The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes and Queries.

Volume 1, 1890/91, pg. 317

I have read with much interest your capital magazine the Parents' Review, and I am sure you or your readers will give me kindly help in my perplexity. I have four children -- two boys and two girls -- Sylvia, nine; Ernest, eight; Vera, four; and Paul, three years of age. The girls I understand and can manage, but my eldest boy is a hopeless puzzle to me. First, I must tell you that I worship my children, I would die for them, I never spare myself for them, and I am perhaps morbidly anxious and nervous about their happiness and well-being; but I never had brothers, I know nothing of boys, I cannot find out how to amuse them. Ernest is a nervous, highly-sensitive child, with a delicate digestion, but muscularly strong. We live in London, and his one idea is to be out of doors all day, rushing about in the air, playing with any boy he meets, cllimbing the trees in the square, tearing his clothes, losing his handkerchiefs, gloves, &c. Indoors he is miserable. At Christmas I bought him ten shillings' worth of toys, all the kinds he wanted; he never played with one of them. Before a week was over he had lost or traded away to his schoolfellows for sweets all the implements of his fret-saw work, he smashed his engine to see what was inside, and sold the other toys to buy cakes. I offer to play with him, but he hates sitting still; he will listen for a long while if he is read to, but then fidgets away and is out of doors "just to feel the air," as he says. He teases the little ones, worries the nurse, and is selfish and quarrelsome with his gentle, elder sisters, who gives up everything to him. I talk to him gently, and he looks at me with his great solemn eyes, and appears to drink in every word. Then he flings his arms round my neck, and says, "I'm going to be less selfish, mother, truly I am," and off he runs and forgets it all in ten minutes. He is full of fun and mischief, and has a loving affectionate heart, which he hides under a rough voice and manner; but oh! he is so hard to train. He seems to have no tastes; he likes tops, and marbles, and running wild. What am I to do with him? His father is a busy man and says it's a woman's place to look after children, and if Ernest is tiresome he must be punished. But I can't help feeling it is mostly high spirits and thoughtlessness which make Ernest so trying. Is he not too young -- eight years -- to go to a boarding school? If I could be shown some way of keeping him home amused and happy. -- F.L.B. [We invite answers to a letter in which the facts are evidently somewhat disguised with a view of publication. -- ED.]

Reply to V. M. H. -- Get Wheatley's book, "How to form a Library," and see chapter on "Children's Libraries," which gives one every sort of information on the subject. It is not an expensive book, and is well worth reading in itself. -- ANSWER.

Could you bring out very clearly and simply a scheme of education to assist mothers in rightly planning the school-room life. (1) Stating whether it is BEST to send children from the first to a day school, such as a Kindergarten, for the sake of the class-teaching and companionship; or whether the individual teaching and training by a daily or resident governess is best in the formation of character? (2) A programme of lessons for little boys, say from five or six, and up to what age, before going to public school? (3) Ditto for girls. (4) Giving a time-table of hours, and division of work; and also a list of the best-approved lesson books. (5) The best system of teaching. I think this would help many a young mother who has to buy her experience at the cost of many failures, through ignorance. We want a little practical instruction as to how best to map out the day -- so as to give the children the best advantages for their growing bodies -- combined with minds so well furnished that they will be able, having been thoroughly and correctly grounded, to take a good place at school. (6 and last) Is Latin advisable for girls as well as boys, and at what age should it be begun? Yours most faithfully, E. A. G. [We look forward with great interest to the very various replies which these important queries should call forth. For ourselves, we must not anticipate the work of the Review by hazarding premature opinion. -- ED.]

I have read with considerable interst Mr Dawson's paper in your last issue, but I must confess to a feeling of surprise that he makes no reference to the "London School of Journalism" in the outer Temple, the only institution of the kind. Between three and four years ago Mr. David Anderson, who for many years had occupied an important position on the editorial staff of the Daily Telegraph, took rooms close the the principal newspaper offices, with the object of teaching the art of journalism to persons of good culture. About a year ago I happened to meet with a man who had studied under Mr. Anderson with the best results, and this led me to undertake a course at the "London School of Journalism." When I came, although I had published one or two small things, I knew nothing of the practical work of a newspaper. Sub-editing was but a name to me, leader writing a mystery. I knew as much -- or as little -- about preparing telegrams for the press and special correspondence as I did about the Sphinx and the sources of the Nile, and had I attempted to make money as a journalist I must inevitably have failed. My ignorance would have been patent to any editor. Under Mr. Anderson's tuition I have learnt all about the working of newspapers, the construction of leaders, the duties of the critic, the interviewer, and the special correspondent; in fact I believe I may say that journalism has no longer any mysteries for me. The crooked paths in which novices wander have been made straight, and at any rate all Mr. Anderson's pupils know what to aim at. Whether they hit the mark necessarily depends upon themselves. Some, however, while I have been with him, have done so, if not at the first shot, still very quickly, and are already, at the outset of their careers, earning their livings on the public Press. It is obvious that there is a front door to journalism, and that all need not wear themselves out as reporters and as hacks in small newspaper offices for long periods, before there is any chance of their gaining the necessary experience to earn a livelihood as journalists. Mr. Anderson plays the time-honoured role of "Experience" to his pupils. He "teaches." He gives to them the spoils he has won on the battle-field of the Press. I paid a fee of 100 guineas for some of these spoils, and I shall never regret having done so. -- R. S. H.

Miss Austen's nephew tells us how his Aunt Jane could keep up cup and ball, was it 200 times? This may offer a hint for "Primrose's" little girl, who should try to beat the record of yesterday's doings. But better far is battledore and shuttlecock; perhaps there is not game which gives better exercise to the muscles, or tends more to cause chest expansion. The child need not be lonely, as grown-ups play with as much pleasure as children; anyway a record of each day's feats in the way of "keeping up" would give spirit to the play. If the child learns to play from hand to hand, a battledore in each hand, the exercise is simply perfect, as the muscles of both sides are equally exercised. -- SHUTTLECOCK.

Typed by happi, January 2016