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 2, no. 2, 1891/92, pg. 398-400

I see a correspondent alludes to this subject, and having seen much of the evil of the present system, should like to say a few words as to the physical evils of long holidays. There is no doubt that long holidays imply "cram" at other seasons. Six weeks off the present excessive holidays would mean an hour's less work per day of the remaining scholastic year. Moreover, long idleness is bad for the health; irregular hours, perhaps late ones, excessive exercise at that season, after probably insufficient exercise in the previous months, must all tell on young bodies, and will certainly tell on tempers. My next point is a word of warning to mothers as much as to governesses on the undesirableness of allowing girls to run wild in holiday seasons unchaperoned. Few mothers have health or leisure to be always with their girls; but with the present freedom of manners, and much increased association of the young of both sexes, it is imperative that girls should have their freedom curtailed during the later years of their schoolroom life, unless they are to be allowed to drift into foolish flirtations, perhaps ending in wretched marriages. I live in a neighbourhood much patronised by professional men's families as a holiday resort, and see the manners and customs of many families in various grades of society. I cannot say the sight is edifying, or that the future of these young people bids fair to be steady and decorous; one sees boys and girls flying about the country without restraint or chaperone, making their own engagements for picnics, tennis, or riding parties, with scarcely a reference to their elders. It is bad enough for the girls who are "out," but for their younger sisters it is ruin. Will not the schoolroom routine appear flat after the charming attentions of their brothers' college chum? and should the girl be of a sentimental turn, there may ensue a real heartache very hard to cure, blighting what should be the brightest years of her life. I am not strait-laced, and am very much in favour of young people of both sexes mixing socially; it teaches youths nice manners, and cures girls of affectation, but such social intercourse ought to be invariably under the eye of some elder person. Let the young people have every latitude in the way of laughing and joking and playing together, but give no opportunities for sentimentality. Let their intercourse be in public and not in those forms of amusement, walking and riding parties, which so readily admit of tetes-a-tetes. For this reason I strongly urge on mothers not to allow the governess to abandon her charges at such times, unless a sensible and efficient substitute be found. The ordinary holiday governess, generally a second-rate one, is frequently too gay to be any chaperone, and only intent on amusing herself, and in any case ought not to be put into a position requiring much tact, unless the mother knows something of her, and she is to some extent already a friend. I have seen in my own circle two young lives saddened by love affairs when they were not yet seventeen, and this must be my plea most earnestly to beg mothers to consider the serious risk of these unemployed weeks, and to entreat governesses to remember that, next to the mother, they are responsible for the welfare of their pupils, and that they must think of their duties to them before talking about their own rights and privileges. -- IRENE.

As the references to the House of Education have brought before the readers of the Parents' Review the question of training for nurses and governesses, I should like--while firmly believing that some training is necessary for those who wish to qualify themselves to take any part in the education of children--to bring before the notice of parents a danger of whose existence many may be ignorant. There are now many valuable colleges for training teachers, and though students from these usually seek their work in schools, some find it in private families, and there are many parent who feel that if they can only secure the services of a trained teacher, the education of their children is in safe hands. I have myself been trained at one of these colleges, and, on looking back, can see that, having begun my year's training without any opinions on the subject of education, I began work as a teacher with ideas which, if put into definite shape, would have been as follows:--Each child is born with a germ of the Divine Nature and Life within him; this germ may, if placed in suitable environment and properly developed, grow into the perfect character which is the destiny of every human being. But the means of such development may be entirely provided by men and women who surround the child, and no further communication of Divine Power is needed. Now it is clear that this view of education quite overlooks the constant union and communication with its Maker, which the Christian believes is the true life of the human soul, and looks on man as a machine placed in the world made wonderfully and perfectly indeed, but so as to require no more aid from his Maker. This view--as religious as it is non-Christian--is by no means what is universally and systematically taught, but I only give my own experience, knowing that others have felt the same. -- STUDENT.

We have again to mourn the loss of a deeply valued contributor in Mrs. L. D'A. Lipscomb, the author of the "Star Maps," with explanations, which formed so delightful a feature of our first year's issue. Mrs. Lipscomb and her sister, Mrs. F. Steinthal, were amongst the earliest and most ardent supporters of the Parents' Review; and the sudden and untimely death of our gifted collaborator is a loss to our readers and a sorrow to ourselves.

SYDNEY.--"St. James's Parsonage, Sydney, N.S.W., April 14, 1891.--Dear Miss Mason, --You will have received (and perhaps glanced at) my Parish Magazine. I am writing this morning to announce further progress in the Parents' Union Movement. I think I told you that the scheme had been brought up by me at our Ruri-Decanal Chapter, and I am now receiving invitations to read papers, a sign that interest is being excited. Yesterday afternoon an event took place which may, I think, be regarded as the beginning of the movement on a large scale. Enclosed is a brief report from to-day's papers. Enough to say that the meeting was so far representative that ministers of the Nonconformist bodies were present, and that the importance of the matter was fully realised. We are now busy making arrangements for the larger meeting, drawing up resolutions, &c. What the result will be I can hardly say. My impression is that, in the first instance, Unions will spring up here and there, and that federation will come later on. In any case, the thing is now 'going' . . . I send you a scribble, feeling sure that the Council of the P.N.E.U. will like to hear what is going on at the Antipodes. -- Believe me, faithfully yours, H. L. Jackson.

"April 20, 1891.--P.S. At our Ruri-Decanal Chapter we have just passed a resolution asking the Bishop to take steps for starting a Diocesan Parents' Union. This is another step in advance."

From the Morning Herald, April 14, 1891:--"A meeting was held yesterday in the St. James's Parish Hall, Phillip Street, to consider the advisability of taking steps to form a Parents' Union, on the lines of the Parents' National Educational Union, which was recently established in England. The chair was taken by the Rev. Principal Kinross, of St. Andrew's College, and a paper was read by the Rev. H. L. Jackson, which was followed by discussion, in which the Revs. W. Mathison, Dr. Corlette, J. D. Langley, T. E. Owens Mell, W. G. Taylor, and E. Masterman took part. A resolution was passed affirming the grave importance of the subject, and the following were appointed a committee to make arrangements for convening a larger and more thoroughly representative meeting: -- The Revs. J. D. Langley, T. E. Owens Mell, W. Mathison, and H. L. Jackson."

HAMPSTEAD AND ST. JOHN'S WOOD BRANCH.--On June 18th the last general meeting of this Session was held at 7, College Villas, Finchley Road, when a paper was read by Miss Fuller on "Kinder-garten Training," and specimens of the work done by her pupils were shewn. Rev. R. Duckworth, D. D., Canon of Westminster, presided.

Typed by Blossom Barden, Feb 2013