Topic | Searching for a little Mother Culture

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  • Kelli

    In Sonya’s e-book Education is, she referenced Karen Andreola’s article about Mother Culture.  One section really caught my eye:

    The habit of grown-ups reading living books and retaining the power to digest them will be lost if we refuse to give a little time for Mother Culture. A wise mother, an admired mother and wife, when asked how, with her weak physical health and many demands on her time, she managed to read so much said, “Besides my Bible, I always keep three books going that are just for me – a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel or one of poetry. I always take up the one I feel fit for. That is the secret: always have something ‘going’ to grow by.”…A mother can understand and reflect on spiritual matters related to the world around her through her choice of books: biographies, histories, poetry, good novels, or even books on tending a garden, craftsmanship, or the domestic arts.

    Does anyone have any favorites in these 3 categories?

    1) Stiff book

    2) Moderately easy book

    3) Novel

    I would love to hear about the books that move you, books that have provided for you a little Mother Culture.

    “Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts, bright fancies, faithful sayings; treasure-houses of precious restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb nor poverty take away from you, houses built without hands for your souls to live in.” Beautiful thoughts and noble ideas, beautiful pictures, beautiful music, and the beauty of nature all have a way of reviving the soul. The spirit lifts higher when we admire.”


    These are my picks for right now:

    1. Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson (this one is almost like reading the book of Proverbs because I have to stop and think so many times :)

    2. websites about homeschooling esp. SCM :) (not a book, I know)

    3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers


    Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo (this is taking me awhile:)

    For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

    The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson

    Hours in the Out-of-Doors, SCM (of and on all the time)

    ***I plan to read The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers again at some time (I read it kind of quickly the first time around, so I’d like to reread them slowly this time)



    I am reading:

    1. a series of novels about my church history called The Work and the Glory,

    2. Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing for school, and

    3. several books and magazines about raising chickens in our backyard.  Trying to make our yard be as productive for our livestyle as possible.  =) 

    I have to read every day in order to feel balance and happiness in my life.  It gives me something for ME!  =)


    1) Stiff book

    2) Moderately easy book

    3) Novel

    I really enjoyed reading what you posted about Mother Culture.  A good reminder to go back and reread Education Is.

    I was a bit surprised to find that what I am reading now fits just right into your list.  I don’t think I could call any of these books “favorites” but anyway, here they are:

    1. The Hamlet by William Faulkner (this is very “stiff” for me and the first Faulkner I have been able to feel successful about reading – it is hard work to read this and makes me feel good and accomplished, and I am actually enjoying the story – I am hoping this will be a gateway into more difficult Faulkner)
    2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Never Too Late by John Holt (both of these are beautifully written and a pleasure to read, and they are like two sides of a coin – one describes how the atmosphere we are in affects our success – usually without our realizing it, the other describes how we can choose to do and learn anything, no matter when or where – coincidence that I am reading these two at the same time, but they illustrate that life and learning are complex and malleable)
    3. Making Money by Terry Pratchett (a fun fantasy novel about economics in a parallel universe)

    Truthfully, as my kids have grown and I have more time to actually read paper and ink books again (I got through the rough years with audio books LOL) I feel more like myself, happier and more satisfied.  I am a better person, wife and mother because of it.  It is my own “nest of treasured thoughts” etc.  


    That is interesting.  I guess that is why I have several started and none finished.  lol.


    1. Trial and Triumph

    2. The Princess Within by Serita Jakes

    3. 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

    Plus many homeschooling resources.


    Mine don’t quite fit in the categories, but I love the idea!  Here is what I’m reading at the moment.

    1) Great Books by David Denby

    2) She Walks in Beauty-an anthology of great poetry by women arranged in order so as to chronicle the seasons of a woman’s life.

    3)Raising a Sensory Smart Child; The Out-of-Sync Child has Fun; and Special Needs Kids Eat Right .  Am reading all of these for the first time but will probably be referring to them constantly in the future…


    1) “Radical by David Platt”

    2) “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”

    3)Just finished “Mothers Dream” by Francine Rivers today.  Will move on to “Daughters Hope” next.  (I see we have a lot of Francine Rivers fans here 😀  I love her writing)


    Right now I’m reading through CM’s writings…on Vol. 4 right now.  I’m also reading Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter.  I own a 14,000 volume homeschool lending library so I spend a lot of time working in those books.  It’s great Mother Culture covering dust jackets with mylar.  Laughing   I LOVE working in those books!  I also take Suzuki violin lessons with my boys so I have my own practice time. 


    Hmm, and then there’s me with more than 3 going at the moment…

    Stiff: CM’s original Home Education (slowly, but surely)

    Easier-reading non-fiction: Loving the Little Years -Rachel Jankovic, also we subscribe to World magazine which I read as we recieve it (bimonthly)

    Novel: Christy – Catherine Marshall (re-read…but it’s probably been at least 10 years and maybe more…unearthed it cleaning out my storage shed)

    And in other categories:

    DH and I are reading the book “What did you Expect?” by Paul David Tripp together right now – excellent (but convicting) marriage book, possibly the best marriage book I’ve read. (I read it before and now we are going back through it together)

    And devotionally I have recently started using the book “Praying the Attributes of God”  by Rosemary Jensen alongside my Bible reading…it has really helped focus my prayer life!

    OK, I admit it…I’m a book juinkie!!




    Oh, boy, I have more than what I listed going on, but I thought I would look {{crazy}} lol.  I’d have to add at least 3 more to my list of 3Embarassed.   I suppose that’s just how we tick:)


    @my3boys – I’m glad I’m not the only one!!! Laughing


    Sonya Shafer

    As a little “add-on” to this topic, I had an ah-ha moment last week. Over the past few months I have been developing tunnel vision for only SCM projects, and any other hobbies or interests were being pushed aside. I began to think of those other interests as less important, almost dispensable. Last week the terms “broad curriculum,” “generous curriculum,” and “mother culture” hit me up side the head, and I realized afresh how important it is for mom to have a variety of subjects too — a feast of ideas, not just one course. If it’s important for our children, it’s also important for us as life-long learners.

    Interestingly, I also noticed a decrease in my creativity as I shut off those other areas of my life. It was as if certain parts of my brain were no longer being used and, therefore, were not contributing to each other. Does that make sense? So I am eagerly adding back into my schedule time for those other interests. Reading? Yes! But other things, too, that I enjoy. And I won’t feel guilty about them, because they are part of living out the CM philosophy! Laughing

    (Thanks for letting me be honest here.)


    Now to my books . . . 

    Stiff: Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams

    Non-fiction: A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur (on the prodigal son parable)

    Novel: I’m re-reading the Mitford series and loving it.

    Sonya, you are oh so right – it is so easy to allow our own interests to diminish when we get involved with the CM side of things, but it is also one of the vital things to keep us fresh and viable as good stewards of the CM approach – for a long time I found myself neglecting the things I enjoyed and spent every free moment looking at CM things for the girls and became very one dimensional. Now I make time for listening to classical music and not just for school, I love opera and ballet so I spend time listening and watching those. I read for pleasure and have gone back to making time for crafting – I like decoupage and scrapbooking and sewing – plus I like gardening,and that is also now on my schedule,so all these things are back in the picture – the girls have gotten interested in these things as well because they see me doing them, and over the last years have taken up their own hobbies which is gratifying. As a mum sometimes it is hard to remember to make time for the peaceful, beautiful and lovely things to keep yourself in balance – I think we all forget from time to time but we are better mums if we take this time. Thanks for the reminder ladies – it is good to make sure we take the time to replenish ourselves. Linda


    I love all these great suggestions!  Some old favorites I forgot about and some that are new to me.  I’ll definitely be adding these to my growing list.  Right now my 3 are:

    1. CM original series

    2. SCM Thinking Love (on my new kindle…love it); up next, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman

    3. The Bird in the Tree – Elizabeth Goudge (I heard great things about the 2nd book in this series, so I thought I would start with this 1st book)

    I have SO many books, I think I get a little overwhelmed with which one to start next.  Keeping 3 books going at all times is helping me stay a little focused and I’m enjoying my reading so much this past week. 

    When I finish CM’s series, I’d like to begin a classic or possibly a Lamplighter book.  There are a few great suggestions for classics on this post already.  Anyone have more favorite classics to add?

    Sonya & Linda:  I enjoy this add-on discussion expanding on Mother Culture.  I also need to pursue other areas as well.  Hiking in the mountains is something I’m doing this summer, but I need to pick up a craft or hobby for the colder months.

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