I love it that she's decided to pull together a specific theme for each issue. The theme of this first issue - very appropriate for starting a new school year - is hope. I can't say much about the first article, my attempt at synthesizing some of the important concepts on hope shared with us by Pope Benedict XVI (particularly in his recent encyclical on hope) with a focus on how this virtue should affect us in the here-and-now, except that it was a truly spiritual experience to work on it and it has some really great quotes! :)
Alice Gunther's "A Litany of Saints for Scholars" particularly moved me. The Litany itself (in the context of a larger article) not only beautifully calls to mind wonderful titles of Our Lady and Saints to encourage us in our studies, but it gently proposes a prayerful sense of unity with other Catholic homeschoolers with whom we have more in common than not. Wonderful!
The rest of the magazine is packed with interesting and useful articles, collections of ideas (this issue has a special focus on ideas for starting off the new school year), beginnings of new columns (like a Liturgical Year column with simple, but meaningful craft ideas and a homeschool humor section), and, of course, book and resource reviews.
Like Heart and Mind, mater et magistra also includes a Unit Study in each issue. The first is a beautiful and helpful one on astronomy written by Suchi Myjak (author of CHC's Behold and See). Even though I don't tend to do formal unit studies with my family, I love these aspects of the magazine which often spark new interests in our family and provide many ideas and resources for dabbling in them or even for getting started on something we've always wanted to study.
I'm really excited about being a volunteer part of this lovely new magazine and I hope you'll consider subscribing. For more info, see: http://www.materetmagistramagazine.org/