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The term Mother Culture is a term that is attributed to Charlotte Mason and I loved it from the very first time I heard about it.
In essence mother culture is the intentional growth and education of a mother. This does not include the learning that takes alongside our children as we teach them but the learning we do either to stay ahead of them or just for our own enjoyment.
I know the reason I loved the idea of mother culture so much is because it come fairly naturally to me. I love DIY-ing life so I am always learning about different subjects and I love to read and always have a stack of books on the go and to-be-read.
If our children see us enjoying the process of learning, especially when it is our own choice, they will develop a love for lifelong learning right alongside us.
That’s a bit of the why behind mother culture but how do we actually do it?
It takes intention but it is quite simple.
Here are some ways I go about it, hopefully they will give you some ideas:
Charlotte Mason recommended we be reading three books at one time: a biography, a novel and something to learn. While I don’t follow this model to a T, I usually have a Christian non-fiction, and a novel going and then maybe another book as well.
It is so good for your kids to see you reading and while I am not always the best at doing this in my ideal homeschool day we all take some time after lunch to sit in the living room (or wherever we are most comfortable) and do some quiet reading.
If you are stuck on what to read:
- start with some classics you’ve never read (Pride & Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes, Little Women and The Hobbit are some personal favorites)
- if you don’t know which classics to start with check out Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Educated Mind
- learn more about Charlotte Mason through The Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning
Charlotte Mason was a big fan of handicrafts over what we’d probably call arts & crafts today. She didn’t want kids to make some little thing just to kill time, she wanted them to be able to make something useful.
By learning handicrafts ourselves we can make things for ourselves, our homes or for others and in turn teach our children these skills.
Some handicraft ideas:
- mixed media art (one of my favorites, and I’m actually in the middle of creating a course about, sign up here for more info)
- cross stitch
- whittling & carving
- candle making
Take some time each day to listen to music, turn it on when you are washing the dishes or sweeping the floor and it will make your tasks go by quicker.
I am slowly introducing myself to classical music so I try to listen to that for a bit and then I usually switch it to songs we often sing in church, this helps the kids to get to know the lyrics better and has helped so much with their joining in on the singing on Sunday mornings (and the fact that their dad is one of the worship leaders and they are always crashing his practice time).
YOUR OWN HOBBY
I set aside some time each day to work on a variety of my own hobbies, like writing on my various blogs, creating courses, taking pictures, etc.
Find something you enjoy and work on it a bit each day.
I think taking time to build and grow friendships and relationships is also another form of mother culture, we can meet with other women and learn from them and walk alongside them in their journeys.
I feel like this one is such a given that I almost didn’t include it in here but if homeschooling and motherhood has taught me anything it is that I need a whole lot more of Christ and His grace in my life.
I feel the best when I take time each morning to study the Scriptures and pray. Generally I am studying the passage that we are covering in church that week, I recently came across verse mapping and have been doing my own variation of that as I study the verses. I also keep a prayer journal, it used to just be a list and I’d try to pray through the list each day but that felt too dry so now it has pretty much just become a journal to God; each day I just continue my letter to Him, some days I tell Him the same things over again and some days it’s something new.
Working on our own mother culture is a practice that is beneficial not only to ourselves but our whole family.
While motherhood includes a lot of sacrifice we cannot ignore ourselves completely and expect to raise children that will thrive in this world. They are watching and modeling us.
How do you practice mother culture?