Friday, May 1, 2015

Scaffolding Towers of Glory and Excellence

I read this article today and it struck a chord that has been ringing at me for some time now. It's not anything unique to the CM community, it happens wherever humans are, because we are just that. But the nature of CM homeschooling really seems to scaffold this tower of glory and excellence in a way that draws us well-intentioned moms to often stumble at its feet.

In our pursuit of the very best education for our children - what mother doesn't want that?! - we read the CM's series, books, articles, blogs, attend meetings, conferences, follow CMers on Facebook, see their perfect lives on Instagram, their creations on Pinterest, Join groups, forums - to learn it all, do it all, keep up on all.

We trek out for nature study, research the BOC, institute the common place book, and wonder about mnemonics knowing we haven't even scratched the scratch of the scratch in notebooking. Throw in science journal, composer study, music lessons, art, and don't forget Swedish Drill, handicrafts, math, and the list goes on and on. Every corner you turn presents hours of reading and researching, because there is just so much and so little out there, and of course trying to access the one bit of information that is going to answer your question in the CM archives... won't open! on your computer because of some browser extension pdf glitch.

Add to that every reading must be narrated, audiobooks are a crutch, and we must be done early enough so their afternoons are free. You turn back to CM for encouragement only to find her referencing "perfect" execution, "perfect" exams, and "perfect" narration. And just when you begin to wonder if any human can possibly learn, implement, and achieve all of this with as many kids as you have, we find they do, with double the number of kids - completely, simply, no problem, hands tied behind their backs - PLUS blog, facebook, keep up on latest news, make and drop off meals, run their church's sunday school program, speak at conferences, write books, and brew their own kombucha.

Can we ever get anywhere near the tower of glory? It seems to have no end. Will we ever be good enough? have time enough? be mom enough?

For the children's sake? ...for our sake?

Is it any wonder we see women, friends fall by the wayside - given up, too hard, not smart enough, not good enough, unmet expectations, discouraged, exhausted, shame, depression...

In the article, Michael Lawrence says this about people filled with shame...
They’re hiding, hoping that others won’t see them. They might hide in reclusiveness, but are just as likely to hide in perfectionism, success, activism, or even brazenness. But like Adam and Eve, who after the fall tried to hide their shame with fig leaves (Gen. 3:7), our strategies don’t work because the shame remains. No matter how well we cover it, we know it’s still there.
In Ourselves CM talks about our soul...
What is there that baffles the understanding of a man, or that is out of the range of his thoughts, the reach of his aspirations? He is, it is true, baffled on all hands by his ignorance, the illimitable ignorance of the wisest: but ignorance is not incapacity; and the wings of a man's Soul beat with impatience against the bars of this ignorance; he would out, out, into the universe of infinite thought and infinite possibilities. How is the Soul of a man to be satisfied?
What is it that baffles the understanding of us CM moms, or that is out of the range of our thoughts, the reach of our aspirations?

The theme of Augustine's life...

You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.
Only the sweet balm of truth can set us free to truly find peace in this CM journey and in life...
Where, but in our God, the Maker of heaven and earth, shall we find the key to all knowledge? Where, but in Him, whose is the power, the secret of dominion? And, our search and demand for goodness and beauty baffled here, disappointed there––it is only in our God we find the whole. The Soul is for God, and God is for the Soul, as light is for the eye, and the eye is for light.
Good news ladies - "Christ removes our shame and gives us His righteousness."

It is done.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ~Gal. 5:1 
Set the tower aside, start where you are, do your best to learn what you can, implement what you can, seek truth, knowledge, wisdom, good counsel, and trust that CM is for you, and me, and your kids, and for the wise, and unwise, the smart and the ignorant, the capable and the not-so capable.
It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.


  1. I think you wrote this for me! I am so there. I've been in an intense season of caring for my parents and father in law and struggling with my own health. I've even questioned if I can even homeschool next year (or sign up dd in online classes). All my AO boxes have gone unchecked. My dd already has some learning difficulties and could only do AO if I read to her. Thank you for lifting up my countenance today. Looking to Christ is the only answer! Thanks so much! Betty

  2. Naomi, your words here may well be the words that answer my prayer today. You don't know how much you have helped me. Thank you. xx

  3. Alyssa, I'm so sorry you are going through so much. I'm thankful it was an encouragement to you!

    Jeanne, so glad to hear it. xoxo

  4. Awesome!! We all need to hear/ remind ourselves from time to time. "Through Christ..."

  5. this might be my favorite post ever. i'm serious. it is EXACTLY what has been on my heart for the last couple of months. you put it into words so beautifully. :)

  6. Thank you for this much, much needed reminder.

  7. Oh, thank you for writing this. In my own little corner of the CM community, I have felt criticism (real or not) for not researching enough, not being pure enough in my methods, etc., etc., etc. I really have been considering giving up, and have had a very difficult year or so, wondering what on earth I'm doing. It's made me not even want to ask for help. I did come to the conclusion that I need to just keep on keeping on, do my best, and not worry about what others say. Thank you for this lovely post.

  8. So true! Last year I "dropped the high school homeschooling ball". I had no idea how to guide my daughter through her new curriculum amidst her own emotional highs and lows. Recently I felt convicted to start a "getting real" series on my blog because a homeschooler told me that my posts depress her. I seem too organized. Not intending to showcase the perfect, but wanting to encourage moms, I now write regular posts that include the giving-up, chaos and flops of our homeschool lives. thanks for sharing your thoughts so beautifully!

  9. Thank you so much for this encouragement! Yes, it all seems like an impossible amount. Thank you for the reminder to keep our eyes on the Lord!