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Mother Culture® For a Happy Homeschool Review by Brittney RutherfordKaren Andreola
Charlotte Mason Research Company, LLC
P.O. Box 296
Quarryville, PA 17566
Mother Culture® For a Happy Homeschool by Karen Andreola is an uplifting read for the homeschooling mother that needs to feel encouraged and refreshed. Karen Andreola is known as one of the early Charlotte Mason homeschooling advocates, having written and published books to bring Mason’s educational philosophy to the mainstream homeschool community. Her newest book is written to the homeschooling mother as a reminder that her job as both homemaker and home educator is valued and important.
While the book can give the reader a glimpse into Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, the intent of the book is not to give a thorough overview of Mason’s methods. It is written to the Christian mother who needs to find her place and cultivate her own soul as she creates a loving culture in her home. The reader will find the author is firmly rooted in Mason’s philosophy, and quotes from Miss Mason abound, but there are also scriptural references and quotes from many others as well.
Andreola’s tone is that of the wise woman who has been through the trenches and wants to share her experiences and takeaways as they relate to being a conservative, Christian homemaker and home educator. She states that this book is a culmination of her years in ministry. She also notes that the black and white illustrations are from vintage books from her personal collection, and the illustrations and poems sprinkled throughout certainly add a certain charm.
The book is divided into forty short chapters that cover everything from the basics of “what is” Mother Culture®, to Homemaking, to Safeguarding the Love of Learning, and so much more. The author knows that every busy mother has unique needs and interests, and she encourages the reader to move around between chapters as desired.
Each chapter is divided into several short sections that sometimes feel like a collection of related articles or blog posts, rather than one cohesive stream of thought. At the same time, however, the short sections allow a busy mother to read a few sections and feel like she has accomplished a small task, before resuming one of her other many duties.
The chapters often end with a question that makes the reader think about how they can apply the topic of the chapter. For instance, in the chapter Free to Imagine, the reader is asked what they are feeding their children’s imagination, and how they are exercising their own imagination. This allows the reader to really mull over the chapter and what it might look like in their own home.
At 360 pages, it is a slow and steady read, because there is often a lot to think about. The book is full of book and movie recommendations, so the reader can connect with the ideas Andreola plants in a different way, should they choose.
The book has a clear target audience. It is written for the Christian mother who fulfills the traditional role of wife and homemaker and has also taken on the noble task of home educating her children. As I was bouncing back and forth between chapters, I felt that if I was still a working mother, I might not have been able to connect with this book in the same way.
That being said, Mother Culture® is an informative book for the mother who needs an experienced older woman to offer pearls of wisdom and advice. It is a book that will help the young home educating parent feel validation in their choices. It is for the mother who needs to be reminded that her hobbies, interests, and dreams are important too and that cultivating them will help the endeavor of creating a peaceful home environment. It is for the experienced mother who perhaps feels burnout and needs to be refreshed so she can move forward in her journey with a renewed sense of purpose.
-Product Review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2020