The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Books Which Have Been Recommended in the Parents' Review,
and Others Which I Have Found Really Useful.

By "Irish Pilgrim"
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 841-

There are such quantities of books published nowadays that it is hard to know which are the ones of lasting and practical use, and which will remain our friends and our children's friends through life.

I have found any books recommended to me in the Parents' Review really worth having, and I shall mention some which I first heard of through its pages, and also some others which the readers of the serial may like to hear of.

As helps to mothers, or to others interested in education, the following books will be found practically useful:

"Principles of Physiology, applied to the Preservation of Health, and to the Improvement of Physical and Mental Education," [by Andrew Combe] is very suggestive in many ways, and refers to subjects not always mentioned in books on physiology.

"Physical Education, and its Place in a System of Rational Education," by Miss [Concordia] Löfving, is a useful little book, published by Swan Sonnenschein, and is the material of a lecture given before the Birmingham Teachers' Association, and also before the Education Society.

"Lectures on Teaching," by J. [Joshua] G. Fitch, M.A., LL.D., is a very valuable book in helping mothers to superintend the education of their children, as well as for the use of teachers. Its object is to invite intending teachers to look in succession at each of the principal problems they have to solve; to consider what subjects have to be taught, and what are the reasons for teaching them; and so, by bringing together a few of the plainer results of experience, to place readers in a position in which it will be easier for them to divine and work out methods for themselves.

"The Manuals of Science" and "Art of Teaching" are very useful little books, published at the National Society's Depository.

"Le Manuel des Maitres" is written in a bright, sympathetic way, by Madame Pape-Carpentier, who gave her whole life up to the study of education. It is published by Hachette, as is her "Histoires et Lecons de Choses," a nice book for children.

"La Gymnastique de l'Esprit," methode maternelle, is a well-thought out series of little books for children learning French. There are three parts. The first part deals with "L'Observation des Choses et des Etres." The second part, "Jugements et Raisonnements sur les Choses et les Etres." Third part, "La Memoire et l'Imagination." They are written by A. Pelissier, and published by Hachette. I will give a few words from the "Conseils Pratiques," at the beginning of the first part of the "Gymnastique de l'Esprit" to show the object the author has in view: "Le but de ces exercices est d'habituer les petits enfants a voir a decomposer, a recomposer, a dessiner tout. Des l'age le plus tendre, les enfants sont animes d'une curiosite telle que leurs questions embarrassent tres souvent leurs parents, et leurs instituteurs; pourquoi ne pas utiliser cette curiosite en la dirigeant? Notre objet n'est pas d'enseigner aux enfants in la langue, ou la grammaire, ou l'arithmetique, ou la morale; ce sont la des etudes speciales; nous y preparons l'esprit en lui donnant certaines qualites generales. Partout et toujours l'homme aura besoin d'observer d'analyser; il faut y exercer l'enfant a propos de tout. La precaution la plus importante est d'epargner a l'esprit toute fatigue; les efforts penible decouragent et paralysent les enfants; le maitre qui aura le talent d'eveiller leur curiosite les trouvera tres attentifs, et sera plus vite fatigue qu'ils ne le seront eux-memes. . . . . Le dessin par croquis tres-faciles, representant la silhouette des objets ou des etres, est un des meilleurs exercises; il importe a'y recourir le plus possible. Jamais ou n'exercera trop l'oeil a saisir et la main a reproduire les formes." Another useful little book for children learning French is "Premieres Lecons de Choses Usuelles pour les Enfants de Sept a Neuf Ans," par E. Dupuis, published by Ch. Delagrave, Paris.

"The Science Ladders," by N. [Nancy] d'Anvers, published by Geo. Philip & Sons, are well and simply written, and give much interesting teaching in an unconventional attractive way.

[N. D'Anvers, later Mrs. Arthur Bell -- Science Ladders series: Lowly Water Animals; The Life Story of Our Earth; Forms of Land and Water; The Story of Early Exploration; Vegetable Life; Flowerless Plants; Lowly Mantle- and Armor-Wearers]

An American book entitled "Studies in Nature and Language Lessons" [T. B. Smith] is based on the theory that experience and expression should go hand in hand, and will be found a very useful book in teaching children, and maps out an attractive series of lessons.

"The World at Home; or, Pictures and Scenes from Far-off-Lands," by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby, is a delightful book for children, and is published by Nelson & Sons.

I had some difficulty in hearing of a good English book to help in giving object-lessons to young children. "Object-Lessons from Nature," a first book of Science, by L. C. Miall, was recommended to me in the Parents' Review, and I have found it exactly what I wanted. The plan of the book is this: Simple explanations about animals and plants, with very familiar examples, come first. These early lessons are meant to give a small stock of information, to teach the habit of careful examination of all the details of any natural object, and to prompt questions. Then some chemical and physical facts are introduced, and experiment brought in. Upon this foundation, some simple lessons on clouds, rain, and rivers, and on the food of plants, are based. There is one thing of great importance. It is this--that everything learnt must be a means to something done. Something must be tried as a little private experiment, or something gathered and preserved, or something drawn, or something questioned and made to tell its tale. In teaching, Mr. Miall says, drawing should play a great part; and there is no better way of checking mental indolence and the miserable habit of trying to learn with both eye and mind out of focus.

"Among the Stars; or, Wonderful Things in the Sky," by Agnes Giberne, would be a delightful Christmas present for a child. The story told so brightly must give children a lasting interest in astronomy.

"Little Christian on his Pilgrimage," is the story of the "Pilgrim's Progress," simply told by H. [Helen] L. Taylor (Wells Gardner, & Co.), and is a very useful book for children. It is a pity there is not a preface written by the author, with suggestions as to the best way of presenting the characters in the book to the children's imagination.

[Helen Taylor wrote "Little Pilgrim's Progress", which may be the same book, or a revision of the original.]

I must also mention the Rev. B. [Benjamin] Waugh's books as delightful for children's Sunday hours. "Sunday Evenings with my Children," and "The Children's Sunday Hour," contain bright stories illustrating, in a concrete way, such subjects as "Forgiveness," "Faith," "Love,"

Another book, "Elements of Morality," by Mrs. [Charles] Bray, also recommended in the Parents' Review, I liked much, notwithstanding its rather unattractive title. It is full of suggestions for a mother's talks with her children, and I wish there were more really nice books of this kind.

I do not mention "Home Education," by Miss Mason, as it is known to all readers of the Parents' Review; but I must gratefully say that it has been the most helpful of books to me, and any mother would be happy who followed practically the method so carefully and sympathetically thought out by the writer.


Proofread by LNL, August, 2023