– For a Happy Homeschool
Written by Karen Andreola
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This refreshing wellspring offers tried-n-true ideas to help you:
- chase away the burn-out blues,
- develop the artist within you,
- keep growing in the Lord,
- create the happy home your heart desires.
Mother Culture is a friendly book brimming with encouragement.
- It rests on Charlotte Mason’s principles,
- is lit by Christian insight,
- is adorned with beautiful illustrations.
An interview with Karen Andreola
Karen, what is Mother Culture®?
Mother Culture® is a way-of-life, the skillful art of how a mother looks after the ways of her household. With a thinking-love she creates a culture in the home all her own. A mother does a lot of taking care, so she needs to take care of herself, too. Much depends on how she manages her life.
Why is this particularly important for the home teacher?
A home teacher has a heart of devotion but can easily feel overwhelmed. Much of what she sets out to accomplish is new to her – and specialized. In providing a Christian education for her child she may feel as I remember feeling: apprehensive. Confidence is a slow-growing plant. But confidence does grow with practice.
Is there a secret for not feeling overwhelmed?
It helps to like doing what God calls us to do. When a mother applies Charlotte Mason’s principles (however imperfectly) to home life, the hours of the day run more smoothly and happily. She, then, is not too exhausted to enjoy her husband’s company.
What’s one principle?
As a mother is feeding and cultivating the souls of her children, she is also nourishing her own soul with ideas from good books. So nourished and refreshed with ideas, she keeps growing closer to God and into the Christian woman God is designing her to be.
When Charlotte Mason’s wise recommendations are followed, beautiful music fills the air. The family becomes intimately familiar with paintings and masters of art. Nature is observed with a sense of wonder. Good books are savored. The Bible is understood by reading and narrating it, too.
Children are watching their mother. They notice how much or how little she enjoys all the true, just, pure, lovely, praise-worthy, and excellent things to think about. When these things are mutually appreciated the homeschool is “Twice Blessed.” Such an education blesses those who give and those who take. I am grateful that by learning alongside my children I was blessed with what I had missed in my childhood.
How does Mother Culture® meet a need?
Moms seek to create a happy home. I sometimes see comments on-line that are a cry for help. “My children won’t do as I say!” This always grabs my sympathy. Moms want obedient children and it starts with a mother understanding her rock-solid position of authority.
This God-given authority is what you like to call the Majesty of Motherhood, isn’t it?
Yes. It’s a strong concept. In the home, father is king. Mother is queen. Parents serve their children with a steadfast love, dignity, and a degree of self-sacrifice. In turn, their children are to honor, respect and obey them.
A principle connected to this is that of establishing good habits day by day, hour by hour. It is the kind but firm way of bringing up children. Teach a child to obey and you can teach him anything after that.
What did Mother Culture® look like in your life, Karen?
I arranged the activities of our day. Together we would worship, do chores, study, observe, appreciate, and play. But I also made sure to fit in a little play and creativity of my own. These were usually things that take 15 minutes, things within easy-reach.
Like what, for instance?
After my third child was born, I had a sudden urge to learn how to knit mittens. I de-stressed with a little knitting on a Sunday afternoon. All through my children’s growing years, I kept them well-supplied with wool mittens of all colors. Watching them dig in the snow wearing Mommy’s Mittens was one of my joys.
Of course, knitting isn’t every woman’s choice. For some, the most refreshing part of their day is to take a solitary walk. Others like to garden, photograph flowers, keep a journal, write paper letters, sew curtains, paint furniture, or play a musical instrument.
What’s one of the goals of your new book, Mother Culture® – For a Happy Homeschool?
I set out to make my book as ministering as I could. The little girl I once home-taught is a mother and home-teacher today. This daughter and I talk on the telephone long-distance. When she is frazzled or over-tired, I encourage her. This encouragement has made its way into the book. I address those things that concern home teachers most.
Karen, you seem to be taking on the position of older-woman-in-the-Lord.
Home teachers can feel like the odd-ones-out. I’m a grandmother now, but I can remember days of loneliness as a young stay-at-home mom. Neighborhoods are deserted during the day. And sadly, it’s rare to hear the choice of homeschooling or Christian school affirmed in the pulpit. Moreover, some of us are the first Christians in our extended family. My book is an offer of Christian friendship, really. It’s an offer to be the older-woman-in-the-Lord that I wished I had known when I was young.
What are your hopes for the book?
My prayer is this: that a mother will find the ideas and suggestions invigorating – especially if she, too often, has a low battery. May it energize her sense of purpose.
Is this a book for young mothers?
It’s for mothers of all ages because I also give the experienced mother helpful ideas for building up the body of Christ within her circle of friends.
The company Simply Charlotte Mason LLC is selling Mother Culture®