The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Our Work: House of Education. Inspector's Report

by T.G. Rooper, M.A. H.M.I.
Volume 12, no. 9, 1901, pgs. 230-231

[Thomas Godolphin Rooper, 1847-1903, was an inspector of schools and personal friend of Charlotte Mason; much of his writing was for her P.N.E.U. meetings. His essay "Lyonesse" describes his time as a student at the Harrow boarding school. After he died (of spinal tuberculosis at the age of 56), Mason wrote a chapter in his honor which appears in her book, "Formation of Character," vol 5 of her series. He never married.]

"My annual visit to the House of Education took place on December 2nd, 1900. There were in the House 30 Students, of whom 15 were in their second year of training. All the second-year students gave lessons before me.

"The staff of teachers remained the same as last year, and I attended lectures given by nearly all of them. The students have excellent opportunities of maintaining and extending their knowledge of the various branches of instruction, and of acquiring intelligent and attractive methods of managing and instructing children. "The important distinction between the kind of teaching which is adapted for the instruction of a class in a school, and that which is suitable for children who are being taught in their own homes is thoroughly well understood, and it was borne in mind by all the students in giving their lessons.

"Great pains are taken with the elements of Arithmetic and Geometry according to the best modern methods. In Reading, care was taken that from the earliest stages the matter of the lesson should be of true literary merit. Closely connected with this study is the excellent practice of narrating beautiful legends of Greece and Rome and other countries, which the children reproduce in their own words. Reading, Conversation, Narrative, Recitation, and Composition are taught in such a way that they form one study under various aspects, which greatly helps to the mastery of the English language, besides encouraging a taste for Literature.

"The basis of Geographical instruction is local Geography. The children learn to trace for themselves in the course of walks such traces of the past history of the earth as throw light upon its present condition. In this way value is given to collections of minerals, fossils and pebbles, and to observations of the course of neighbouring brooks, and the forms of hills and valleys.

"History is taught with reference to pictures and extracts from contemporary writers, and the series of events in time is impressed by the effective devise of a network of squares in which symbols of leading facts are drawn by the children.

"A lesson in which Literature and Art were combined in a most attractive manner deserves special mention. A poem by Browning was considered in connection with a photograph of the picture by Lippo Lippi, on which the poem was founded. The various figures in the picture were identified, and in this way the connection between the poem and the picture was explained so that the one interpreted the other. The picture was then studied from an artistic point of view, and the leading lines were blocked out on paper, so as to show how the various parts combine to concentrate the attention on the leading thought. [Perhaps this refers to Lippi's painting, St. Jerome in Penance, which is mentioned in Browning's poem, "Fra Lippo Lippi"?]

"The students are accustomed to refer to numerous books and other sources of information in order to find suitable illustrations, and hence the matter of even the simplest lessons contains something of permanent interest and value. The lessons in Drawing and in Pictorial Art, which are given by Miss Sumner and Mrs. Firth, are of untold value in this connection.

"Lessons in French, German, and Italian are given with special reference to conversation.

"Miss Stirling continues her instruction in Physiology and a series of physical exercises is taught by the drill sergeant with excellent effect.

"The first steps in Music, both vocal and instrumental, are taught by the methods which have been designed by Mr. And Mrs. Curwen.

"Natural History and the Nature Note-books continue to be in charge of Miss Hodgson, and to her also is due a great variety of handicraft, including Clay modeling, Cardboard work, Book-binding, Leather work, Basket weaving, Embroidery, and plain Needlework.

"The advantages of Nature Study and Handwork are obvious. Besides strengthening the understanding they afford a source of endless amusement and occupation. Where these are pursued, the lives of children need never be dull monotonous, or unintelligent.

"The second-year students were also examined in the History, Theory and Practice of Teaching. Three papers were set in these subjects. The first relates chiefly to the study of mental processes so far as they bear on teaching, the second to practical procedure in the schoolroom, and the third to the history of education and general questions connected with it.

"The answers were for the most part very complete, and showed a thoughtful training in all that it is essential for teachers to know in connection with the principles on which they have to depend for success in training the mind and forming the characters of their pupils.

"In conclusion, the students acquire trained skill in imparting information, and in establishing habits of accuracy and attention. There is prevalent also a spirit of gentleness and refinement associated with thoughts that touch the imagination of children, awaken sympathy, and move the heart as well as stimulate the mind.

(Signed) "T.G. Rooper, M.A. H.M.I."
"Jan. 31st, 1901."


Parents' Review School.
Report of Christmas Examination, 1900.

The term's work again shows satisfactory results, and has evidently, except in a very few cases, received careful and systematic preparation: --Bible Lessons and History are again almost invariably well done. Writing is generally good, and the spelling of the set pieces of Dictation excellent.

Geography is not quite so good as in some former examinations. Botany shows very good work generally: the diagrams, now more frequently used, being well executed, and adding very much to the value of the papers.

Euclid and Algebra have been attempted only by a few. These show some slight advance upon last year's work.

The only other subjects calling for remark are English Grammar in the two higher classes, and Arithmetic in Class III. In the former subject there is some weakness in analysis. Comparatively few show a grasp of the fact the verb "to be" in the predicate is only a copula when used alone, and not a predicate. The other questions in this subject were generally fairly well answered. In the latter, Question I C. has proved too much for all but a very few. Failure to observe the proper combination of the factions has involved a complicated maze of figures, instead of an easy and clear calculation, working out to a very simple result.

The German is, with a few exceptions, very creditable, and shows a fair knowledge of the language. D'apres l'orthographe de la fin des mot il est a supposer que le francais n'est pas pronounce distinctement, et il serait a desirer que les enfants soient accoutumes a faire des exercices pour employer les phrases a defferents temps. Le travail de la tieme classe est bon, celui de la sieme classe est assez-bon.

The December examination papers will be returned on receipt of postage. The Easter examination papers will be sent out for Monday, March 25th.

Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, May, 2011