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Lessons at BlackBerry Inn Review by Stacy Rocha

By Karen Andreola
Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company
PO Box 296
Quarryville PA 17566

Lessons at BlackBerry Inn, by Karen Andreola, is a charming tale of one homeschooling family's journey. Set in the Appalachian Mountains of New England, the book provides a wonderful glimpse of what life is like in a small town in the 1930s. Though it was written as the sequel to Pocketful of Pinecones, this book can be read as a stand-alone.

The Weavers are preparing to start their second year of homeschooling when Michael convinces his wife Carol to move back to the country. Carol is apprehensive about moving back to the place where she was born and raised because she knows how hard country life can be. Michael, on the other hand, has "secretly harbored romantic notions of country living." With the help of Emma, owner of the inn and friend of Carol's deceased mother, they convince her to move back. Emma needs help running BlackBerry Inn and offers ownership to the Weavers upon her passing. Carol, expecting their third child, educates her two children, Donald and Emily using the methods of Charlotte Mason, a nineteenth-century educator. She enjoys using this gentle art of educating her children in the serenity of their new home.

While adjusting to country living, Carol is faced with obstacles that bring her closer to her family and the country life that she once dreaded. Sprinkled with quotes from Ms. Mason's original homeschool series, the book does a beautiful job of painting a picture of what a Charlotte Mason education can look like. I encourage anyone who is looking into using a Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, or anyone who already is using it, to read this inspiring book. You will not be disappointed.

Product review by Stacy Rocha, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009