I said in my Mother Culture Booklist post that I would also do a Mother’s Education Course list. I also said that I recommend the Mother Culture approach when you have small children. So please keep that in mind as you read. This is more intense than the other, simpler goal of 30 minutes per day and three “levels” of reading, and it’s not for everyone.
If you recall, Charlotte Mason’s Mothers’ Education Course had four main subject divisions:
- Physiology and health (with an emphasis on caring for children)
- Mental and moral science and education
- Nature lore and the elements of science
For myself, I’m also adding a fifth category: fiction and literature.
For each category, I’ll include a few suggestions, and then explain what I’m planning to read.
The divinity area answers some basic questions of biblical history and theology, as well as questions about passing on the faith to our children.
A good example is From God to Us, which I had to read in college. It answers the question of how we got our Bible. There were parts of it that I found dry and boring at the time, and I haven’t taken the time to reread it as an adult. This is the revised and expanded edition. That could make it better, but that could also make it worse. 🙂 It’s a good starting place if you’re interested in the question of where the Bible came from and how we went from parchment scrolls written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, to a printed book written in English.
Did I mention this is now over 400 pages. They weren’t joking when they called it “expanded.”
If you’re interested in the question, but don’t want to devote that amount to time to it, How We Got the Bible: A Visual Journey is a book that looks promising.
Clint Arnold was a professor where I studied in graduate school, so I trust him, and seeing images of the documents would be great. This is on my wishlist.
By the way, if you’re in Southern California, the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Los Angeles this summer, so you might want to go check them out while you can!
Some other suggestions for this category (I don’t mean easy, necessarily) might be:
I have a personal interest in the doctrine of the incarnation right now, and so my pick for this category for the summer is basically the original on this subject: On the Incarnation, by Athanasius.
The introduction is written by C.S. Lewis, and I’ve heard it’s very good. I’m excited to read it!
Physiology and Health
I’m sort of a health book junkie. My first two children had a lot of “issues” when they were preschoolers, so I read a lot of books on health and nutrition and diet. Also, my husband has an extensive library on the subject due to the nature of his work. I cobbled together some of my favorites, but also I can’t help but start with the podcasts I listen to regularly. I don’t listen to every episode. That would be too much! But I do pick the topics that interest me the most. The podcasts are:
Since the focus of this category is really the nurturing of children, I can’t miss the opportunity to mention this resource: Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. While there is a lot of good reading in it, it isn’t one you’d sit down and read cover to cover. Instead, it’s a resource book. A lot of us have books like these in which we can look up vomiting or chicken pox and get some idea of what to do about it. What makes this one unique is that it isn’t limited to a pharmaceutical approach. Instead, it also explains the Bach Flower Remedies, herbal approach, and more. I love it for its breadth.
Here are a few books in this category that are good options for the summer:
As for me, I’m going to continue with a book I’ve been reading veeerrrryyyy ssssllloooowwwlllyyy because school and all that. It’s Move Your DNA and it’s all about movement.
I think a lot of it dovetails nicely with Miss Mason’s love for Swedish Drill.
Mental and Moral Science and Education
So, I might own a few books in this category, it’s true. I put a number of them in the Stiff category in my mother culture post, so here I’m going to name some titles that weren’t in that other list.
As for me, I will continue with Arithmetic for Parents, which is just a wonderful book on teaching math.
Nature Lore and the Elements of Science
This summer, I’m reading aloud to my children from The Fairyland of Science by Arabella Buckley. I have a beautiful antique copy of this book, and it’s been waiting for some attention for a number of years. I’m not saying that it isn’t worth it for me to choose my own title — because I will — but honestly I have learned a lot of basic science and nature lore by reading good children’s science books aloud, so don’t underestimate that approach.
Here are some nature and science books to get you started:
I have a number of unread interesting science books lying around, so it was hard to make a decision. I think I’ve finally settled on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Fiction and Literature
So this is the category I added. Obviously, there is a whole world of literature and fiction out there, so I’ll just show you a few titles that are still sitting unread on my fiction and literature shelf that I am going to choose from, and then in the comments you can tell me what you’re reading yourself! That will be fun because then I can buy more books I do not have time to read.
Of course, I already told you that what I really want to do is revisit the Galaxy …
Are you building a summer reading list? Do you use categories? Share all about it in the comments!
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