's more of a case lesson. It's not a diatribe against Well-Trained Mind, homeschool moms or gab-sites. It's simply a peek at one conversation that proves the very thing it's trying so hard to deny.

Sister, your brother is not taunting you. He may be poking a little fun with the post title quote, but, after all, it's funny! :)

Warmly,

Michal

After reading the thread on the WTM forum, I for one am glad to hear that these pitfalls are only dangerous to the homeschooling families in Bloomington, Indiana. It's comforting to know that they are virtually non-existent elsewhere in the country.

Hold on, I've met a lot of homeschool families from other parts of the country, too. And they all either fell prey to these dangers or guarded vigilantly against them. What gives?

That's the point. Either guard the good deposit, or it will be lost. And that good deposit? It isn't your children (Jeremiah 17:9), it is the Gospel of Truth. 

Thank you all for the replies. Forgive me but I'm going to respond in a list form because I'm too tired to compose well.

1) I liked and agreed with the original (Brain's) letter. Sorry if this was not clear. My husband and I read it together and agreed that some of those reasons (particularly the magnified parenting mistakes) were the reason we were reluctant to homeschool until it became apparent that it was the Lord's plan for us.

2) Nancy (not Mrs. Douglas), I agree with you as well that there were many disrespectful replies. I didn't even read through them all. I ignored the thread until today when I decided to see what the hubub was about. What I take issue with was your response. Making fun of people, particularly those you think may be fellow Christians, is beneath us. Is this the way we want to speak to those we expect to see in heaven? If you see a reason to rebuke, do so. But I think your comment was an attack on the person and not the truth in love kind of speech that is more becoming. 

3) As for this post, the one we are all replying to, I just don't see the point. Yes, it is a poorly written sentence and also ironic. OK fine. Why humiliate her about it? Why answer fools according to their folly?

4) I object to the WTM forum being called a "gab site". Perhaps some use it for gossip, but take a second and look at every other thread title on the forum where this blog is quoted. It's just moms (mostly but I think there are a few dads) discussing curriculum. I've found the forum to be very helpful and I do take offence at being labeled as a "gab site" user as if I'm some gossip looking to tear down pastors. That is not what the WTM community is about. It's the internet and there are going to be trolls and people. Frankly there is a lot more commenting on others here on this blog than I see there. The vitriol I see is the claim that the comments of women on that silly thread are a "glimpse into the mind of conservative, somewhat religious homeschooling mothers".  It is not. If you had an account for WTM and signed in, you would see the "signatures" of each of those women. Half of them are atheists! And one of them is a self-proclaimed witch! So yes I take offense that you call attention to their bad behavior and say that families like mine must be the same, or just a rare exception to the rule.

PS, Michal, I appreciate you saying that this post isn't meant as a taunt. Perhaps I have misread, misunderstood, etc...but as an extremely conservative reformed Christian who regularly reads this blog, it comes across that way. I can only imagine how it comes across to a non-believer. I've seen homeschooling done well and badly from many different angles and I'm not afraid to hear about the pitfalls. Rather, I'm glad to read the warning. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. This particular post doesn't seem like that. The original, yes; this one does seem like an invitation for more mud-slinging, regardless of the intent.

For me as a homeschool mom the only problem I had about it is the language. I could have done with out the word in front of the word goddess. I found it sad that he couldnt have said something different being a man of God.

As doing outside ministry I do what I can. But my husband and I are concerned about the salvation of our own children. Our children do come first in our ministry. I dont mind serving others. We have helped out homeless people. We have fed people that didnt have food. We have paid for peoples groceries in front of our children. We encourage our children to think of God first others second and themselves last.

Dear Latisha,

It is important to understand that Mr. Brian Bailey, the author of the original post, was simply quoting a well-known phrase from William James. 

"The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success. That — with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease."

This is a very insightful quote, and Mr. James makes his point well. My point is that Mr. Bailey was not engaging in gratuitous vulgarity. He was referring to a well-known phrase that did in fact advance his argument.

Susan, I took "gab site" to mean an open(ish) forum, not an accusation that all women who converse there are busybodies. 

Although it makes me happy to be mistaken for a Clearnote pastor, I’m not and what I wrote was not a sermon. Rather, it was a private e-mail sent to the men on the board to help us think about the purposes of the school we were forming and what to name it. Pastor Bayly heard about this e-mail from another man and asked permission to post it on his blog. He stated this clearly in the introduction to the May 2010 post. 

As Michal points out, some of my best friends are homeschoolers. In fact, my wife homeschools our five oldest children. Bloomington Christian Schoolhouse has helped us in this work, and I think, helped us avoid some of the pitfalls identified. 

Samuel Johnson says he never thinks he’s hit his mark unless he gets a rebound. This is one of the oddest rebounds I’ve ever seen. My points weren’t originally intended for public consumption and the reproach they’re generating is flying back almost three years later. Better late than never. :)  

Let me add that, my daughter Michal is more gracious than I. In fact, "gab-forum" did have some pejorative meaning, although not nearly as much as our sister Susan imputed. I know nothing of the forum, and so I ought to have been less dismissive.

Nevertheless, what the original author has written here (that this was originally a private e-mail) indicates how far afield the remarks of all these women are. Christian or pagan makes no difference—the content speaks for itself concerning the condition of femininity today, and that the comments were made without rebuke.

So I apologize for the appellation "gab-forum."

Finally, I have no desire for anyone from That Forum to read anything, here. My intent is simply that those who read Baylyblog may take warning.

Sadly,

It is very troubling that so many who take upon themselves the duty to educate their children cannot distinguish between a warning of the dangers inherent in a useful practice, and a condemnation of that practice. That the original post is the former rather than the latter is not the least bit unclear.

It is even more troubling to contemplate the possibility that this error arises out of a lack of deep understanding of the reality that any human endeavor, even the most godly pursued out of the best imaginable motives in the most conscientious manner, is subject to pitfalls and dangers because of the fallenness of the world and the sinfulness of all the people involved. People who take umbrage at the idea that something they may be doing well could possibly be done less well (in critical ways) if they are not careful, are effectively denying the nature of reality. Christians ought to know better. A voice here and there making this mistake is a matter of immaturity -- a whole group reacting the same way is more troubling.

If the personal attacks (ad hominem attacks for those in the classical education movement) are indicative of the tenor of this site, I would have to bet that Susan Wise Bauer (is that the Susan here?) ought to be very, very sad at what's happening with it.  Her work, besides professorial work, is aimed at eliminating this kind of "reasoning."

(in this light, the term "gab-forum" is regrettably applicable)

And as the patriarch (hooah?) of a homeschooling family, I've got to confess that I've got to watch out for exactly what Mr. Bailey warns about.  So if he wants insults from me, he's going to have to earn them.  :^)

Shook my head after reading this mother's comment about sons:

"...she needs to recognize that he is growing up, and that he has a God-given desire to become a man and perhaps a leader"

Reading the comments on the other site, I  am glad that Mr. Bailey's post made them aware of two ideas they seem never to have heard before, no doubt because they are deeply contrary to modern America: 

1. Part of a pastor's job is to tell people how to live their lives. 

2. Worldly success is not the Christian's goal in life. 

I'm not Susan Wise Bauer. 

Not to belabor this, but I'd like to point out once more that hundreds of WTM members (like myself) completely ignored the foolishness of the thread. To judge the whole group based upon a few shrew's comments is unfair. That's what I object to. Most had the wisdom to stay away from the gab and pastor bashing rather than try to engage the fools according to their folly. I'm sure the state of femininity in homeschooling moms is at least a tad better than it may appear when one only uses that thread as a measure. The only reason I responded here, is, well, it's here, on a Christian site I respect. 

Thanks again for the original article, and for all your work in general.

Dear Susan,

You have my respect. Thank you for your words of caution. I take them to heart.

Love in Christ,

Susan; exactly why I said "if".  Is it time for a member of that forum to point out what's going on, and how it explicitly contradicts the entire goal of classical education?

Add new comment