As we enter my daughter’s first year of her Charlotte Mason education, I’ve decided I want to be more intentional with nurturing myself through our homeschooling experience as well. I’ve been reading Mother Culture this summer and am inspired to set my own goals to learn alongside my children and fill my cup. Today, I’ll be sharing what I’m stocking my Mother Culture Basket and would love to hear what you’re planning too!
What is Mother Culture?
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For those who do not know, “Mother Culture” is defined in Karen Andreola’s book “Mother Culture For a Happy Homeschool” as:
“the skillful art with which a mother looks after the ways of her household and herself. In her home, she creates a culture all her own with a mingling of love and responsibility. A mother does a lot of taking care, so she also takes care of herself.” and “Mothers should cultivate their souls so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.”
In a nutshell, mother culture is (this is MY take on it) the intentional feeding of our spirits, minds, souls, and abilities so that we may serve with cups running over to bless our homes, families, friends and beyond.
This can only multiply our efforts in the home and education. If I want my daughter to know the names of all the wildflowers she can see, it will be more enjoyable to teach about when I have an intimate understanding of the flowers myself.
Also, filling myself with God’s Word, learning things and skills that delight my own soul, developing my own character with habits and discipline, feasting on good books and ideas all will contribute to my own well-being.
A Program for Mothers
To a degree, I have always done these things. I have always needed creative outlets for my soul. I have always studied and read books that increase my knowledge and skills. But this year I want to focus more and not just dabble. Thanks to this post on Afterthoughts blog, I discovered that Miss Mason actually had an education program for mothers!
C. Mason assigned mothers intense studies in four areas, for 3 years. Divinity (theology), Physiology and Health, Mental and Moral Science and Education, Nature Lore and Elements of Science. The combination of these subjects would ensure that mothers would be able to educate and care for their children in every way. Can you imagine if we educated women this way today to prepare them for raising children and caring for a household? I see such wisdom in this!
So, here is what I have decided to focus on throughout the year to cultivate Mother Culture and what I am stocking my Mother Culture Basket with:
I’m finishing up Mother Culture this summer and then beginning Home Education in the Fall. Even though I’ve had these books for years, I’ve never read them all the way through from start to finish, but only pulled from sections as needed. While this has been very helpful, I think in order to move into the lifestyle of education I’m hoping for with my children, I’m going to need to immerse myself in her approach.
I’m going to share my insights here on the blog as I complete each section. I’ve broken down the first volume into small readings and it’s going to take me a while to get through it. This will allow me to absorb more and journal what I learn. Be sure to jump in with your insights too, as I imagine by discussing her volumes we will help each other along with our unique perspectives.
Writing helps me retain what I learn and blogging on a schedule helps me hold myself accountable, plus, it increases my writing skills. Having a few friends join in will just be the icing on the cake for me!
These are the books I have chosen for my mother culture basket in each of the fields Ms. Mason would have assigned:
The Bible – I’m not sure of my reading plan yet, once I decide, I will update here.
Humility the Beauty of Holiness by Andrew Murray
Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
Physiology and Health:
The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola
Forks Over Knives Family: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Kids on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
Mental/Moral Science and Education:
Home Education by Charlotte Mason
***notice that I have no other books planned in these categories. This is intentional because I really want to focus on CM’s volumes and give myself time to absorb her writings.
Nature Lore & The Elements of Science:
Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature
Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman)
Gardening and landscaping books. I have a lot of planning to do for next Spring over the winter. I’m looking into creating a garden planner and journal for myself. This way, I can be ready and organized to plant a big canning and freezing garden. We also need to plan some landscaping projects to beautify our property. Even though this is home keeping, I am adding these books to my mother culture basket because I enjoy gardening so much. I have several gardening books I want to pour over in preparation and planning. A few I am starting with:
- Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook
- The Fruit Gardener’s Bible by Lewis Hill
- Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy
I am also going to read through some Emily Dickinson and Elisabeth Elliot that I have on my Kindle device for pleasure reading.
Macrame is a handicraft I want to keep getting better at. I have several projects planned for the next year that will also be useful around the house.
I’m always working on my crochet/knitting skills as well. (This year, I hope to master socks. I tried once before and gave up so I am coming back to conquer it this year!)
My lil miss and I have a special project this year. We hope to fill a box with crocheted washcloths, scarves and hats, plus sewn kitchen linens and aprons for a mission in Mexico that a dear friend of mine worked at this year. My heart is exploding that I get to do this with her! The boys are going to help us make blankets, pillowcases and surgery caps for the local hospital here that another friend told us about. So we have plenty of projects to keep us busy over the winter too!
Make Your Own Mother Culture Basket!
It’s as simple as getting a pretty basket or container of your choice and filling it with books and activities. It isn’t necessary to follow the above categories from Charlotte’s program for mothers. But I can definitely see how studying this way will be beneficial after a few years. However you decide to cultivate mother culture in your home, it can only impact you and your family in a positive way. I am looking forward to the fruit of it in my own life!
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