The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The "P.R." Letter Bag.

Volume 7, 1896, pg. 156

[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of Correspondents.]

Dear Editor.--Pater Junior's letter must come home to every father of boys. The same cry meets us at every turn. Freddy was working last night up to nine o'clock, and he is only eight years old, &c. Yesterday a mother called to say that her three children (ages ten to fourteen) worked already seven hours a day, and that the governess declared she must work longer, or it could not be done. The girls, who are by no means dull, were getting more and more sleepy, and had lost all interest in lessons. What was she to do? Must the governess go, or must she give in?

Mothers write that their daughters, who have been previously strong and well grown, after being at school a term or two, became listless and anemic. They work generally seven to seven-and-a-half hours a day, and one girl well expressed the feelings of the others the other day: "I never feel rested in term-time. I go to bed worn out and get up sleepy." So Pater Junior sees that not only boys are being overworked.

I have asked several head mistresses why they insist on so many hours' work, and the answer has been the same from all. If the parents would rebel, and demand shorter hours, we should be only too ready to give them. Even the head masters in the last conference decided that a young boy should not work longer than five hours a day. I believe they said the boys in Preparatory Schools.

We readers of the Parents' Review have a great power in our hands. If we would all combine, and in each place in which we live, try to bring the weight of public opinion against this bad practice of evening work and long hours, we should accomplish much for the boy and girl of the present, and the men and women of the future. If Pater Junior would receive names, I will gladly send mine, and then let him send the list to the conferences of head masters, head mistresses and any other educational meetings.



DEAR MADAM--Lady Campbell thinks there may be other members of the Mother's Educational Course who, like herself, would like to borrow all the books on your list. As they are not in the library, she would like to hear if any other ladies would care to join with her in buying the complete set of books, which they could circulate among themselves until they had read them all. If anyone would like to join Lady Campbell I would be glad if they would address me,
Care of Lady Campbell,
Palace Gate Mansions, Palace Gate, Kensington, W.


DEAR EDITOR,--I have copies of the Parents' Review, unbound, from March, 1892 up to the present date (perfect), and should be glad to part with them at a reduced value. If any of your readers will care to take them, will they write to me, stating the sum they would like to give. Yours truly,
Gordon Villa, Walton Road, East Molesey.


Dear Editor--In the Fortnightly for March is a brightly-written dialogue by Mrs. Frederic Harrison, in which a German Professor gives his views on the subject of girls' education, from which I cut the following suggestive sentences:--"Any instructed imbecile can teach young men and women, but it requires a really gifted teach to train the very young." "I feel like a new Peter the Hermit, preaching a new crusade to a blind and deaf generation--a crusade against the sacrifice of our youth to the modern Juggernaut--the sacrifice of Education, in any true sense, to Examination." "In the ideal state, as I conceive it, the standard for men and women should be the same, the teachers should be the same to ensure the standard, but the details and methods of teaching should be different." The Professor's view is that women should strike out a line of their own. They start with an advantage over men in not being hampered by old traditions, &e, and they should not hanker after admission to men's universities or demand the same degrees, but set up a higher standard of their own. Pressed for an outline of what he considers to be an ideal education for women, the Professor placed first a working knowledge of three or four modern languages, then "some training in the history of art, with the power to take intelligent delight in the world's great masterpieces. It may well be" he says, "to practice some art sufficiently to realize the difficulty of attaining any real excellence." Instancing as much an art the madrigal and glee singing for which England was so famous in olden days, he was met with objection that it would "never pay."--"Not pay," fiercely retorted the Professor, "Pray what good work is ever paid? Let me assure you that the best and most precious things in life are those for which there are no marks and no certificates." "Dexterity of hand and quickness of eye for household matters" must also be acquired, and then "we have before us the graver subjects of history, a knowledge of Latin or Greek--or a possibly of both languages--and a sound scientific training, beginning with mathematics."--"Impossible," cry his hearers.--"Nay, not so," replies the Professor, "George Eliot had this and more," and he proceeds to give in some detail these subjects in a course lasting to the age of 21. "But this," he says "presupposes competent home training and co-operation. My principal quarrel with the public schools is that they have done much to weaken the sense of responsibility in the parent and they have practically destroyed home teaching."

The Educational question of the month is certainly the admission of women to degrees at Oxford and Cambridge. The arguments on both sides have been ably stated day by day in the Times, whilst in the monthly magazines the champions for and against are Mrs. Fawcett (in the Contemporary), and Mr. Whibley (in the Nineteenth Century). As I write, Oxford has decided against the just claims of women, but the result of the voting at Cambridge is still uncertain. If Mr. Whibley needs any proof that women appreciate a college education and will allow no difficulties to stand in the way of obtaining it, he will find it in a sprightly article by Miss E. L. Banks, in the same review, which tells how girls in America earn their expenses at college by domestic service either in the college or in private families, and in many other ways.

I would also mention in the Nineteenth Century, "Scenes in a Barrack School," exposing some of the evils of workhouse life; an article by Professor G. Stanley Hall in the Atlantic Monthly, on the position of the secondary schoolmaster in America: and by Lord Meath in the Nineteenth Century for February, entitled "Reasonable Patriotism." Our President [Reginald Brabazon, the Earl of Meath] wages that steps should be taken to teach our children and working classes the advantages they enjoy over those who live in other countries. "I desire," he says, "to bolster up no rotten institutions, to foster no vain illusions, to encourage no false patriotism: but British citizens should know and be able to appreciate the points in their constitution, their institutions, their laws, their customs are worthy of admiration. To foster such a sensible and worthy patriotism should be the care of every British Educator. No boy or girl should be permitted to reach manhood or womanhood without being able to give some sound reasons for the patriotic faith that should be in him or her." For this purpose he strongly recommends Mr. H. O. Arnold-Forster's "Citizen Reader."
Pater Junior, March, 1896.

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