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What is Mother Culture?

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

Thank You, Miss Mason

If you’ve spent much time in the homeschooling realm, you’ve no doubt come across the name Charlotte Mason. Charlotte Mason was a British educator from the late 1800’s, and her philosophy of education resonates with homeschooling parents to the present day. While she herself did not coin the phrase “mother culture” (it first appeared in a PNEU Article in 1892, by an author called “A”), it is still considered a Charlotte Mason idea.

“There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her child’s childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth.” –Volume III, no. 2 The Parents’ Review

Your Own Educational Investment

So, what exactly is mother culture? Mother culture is the idea that mothers, as the primary caregivers and education facilitators, should continue to invest in their own education by reading as often as possible. Learning is a lifelong process and as such, should never end. While home educators tend to find this especially beneficial, all mothers and their children can benefit from mother culture. As our children age and begin to encounter more complex ideas, we must be able to continue to offer them our insight.

Challenge Yourself

Developing our own abilities to read critically and analyze deeper subject matter will not only enable us to help cultivate these same abilities in our children, it will enrich our lives and bring us more fulfillment. While you can certainly still indulge in a romance novel every now and again, reading the classics and other stories we know our children will later encounter will be much more helpful in this regard. With our e-readers and audiobooks, mothers of today have a much easier go at this than those trailblazing pioneers of the 1800s!

You Are Still a Person Too!

In addition to cultivating our minds through our reading, mother culture also encourages us to spend a little time developing ourselves. Remember the old saying “you can’t pour from an empty pitcher?” Well it certainly applies here! You must be willing to spend a bit of your time pursuing your own talents and interests. Want to learn to play an instrument? Do it! Want to try your hand at knitting? Why not? The primary objective is to continue to pursue your own goals and be an example to your children as a lifelong learner. After all, isn’t that what we want for them as well?



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