Cultivating Mother

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First, what is Mother Culture? Karen Andreola offers up a wonderful post on this concept, Moments with Mother Culture: What Is Mother Culture?, one I am abundantly encouraged by.

There is also an excellent article from the Parent’s Review Magazine, by an unknown author, entitled Mother Culture, which may be where this term originated from, but I am unsure.

In mid-December of 2013, I had some odd connections made in my mind. I was beginning to miss reading. A few years back, there was hardly a moment that you could find me not reading, so to find myself now reading a rarity… it felt like a part of me was actually missing. 

On Facebook, I shared a ridiculous picture, that for whatever reason, made me burst out laughing when I saw it the first time.

For your viewing pleasure…

My Mom responded with something that really stuck with me, especially because in the past I have stated that I think new year’s resolutions are absolutely ridiculous if you have no real motivation to accomplish them. Realistically, if you wanted to change something about yourself, you’d probably know about it (and should have started doing it) well before December 31st.

She said:

“The sermon this week was about not making Resolutions, but instead be Resolute! There’s a BIG difference. One of those might last a whole week… whereas the other is a real game changer!”

So, the motivation to be resolute and DO something, washed over me.

Then, I began an AmblesideOnline group reading of Home Education last January (a 2-year group to read through the entire series).

As I had been reading Home Education (a graciously-provided free read, here), by Charlotte Mason, I had been struck by many things, but something that seemed vitally important to me, was when she writes about mother’s being self-educated, in various ways over and again.

I have also been convicted and encouraged through quotes in other volumes in the Original Home Schooling Series.

It had been so very long since I picked up a book and read. There are things (Facebook, mostly) that get me caught up and I forget to keep my own mind fresh, active, and growing.

Charlotte Mason makes it clear that if we want our children to continue to love learning, we must emulate it for them, to exude our own desire to read, to explore, to think. This is well-addressed in the beginning section of Home Education, when discussing taking the children out of doors.

The quote that most challenged me was from her book, Towards a Philosophy of Education: “People are naturally divided into those who read and think and those who do not read and think…”

With all of this conviction, along with the motivation to be resolute, I set to task to make myself a learning schedule, mapped out similarly to Melody’s 12-week semesters. With a new year, I have a new schedule now, and I thought that I would share it here, so that if you were interested, you can get an idea for how you, too, can easily and deliberately carve out time in your life to grow in knowledge!

First, I mapped out a plan of how long each book is and/or should take to read/study. It looked like this:


Theology
Mere Christianity, 177 pages/33 chapters (2nd and 3rd quarter)
Why Revival Tarries, 20 chapters (1st & 2nd quarter)
The Pursuit of God, 75 pages/10 ch (4th quarter)

Politics/Views
Nevertheless:Varieties and Shortcomings, 183 pages/24 sections (1st quarter)
Electing Not to Vote, 115pg/9 ch (2nd quarter)
Lanterns & Laces, 215p/24ch (3rd quarter)

Charlotte Mason Hour
HONS (all year)
Scats and Tracks, 24 pages each week for 12 weeks (2nd quarter)
Discover Nature in Winter, 196 pages/9 ch. (1st quarter)
Knowing & Teaching Mathematics, 128 pages – about 12 pages per week for 12 weeks (3rd quarter)
Kodaly, 247 pages, 9 chapters (4th quarter)
Learnables Spanish, 5x week

Literature
The Hobbit, 330pg/19 ch (1st quarter)
Much Ado About Nothing, divided into 12 weeks (2nd quarter)
Bambi, 25 ch (4th quarter)
Stepping Heavenward, 344p/27ch (3rd quarter)
Daughter of Time, 206p/17ch (1st quarter)

Home Cultivation
Weedless Gardening, 185 pages/8 sections (1st quarter)
How to Grow More Vegetables, 190p/9ch (3rd quarter)
Heartfelt Discipline, 232p/16ch (2nd quarter)
How To Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, 263 pages/21ch (4th quarter)

Body
Know Your Fats, 236p/8ch – 2ch per quarter (all year)
Clinical Anatomy Made Ridiculously Simple (all year)
Alignment Matters, 435 pg/15 sections (3rd and 4th quarter)
Move Your DNA, 264pg/10ch (1st quarter)
Foot Pain Relief, 192pg/10ch (2nd quarter)

Just Do-It
violin, 1 hour after lunch
knitting, Wednesdays 1 hour before bed
Katy Bowman Snacks, 5x week (all year)
Aligned & Well DVDs, 1 each weekend day (1st and 2nd quarter)


Second, I tweaked the 12-week scheduling page from Ambleside Online’s curriculum for a given year (basically, I hollowed it out, leaving only the loose form – which I also altered, the week-number and the term-number at the top and added in an extra term of 12 weeks), and put my plan into see-able action. If you’d like to take a look at it for your reference, you can take a look here.

Third, I marked out all my planned-out weeks into a yearly calender, free from Donna Young, here, giving myself 4 totally free weeks.

I printed both of those off, hole punched them, and put it at the front of a 3-ring binder, right before my printed 52 Weeks study. I’ve got an RES Notebook and a handful of other notebooks for narration (Commonplace, nature, etc).

Fourth, I made schedule bookmarks. They help me stay on track and I also don’t have to keep referring to the page schedule in my Learning Binder – I just open the book I want to read, and off I go. When I am done, I mark off on the bookmark if applicable.

Fifth and final, I hand-wrote my Mother Culture time in the end of Melody’s weekly-daily-hourly learning schedule from Student Handouts, for after the kiddos go to bed. Then I begin reading for an hour or more each night. This usually begins around 9:00-10:00pm.

So, that’s it. Pretty simple, but it needs to be done to ensure success.

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