It’s that time again! For those of you who are new around here, let me briefly explain. Each summer, I compile two lists of recommended reading. The first one this year is the Mother Culture Reading List. This is totally a Charlotte Mason thing, and if you want to know more about it, I wrote a post on Mother Culture that you should check out.
Here’s the deal: Homeschooling takes a lot out of us.
Can I get an Amen?
No matter how hard you try, no matter what preventative measures you take, you’re running on empty at the end of the year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You know that uncomfortable feeling you have the day after a good workout? Or how tired you are after you spend an afternoon working in your garden?
And how rewarding the rest feels because of all the hard work you put in?
It’s like that.
You put in some good work this past school year, Mama. Good job! And now it’s the day after the workout. Time for some supplements, a little stretching, and other means of restoration.
That’s one way of looking at Mother Culture. It’s restoration. Your muscles are weary because of the good work you’ve done — there’s no regrets. But we do need to put back what we take out, or we just might burnout.
What is burnout but running the car with the gas tank on empty? Taxing resources you don’t have?
This summer, make time for reading. Build up your soul. Re-find your thoughts.
Mother Culture is the easier, less complicated of the two lists I put out. Please don’t think of this as the “slacker list.” This is simply the kind of reading for average, normal mothers. It’s especially good in the early years when you feel like you’re dying of baby-induced sleep deprivation (or the later years when you feel like you’re dying of teenager-induced sleep deprivation).
It’s a casual affair, really.
Here’s How Mother Culture Works:
You keep three books going: a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel. You pick up the one you feel fit for. You read for half an hour per day (minimum — but doesn’t have to all be at once).
It’s that simple.
The purpose of my list is to help you get your list going. The books I share here are books I’ve read, books I’m reading, or books on my own summer list. I never recommend books I wouldn’t read myself, and I try to recommend the best of the books I’ve read over the years (because why make you suffer through the so-so books?).
Are you ready?
These are the challenge books. You might not get through very many pages your half an hour reading slot, but you’re really challenging your brain. The books are fantastic! But they are also akin to a thick protein shake — you won’t be able to read them every day. This sort of reading grows you as a person, though, and it also makes you fit for the coming school year, so don’t avoid it.
Moderately Easy Books
These books aren’t as hard as the challenge books. There might be sections you can breeze through. At the same time, you’re still picking up new ideas, finding things to ponder, and (never forget it) growing your soul.
These books books aren’t necessarily easy — they’re not twaddle, after all. If there’s one word we can use here, it’s probably delight. These are the hardest to put down when it’s time to move on to something else.
Are You Ready?
There are a few steps to summer reading; gathering your books and scheduling your time tends to precede actually reading. You might also like to get a simple journal because a great companion to reading is writing — your thoughts, questions, and favorite quotes are all fair game.
Looking for More Ideas?
If these lists aren’t enough, check out past lists:
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