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About Karen Andreola
Karen Andreola is the author of Mother Culture ®: For a Happy Homeschool; A Charlotte Mason Companion; Pocketful of Pinecones; Lessons at Blackberry Inn; and Story Starters. She home educated her 3 children K-12.
Karen and Dean Andreola were largely responsible for igniting the modern-day revival of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education among home educators. While serving in a Christian literature mission in London, Karen began homeschooling in their tiny rented flat. In an age before the Internet, Karen asked Dean to find Miss Mason’s long-out-of-print writings. Astonishingly, none could be found for sale in the whole of England. As Providence would have it, an elderly bookshop owner told Dean of the Charlotte Mason College in the Lake District. Soon after, Dean made the trip. He received on loan from their archives all 6 volumes of CM's Home Education series. Karen began reading. Experimenting through trial and error, she began adapting the principles to her home life. Upon returning to the States in 1987, the Andreolas arranged for the republication of the 6 volumes. They kept the “pink” books in print for 25 years.
The Gentle Art of Learning™
In the 1990s the convenience of podcasts, videos, blogs, and FB communities did not exist. Karen often felt alone. But help was on the way. One day she received on her doorstep 77 hardbound volumes of the Parents’ Review from the CM College archives. The heavy cartons came with a big international freight bill. Thus began the years of sifting through articles – some over 100 years old – to find golden nuggets of wisdom relevant for today. Karen shared her discoveries and experiences: in homeschool magazines, her own magazine, and as key-note speaker at conferences. Her interpretation of CM’s philosophy, trademarked “The Gentle Art of Learning,” attracted many to the method. It gave parents the confidence to say, “I can do this.” Homeschool leaders privately acknowledge they first understood the ideas of CM through Karen's book, A Charlotte Mason Companion.
From 1995 to 2014 parents looked forward to reading product reviews the Andreola family wrote for several Christian homeschool catalogs.
Mother Culture® Discovery
An obscure article, anonymously written, was published in 1892. It lay quietly undisturbed in Parents’ Review until Karen discovered it. What was the article that intrigued her? It was titled “Mother Culture.” It struck a chord in Karen’s heart. As she considered how it might benefit mothers today, ideas bubbled over into her own magazine in 1993. Over the next decades, she revived, expanded, and introduced Mother Culture to a new generation. Her articles, books, speaking, and catalog reviews (later, blogging and FB) created enthusiastic interest. In this way, Karen popularized Mother Culture among busy, hard-working home educators. Privately she answered hundreds of letters from stressed or discouraged moms. Heartfelt sympathy and a desire to encourage led her to choose Mother Culture® as the hallmark of her work, ministry, and trademark. Today, the original Parents’ Review article is linked as an online reference without mention or knowledge of Karen’s origin-story. Yet had it not been for Karen Andreola, Mother Culture® — as we understand it today — might have gone undiscovered for perhaps another 100 years.