I know, I know: I published a Mother’s Education Course booklist last week. So what’s the deal with another list? Stick with me a bit, and this will make sense.
In the Charlotte Mason world, there are two basic approaches to a mother’s self-education. One is the Mother’s Education Course, which is what my suggested reading list last week was based upon. This program was an intense three-year (later reduced to two years) program for the really motivated mother or governess. But let’s face it: even when we are really motivated, we can’t all commit to such an endeavor.
Some of us are low-energy moms.
Others of us are brain dead from the sleeplessness associated with MYC (Many Young Children).
Are these things excuses for not reading?
Enter Mother Culture. You can read details on Mother Culture here, but the bottom line is to have three books going at all times, and read a minimum of one half-hour per day. (This is to prevent your young children from using up all your brain cells before they even reach school age, or your teen children from railroading your brain. This stuff really happens.)
The three books fall into these three categories: stiff, moderately easy, and novels. The essence of practicing Mother Culture is that you always have a book going in each of these categories and you pick up whichever book you can handle when your reading time arrives.
My own personal summer reading functions as a sort of fusion between Mother Culture and the Mother’s Education Course. I tend to have around seven books going at a time, and I try to make them fall into the various categories listed here and in the MEC. But I often only read for half an hour, and I usually just pick up whichever book catches my fancy.
So … here are some suggestions for summer Mother Culture. I’m choosing a number of books for each category, both books I’ve read, as well as books on my own list. Some of these might double as pre-reading for AmblesideOnline school years, which is always helpful. Just keep in mind I’m not saying anyone should read all of these books in a single summer; they are a list of options, not a curriculum to try and get yourself through in a set amount of time.
What’s a stiff book? It’s a book that is harder to read. It’s going to challenge you. It’s going to work out all those brain muscles. You might not — gasp — understand everything you read. No worries. Who says we have to understand all of a book when we read it? Comprehension is overrated, in my opinion, but we’ll talk about that another time. For now, suffice it to say, this is the
read red meat of our menu.
• Love Your God with All Your Mind • Eusebius: The Church History • Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty • The Road to Serfdom • The Birth of Britain • The Problem of Pain • A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature • The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God •
Moderately Easy Books
These books aren’t necessarily fiction, and they aren’t necessarily easy, but they require less brain power than the Stiff Books category. Don’t let them fool you: these are still totally worth the time we spend on them.
• Amusing Ourselves to Death • Whatever Happened to Penny Candy • How the Heather Looks • Scaramouche • The Vegetarian Myth • The Disappearing Spoon • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks • The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture •
I don’t know that these are supposed to be easy — as if this list were actually hard, medium, and easy. But novels tend to be written in such a way that they help you read them — they pull you in. Some of these are older, some newer. Some harder than others. All of them, I think, are books one ought to read eventually. Two of these book I have not yet read myself — they are on my list. Can you guess which ones?
So here’s your challenge: recommend at least one book to me in one of these categories. I want to keep building my list, too. 🙂
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