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    Books & Reading, Mother's Education

    The Fall 2023 Mother Culture Reading List (Plus Fall Reading Habit Trackers!!)

    September 20, 2023 by Brandy Vencel

    I don’t know about you, but I always have to figure out how to fit in my reading this time of year. It’s not that I can’t do it — it’s just that I can’t do it the way I’ve been doing it when there were no school lessons and very little football practice. This time of year isn’t actually busier, but it’s different, and I have to strategize with my calendar to make things work.

    A habit tracker helps immensely. I often imagine myself to be better than I am (more consistent than I am) and it’s only when stark reality is revealed to me by the mirror of my habit tracker that I face what I am actually like and become able to make some changes so that who I am more closely matches who I hope to be.

    Get Your Mother Culture Habit Tracker Now!

    What are we tracking?

    I like to remind you each time: What exactly are we tracking with these Mother Culture Habit Trackers? Since we can’t track intangible things like “personal growth” or “feeding the soul with ideas,” we choose instead to track habits that lead to these ends. We define Mother Culture according to the original article in The Parents’ Review: reading 30 minutes per day. Maintain a stack of books (at least one of each) in three categories: stiff, moderately easy, and novel. When it’s time to read, pick up the book you feel fit for.

    It’s that simple!

    Need book ideas? Here is a recommendation for each category to get you started:

    Stiff Book:

    Healing Complex Children with Homeopathy: ASD, PANDAS/PANS, Lyme, ADHD, and More by Angelica Lemke, ND

    I almost didn’t share this title because, even though I recently read this book cover to cover, and even though I’m incredibly thankful for it, it’s not for everyone. Here is the important thing to note: this book is not for beginners. You need to know homeopathy fairly well to get a lot out of this book. With that said, I have been asked many times over the years if I have a book to recommend for homeopathic treatment of these issues (mainly because good practitioners are so hard to find). Now I do!

    Moderately Easy Book:

    The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey Into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield

    I reread this book earlier this year, and I still highly recommend it. It gave me much to think about in terms of how I interact with people to disagree with me on my most basic assumptions. So good!


    Dune by Frank Herbert

    I can’t fully review this yet because I’m not even a quarter through it. Did I mention this book is long? It’s over 700 pages! So far, it does not disappoint. I love the epic feel. It’s interesting, but it’s willing to take its time, develop both the characters and setting, prime you for action. Fascinating. I do love a good fantasy/sci fi book!

    Bonus Audio Book:

    The Bodies of Others: The New Authoritarians, COVID-19, and The War Against the Human by Naomi Wolf

    I have embraced a new strategy for fall reading: audio books. I have held out for years, but it’s true that one time to “read” is when I’m driving home from dropping O off at football practice. This book by Wolf is one I keep meaning to get to; now I’m “reading” it on audio. The narrator is … fine. He’s not great. He’s not terrible. But Wolf’s content is superb.

    Happy fall reading, friends!

    Educational Philosophy, Home Education

    Introducing the New Spanish Edition of Swedish Drill Revisited!!

    September 6, 2023 by Dawn Duran

    I am thrilled to announce that Calistenia Sueca Version Revisida is now available! Born out of a desire to provide more Charlotte Mason resources for the Spanish-speaking community, I hope this version of Swedish Drill RevisitedTM will allow more families to effectively implement Swedish Drill in their homes. I’d like to share a little family history with you that explains my interest in bringing this project to fruition. My husband grew up in a Spanish-speaking home in a Texas border town. Laredo is one Continue Reading…

    Books & Reading, Home Education

    11 Books I Assigned for High School That Aren’t on the AmblesideOnline Lists

    August 23, 2023 by Brandy Vencel

    I love, adore, and have always used AmblesideOnline as our homeschool curriculum. Also, I have always collected books. In the high school years, when AO takes a pick-and-choose salad bar approach, I can’t help but consider not just the books on the lists, but also the books on my shelves. They have been waiting their whole lives for this moment, and so have I! As much as I adored my littles, the teen years are my absolute favorite. I’ve also Continue Reading…

    Educational Philosophy, Home Education

    Morals? Yes. Moralizing? No. (OR: Did Charlotte Mason Read the Moral of a Fable?)

    June 30, 2023 by Brandy Vencel

    “I hope the reader is not among the naughty children who read the fable and skip the moral.” — Charlotte Mason, School Education, p. 167 This issue came up recently in the Scholé Sisters classical writing class during a live Q&A session. The question was about the morals in Aesop. Some of us were under the impression that Charlotte Mason forbid the reading of the moral in an Aesop’s fable (and some little children strongly disapproved of this practice). My Continue Reading…