You do remember Mother Culture, don’t you? This term, first appearing (so far as I know) as the title of a Parents’ Review article in the early 1890s, refers to how we keep our brains alive and our intellects growing while we have a bunch of little ones underfoot: three books always going — “a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel” — and a minimum of 30 minutes per day invested in them.
Now, yes, there is also the idea of a Mother’s Education Course, and we’ll get to that soon, but MEC’s are not for moms with tiny babes in the house. Or, at least, they weren’t for me when I had tiny babes in the house.
So that’s it: thirty minutes a day. You grab the book you can handle, and you spend some time giving it your undivided attention. Summer is a great time to start this habit — or restart it, if it fell by the wayside as the school year went on. Nourishing the mind is a must for all mamas, but perhaps most especially for the homeschooling variety since we have a bunch of young, vibrant intellects
sucking us dry depending upon us.
So here are some book ideas.
For the “Stiff” Stack
These books are made of tough stuff, and if you’re really sleep deprived, you’ll find you can only handle a few pages at a time. No matter. Miss Mason read classics ten minutes per day, and that paid off pretty well for her, I think.
Or, if you want your “stiff” book to be on the literature side of things, what about some epic poetry?
The Moderately Easy Stack
With these books, we’re still going to learn something, but it won’t be so hard that it’s impossible for the sleep-deprived mind to grasp. I like to use interesting popular non-fiction or memoirs for this category. The list I’m sharing today contains both books I’ve read as well as books on deck in my own Moderately Easy stack.
The Novel Stack
Because this is Mother Culture we’re talking about, we don’t want to read twaddle, not even here. But sometimes we get confused about twaddle. Twaddle and light reading are not the same thing. These books are chosen for good stories, wisdom, beauty, and pleasure. You’ll have to forgive me for including some of my favorite short stories. They aren’t exactly novels, but they serve a similar purpose, I think.
• Emma • The Space Trilogy • Island of the World • The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy • The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories • The Innocence of Father Brown • Ella Minnow Pea • The Book Thief •
Where’s Your Favorite Place to Read?
One thing I look forward to each summer is the two weeks of swimming lessons my children take. We do this in June and in the morning, which means it is usually quite mild out. I sit in the sun, and I read novels. It’s become my traditional way to transition to a summer mindset, and I’m quite looking forward to it! What about you?
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