The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes of Lessons.

Volume 15, 1904, pg. 866-870

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers, (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practicing School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an exposition of some part of the children's regular studies in the Parents' Review School of some passage in one or other of their school books. -- En.]

I. Subject: Literature
Group: English -- Class IV -- Time 45 minutes
By Dora Longair Thomson


I. To rouse the girls' interest in Lord Tennyson and his works.
II. To teach them something of his life, and connect it with his work.
III. To increase their appreciation of, and love for his poetry by reading them extracts from some of his best known poems.


Step I -- Ask the girls what they know about Tennyson, who he was, when he lived, and what he wrote. If they know several of his poems, ask which is their favourite, and try generally to awaken their interest.

Step II -- Tell shortly, the story of Tennyson's life, drawing the information from the girls wherever it is possible, and putting all the important names and dates on the blackboard, to make them be more easily remembered. In his boyhood the young poet was remarkable for his quickness in learning, and his skill in working; he began to write as early as five years of age! When he was eight years old his brother one day have him a slate, and told the boy to write some poetry on it; very soon he had covered it with blank verse! He continued to write all through his boyhood, and when he was fourteen years old he wrote a drama, which even at that early age shows the beginning of his style in after life. About this time Byron became Tennyson's favourite poet, and his death came as a great sorrow to the boy, and he scratched on a stone the simple words that told so much:--"Byron is dead." Tennyson always loved nature, and his keen observation of it is seen in such lines as:--

       "Light, as the shadow of a bird she fled" (Princess.)

       "The wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray" (May Queen.)

       "Black as ash buds in the frost of March." (Gardener's Daughter.)

       "Short swallow-flights of song that dip
       Their wings in tears, and skim away." (In Memoriam.)

       "The ruby-budded lime." (Maud) etc.

He always loved the wind, and there are countless mentions of it in his poetry, and he himself said he always seemed to hear a voice speaking in it. At Trinity College, Cambridge, he having gone there with his brother Charles in 1828, he became the friend of Arthur Hallam, of whom In Memoriam was afterwards written.

In 1831, his father died, and Tennyson left Cambridge. He spent the next nine years in Lincolnshire; he was poor and at the same time mourning the loss of his father, and of Arthur Hallam, who had died while abroad in 1833, but it was during this time of misfortune and sorrow that some of his loveliest lyrics were written. In these earlier works the scenery of Lincolnshire is often described, and it is a very much more beautiful county than people think, in its great contrasts of hill and level, wold and fen. In Mariana, for example, the poet was no doubt thinking of his native county:--

       "Hard by a poplar shook alway,
       All silver-green with gnarled bark:
       For leagues no other tree did mark
       The level waste, the rounding gray."

In 1842, these more recent poems were published along with the best of his earlier work, and henceforward his place as one of the first of our poets was secure. Five years later The Princess was published, it is a melodrama in blank verse and one of Tennyson's longest poems.

In 1850, he was created Poet Laureate, succeeding Wordsworth in that office, and in the same year he married Emily Sellwood, whom he had known from childhood. In Memoriam was published in this year, which must have been a memorable one in every way for the poet. He now settled in Twickenham, and there, two years later, his eldest son, Hallam, was born. Next year Tennyson's old love of a free, quiet, country life made him go to Farringford, in Freshwater; there his son Lionel was born, and there the poet lived till his death. The Idylls of the King, which is perhaps Tennyson's greatest work, though In Memoriam is more read, was published in 1885. It had taken him fifteen years to complete, and met with great success. The poet had learned enough Welsh to be able to read the legends of King Arthur and his Round Table, on which the Idylls of the King are founded.

The poet's health was impaired in 1888 but his great physical strength kept him up till the year 1892, when, on October 6th, he died, quietly, and in utter peace. He was buried next to Robert Browning, in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Step III -- Ask the girls if they know the following poems, and if not read them extracts from as many as there is time for, explaining the story of each if necessary: In Memoriam, Sections xxii, liv, and cxxx; Lancelot and Elaine, the description of Elaine on her funeral barge; The Passing of Arthur, the throwing back of Excalibur; The Princess, the description of Ida; The May Queen, a few verses from each part; Enoch Arden, his visit to Philip's house in secret; The Foresters song "Love flew in at the window."

Step IV -- Recapitulate.

Subject: Geography
Group: Science -- Class III -- Time: 30 minutes
By Dorothy Brownell


I. To interest the children in Brazil.
II. To make them realize some of the chief characteristics and the beauty of a country lying almost wholly in the tropics.
III. To give the children some interesting knowledge of the physical features, climate, productions and history of Brazil.


Step I -- Have the following map questions on the blackboard, and while the children are learning the answers to them from their maps, draw a sketch-map of Brazil on another board.


(1) Name the boundaries of Brazil
(2) What can you tell about the surface of Brazil from the map?
(3) Name the largest rivers of Brazil. What can you tell about the Amazon from the map?
(4) What other countries in the world lie in the same latitude as Brazil?
(5) What is the general direction of the mountains in Brazil?

Step II -- Let the children give the answers to the questions, and as they answer, say a few words in enlargement of each point, drawing as much as possible from the children. Describe the approach to Brazil, from the sea, how the whole aspect of the country is rugged and mountainous, with ranges of hills coming one behind another, while the actual coast is much the same as our English coast, with rocks and sand, and a good deal of mud, but the rocks have a curious appearance, owing to their being almost invariable covered with coral. Draw from the children that the Amazon is a vast collection of rivers, some of which are themselves very considerable, which together form the network of rivers more correctly called the Amazon. Read a short description of the Amazon from Far Off [possibly Far Off, Part II, by Favell Lee Mortimer]. Tell the story of the adventurous voyage of Francisco de Orellana and his followers, and why he gave the name of "El Rio de las Amazonas" to that river.

Step III -- Let the girls name the principal towns in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Bahta, and Permambuco, and describe these showing pictures and photographs. Describe the Sugar-Loaf Cone, and the beautiful little bay of Botofoga, near Rio. Try to make the children realise each place and picture through their imaginations.

Step IV -- Question as to the productions, and mention some of the animals in the country.

Step V -- Ask the children to tell all that they can about the government and history of Brazil, supplementing with what they do not know, and reading the story of the discovery of Brazil in 1500, by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, from Portugal [by Henry Morse Stephens] in the "Story of the Nations" series.

Step VI -- Let the children read the first lesson on Brazil in their Geographical Readers (Book V.)

Step VII -- Recapitulation.

Typed by Katie, Oct. 2023; Proofread by LNL, Nov. 2023