Like so many of us, Karen Andreola learned about Charlotte Mason through Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book For the Children’s Sake. Karen and Dean Andreola gave the fuel to the movement started by Macaulay’s book by publishing Mason’s six volumes in 1988 called the Original Homeschooling Series. Her “pink” books are familiar to so many people in the Mason movement. The republication of these books was a major contribution to the Mason movement. Karen further gave fuel to the movement by publishing her very practical interpretation of Mason’s methods in her perennial bestseller A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning™. She and Dean created The Gentle Art of Learning™ as their company brand. It represents their personal interpretation and application of the Charlotte Mason method. They home educated their three children from kindergarten through grade12. Karen republished and edited some of the Parents’ Review from 1991 to 1996. Because of its timeless articles and advertisement-free pages, interest in Parents’ Review continues. These efforts on the part of Karen Andreola contributed significantly to the continuation of Charlotte Mason’s ideas to the present day.
Karen Andreola has dedicated her life to encouraging and teaching mothers how to teach and raise their own children. Ever since a child, Karen’s dream was to be a wife, mother, and homemaker and the philosophy and work of Charlotte Mason became a substantial part of that dream, both in her work home educating her children and in her work as a speaker and writer trying to make Mason’s methods approachable and relevant to modern-day homeschool moms.
When Karen was a mother of young children, her husband’s work had taken them to live in London where Karen began reading For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. She found the gentle authority and enormous practicality of Mason’s words so compelling that an extensive search for more of Mason’s books began–a search that took husband Dean to Ambleside to the campus of the Charlotte Mason College and to Dr. John Thorley who loaned the Andreolas a complete set of Mason’s volumes.
Home to the USA came the Adreolas in 1987 with this set and within a few years they saw to it that all six of Mason’s volumes were republished as The Original Homeschooling Series. For two decades the Andreolas published Mason’s volumes, making Mason accessible to so many of us in the Mason community before the wide availability of the internet.
With her quiet resoluteness, Karen plunged into Mason’s works, continually exploring new ways to practically implement Mason’s methods. A decade of watching his wife homeschool their children and teach homeschool co-op classes gave Dean the subtitle for Karen’s first book A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning. Dean reflects: “Karen may well have been one of the very first homeschool moms reading, experimenting, and exploring new ways to “bring Charlotte Mason home.”
Subsequent years brought further speaking and writing with Karen using whatever vehicle of communication the Lord provided: author, magazine editor, featured columnist, keynote speaker, first CM home-study group leader, blogger, and homeschool product reviewer (14 years for Christian Book Distributors). Even though health issues limit Karen’s public speaking, she uses writing to continue her life’s work of encouraging young mothers. Each year this grandmother still answers hundreds of letters and emails from overworked or discouraged mothers. In her latest book (which took eight years to write) Mother Culture: For a Happy Homeschool, Karen hopes to capture the noble ideals and methods of Mason to inspire moms with creative ways to cheer up their homeschools and avoid burnout.