As a leader of a Charlotte Mason group and book club, I reached out to Karen Andreola when she announced her release of the new book "Mother Culture" to review and share my thoughts with my friends! The title pulled at my heart strings because like most mothers in the "thick of it" I find myself needing a dose of mother culture to keep my sanity and motivation for wearing the multitude of hats that a homeschool mom will wear. Karen graciously sent me a copy to review for the blog post and I am so glad I can share my thoughts with you today!
When you sit down with this book, it is easy to imagine the smooth and kind voice coming from a wise mom who has already been where you are. The craziness of motherhood, trying to do school with your older kids while the younger kids are underfoot, and the overwhelming feeling of trying to be everything to everyone is a chaos that is calmed as you read Karen's words. On multiple occasions, I put down the book and went to the kitchen, garden, or sewing room to practice some of my own mother culture! It has inspired my family to go out on more nature walks, and take time to really focus on the reason we homeschool and work to show a love for our creator and savior! He is the perfect giver of gifts!
Karen and Dean Andreola graciously granted permission to share this paragraph from Chapter 5:
"Home is a place for a wide range of artistic expression, but it is not surprising that a busy mother puts her artistic expression on hold. Months and years may go by before she starts a project she only daydreams about. Let creativity bubble up. Then step forward. Give it a try. This isn't a selfish thing to do. The advantages of a little domestic creativity do not end with yourself. They spill over into the family circle. Being a domestic artist can be one aspect of your Mother Culture."
I love this quote and feel so blessed to share the beauty not only of domestic arts, but of the beautiful art of learning through a Charlotte Mason method in our home. This book is not only about Mother Culture of your own creative gifts and talents, but it is a wonderful resource for how the "Gentle Art of Learning" works within a homeschool. Karen gives her thoughts on living books, nature study, imagination, manners, and so much more! In fact, the last few chapters were my favorite as she gently reminded me that there is no one way to implement a Charlotte Mason education, but that a mother has been given wisdom from the Holy Spirit to know her prerogative in selecting the studies for her family.
Practically, this book would be an amazing book for a book club! It is an easy read, but one that is best done through slow and steady reading. I'm so glad I spread my reading throughout the past four months to really "chew" on the ideas and inspiration given in some of the chapters. You'll be surprised at how physically big this book is! Each chapter also has a wonderful annotated list of references and discussion questions that you can answer to yourself in your own commonplace book, or discuss with a group of your friends! If you're local (Nashville, TN area) and would like to meet to discuss these ideas and a Charlotte Mason education, I would love to share a cup of coffee or tea with you and share my enthusiasm for this wonderful "Gentle Art of Learning!" In fact, I have created a community for those that are local and would love to connect with you! Kind + Cultivated has events listed to connect with each other - both as educators and for our children to make friends!
If you need to
chase away the burn-out blues,I hope that you will check out Karen's book and be encouraged just as I was! Visit her website at https://charlottemason.com/ and buy the book on Amazon here!
develop the artist within you,
keep growing in the Lord,
create the happy home your heart desires.