About twenty-five years ago, when I started homeschooling, I didn’t have the Internet. (I’ll pause here for a minute to let that sink in.) . . .

I heard about Charlotte Mason at a state homeschool conference and immediately went looking for any books I could find about her methods. One of the first books that I discovered had a purple cover and a colored portrait of Charlotte on the front. Its title felt comforting and reassuring as I started down this unknown path for my home school; it was called The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola.

Many of you have a copy as well.

A few years later I traveled across a couple of states in order to hear the author at a smaller homeschool conference. My copy of The Charlotte Mason Companion was well worn by then, with lots of yellow highlighting and marginal notes in blue ink.

From the very beginning, Karen Andreola took my hand and gave me a tour of Charlotte’s wonderful methods mixed with lots of practical ideas of how Karen implemented those methods in her home with her own children.

Her love for the Lord, love for her family, and love for Charlotte Mason shone through in her book. And somehow I felt that she also had a loving concern for fellow home-educating moms like me. You can feel that loving concern in her other books too. How many of you have A Pocketful of Pinecones and Lessons at Blackberry Inn?

Well, in recent years, I’ve had the privilege of spending time with Karen and experiencing her care for homeschool moms in person. Despite physical challenges, Karen continues to pour herself out to encourage us, to tell us about good books, and to remind us to cultivate ourselves right along with our children. And she does more than just remind us; she models it in her own life and on her blog.

So I was thrilled when she told me that she was writing a new book all about what Karen calls “Mother Culture®.” Recently we took a little time to sit in her lovely parlor and chat about this new book. Now, Karen is a deep thinker and likes time to choose her words thoughtfully and carefully; so in preparation for our conversation, she wrote down some of her thoughts in order to make sure she would be able to communicate them clearly from her heart to yours. Listen to this interview to hear her heart on Mother Culture, an important aspect of homeschooling and living.

Simply Charlotte Mason is pleased to make Karen Andreola’s newest book, Mother Culture, available to you. You will find the principles on its pages invigorating, instructive, and encouraging. Get out your highlighter; this is another Charlotte Mason classic from Karen Andreola’s desk!


  1. Thank you, Sonya, for such a lovely, special interview with Karen Andreola about Karen’s new book Mother Culture. Karen has such a wonderful gift for encouraging mothers and offering help to them in many practical ways through her books, blog articles, and back issues of the Parents’ Review Magazines she published many years ago. I have been blessed over the years by Karen’s teaching. It’s such a joy to see that Karen’s new book is available now through Simply Charlotte Mason. Thank you, Sonya and Karen, for all you do to help teach others about Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy.

    • Dear Sheila, I remember you and I exchanging paper notes 30 years ago. The homeschool world has certainly blossomed, since then, and our children are all grown up. Even though the medium has changed (remarkably) it’s still about friends helping friends, and for Christians, always will be. Although we’ve never met in person I know from our correspondence that you have shared Charlotte Mason’s ideas in your local area for a good many years. I’m touched by this generosity and dedication. Karen A.

  2. Your conversation warmed my heart. Thanks, and I am looking forward to reading Karen’s next book, after I finish savoring “Pocket Full of Pinecones”.

    • Dear Renee, It’s a treat to find out that you are reading Pocketful of Pinecones. Thank you for purchasing it. May something shared on its pages supply fresh ideas for your family-style learning. I hope my new book, Mother Culture, brings you much encouragement. Karen A.

  3. I ordered the book as soon as I could. I have read and re-read all of Karen’s books through out my homeschool journey (this is our 18th year) Karen’s books fill a void in my heart for the simpler times, and the knowledge that homeschool can be much more about “home” and relationships than academics. I can’t wait for my book to arrive in the mail and be able to share it with other younger homeschool mom’s in my life.

    • Dear Renee,
      I love what you say about homeschool being “much more about ‘home’ and relationships than academics.” It is gratifying to know you’ve picked this up from my writings. Thank you for telling me. I wish you a continuing happy adventure in home-learning. Karen A.

  4. Lovely interview. I can’t wait to order her book! I had to smile as she mentioned knitting mittens. That is just what I have been doing the past week.

  5. Eek! So exciting! It was a delight to hear Karen’s voice tell about her book herself! 🙂 Now I can hear her speaking as I read her new book! Thank you, Karen and Sonya, for all you do to encourage and build up us homeschool mamas! <3

    • Dear Janelle. It is an honor to be speaking with Sonya, here. Sitting in my parlor (with SCM’s big microphone in front of us) she made me feel less tongue tied. (Having some notes handy helped, too.) Sonya is very good at cheerfully carrying on a conversation about all things pertaining to home, family, and Charlotte Mason. It seems second nature to her. What a wealth of practical help she presents with her blog posts and videos! It probably requires hours of preparation each week. I hope she, her husband, her daughter, and the Smiths, can visit out this way again. Karen A.

  6. Hello! I began homeschooling 24 years ago when my 31 year old and my 28 year old sons were 8 and 5 years of age. I am on my third batch of kids. All of my friends are having grandchildren; yet God has blessed my fertility NATURALLY. So I have a 5 year old and a six year old at home and will soon be taking up Charlotte Mason Education once again. Note: My twin daughters just turned 19 years old yesterday!

    I remember Karen when she posted curriculum reviews in the CBD catalog. I always looked forward to her reviews. I even remember her husband’s review of Rosetta Stone’s French. I was such a fan of them both! Just this year (past year-2018) I bought all of her Parent Review Magazines for the first time in small batches (thank you modern internet!). I didn’t bother Karen by telling her how much a fan I am of her work; but now I am in tears, really, from listening to her voice in your interview; of her love for all of us homeschooling mothers- both young and old.

    I cannot wait to purchase her new book! I have so much to learn, even today, at how to be a mother. I thank God for you both, Sonya and Karen. May God continue to bless your work and your ministry.

    • Dear Sherry, You sound like a mother of dedication, big heart, and sweet humility. Thank you for taking the time to leave a message here. I’m very glad Sonya invited me for a chat. It gave me an opportunity to join with her in seeking to encourage mothers to keep on the road of love and duty. I wish you all of God’s blessings, Karen A.

  7. Loved hearing the two of you together, the two women I personally consider the foremost pioneers of preserving, and teaching a Charlotte Mason lifestyle. Thank you, thank you a 100 times over for the love and commitment you ladies have for other mothers.

  8. I am very touched to hear Karen. She often was lonely as a young homeschool mom. Almost no help from the church or neighbourhood.

    This is exactly my experience! It is not easy, but Karen’s and Sonyas books, blog-Posts, Seminars and Interviews are a very big encouragement and help. Exactly what homeschool mom needs today – it seems all over the world!

    Many greetings from Switzerland, YL

    • Dear YL, Switzerland seems so very far away – and yet to know that you have received some friendly encouragement from this chat is gratifying and a joy. May it dispel some of the loneliness you feel to know that you are among many mothers who are getting up every morning to home teach and bring up their children in a way that follows their Christian convictions. Nice to meet you here. You must be a woman of courage. Karen A.

  9. It’s fun to hear that you have a growing pair of mittens on your knitting needles, Amy. Zero degree temperatures are expected here tomorrow. We’ll have to wear two pair (one inside the other) if we are going to brave the weather. Karen A.

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