The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 7, 1896, pgs. 311-319
Exercises for the Study of French, by E. E. [Edgar Ewing] Brandon and H. E. Dariaux (Macmillan & Co., in 8 books, 6d. each, or in 1 vol.) "I have amongst my pupils a class of boys, average age 13, who, after six school terms two lessons a week can understand French well enough to be able to enjoy and follow literature lessons given entirely in French." This statement, made by Mdlle. Duriaux in a most able and instructive introduction to the study of French, is verified by many who have had the opportunity to see these boys. Mothers and governesses, to whom the "Gouin method" has been somewhat of a dark saying, will rejoice in the appearance of this volume. The lessons are short, the sentences follow each other with that natural sequence which is the first condition in the success of the method, and at the foot of each short section (occupying about a page) are some eight or ten sentences of what Mdlle. Duriaux describes as "subjective language." "We experience feelings and form opinions about objective things; these are expressed in the subjective language." And this subjective language, the writer maintains, should be learned pari passu with the objective language. Avez-vous fait attention? Tant mieux, vous faites bien. C'est drole, n'est ce pas? Ce n'est pas mal, etc. is subjective language, i.e. the sort of remarks the teacher makes to her class in passing. There are some two hundred and fifty-six lessons in the volume, and an interesting calculation has been made, that out of 161 verbs contained in extracts from a given French author, 127 occur in the lessons; out of 125, in another author, 90; out of 52 verbs, 39. The same experiment applied to words not verbs, gives us 403 words in the lessons out of 505 in the passage. Thus the pupil who has learned these lessons orally has acquired a considerable vocabulary. The Gouin method has been so much discussed in the Review that it is unnecessary to enter into details. We need only say Mdlle. Duriaux has conferred an important benefit upon teachers who desire to use what will shortly establish itself as the natural and intelligent method of learning languages.
Life of Thoreau, by Henry Salt (Walter Scott, 1/6). Mr. Walter Scott is doing good service in the production of his Great Writer series. "Such a decided fact as a man of genius is ought to be gratefully accepted and interpreted." From this point of view, as well as from the intrinsic interest of Thoreau's speculations in these days of many questionings, our readers will appreciate this short life, written with literary power.
The Courtship of Morrice Buckler, by A. E. W. Mason (Macmillan & Co. 3/6). A little while ago we reviewed A Gentleman of France. The "Courtship of Morrice Buckler" is "a record of the growth of an English gentleman during the years of 1685-1687," professing to be written by his own hand. The style is simple and quaint, but without affectation, and here we have an admirable picture of the manners of the latter half of the seventeenth century. We learn how "the larger and more dominant emotions were voiced in the clothes, the delicate and subtle shades of feeling in the disposition of the ornaments." The "English gentleman" will be none the less interesting to dwellers in Lakeland, because his estate abuts on Wastwater in Cumberland. This is an altogether pleasant tale of family reading (for the elders), taking the reader in pure company into a certain intimacy with a period whose manners hardly bear closer investigation.
The Art of Reading and Speaking, by Canon [James] Fleming (Ed. Arnold, 3/6). "I have no hesitation in saying that he who subjects his voice to regular training will soon find that its tones, depth, flexibility power of modulation, and even its compass are improved." Canon Fleming has earned the gratitude of "all who desire to be cultured readers and speakers of our mother tongue" by this very practical yet profound study of the art of reading and speaking. Articulation, emphasis, the management of the lips, teeth and tongue, pathos, expression, the art of breathing—every point of good reading—is fully treated from the original standpoint of an orator who knows of what he is writing. The suggestive chapters on "Some of our faults" and on "Some Trifles" throw much light on the individual failures in the art of reading well. Melodious speaking as well as reading is considered in a most suggestive way, and when we read that "for more than thirty years I have humbly striven . . . by every means in my power to advance the art of reading and speaking," we realize all the more the privilege and advantage of studying this most necessary art under so able a teacher. The careful student of Canon Fleming's book should end by reading and speaking in a way to give pleasure to his audience.
Life of St. Francis of Assisi, by Paul Sabater, translated by L. S. [Louise Seymour] Houghton (Hodder & Stoughton, 9/- net). We are indebted to M. Sabatier for this important contribution to the history of the 13th century--a period which has an extraordinary fascination for us of the 19th. Shallow thinkers attempt to revive the outward guise of a former age; and we get the picture of a wooden doll with an aureole, probably by way of a Cimabue revival; but those who are blessed with the historic sense find the 13th century, as the 19th, palpitating with carnestness, effort, purpose, the hunger of the soul for great ideals. St. Francis, Giotto, Dante, Wiclif, Wickham were not mere lights in a dark place, but represented at its best the intellectual, moral and spiritual vigor of their age. It is with this recognition, that M. Sabatier approaches his subject; he is not content with ecclesiastical legends, but has made diligent search for every fragment of evidence that should help to reproduce the personality of this apostle of love and poverty. His work is profoundly interesting and instructive; it is inspiring, too, for we feel that when the 19th century St. Francis shall travel up and down the modern world, preaching love in poverty, we too, shall be ready to rise and follow. May we learn from the sequel the danger of warming ourselves at the enthusiasm of another, when we should burn with a fire of our own; this is the history of the degradation of great movements. The work of the translator is, if anything, too well done. Miss Houghton is faithful au pied du lettre, which hampers her style.
Adeline, Countess Schimmelmann, edited by W. S. Foggitt (Hodder and Stoughton, 3/6). If we have not a St. Francis amongst us, we have here the story of a woman living amongst us to-day which for exciting interest and entire self-devotion is comparable with that of St. Clara--St. Francis's fellow-worker among women. "'If", said one who heard the Countess, 'we were to do as she tells us, Society would be revolutionized!' Even so, was the answer; but if it be admitted that Society is not ideally perfect, and if the change contemplated is to be the free and spontaneous creation of the Spirit of Christian love, and of joyful loyalty to the truth enshrined in the teaching of Jesus, this revolution of peace will be by no means a calamity." Here we have the key note of this deeply interesting life, whether spent at the German court, among Baltic fishermen, Berlin socialists, or, in prison.
Clay-Modeling and Object Lessons for standard I, by Mrs. Steinthal and Miss Simpson (E. J. Arnold and Son, Leeds, 2/-.) Our readers will rejoice in the publication of this set of cards. The illustrations are wonderfully artistic in feeling, and show the model at every stage. The instructions are so clear, simple, and well arranged that it would be hardly possible to avoid giving a good lesson with one of these cards as a guide. A very interesting feature of the series is, that on the other side of each card is an object lesson on the object to be modeled, as an orange, for example. These objects lessons are by Miss Simpson, who is as eminent in her line (as a nature teacher) as Mrs. Steinthal is as an artist. This series of cards represents a valuable service to education.
The Story of a Piece of Coal, by E. A. [Edward Alfred] Martin, F.G.S. (Geo. Newnes,) A very interesting and instructive little volume. The author says that he endeavours to recount "the wonderful story of a piece of coal"; and the word "wonderful" affords the key-note to the text, i.e., we have here not merely useful information, but an aid to that scientific imagination which makes knowledge living. How gas is made, coal tar colours, the various forms of coal and carbon, are treated in a lucid and interesting way.
Embroidery Without Outline, by M. E. Hughes (Geo. Philip & Son, /-nett). Parents who are interested in Kindergarten occupations will find much variety here.
Simple Object Lessons from Nature, by, J. B. [Jane] Dickens (Geo. Philip & Son, 2/6). Miss Dickens' lessons should perhaps be called "Simple Lessons from Nature." They are simple and pretty, and show the nice feeling for nature which should lead to living teaching. One is glad to see such a book written by the Mistress of a Board School.
New Recitations for Infants and Babies, A. [Annie] Pickering (Geo. Philip & Son). A pretty collection, many of the pieces having the sort of sparkle we have learned to associate with American child-verse. Not withstanding our prejudice against the commonplace for children and our preference for that which is distinctly poetry, the gaiety and prettiness of some of these recitations commends itself.
The Annual Meeting will take place on June 11th. The following arrangements have been made for the occasion:--At 4:30 p.m. the General Council will meet at the office of the Union, 28, Victoria Street, S.W., when the report will be read, and the election of officers for the ensuing year will take place. The representative of each Branch is earnestly invited to attend.
In the evening (8 to 11 p.m.) a General Conversazione of the Members of the Union will take place at the Portman Rooms, Baker Street (Dorset Street entrance). Tickets from Branch Secretaries. The Chair will be taken by the President, the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Meath. Miss Mason will address the meeting, and Mrs. Dallas Yorke (Visitor to the House of Education) will distribute certificates to the Ex-Students.
Readers of the Parents' Review who are willing to help in the formation of new Branches are also cordially invited, and Miss Blogg will be happy to arrange for hospitality to be offered to them during their stay in London. Members of the Executive Committee will wear a distinctive badge, and be happy to answer any enquiries as to the work of the Union.
House of Education.--A bright little visit from Mrs. Steinthal has been one of the interests of the month. Nature work has been very brisk during this glorious Spring. The authors discussed in the two meetings of the Literary Coterie, during the last month, were George Eliot and Charles Kingsley. These meetings are valuable means of culture to the students: about twenty outside neighbours and friends are members of the Coterie: these take it in turn to choose an author for an evening's reading. The reader for the evening opens proceedings with a short appreciation of the author, and then calls upon the various members whom he has asked to read illustrative passages. When, as in the case of Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Kingsley, etc., the author has written songs, these are sung at intervals during the evening. Happily a good many members of the Coterie read exceptionally well. May we suggest that such literary society might be formed in almost any neighbourhood, and is a source of great refreshment and pleasure?
House of Education Natural History Club.--Notes by M. L. Hodgson.--Even the most unobservant person possible, must at some period or other have been struck by the clever devices by which many animals strengthen their hold on life. Some of the most beautiful of these are exhibited by creatures almost too insignificant you would say, perhaps, to be worth looking at, at all, and yet which on examination prove to be endowed with the most wonderful contrivances for preserving the, to you, apparently insignificant lives. The protective colouration of many of the higher animals is too obvious to escape remark. Those of you who have ever hunted the hedges for pheasants' and partridges' nests know how difficult it is to see them; even when one knows exactly where they are, if the bird is on the nest or off makes very little difference, as plumage, nest, and eggs all have some share in the general resemblance to the surroundings. If you follow up this line of thought, many like instances will soon occur to you, and it will not be difficult for you to discover the remarkable examples of protective colouration afforded by the common animals and birds of your neighbourhood.
A delightful chapter in "The Study of Animal Life" ([Sir John Arthur] Thomson) is entitled "Shifts for a Living," and I heartily recommend you all to read it, as it contains much interesting information on the subject of Nature's devices for the preservation of the lives of creatures great and small. It is a most fascinating study, and one which well repays the student. Ranging far and wide over the world we meet with tigers, lions, panthers, snakes, frogs, birds, eggs, all sharing the same wise care, which gives to all alike the power of defence or protection. But it is to the more lowly forms of life that I wish to draw your attention at present. Those of you who have not seen a caterpillar turn apparently into a stick, a spider into an odd looking bud in the axil of leaf and stem, a beetle feign death, or a brilliant butterfly suddenly disappear as it alighted on the bark of a tree, have yet much to learn. We owe many thanks to the men who have recently done so much for us in the study of insect disguise and mimicry, if only for drawing our attention to all the wonders which surround us. Many curious ways are adopted by creatures to secure their eggs or their young from injury--some of you may remember the wonderful spider's nest we got, so carefully made and covered with lichen, that, had we not watched it being made, we could never have found it, so closely did it resemble the bark of the tree it was on. Some quite harmless flies resemble a hornet, while others look like bees or wasps.
Whereas some colours act as a protection, we find on the other hand that, in many cases, brilliant colouring acts as a warning. The brilliantly coloured caterpillars of the gold tail moth, so often seen on our thorn hedges, seem to be a case of this kind; they are intensely disagreeable and if handled, the hairs cause little bumps or swellings on the skin, and it is very well known that birds dislike them. They appear to be quire aware of this and take no pains to hide themselves, while such juicy morsels as the thin skinned green caterpillars, have to hide for their lives, and take all sorts of precautions to escape from their enemies, not only by means of protective resemblance, but also by making "masks" of green leaves, and also by swinging away on the end of a long thread, when alarmed. Butterflies and moths are so obviously protected in many cases that I think you will not have much difficulty in finding out the best examples for yourselves. I have long ago drawn your attention to this charming subject of disguises and mimicry, and I am referring to it now in the hope of finding that some of you have in the meantime been studying the subject up for yourselves and that you will be able to tell me some things you have actually seen and noted for yourselves. It is impossible in the short space at my disposal, to do more than remind you, that now is the time for this kind of work; everything in Nature seems out and about, and many of you, I know, are in places specially suitable for observations of this kind. Note books should be full and overflowing during this exquisite weather and splendid opportunities for out-door work.
Many excellent lists of flowers for April and May have reached me this year, both from students and pupils. In Ambleside we have several lists of 127 plants seen in flower between April 17th and April 30th. Those of you who have lists for the corresponding dates of last year will understand how very different our weather has been this year.
The "P.R." Letter Bag.
[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of Correspondents.]
Dear Editor,--I see in the review of books in the April number of
Parents' Review, that that delightful story "Atelier du Lys," is
recommended for children of twelve and upwards. Surely the reviewer
cannot lately have read the book, for there is much in it which is
certainly better not read by children. In these rapid days when every
kind of knowledge is pushed forward by outside circumstances, surely we
should be more watchful in our own homes. A sharp child of twelve to
fourteen, will want to know what the precipice is, on which Edmee is
standing, in chapter xi, and throughout the book, though most charming
for those of an older growth, there are too many references to the
passion of love, for a child's reading. I have heard mothers say "Oh,
my children read everything." Where, in their case is the care, so
greatly needed now, that the sacred flower of love between man and
woman, should be guarded and spoken of as a holy thing, and not allowed
in their minds too early; and also that no breath of an unholy love
should come in their way? Do mothers realize that once knowledge of, or
curiosity about such things has entered, it cannot be easily
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Dear Editor,--I shall be very grateful to you if you could kindly insert
this among other letters in Parents' Review. I am anxious to obtain the
following volumes of the Parents' Review, viz., vols I., III., and V.
complete. I hope very much some who don't require these volumes any
longer may see this, and communicate with me about price of them.
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Dear Editor, The provisions of the new Education Bill, which before these lines are in print will probably have passed its second reading, require the strictest scrutiny, and it will need careful amendment in Committee if it is not to do irreparable injury to Elementary Education in this country. It is most necessary to preserve and strengthen the Voluntary Schools, but then, though it is avowedly one of the chief objects of the Bill, it is not likely to be attained, as Mr. Yoxall, M.P., clearly shewed in his speech in the House on the 6th inst., and in an interview published in the Pall Mall Gazette of May 8th. Speaking as an active supporter of Voluntary Schools, he said that the Bill, if passed, would "in the long run, hamper and damage them all, help a few for the moment and permanently benefit none."
Further, the proposed scheme weakens and degrades the School Boards and the Educational Department, which are doing increasingly good work, by its "decentralization," which removes the control of Education from boards elected for this special purpose and puts it upon bodies elected for an infinite number of other purposes remote from Education; it increases the vicious system of grants from the Imperial Exchequer in aid of local rates; and by its provision of duplicate inspection, both by the County authority and by the Educational Department, will add to expense and produce such friction as to render it unworkable.
Finally, it will stir up religious strife in every district, so that
the State will be compelled to decline to provide for any but secular
education. This, I am convinced, is entirely opposed to the wishes of
the vast majority of the parents. What we need is a "levelling up" of
the weaker schools, and this I fear the present Bill is not calculated
[The Editor would be very glad to receive letters discussion both sides of this most important question.]
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Dear Editor,--As is so often the case, we must turn to the Forum for the chief Educational article of the month. In "Pestalozzi and Herbart," Dr. Wilhelm Rein, Professor of Pedagogics, in the University of Jena, after reminding his readers that it is just 150 years since the great educator was born at Zurich, gives a scholarly summary of Pestalozzi's principles under the three heads of (1) Intellectual, (2) Physical and (3) Moral-religious culture. He then shows that Herbart, who 100 years ago was a student at Jena, was early filled with an enthusiasm for Pestalozzi's teaching, took the first opportunity that his modesty allowed him to come under his personal influence, and has since been the medium by which the higher schools have been chiefly brought in contact with Pestalozzi, and according to Mager, it is in Herbart that Pestalozzi must be studied. His educational plan is the same as that of his great master, "with the one difference that he elevated pedagogics to the rank of a science by his systematically complete representation" of it.
The English magazines are chiefly concerned with the Educational Bill
now before the House and which has just passed its second reading by an
enormous majority, amongst which may be mentioned the articles in
criticism of its provisions from Mr. Macnamara, Rev. J. Guinness
Rogers, and the Hon. E. Lyulph Stanley in the Nineteenth Century and
Contemporary, and a temperate article in its favour in the Spectator
Edited by Miss Frances Blogg, Sec., 28, Victoria Street, S.W.
To whom Hon. Local Secs. are requested to send reports of all matters of interest connected with their branches, also 30 copies of any prospectus or other papers they may print.
The Library Committee acknowledge, with many thanks, the gift of the
following books by their authors:--
Also of the following:--
The following books have been purchased for the Library:--
Belgravia.--On April 29th a delightful lecture was given by Dr. Schofield on "The Formation of Character in Children," at 18, Rutland Gate (by kind permission of Mrs. Henderson). Those present felt they had received several useful and suggestive hints as to the management of their children, and general regret was expressed that, on account of so many of the members not yet having returned to town, the attendance was not as large as usual. A course of lectures on English Literature (1670-1700) is being given on Wednesday and Friday mornings. French classes (Gouin Method) for children from 6 to 10 years of age are being held at 21, Hyde Park Gate (by kind permission of Hon. Mrs. Muir Mackenzie) on Tuesdays and Fridays. Preparatory and advanced classes are held by Mdlle. Forckel at 152, Ebury Street. Classes for young children are held at 39, Graham Street. Brush-work on Wednesdays. Modelling and Basket work on Tuesdays, and Elementary Singing on Wednesdays, Fortnightly classes for ladies for the practice of concerted music are held on Friday afternoons.
Hyde Park and Bayswater.--(Hon. Sec., Mrs. E. Franklin, 9, Pembridge Gardens. At home on Thursday mornings). On May 6th Mrs. Steinthal gave a lecture at 33, Cavendish Square (by kind permission of Mrs. Symes Thompson), on "Children's work in connection with the Budget," E. Symes Thompson, Esq., M.D., in the chair. Mrs. Steinthal explained the educational idea underlying each competition arranged by her in the [Aunt Mai's] Budget, and displayed some of the children's needlework, drawings, and illustrations sent in to her. She also gave a few practical hints on the teaching of Design. The out-door Natural History lessons are being given by Miss E. Whitley, B.Sc. (Mr. Rowbotham good auspices, between 20 and 30 children having joined. Miss R. Leney (Senior Student of the House of Education, June, 1895) will give a demonstration lecture on "The Teaching of Reading and Spelling" (as recommended by Miss Mason in "Home Education"), on June 8th, at 5 p.m., at 13, Campden Hill Gardens. Any member who has not received an invitation for the Conversazione on June 11th, is asked to communicate with Mrs. Franklin.
Clapham.--A drawing room meeting was held on Monday, May 4th, at 8 p.m., at 15, Victoria Road (by kind invitation of Mrs. Mackenzie Evans). A most interesting paper on Slöyd was read by Miss Edith Pace, and gave rise to an animated discussion, in the course of which Mr. Wells, Principal of the Battersea Institute, made some able remarks. The Rev. H. Hughes, Vicar of St. Matthew's, took the chair.
Woodford and Wanstead.--On May 1st, Mrs. Emil Behnke read a most interesting paper on "Voice Production," with special relation to the use of the child's voice, illustrated with diagrams. There was a large attendance, and the lecture was most interesting and instructive.
Three meetings were held in May to study "Home Education," in the Iron Room at Glebelands (by the kindness of Mrs. Henry Fowler).
Dulwich.--A lecture to children on "Seeds and Seedlings" was given on May 6th, at 5p.m., at the Dulwich High School for girls, by kind permission of the Head Mistress, Miss Cooper. Mr. A. Howell kindly acted as chairman. The lecturer was Miss M. Simpson of Leeds, Extension Lecturer, Victoria University, who, from beginning to end, kept the children interested in the subject which she illustrated with specimens and lantern slides. It was a most delightful lecture and it is hoped that Miss Simpson will lecture again. About 140 were present, children of course predominating.
Wimbledom.--It is proposed to hold a drawing room towards the end of June, at Cottenham House by kind permission of Lady Thompson, with a view to establishing a branch in this neighbourhood. Dr. Schofield has promised to speak on this occasion. Members who have friends living at Wimbledom are earnestly requested to make this known to them.
Hastings and St. Leonards.--There will be no further meetings of this branch until October next. (Hon. Sec. Mrs. Venables, St. Bernard's Lodge, St. Leonards).
Eastbourne.--Two lectures were held in May, one by Charles Roberts, Esq., the other by Miss Helen Webb, M.B., on "Heredity." The June lecture will be given by Miss Barnett. The Secretary regrets that the Botany Lecture is unavoidably postponed.
Sheffield.--Two additional meetings of this branch have been arranged. One was held in May on "School Games and Bicycling," and the other will probably be given in July on "Obedience," by T. G. Rooper, Esq., H.M.I. The Union has lost the valuable assistance of the Hon. Sec., Miss Walmsley, who has been associated with this branch since 1892, owing to her removal from the town.
Oxton, Cheshire.--On Thursday, March 5th, a preliminary meeting was held at Lingdale (by kind permission of Mrs. Jaeger). Miss Mason, who had been speaking at other meetings in the neighbourhood, addressed the assembled ladies on the origin, work, and aims of the P.N.E.U. [read it here] The cause excited considerable enthusiasm. At the close of the meeting it was agreed by those present to make the Union as widely known as possible among their friends, prepatory to organising a branch and electing officers in the autumn.
Edinburgh.--The last meeting of the session was held (by kind invitation of Mrs. Freeland Barbour), at 4, Charlotte Square, on Tuesday, May 5th, when Mr. J. Arthur Thompson read a paper of exceptional interest on "The Study of Natural History as an Educational Discipline." There was a very good audience. At the close of the meeting Mrs. Cunningham Craig, Hon. Organizing Secretary of the Scottish Mothers' Union, spoke of the objects of that Society, and expressed a hope that there might be co-operation between the S.M.U. and P.N.E.U.
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