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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes of Lessons.

Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 304-309

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children's regular studies (in the Parents' Review School), some passage in one or other their school books.—Ed.]

I. Subject: Architecture, in connection with Furness Abbey.

Group: Art. Class IV. Age: 16 1/2. Time: 45 minutes.

By Agnes C. Drury.


I. To prepare for a visit to Furness Abbey by:—
   (a) Interesting the pupils in architecture by a comparison of the two earliest styles (Norman and Early English) exemplified in Furness Abbey.
   (b) Giving opportunity to realize the beauties of the two styles in pictures, both of Furness and of other buildings of the same dates.
   (c) Linking architecture with history.

II. To form a new relation with the past and with art.

III. To provide food for the imagination.


Step I.—Find out whether the pupils have seen the Abbey and get them to describe, or describe to them, the "Vale of Deadly Nightshade." Show some general views of the ruins, and picture the foundation of the Abbey by a colony of Benedictine monks from Normandy, to whom Stephen had given his lands in Furness.

Step II.—Picture the housing of the brethren in temporary structures. Question the pupils as to the buildings necessary, the probable form of the church, and the portions with which the monks would begin, sketching on the board a rough plan of each part as it is mentioned, i.e., the presbytery and transepts, south aisle, cloister, dormitory and chapter house. At the same time, show how the adoption of the Cistercian rule in 1147 modified earlier plans and determined the structure of the Abbey.

Step III.—Using a small printed plan of the Abbey to indicate the positions of various parts, with the help of numerous pictures, make an imaginary circuit of the church, noticing the characteristics of the Norman period: the north door, the three-ordered arches and pillars of the north transept, the triforium arcade, round-headed windows, round and clustered pillars of the nave, and the door into the cloisters. Ask the pupils what line of kings was reigning, and give the period its name, Norman. In order that they may realize that similar building was going on in England and Normandy at the same time, show pictures of the Norman Abbeys, of Canterbury Cathedral, etc., and of details resembling those at Furness.

Step IV.—Again, by the help of pictures, notice the Early English characteristics: the lancet windows of the dormitory, the great transition arches with their mouldings, the trefoiled arches in the arcade of the vestibule to the chapter house, the pillars, windows and the vaulting of the chapter house. Compare these with other examples of the period, Salisbury, Hexham, etc., and contrast with the Norman.

Step V.—Have a rough chart of two centuries, 1050-1250, with a square for every decade, sketched on the board. Shade the Norman period, 1090-1150, in one colour; the Early English, 1189-1272, in another; the three decades of transition in a third: and mark the accessions of William the Conqueror, Stephen and Richard I., and the foundation of Furness Abbey.

Ask the pupils to draw the distinctive forms of arch, etc., for each period, and show them the large historical plan of Furness Abbey.

II. Subject: Dispersion of Seeds.

Group: Science. Class III. Time: 30 minutes.

By E. Mary Pike.


I. To increase the children's knowledge of plants.

II. To show how Nature adapts herself to her surroundings.

III. To give some account of the different ways by which the seeds of plants are distributed.


Step I.—Ask why plants have various ways of distributing their seeds, and what would happen if they all fell close to the parent plant.

If all the seeds were to fall together they would not only be overshadowed by the parent plant, but would also be very much crowded, and so unable to obtain sufficient air and soil, which is necessary for their growth.

Step II.—Show specimens of seeds and fruits, and obtain from the children the different devices which plants make use of in providing for their seeds.

Some seeds are provided with wings—elm, sycamore, ash, pine, birch, etc. These are often blown to great distances by the wind, especially the birch, which is the lightest of all tree seeds. Others have plumes, such as the dandelion and most of the Compositae, the willow-herb, etc. These act as parachutes to the seeds and enable them to be wafted on the slightest breeze. (Notice the spiny projection at the upper end of the dandelion seed, which prevents it from being blown out of the soil when it has once found a place. Some plants, such as the cleavers, avens, burdock, etc., have hooks to their seeds, which enable them to cling to any animal or bird with which they may come in contact. Men, sheep, dogs, rabbits and birds often carry them to a distance in this way.

Some seeds are enclosed in succulent fruits, which, when ripe, are eaten by men or birds, thus liberating the seeds—cherry, blackberry, hip, haw, mistletoe, etc. Others are carried away in the mud which adheres to birds' feet. (Mention Darwin's observations on this point.) Some seeds are carried for long distances by water-plants on coral islands.

Seeds contained in pods are dispersed, when ripe, by the bursting of the pod—broom, bitter cress, etc.

Step III.—Point out how Nature adapts herself to her surroundings. Let the children notice that only the high plants have winged seeds and the lower ones hooks.

The dandelion when in flower remains in an upright position; having been fertilized, it lies on the ground until its seeds are mature, when it again raises itself so that the wind may be able the more easily to carry away its seeds.

Step V.—Sum up the devices which are made use of in seed dispersion.

III. Subject: German Grammar.

Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 20-30 minutes.

By Ida C. Fisher.


I. To show the pupil that, although the German construction of sentences may seem very much complicated, yet with the help of a few simple rules it can be made much clearer.

II. To draw these rules from the pupil by means of examples.

III. To teach two or three of these elementary rules.

IV. To strengthen the relationship with the foreign language.


Step I.—Begin by finding out what Georgie knows of compound sentences in English, i.e., that they consist of two or more clauses depending on each other, etc., and let her give one or two examples. Connect this lesson with a former one on the arrangement of words in German sentences by letting Georgie put one or two compound clauses on the board in German, and then giving the rule they illustrate.

Rule.—Dependent clauses take the verb at the end of the clause.

These sentences Georgie can probably give herself.

Step II.—Get the old rule that the past participle comes at the end of the sentence with a few examples, one or two of which Georgie may write upon the board to compare with those illustrating the new rule.

Let Georgie put several sentences on the board illustrating the new rule.

Rule.—In dependent clause, the auxiliary follows the past participle.

Sentences—"Ich kehre zuruch, wenn sie angekommen ist."
"Das Kind, welches verloren war, ist gefunden."
Let Georgie translate these literally into English, and with the simple German clauses already on the board and the translation, let her find the rule. Let her translate a few sentences into German to show that she thoroughly understands the rule.

Step III.—Treat the next rule almost in the same way but have each sentence put on the board twice in different order and find the rule by comparing these.

Rule.—If the subordinate clause comes first the principal clause takes its verb at the beginning.

Sentences.— (1) "Sie gab den Armen viel, weil sie gut war."
(2) "Wiel sie gut war, gab sie den Armen viel."
(1) "Er ging immer fort, obwohl er mude war."
(2) "Obwohl er mude war, ging er immer fort."

Step V.—Recapitulate.

IV. Subject: Clay-modelling.

Group: Handicrafts. Class II. Time: half-hour.

By B. M. Dismoor.


I. To introduce the children to a new handicraft, and to show them how to deal with a new material by modelling a plant pot and saucer.

II. To increase observation and appreciation of beauty in form.

III. To give the children the pleasure of creating.

IV. To concentrate the children's attention and to increase their patience and perseverance.


Step I.—Ask the children to tell the various objects that can be made of clay, and where it is chiefly manufactured. It is manufactured at Worcester in England, at Sevres in France, and at Dresden in Germany. Pottery is also made by all uncivilized peoples. It is a very ancient art: it was known to the ancient Egyptians. Ask the children what the Egyptians would have used it for. It was used for making vases and also figures of gods. Clay was used to write upon in ancient times.

Step II.—Take two lumps of clay of about equal size; roll them between the hands so that two equal balls are formed. let the children watch while you make the saucer, giving directions as you do so. Take one ball and flatten it on the board with the ball of the thumb, to the thickness of about 3/4 inch. Loosen the clay from the board, and work up the inside edges with the thumb, always working away from yourself, and moving the saucer round and round. When the saucer has been well worked up at the edges, make five marks at equal distances along the rim. Then at each mark bend the rim outwards between the thumb and fingers. Let the children copy exactly: do not touch their models.

Step III.—To make the pot. Let the children first watch while you make the model.

Take the other ball of clay, and, placing the thumbs back to back. push them into the middle, drawing the outside upwards with the fingers. Turn the model round and round, always working at the side opposite to you. Be careful not to make the pot too wide at the top. Pinch the sides to the same thickness and height all round. Make a hole in the bottom with the forefinger, pushing it through first from the inside and then from the outside. Crinkle the edge of the pot to match the saucer. Let the children copy exactly.

Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, December 2008