From this point forward, I am referring to Mother Culture as A Mother’s Feast, and am taking part with a collective of mother’s who are also carving out enrichment time.
As my first semester of my first not-pregnant Mother Culture schedule comes to a close, I am left with many thoughts, which I would like to compile rather haphazardly here.
1) Doing this, regularly, takes a LOT of determination. Nursing Stryder, Leela’s desire to snuggle or “throw a tantrum,” cooking, cleaning, and ensuring Melody is staying to task… these are rightfully and joyously calling my attention during the day. It is much easier to say, “my brain needs a break, I can catch up on Revival Tarries tomorrow night.” Sometimes, I did this. But it made my time reading feel more crunched and I was trying to digest larger chunks of a book.
I barely ever took time out to practice my violin or to knit. It happened very little. Considering that within Charlotte Mason’s educational foundation is an immersion/appreciation in the beauty of the arts and handicrafts, I feel disappointed in myself. Though, I have 3 more semesters of this year to rectify my desire to include these things on a regular basis, so I am not letting that drag me down.
2) I don’t know why, but I am nervous TO NARRATE, despite that it’s not difficult, I do it all the time with my friends and family when relaying information I’ve read before… and yet, just telling myself I want TO NARRATE makes it feel stuffy. So, I am learning to be more open with Melody about this, and just asking her what she read about, how would she tell me as a reporter, etcetera. As, hearing, “Please narrate what you read for me,” for me, makes me feel pressure… and I don’t want that for her or anyone!
As an aside, I am beginning written narration in the second semester, and I’m going to brave it and share it here. I’d love a Charlotte Mason follower to give me a pass or fail, with or without effort, and use a rubric with me!
3) Reading How To Read a Book with Melody helped me be willing to completely halt books in my Mother Culture schedule. I actually set aside 2 books (Weedless Gardening and Know Your Fats) after reading this from HTRAB:
“You have now skimmed the book systematically; you have given it the first type of inspectional reading. You should know a good deal about the book at this point, after having spent no more than a few minutes, at most an hour, with it. In particular, you should know whether the book contains matter that you still want to dig out, or whether it deserves no more of your time and attention. You should also be able to place the book even more accurately than before in your mental card catalogue, for further reference if the occasion should ever arise.
Incidentally, this is a very active sort of reading. It is impossible to give any good book an inspectional reading without being alert, without having all of one’s faculties awake and working.”
4) I love attempting this, and succeeding, not pregnant. I attempted a Mother Culture schedule while pregnant with Stryder and quickly lost steam a month in. Pregnancy can make brain fog a very real thing!
5) More in-depth, I am truly seeing clearly how subjects overlap and connections are made. I could see it, and have experienced it several times before, but I am regularly experiencing it while consciously offering myself a planned out, scheduled feast of brain-food goodness.
It reminds me very much of cooking, the Mother’s Feast: singularly, a food (let’s say an apple) may be worthwhile. It may even be spectacular (especially if we are talking about Pink Ladies – okay, off topic). Somehow, that one singular apple is transformed from spectacular to magical, when combined with other singular foods or spices (cinnamon, sugar, almonds, butter, lemon juice). And this leads me to my next thought that Mother Culture has proven to me:
6) A Mother’s Feast has to be prepared. To turn the apple into magical from spectacular, you must cut the apples, pulse the almonds, melt the butter, and mix it all together to get an apple crisp. To truly be nourished from our reading, we must plan for it. We may obtain nutrients to survive from the apple alone, but we thrive and are truly nourished, into our comfort-food loving souls, when we take the time to prepare for an apple crisp. If we want our minds to be nourished, we must plan for it, prepare time, energy, and supplies, to create that rich environment. It seldom happens by accident.
7) Recognizing this at the end of the semester actually helped me be more decided with Ambleside Online for the children. I was becoming tired and weary with constantly asking Melody to stick to task, and was contemplating unschooling. I know that unschooling is not generally just sending your children out into the woods all day, but I also know it’s not preparing a feast and having hungry minds devour it, even in Charlotte Mason-inspired unschooling situations. Preparation doesn’t matter if a child doesn’t consume it, if a mother doesn’t consume it.