The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
By The Way

Volume 2, 1891/92, pg. 475-477

Every student of education should read the "Memoirs of Arthur Hamilton, by his friend Christopher Carr," an intensely interesting little book, published a few years since by Kegan Paul and Co., less perhaps for the sake of the direct teaching it contains,* than for the suggestion and insight to be won from all such true and simple records of noble character.

Arthur Hamilton's whole life (short as it was) is a study in education, not the less instructive because in his own opinion he entirely failed to achieve his purpose in life.

Writing of this sort of failure to a friend, before he had himself experienced it, he says:--"We know how sickness or sorrow comes down heavily on us, crushing in what we are pleased to call our 'plans,' and 'interrupting,' as we say, 'our opportunities for usefulness, spoiling our life.' My dear friend, this is life itself. It is this very interruption that we live for. What does God care about the wretched books you intend to write, the petty occupations you think you discharge so gracefully? He means to teach you a great high truth, worth knowing; and thank Heaven He will, however much you shrink and writhe. Do not pick and choose among events, try and interpret each as it comes."

He had that sympathetic love and appreciation for children which indicated a pure and poetical nature, and is the first requisite of an educator.

"To come upstairs after a hot London banquet, where you have been sitting, talking the poorest trash, between two empty, worldly women; and then, perhaps, listening to stories that are dull, or worse, . . . . then, I say, to come upstairs, and see moving about among the knowing, selfish people a child with hair like gold thread, and something of the regretful innocence of heaven in her eyes and motions. If you can get her to talk to you, so much the better for you; but if you or she are shy, as generally happens, to watch her is something. God knows the insidious process by which she will be transformed, step by step, into one of those godless fine ladies; for it makes me inclined to pray that anything may happen to her first that may hinder that development."

*[From which many of us must needs differ.--ED.]

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"I often accept an invitation with reference to the children I shall see.

"'To meet Lord and Lady--and Mrs.--, such an amusing woman - tells such stories, they make you scream!' the invitation runs; and I accept it, to see Johnny and Charlie, to play at Red Indians in the wilderness, and to dig up the tin box of date-stones and cartridge-cases that we buried in the bed of the stream."

Here is a word of direct teaching: "Try to raise the tone generally; try to make the young soul generous, ardent, aspiring. If you can do that, the fouler things will fall off like husks. Above all things, make him devoted to you--that is generally possible with a little trouble; and let him never see or hear you think or say a low thought or do a sordid thing." --A.O.

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May I venture to recommend to your readers Mr. Thring's "Theory and Practice of Teaching"? He writes for schoolmasters, perhaps, but he writes about boys as a father might; and I think most fathers and mothers would enjoy reading a book full of real proverbs of pith and wisdom. Here are a few of them:--

"Genius is an infinite capacity for work, growing out of an infinite power of love." "There is a fearful theory born and bred in the quagmire of Marsh-dunce-land, that nothing is learning unless it is disagreeable, or worth having unless it is difficult." "A dull boy's mind is a wise man's problem." "Half the bad work of the world arises from want of hope, not from want of vigour." "A little judicious blindness and deafness is a great virtue in a wise teacher." "The transmission of life from the living, through the living, to the living, is the highest definition of education." --A.H.T.

Our Work.

The Fesole Club.--"Messing in oils at my own sweet will has had a demoralising effect." We fear that the fascination of this same lawless "messing in oils" hinders many from joining a club in which they would have the ablest teaching, the inspiring criticism of an artist, and carefully graduated work. Mr. Collingwood will receive members, either to join for the second half of the year, September to March (10s. 6d.), or to take up the work from the beginning, and send in the back studies to him at Lanehead, Coniston, Lancashire.

Der Bücherbund.--We imagine that one reason why this club is not better supported is that people are satisfied to read the "delightful" articles. But, putting German students out of the question--and it is surprising that more of these do not take up so inviting a course of study--it is one thing to read an article in a magazine with passing interest, and quite another to answer the questions month by month, and make the article one's own by careful study with a view to final examination. In the latter case we acquire some definite knowledge of one of the greatest literatures in the world; and this is not a possession to be lightly esteemed. We hope that many members will join the Bücherbund. Miss D'Esterre-Keeling sees two groups of questions every month--one for students who do not read German, and one for those who do. Members may join at any time. Write to Miss D'Esterre-Keeling, 40, Holland Road, Kensington.

The Parents' Review School.--"We feel sure it will meet a long-felt want." "I am rejoiced at your new opening." "Your plan will, I think, exactly meet the wants of parents who desire or are obliged to have their children educated at home, but who know the danger of the dawdling habits into which the children are liable to fall when there is no competition, and of the desultory methods which are the temptation of the home teacher." "I hail with pleasure the prospect of having a standard laid down by well qualified teachers towards which we can work." "I can hardly express to you the gratitude and delight with which I read your scheme for a home school." This is how mothers write who have entered their children in our school. Never was school more delightful than this, into which the little people come with a fuller display of their individuality, perhaps, than they would make in years behind the desks of a schoolroom. The Parents' Review School, for, (a), the supervision, or, (b), the direction of the home school, is always open; fees one guinea and five guineas a year, respectively, for the family, the year beginning with the date of entrance. We have been asked to admit schools as well as families into the P. R. School; we see no reason why not, except that, in the case of schools, examination work would be unduly heavy. But a very small annual examination fee (say 5s.) per pupil would obviate the difficulty.

Onward and Upward.--We hope our readers will not forget that we have affiliated as our "little sister" the charming cottage magazine, edited by the President of the P.N.E.U., Lady Aberdeen. Readers may have any number of specimen copies, free, by writing to the Secretary, "Onward and Upward," Haddo House, Aberdeen. 1d. monthly.

First Reading.--The words of the rhyme, "I Like Little Pussy," in little cases, beautifully sewn, the separate words of each verse in its own case, and all in a pretty box, may be obtained for 6d. (postage 2d.) at the "Lewisham Steam Press," 84, High Road, Lee, Kent, S.E. We owe this help in our work to a lady who is an indefatigable educationalist. We hope there will be a brisk demand for the "Pussy Box" to secure the speedy production of other reading lessons on the same plan.

Typed by Pamela Hicks, March 2013