I brought A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning along with me to the lake the other day.
That was silly. Between continual head counts, baby-chasing, and splash-fight refereeing, I never do get much reading done at the lake. I did manage to read a few snippets, though, and I realized that I have been greedily keeping this book to myself, instead of doing my part to share it by recommending it to others.
I think I have always figured that everyone knows about this book already. But I’m sure some don’t. Especially those who aren’t homeschoolers might not be familiar with it, but I think there’s plenty for all kinds of mothers to glean from the pages of this gem of a book.
“Companion” is a good word for the title of this book. Ever since my ever-wise older sister recommended A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning to me, this book has been a regular and much-appreciated companion to this homeschooling mom.
I probably only pull it out once or twice a year, but each time I do, it rejuvenates me. Andreola is not Catholic, but she is a Christian who takes her faith and her motherhood seriously. In gentle, persuasive style, she convinces readers to try to be better mothers, to be better wives, and to nurture happier families. With chapters on nature studies, sibling bickering, Shakespeare, music, habit-forming, child training, and “mother culture,” this book is the perfect one to pick up as a means of inspiration and encouragement at the start of a new school year or any time a mom feels burned out and overwhelmed.
Yesterday, after a day where it felt like my children’s tempers and impatience were feeding my own, these were exactly the words I needed to read while watching my children swim and play in the lake:
Virtues, like flowers, grow in the sunshine. You can cultivate them or draw them out with love and reason, but you can neither force nor whip them into existence.
Amen to that. Homeschooler or not, Charlotte Mason devotee or not, if you are a mother, you’ll want to get yourself a copy of this lovely “companion.”