Monday, September 19, 2011

A Charlotte Mason Lifestyle~Interview with author Karen Andreola

Suzanne:  You and your husband Dean really pioneered the Charlotte Mason movement here in the U.S.A. Can you give us a little background on how you came to discover Miss Mason’s pedagogy?

Karen:   Thank you for inviting me to tell our story.  We were serving a mission’s term in the suburbs of London, England in 1986-87 when a coworker’s wife –the only other home educating mom – leant me her copy of For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. Intrigued by its ideas based on the British Christian Miss Charlotte Mason, I borrowed Home Education written by her in the 1880s, from London’s inter-library system. I think it was the only copy in the system. The time-honored advice on its pages resonated with me. Coveting a copy of my own I asked Dean to make inquiries. He telephoned all the used-book shops in the directory but without success until . . .

One of the last inquiries he made was with an aged shopkeeper who asked, “Have you tried the Charlotte Mason College?” Dean was stunned. We hadn’t known there was such a place. Some months later Dean had a trip to make for the literature mission, which brought him north to the Lake District of England. How providential, we thought! He could look for the books at the college.

It was a beautiful spring day when Dean stepped into the library of the Charlotte Mason College, spoke first with the librarian, then with the president of the college, Dr. John Thorley. Dr. Thorely, a pleasant and learned man, gave Dean an impromptu tour of the buildings and grounds speaking eloquently of its history. (I wish I’d have been there.) Being a book person Dean convinced Dr. Thorley, as they comfortably strolled along, that it would be to both the benefits of the college and to America’s rising number of home educators if he could find a publisher for Miss Mason’s writings in the States, and would he write the introduction? Dr. Thorley agreed.

When our mission term ended Dean and I and our two little girls (Sophia age 5 and Yolanda 3) flew home with one of the only complete sets of Miss Mason’s books – on loan to us - carefully wrapped in a carry-on bag. Dean would not trust them to baggage handlers. After various attempts Dean found a publisher.

Suzanne:  Many home educators get caught up in the next best thing or the newest method for this or that. What was it that drew you to Charlotte’s methods and what kept you there as your own children grew?

Karen:   The story continues. Opening the pages of Miss Mason’s original writings, I was gleaning nuggets of ideas little by little. I found my first reading of A Philosophy of Education to be formidable. By and by the ideas took shape. First, Miss Mason’s insistence on “living” books made its appeal. Next was her method of narration, which was entirely new to me and I didn’t know anybody who did “school” this way. But I put faith in it and carried on. By the time I added Nature Study, Picture Study, Music Appreciation, the Way of Will, and Habit, and the reasons for these, a lovely picture had formed in my mind’s eye of what home education can be. It was a very different sort of education than most of us coped with in conventional school. In the spring of 1989 I had a baby, adding a boy (Nigel) to my little girls, was lonely for a kindred spirit, and was bubbling over with Miss Mason’s ideas. In 1991 I reached out with a monthly discussion group and a homespun newsletter. I ended up meeting like-minded mothers both near and far.

I’d previously read books by Maria Montessori and articles by modern educators, which I found interesting. But I was enthralled by Miss Mason’s ideas. I began interpreting them for use with my own children. Charlotte Mason Education is not something to dabble in – although dabbling is far better than not attempting it at all. Rather, there is depth to it and breadth to it. There is also history to it. I was impressed with the number of people from the 1880s to the 1960s who were enthusiastically involved in the philosophy and method – teachers, parents, headmasters, etc. for “the children’s sake.” Reading The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondeley provided a look at the work of the P.N.E.U. (Parents National Education Union), a team of members who promoted Miss Mason’s ideas in chapters all across England. I also immersed myself in the articles in P.N.E.U. magazine, Parents’ Review. I was borrowing hardcover copies of these monthly issues from the Charlotte Mason College (since returned).

{The Charlotte Mason College, Cumbria, Lake District}

My children liked their home school - mostly. They were gaining knowledge for knowledge sake -something for which a Newsweek article, at the time, said was entirely idealistic – something no teacher should ever expect.

I took note of what contemporary voices were saying in the homeschool world. Some of it was good, some of it was disappointing, few could compare with Miss Mason. Therefore, there was little chance I would vacillate. Did you know I was this opinionated, Suzanne? I do try to be politely so.

Suzanne: Karen, I have never found you opinionated, just passionately convicted. That is what I admire about you :-) 

Home educators are under a lot of pressure for their students to perform. We have testing standards in many states that can send parents into a tizzy! What grounding advice can you impart to the parent to stay Charlotte’s course and trust in her methods?

Karen:  I’d like my fellow home teachers to breath easier. Some of the pressure we feel is self-imposed. Many years ago I was informed by the Colfax Family when they spoke at a conference in Oregon, that unless English is a student’s second language he should do fine on the California Achievement Test. The authorities only intervene when a student falls below the 15th percentile. This is unlikely when a child reads, writes, and does some math everyday. I was relieved to hear it because doing extraordinarily well on the CAT was never our priority - nor was it the Colfax’s and their boys entered Harvard.

We delved, freely and unencumbered, into the Charlotte Mason method of living books and narration (oral and written). I did have a concern about the year-end test, however. My children were unfamiliar with a typical work-page of multiple-choice, for instance. Here is how I managed to not let the test loom ominous or worse, bully us into the conventional textbook-workbook grind. I taught my children what to expect a month or two before the test. I assigned them an exercise each day out of a booklet designed specifically for test preparation. They took mini tests, penciling in the ovals, for language arts and math. Recently I’ve seen more involved workbooks. They will help prepare a student who is (advantageously in the long run) more familiar with Miss Mason’s unconventional method of dealing with knowledge. Dean is in the middle of writing a review of Spectrum’s Test Prep and Test Practice for Christian Book Distributor’s upcoming catalog.

Suzanne:  I am sure many are curious about your own children and “how they turned out.” Can you give an update on them and what they’re doing now?

Karen:  Dearest to a mother’s heart, all my children profess the Christian faith (and are readers). They attend a church near them and take part in the worship services with their music ability. They still write the occasional product review for Christian Book Distributors. Each plans to home school.

Sophia (age 29) is a wife to Andrew, mother of two little boys, and homemaker. She lives in the crowded suburbs of Baltimore an hour and a half from us. A handful of violin students come to her house for lessons. Prior to marriage she taught thirty students in Maine and took some college classes at Lancaster Bible College as a commuter. Sensing a need for hospitality in her church she cooks and invites young families and singles into her home for fellowship. She is a friend to her mother-in-law who is a widow.

Yolanda (age 26) is a wife to Daniel and homemaker. She lives 30 minutes up the road from us. Prior to marriage she did the baking for a coffee house. Her banana bars, apple tarts and biscotti are scrumptious. Yolanda teaches cello lessons, composes music, records and plays for the occasional church wedding - even though her sister, Sophia (since her second baby) no longer joins her. I miss hearing my girls rehearse live strings in my house.

Nigel (age 22) lives with Dean and I. His instrument is piano. He attended Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology as a graphic arts major (phi theta kappa) here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In an office across from mine in the attic he continues his education online. He is studying website design and web programming, a meticulous process, through the online school Session College for Professional Design. At breakfast (I see his face mostly at meals) he reminds me that I need to be updating our three websites. They are embarrassingly out-dated and require a complete overhaul. I agree. He would be the best person for the job. My writing of the text “just-so” is what is holding up the works. His portfolio is at: . He would like to get to know a Christian young lady and be married someday.

Suzanne:  You were able to write a lovely newsletter early in your home educating endeavors called the  Parents’ Review, which are still available for purchase at your Homeschool Highlights site.   How were you able to accomplish the research and publication of such an undertaking with the duties of home educating and keeping a home without loosing your sanity?

Karen:  Parents’ Review (1991-1996) was my sanity. Being without a car I was marooned so-to-speak at home with my young children (until Sophia was 14) – except when Dean was away on (airplane) business trips twice a month. Even then our one car mostly stayed in the drive. I was content with life the way it was. We enjoyed a calm, uncluttered and unhurried life in part because we drove nowhere until the weekend.

We kept early hours and had a neat schedule of morning lessons. Supper preparations followed our lunch together because I was in the kitchen then. In the afternoon on rainy days the children played indoors. Our rooms were sparsely furnished - no coffee table, for instance. But more often they’d play in the back garden. I’d sit watching them with “research” on my lap. While the children were involved with sand, puddle pool, with wagon, tricycle, on roller skates, or with stuffed toys that they’d place in the branches of trees, I’d scan the many articles of Miss Mason’s original Parents’ Review. I looked for anything that my readers might find interesting or relevant. Being a quarterly magazine I was able to take my time – and I needed to - because most of the articles I read, were passed over. It took a couple months to come up with a selection of articles and add my commentary and clip art. After all, my readers were paying for this and I desired to please, as well as enlighten. It was a subscriber-supported magazine and therefore advertisement-free.

During the dark cold nights when Dean was away on business, I’d sit up in bed reading and researching (or knitting) after the children had their stories read to them and were tucked-in. I found it hard to fall asleep when Dean was away.

Grocery shopping was done one evening a week or on Saturday. It was a simple life of learning for all of us. The paper letters I received weekly from subscribers or from inquiries kept me in touch with people beyond the front garden gate and where in some ways like having blog friends.

Suzanne:  You revised and republished Beautiful Girlhood, a favorite of mine. Will you expound a bit on how the book helped shape your relationship with your daughters and how the chapters may have shaped your daughter’s growing years?

Karen:  Firstly, I’d like to voice my appreciation for the efforts of the home school pioneers who worked to give us greater freedom to educate our children in the home. For it is in the home that children can be children longer. The joy and innocence of childhood is a precious thing that I sought to preserve. I am grateful that God gave me the insight and tact to bestow it. In so many matters our “home” had the first word – a gentle and peaceful grounding.

In the early 1990s I searched for a book in Christian publishing that would discuss the features of a godly girlhood but I found none. Dean came home with a pile of used books one afternoon and an old copy of Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale was among them. To be equipped and inspired myself I read and pondered its pages eagerly (having been without such guidance when young). I desired to model godly womanhood. I incorporated the topics I read in Beautiful Girlhood into my own life and then into the general character training of my girls.

When Sophia was 14 and Yolanda 12 I read Beautiful Girlhood aloud and we talked about it. I remember the house, the room, and the occasional giggles. We had just moved to Maine and were renting a Victorian with large windows a couple blocks from Rockland Harbor. Beautiful Girlhood helped bring out the attitudes I wished to inspire. We had weekly conversations on dress, friendships, the awakening of the “love nature,” of being purposeful, truthful, helpful, of purity, and of becoming Christ-like and beautiful within. We are a talkative family generally which helps keep relationships close and open.

Years later I invited girls from our church and from our wider circle of friends into our home for Beautiful Girlhood Get-togethers. I gave a talk in the living room and we always finished with a not-too-formal tea party. To be “in company” with girls in this setting was socially satisfying for my daughters as well as their opportunity to be an example and encouragement to younger girls. I’ve kept the details of this series of get-togethers in my laptop and would like to polish them into a guide for other mothers who wish to do the same. {Karen, I would be first in line to buy!~Suzanne}

I could tell you about the tricky years when boys began entering the picture and, too, my girls’ sweet courtships and weddings. Perhaps I’ll save that for another time.

Suzanne:  In your new CD, “Mother Culture”, which I encourage every home educating mum to own,  you speak to the mother/homemaker taking just a little time for herself. In our culture today women are bombarded with the message that they need “time for me” which amounts to a lot of time spent away from home pursuing careers or hobbies. Would you share how you found refreshment in your early years of mothering and how you now continue to be refreshed and inspired in your calling?

Karen:  Home teaching is demanding. It requires a sense of purpose, direction and dedication. This fact isn’t at all daunting to the mothers I’ve met who have chosen to be their child’s teacher. Love for their children gives them a willing heart. Love and morning-by-morning dedication are a winning combination.

But home teaching also requires energy. It takes bright energy of mind, body and spirit to guide, teach, train, and feed children daily. Therefore it should be no surprise that it can be fatiguing. And all the while a mother wishes to be viewed as being gracious, pleasant, patient and cheerful. It is fatigue that drags her down. Fatigue makes everything harder. It is her enemy.

To refresh herself a mother can reach for an attractive momentary diversion. Your blog, Suzanne, has some interesting examples. Perhaps a mother has wanted to dig a flower bed, sew a patchwork pillow or a pair of curtains, knit a scarf, go shoe shopping, yard sale-ing or antiquing, start a novel just for herself, a biography or Bible study – then go for a solitary walk to reflect upon her reading, to throw pent up emotion to the wind, or to be in prayer with the blue sky above her and birds chirping beside her.

On my CD I share that Mother Culture is learning alongside our children all the wonderful things we might have missed in our own childhood - and finding joy in it. But it is also learning and growing off to the side. Momentary diversions are her recreation. They allow a mother to re-create herself. She re-creates a clear head, regains stamina and renews a cheerful spirit. With fresh energy of mind, body and spirit, she can fulfill the many tasks that are in her servant’s heart to perform.

The advantages of Mother Culture do not end with herself. They enable her to reserve a place in her heart for being a wife, too. I think this differs from the message of our post-WWII “me first” generation. I invite your readers, Suzanne; to expand upon the ideas I have touched upon and apply their own personalities to it.

Suzanne:  Your books, Pocketful of Pinecones and Lessons at Blackberry Inn are soothing stories that have ministered to many a weary mother. Where do you find the inspiration for these stories and are there plans for another book about Carol and her family?

Karen:  Thank you for using the term “minister,” Suzanne. A desire to minister was my source of inspiration. The character Carol is easy to get to know. She is like many of my readers whose day-by-day responsibilities are ever before them. Perhaps they are soothing stories because the setting is the 1930s when life was simpler – though chores were constant. Carol may have her hands full but she will not be rushed.

Placing the theme of nature study into Pocketful of Pinecones offers a practical reason for reading it. I knew instinctively that a mother would be more apt to pick up the book if it in some way it gave her ideas of what to do with her children. This is where her heart is. Therefore, although the story is meant mostly for her, Pinecones is beneficial to the educational life of the family. It is an informal teacher’s guide. Approximately 200 living things are observed in Pinecones . . . but who’s counting?

While a mother reads my stories she makes a book friend. Book friends have been a comfort to me when I’ve been lonely for adult female companionship. Relocating the household to a new state - what many Americans experience – what I’ve experienced - means making new acquaintances. This takes time. And there seems to be little time left over to do it. Meanwhile Carol is the Christian friend some may wish they had living conveniently nearby when no kindred spirit can be found. I prayed that this friendship aspect would be soothing, too, Suzanne.

I’ve grown fond of my characters. A third book in the sequel dances in my head now and again – mostly when my head is on a pillow at the end of the day. Carol’s gentlemanly husband, Michael, plays a bigger part in it – then of course there’s the baby . . . But because (paper) books are a large investment a further story is being debated.

Suzanne:  In your expert opinion on home schooling, is there one particular area you are glad you focused on concerning the education of your children? A certain skill or mastery of a particular subject that you feel has served them well through adulthood?

Karen:  Reading.

Sometimes a one-word-answer makes a strong impact. I refer to chapters 12 and 13 in A Charlotte Mason Companion for details. They uphold the love of learning with good books (books we want to read again) as well as experiences. It is what my children remember most about their education and is what stands by them today.

Forgive me for not answering all your well thought out questions, Suzanne. You asked about being a wife while homeschooling. A principle I’ve tried to follow in my marriage is to mix business with pleasure.

You asked what I am doing now that our children are adults. I’ve taken more writing on my plate than ever before. Recently I calculated that there are enough writing projects stacked near my desk (and in my computer) to last the rest of my life – partly because I write by inches. I seek to live like my character, Carol, who does the “next thing” faithfully and cheerfully. I’m not entirely successful at it, however. I can get in a tizzy. Household occupations call for much of my attention still. And overnight company is a regular thing when you have a spare room with private bath. Then there are my energetic grandsons . . .

Thanks for visiting with me, Karen A.

Karen, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time for this interview. Not only I , but all who stop by here to glean wisdom from your words, thank you for your ministry and dedication to the home schooling mum. God bless you and your precious family!

To keep up with Karen and her family please visit Karen's blog Moments with Mother Culture.  Karen and Dean also do reviews of home schooling products at Christian Book Distributors. Many a time I have considered a home schooling resource and was blessed by one of their reviews.  You may also purchase all of Karen's resources as well as peruse interesting articles at their site, Homeschool Highlights.




Now on to the generous giveaway! Karen and Dean have sent me a copy of three of Karen's books.  A Charlotte Mason Companion, Pocketful of Pinecones, and Lessons at Blackberry Inn will be awarded to three fortunate readers! Just leave a comment here and do suggest which book you would prefer. For extra chances, you , of course, may facebook, blog, or tweet about the interview and giveaway. Just come back and leave additional comments letting me know you did so. The winners will be picked by random number generator on Friday, September 23rd, by 10am so please remember to stop by to see if your name has been chosen. The winners will be announced right here within this post.

***Please note that this interview is the property of Blueberry Cottage. All photos in the interview are the sole property of Karen Andreola, unless otherwise noted.

This post linked up with Teach Beside Me.


Comments Closed!

Thank you to all who stopped by and entered. I do wish I had a book to give to each of you lovely ladies! I haven't responded to comments as I didn't wish to interfere with the numbers, but I have read each comment and will enjoy getting to know you better by visiting your blogs in the upcoming weeks. The winners by random number generator are:

#3 Nadine from Nadine's Nook-you have won Lessons at Blackberry Inn!

#26 Maria at Puddingstone Farm-you have won Pocketful of Pinecones!

#32 Irie at Life on the Narrow Path-you have won The Charlotte Mason Companion!

Please email me your snail mail info at and I will get these to you soon!

Thank you again to Karen and Dean for their generosity in sharing their resources.


  1. Great interview! A few weeks ago I ordered the Parent's Review magazines, I can't wait to get them. Thanks for a chance at the drawing. I own all her books except Lessons at Blackberry Inn. It would be fun to have : D

  2. You will love the PR! I have them all:-) A very valuable resource.

  3. What a wonderful interview Suzanne...thank you for sharing it with us! I have really enjoyed visiting Karen's blog too!


  4. I always enjoy your guest interviews! We homeschool with a mixture of work-text, computer-based, and charlotte mason style. I'd love to go Charlotte Mason completely but start worrying about leaving something out.( I live in an Abeka saturated area. lol )Love your's a peaceful place for me to land at the end of the day. :0)

  5. Hi Jackie,
    Thanks for your kind words:-) I understand about living amongst folks that are strictly textbooks. But, consider this, textbooks only touch on their topics, never fully delving into the topic. With Charlotte's method one can saturate themselves with a topic as much as they want. I think in any method one will experience "holes". Learning is a lifetime journey.
    Take care,

  6. HI Jackie,
    What a lovely interview with Karen Andreola.I am a regular at her Moments with Mother Culture site .I enjoy your blog as well.Both are very encouraging.Thanks.

  7. Many years ago I collected 'Parent's Review'. They are a wonderfully encouraging series. I would love to read 'Pocketful of Pinecones'. Thank you for the interview!

  8. What a wonderful interview Suzanne. I so enjoyed reading this post and also hearing of the harvest that comes from a homeschooling lifestyle that is similar to the path we chose. Although we never strictly adhered to a Charlotte Mason approach (or any one approach for that matter!) I was influenced by her writings which I discovered years ago thanks to Karen's online articles. Living books and nature study have always been an important part of our home education. Interestingly, two of my children have followed similar paths as I also have a web designer son and a daughter who bakes desserts to earn additional income! I really appreciated what Karen shared for mothers and have put her new CD on my wishlist! I'm not sure if I am eligble for your giveaway being outside of the States but I have only ever loaned the Charlotte Mason Companion and would dearly love my own copy. Enter me for that if I am eligible. Oh and I wanted to know if the Charlotte Mason college is still there and operating. My sister lives in Cumbria and I would love to go and see it if I ever go back to visit her. I have been to the Lake District many many times. It is so beautiful and my favourite part of England - earlier this year I found out that my great grandfather is buried in a cemetry on the shores of Lake Windermere so I have many reasons to visit!

  9. What a wonderful interview! We have just begun our CM homeschooling. Everyone raves about ACMCompanion. I would love to win it!

  10. What a wonderful interview! Thank-you!

    I would love to win Lessons at Blackberry Inn. :)

  11. I so enjoy reading Karen Andreola's works! It is hard to pick a favorite. They are all so easy to read, yet use delightful language and all have greatly encouraged me and comforted me in my CM homeschool journey. Thank you! I have all the books except for Lessons at Blackberry Inn. I would love to receive a copy of this!

  12. What a wonderful interview! I just love A Charlotte Mason Compainion. It is well loved and dog eared. I would love to win a a copy of Pocketful of Pinecones.

  13. I do not own any of the books, and they all sound lovely ~ I guess I'll ask for Lessons at Blackberry Inn though. Books and blogs are indeed friends!

  14. Thank you for the wonderful interview. I so enjoy your blog. I visit Karen's blog regularly,too. Many years ago I received two issues of the Parent's Review,and although our homeschooling years are behind us, I still enjoy reading them.
    I'd like to read Lessons at Blackberry Inn.

  15. Wonderful Interview and I'd love to win the Charlotte Mason Home Companion. I have been able to borrow it, but have yet to own my how :)


  16. Believe it or not, I just recently discovered Karen Andreola. While I have long known about the Charlotte Mason approach, I had no idea what wondrous resources Karen had written, nor that she had such a lovely blog! I am so thankful to the friend that linked to it on Facebook. I have truly struggled with the idea of 'doing enough' coming from my own textbook based background, and she has given me the 'deep breath' to realize that we will do okay as long as we focus on the right priorities. :)

  17. I would love to read Lessons at Blackberry Inn and pocketful of pinecones! Thanks for sharing what you have learned!

  18. I would love a copy of A Pocketful of Pinecones! Thanks for the interview.

    Mrs. H

  19. I facebooked your post also! (blackberry inn)

  20. oh thank you for this giveaway. I would love Lessons at Blackberry Inn, the only one I haven't read!

  21. What a wonderful interview indeed. I would love to own A Charlotte Masons Companion. Blessings to both you and Karen. Dawn E. Brown

  22. Thanks for sharing the wonderful interview! I wd love to read Lessons at Blackberry Inn n get to know Carol! :)

    Lillian Tay

  23. Just posted this link on FB. I'm sure fans of Charlotte Mason wd love to read the interview! :)

    Lillian Tay

  24. Suzanne,
    Thank you for this wonderful interview. I currently own all three books and know that the winners of your giveaway will be blessed by whichever one they receive!

  25. I would love to read Lessons at Blackberry Inn!

  26. What a delight, like getting re-acquainted with an old friend, was this interview. Karen, my children are about your children's ages, and as you were my "kindred spirit" (I read and soaked up your writing) especially in those early years of Homeschooling.

    This phrase of yours, "For it is in the home that children can be children longer. The joy and innocence of childhood is a precious thing that I sought to preserve," expresses my heart, as well as reading being the number one thing important that they have taken with them. Our times of reading together as a family remain treasured memories of Homeschooling days. Thank you, Karen, for being such an important part of our Homeschool, by encouraging me and sharing my heart's desires for my children, and helping direct the way we did things. I know God used you.

    Thank you, Suzanne, for this interview, and for the giveaway. Lessons at Blackberry Inn and Pocketfull of Pinecones would be treasures to receive, and to share with my young moms' group.

    Thank you, again, for this wonderful opportunity to touch base with an "old friend" and hear how things have gone with her, the history behind it all, and well, everything.
    Blessings to you both,
    Wendy Gunn
    Faith's Firm Foundation

  27. Thank you Suzanne for your lovely blog. I look forward to your posts as you journey through life with God and your family. We have been homeschooling, by God's grace, for 25 years. Your blog is a breath of fresh air and encouragement to me and my girls. We have used all kinds of resources and methods through the years. Texts, unit studies, and Charlotte Mason. I guess a combination of all of the above is how it works out for us. Using real books, taking time to read aloud, and making things together is what my daughters remember as happy memories. Thank you for all that you share3 with your readers. I learn so much from you. I would love to read either Pocetful of Pinecones or Lessons at Blackberry Inn. Thank you. Maria at Puddingstone Farm

  28. I would really like to win Lessons at Blackberry Inn! :)

  29. Suzanne,

    I have all three of her books and I actually just finished reading them again. So encouraging!! I just wanted to say what a lovely interview. I always like it when you do interviews! Karen is such a lovely person!!!

    Love, Heather

  30. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. It couldn't have come at a better time ... I've been in need of inspiration. I've been around and around (Waldorf to CM to TJEd to Unschooling to CM and CM again) in my mind, and I always find my way back to CM ... there must be a truth to it that I cannot deny! This was beautiful post! I'd LOVE to have any and all of those books here for regular inspiration!

    Many blessings,

  31. Thank you for a wonderful introduction! I would be interested in any of the three books, but if I had to chose, I would pick Lessons at Blackberry Inn. :)

  32. I am so glad I had time to read, really read, this interview! It was fascinating and really has given me a lot to think about. While I teach in a public forum, I am finding that incorporating little tiney things from CM has helped my students gain more understanding of our course material. Of course, there is so much more I would love to do in my classes, but there isn't time. But, maybe, by starting them on the path, I can get them to take up their interests and education and run with them!

    Thanks for the time it took to develop the questions, the responses, and then to enter it all into your blog! What an inspiring post!

  33. I enjoyed your sweet interview. Thank you for posting it.

  34. I shared it on Facebook. I would prefer Lessons at Blackberry Inn. Or Pocketfull of Pinecones, which I lost.

  35. so happy to hear that Parents' Review is still available...can't wait to look it up.

    it would be lovely to have a copy of the Companion on our shelves!

  36. Loved this interview!
    Please enter me. I would love ANY of the books but if I had to pick I'd choose A Charlotte Mason Companion. :)
    ~ Christina

  37. I love and adore anything to do with Charlotte Mason. I would love any of the books should I be chosen! Bless you and what a wonderful giveaway~

  38. Hi Suzanne, I really enjoyed this interview with Karen.
    My homeschooling days are well and truly over but I still like to see what others are doing.
    Hope you are enjoying beautiful Autumn weather in your neck of the woods :-)

  39. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us! Our family has been so blessed by learning about and using Charlotte Mason's method. My first introduction to Charlotte Mason was reading Pocketful of Pinecones several years ago. I only wish I'd learned of her method when we began. I'd choose Lessons at Blackberry Inn, as I already own the others.

  40. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us. As the mother of three young children, I often forget to take time for my own care and refreshment! I have checked the "CM Companion" from the library a couple of times but would love to own my own copy to be able to read and refer to over the years.

  41. Thank you for sharing! I would like either Pocketful of Pinecones or Lessons at Blackberry Inn.

  42. Suzanne, what a wonderful interview! I enjoyed reading this very much, and getting to "know" Karen a bit better was a blessing.

    I'd love to have the Pocketful of Pinecones book...I have read it (and love it) but do not own it.

    Thank you!

  43. Hello again Suzanne, thank you for spending the time and effort to post this wonderful interview! I think I'll keep coming back to this post...I would really appreciate the chance to own A Charlotte Manson Companion, just sounds wonderful.
    Also I really enjoy your previous posts about the world of Tasha Tudor - really inspirational, thank you! X

  44. I'm brand new to the topic of homeschooling - I'm a public school grad, and the child of public school teachers - and I don't even have children yet! I stumbled across the Charlotte Mason ideas on Facebook and have been fascinated ever since. I don't know if homeschooling is in our future - but if it is, it is a gift I'd love to be able to give our children. I'd enjoy reading the Charlotte Mason Companion as I continue dreaming about and planning for the future.

  45. Hello Suzanne,
    I'd taken a hiatus from the computer only to come back and find this lovely conversation between you and Karen. Thank you both for taking the time to share so much with us. We continue our fifth year with the gentle art of education.

  46. For many college students, financial aid seems like a complex subject. Just like filing income tax results, people dread the confusion of paperwork and deadlines. But try to remember what you effort is worth: free money. In fact, an afternoon's worth of online degree forms can equal thousands in cash for your higher education. According to the College Board's 2008-09 "Trends in Student Aid" statement, over $180 billion in college student aid was distributed through government funds, college money, private funding sources, as well as federal tax credits. Currently, the Obama administration is working to ensure that the aid application process gets simpler and that a student need-analysis formula is clearer.

  47. What a great opportunity to have this interview!

    I am a new homeschooling Mom myself, and always looking for tips to glean :)

    Your newest follower, Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough (

  48. I finally finished reading it. I really am so happy to have found your blog, and now, I want to go over and look at Mrs. Andreola's, as well!


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