The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 7, 1896, pgs. 390-392
A Wandering Scholar in the Levant, by David G. Hogarth (Murray, 7/6). The author's hope, expressed in his dedicatory notice, that "defects may be balanced by a transient flavour of the East, by a little of its air and light caught here and there in a page," is amply fulfilled. We feel as we journey with him through Anatolia, across the Euphrates, and along its banks into Egypt, and finally into Cyprus, that the charm of the East is upon us, and that, in spite of drought and discomfort, we too would fain be in that land where hurry and rush are unknown, and where the exclamation: "My time! what else should I do with it?" is the answer to a remark on the waste of a whole week spent in haggling over a bargain. The book is full of bright and lively incidents, of graphic descriptions, and of interesting character studies; and is well illustrated by a map of the district, and by photographs taken by the author.
God's Garden, Sunday Talks with Boys, by the Rev. W. J. Foxell, M.A. (Macmillan & Co., 3/6). We cannot do better than quote a passage from Dean Farrar's introduction to Mr. Foxell's sermons; the Dean possibly appreciates the author's "Talks" even more highly than we do, but who is a better judge than the Dean of Canterbury as to what should appeal to boys, and the best way of reaching them? He says; "In the following pages the boys will find a forcible simplicity, a manly forthrightness, a knowledge of their needs, a fresh and vivacious manner of bringing spiritual and moral truths before them, which cannot but be of definite use to them. Each sermon impresses one brief, clear, and needful lesson, without distracting the attention of readers or hearers, or fatiguing their memory by a multitude of issues. Boys can hardly fail to gain some strength, courage and wisdom from such sermons; and I shall rejoice to see them widely disseminated and warmly welcomed."
Knowledge, Duty and Faith: a Study of Principles Ancient and Modern, by Sir Thos Dyke Acland (Kegan, Paul & Co., 3/6). Sir Thomas Acland has done a very valuable and timely public service in the production of this volume. We say valuable because he has reduced a subject of so much inherent difficulty as philosophy to the simplest possible forms of expression, to be "understanded" by people who know nothing of the language of the schools, but who are stirred by the natural human curiosity as to what man can know and what man should do. We say timely, because, since the mind of man began to think it has occupied itself with the real and the ideal in, so to speak, rhythmic pulsations. For fully a generation the real has been strongly in the ascendant, and science has advanced by leaps and bounds, pari passu with materialistic thought. But according to that law of rhythmic thinking, which affects the race as truly as the individual, thought is again turning to the ideal. The limitations of the real, with its one possible outcome, that man himself is a congeries of regulated atoms--that there is nothing in the universe but atoms and regulating laws--this doctrine is oppressive to the spirit of man, and there is a strong rebound towards the Platonic conception of the Idea. Thoughtful people, who feel that they know nothing of the history of thought and nothing of the laws of thinking, will find here just the help they want-an introduction to the principles taught by typical thinkers, ancient and modern. Sir Thomas Acland's chapter on Aristotle seems to us especially useful and interesting, and still more so that upon Lotze, whom he describes as having spoken the last word on knowledge and faith and the relation between them. The author has that quality of temperance in thought and word which should distinguish the philosopher; we quote a passage illustrating this quality and showing the practical value of the work in the conduct of life:--"If we are justified in accepting this doctrine, that the validity which belongs to ideas and to laws (of nature and mind) may be distinguished from the reality which belongs to things embodied as matters of experience, some important inferences may be drawn as to modern speculation.
"One suggestion is, that we must be very careful and self-restrained in drawing logical conclusions as to matters of fact from ideas in our minds, especially on moral and spiritual realities, the bearing or relations of which we may only imperfectly grasp by the intellect. We may feel confident that ideas or conceptions in our minds involve some preceding conditions, or some succeeding conclusions. But we cannot infer the reality of such conclusions--though they may correspond to our limited thoughts--especially when they take a negative form.
"On the other hand, while experience brings home to our minds a conviction of the reality of certain facts as known to us by their appearances or phenomena, and further teaches us that facts follow one another (as far as our experience goes) in a regular order, we shall do well to remember that no length of experience amounts to demonstration, still less to the disproof of spiritual convictions resting on grounds beyond our experience."
A chronological table of modern philosophers is a valuable appendix, and so is a list of books at low prices, meant for the help of the students in University Extension Classes, for whose use the volume is intended. We hail a book setting forth a scheme of knowledge, duty, and faith, so distinctly making for righteousness, and recognising the Divine as a fundamental necessity. To criticise the limitations of the work would be to ignore its objects and to forget the class of students for whom it was written. We repeat that the venerable author has done a lasting service to those who will come after him.
The Life of Bishop Ken, by F. A. Clarke, M.A. (Messrs. Methuen, 3/6). A new and short and at the same time sympathetic biography of Thomas Ken is very welcome, for have we not all sung "Awake, my soul, and with the sun," and "Glory to Thee, my God, this night" when we were little children at our mother's knee? And we continue to revere the simple and pious nature of which these hymns are an outcome. The story of Ken is the story of a stormy time: lover of peace as he was, he took his place among the non-juring Bishops, and was deprived in consequence. Innocency and courage were ever the notes which marked him in a period of bitter controversy. The love of this good man for little children was only natural: the two little girls, Frances and Mary, who afterwards became Duchess of Somerset and Lady Brooke, were great favourites of his, and for them he wrote some simple verses, which reveal his tender, childlike heart, "occupied with the kindred loves of children and of heaven." Amid much that is playful in his writing for the little ones, there is manifest the deep reverence felt by the aged saint before the innocence of children--
"With wilful evil not defiled."
This biography of Bishop Ken will be found useful as a brightly written historical sketch, and especially interesting to those who appreciate Ken's position as an Anglican bishop.
The Flower Seller, and other Poems, by Lady Lindsay (Longmans & Co., 5/-).
Lady Lindsay reaches perhaps her highest note in "Outremer." We wish we had space to quote the description of the missal brought to a convent by a stranger monk, and its effect upon a novice, who
"Knelt to the missal which he deemed
"Outremer" is this intense blue which we commonly know as lapis lazuli. The passage we have quoted seems to us to strike the highest note in the volume. All the poems are graceful and fresh in sentiment, but they are by no means equal in execution.
House of Education--The great event of the month has been the visit of our Lady Visitor, Mrs. Dallas Yorke, who stayed with us from Friday till Monday (May 29th, to June 1st), and as usual made herself at home with all the details of our work, and with the personalities of the students, whom she never fails to carry by storm! The pleasant ripple of their laughter as they sat with her under the trees was a sound to be remembered; and by the force of her sympathy she has left us all more earnest, more loving, and more simple than she found us. A stimulating little visit from Mr. Rooper fell in with that of Mrs. Dallas Yorke. He gave us two lectures--on "Early Reading" and "Early Arithmetic" respectively--both very suggestive and very helpful; such lectures give real insight into the philosophy of Education. Another event of this interesting week was a series of lectures on the Gouin method from Mdlle. Duriaux, delivered for the most part in French. Mdlle. Duriaux' lectures were object lessons in the art of teaching, and not only so, but she required the students to give lessons before her, and her criticisms were a great help. On the last day a lesson in Welsh, a lesson in Russian (chosen as quite unknown languages), and a lesson in English (given to Mdlle, Mottu, who does not speak English) illustrated in an interesting and amusing way the value of the method.
House of Education Natural History Club.--Notes by M. L. Hodgson. The sea-shore forms of many of our common plants differ much from those of the familiar inland species, and as soon as you begin plant-hunting near the sea, you cannot fail to be struck by the fact that there is a distinct maritime or coast flora, though the specimens found will depend very considerably on the geological formation on which you may be living. My attention was called the other day to the fact that on our highest mountains we find plants identical with our sea-shore forms, such for instance as sea plantain, thrift, and no doubt many others. It is not, as a rule, difficult to make out the names of true shore-loving plants, their characteristics are generally well marked, and any good botanical text-book will be sure to describe them. Life by the sea will often make plants grow luxuriantly that you have known inland as small stunted specimens and vice versa, so that it does not always follow that you have got a new and rare plant because you have not seen it before with exactly the same gesture and growth. Many of the crutiferœ love the sandy shores, sea radish, sea rocket, sea kale with its curious grape-like seed vessels, scurvy grasses, grow everywhere on the shore and in some places you will find the beautiful sea stock. Poppies, too, have their sea-side relations and the surprising length of the horn of the yellow sea poppy will astonish you. Plants belonging to the Umbelliferœ, such as fennel, samphire and carrot are fairly common, but very local; indeed you may find everywhere on the shore little nests and homes of plants, where they seem to flourish, while they leave what you would suppose to be an exactly similar situation quite deserted. It would be a very useful piece of work to make a careful list of all the plants you find on your shore, both of those that are rare and those that are common, noting the situation in which you found each particular specimen and whether it was or was not fairly abundant. The London Catalogue of British Plants is a great help in indicating the flora of any district, as you have nothing to do but to mark off the names of your plants in the list, and if you interleave your catalogue with blank paper you can easily make notes or sketches as you go along. It is much better to depend on an authorised list, than on your own knowledge in saying whether a plant is rare or common. The London Catalogue provides a census of all the recognised British plants, and so you will see at once whether your find is a good on or not. This practice of marking your catalogue will help to make you familiar with the scientific names, without any trouble, as you will soon find out for yourselves. It is not possible to mention all the plants you are likely to find anywhere on the sea-shore, but I will take as a typical group the sea lavender, to which group the thrift (Armeria Maritima) belongs. Well marked by their heads of purple flowers and narrow oblong leaves, they are easily recognised. We have four species and four named varieties. Here then are eight sea lavenders to discover, and how are you to find out which of them you have got? Read carefully the description of all, you have given in your text book, and you will not be far wrong if you are careful to notice the distinct characteristics of each species. I call your attention to sea lavender especially in order to show you that when you find an exactly similar plant with very small leaves and flowers, it does not necessarily follow that it is the same plant as the large one it closely resembles. That this is often the case I know: stunted specimens are common, from growing under unsuitable conditions, still you must learn to observe scientifically, and to know how many kinds we possess of the various wild flowers which surround us; to know, for instance, that there are more than four or five kinds of roses, sedges, rushes, hawk weeds, etc., and where and how they differ. This appears more difficult than it really is if you only have courage to set about it in the right way.
Many excellent lists of flowers have been sent in for May; including the list for Humphrey Head, we had 135 new flowers for the month.
THE "P.R." LETTER BAG.
[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of Correspondents]
Dear Editor.--One of our principles is that "The work of the Union shall be so arranged as to help parents of all classes." Some branches find it difficult to carry out this principle, and as regards the monthly lectures many questions as to locality, hour and subject have to be dealt with, which increase the difficulties. Still there are indirect means by which we are already carrying out the idea, and we must all feel how much P.N.E.U. teaching helps us in our Mothers' Meetings, Club Talks and visiting generally. The truths which have become assimilated and are thus passed on are very often quite as valuable as those heard at first hand. One member has, with success, discussed the "Parents' Union" in a Sunday-afternoon talk to working-men; another has lectured on "Habit" to a woman's co-operative guild, and found that even the philosophy and physiology of habit were listened to with interest by her audience. Others should feel encouraged to do the same. The nature lore that we acquire through our children and for our children, because P.N.E.U. has taught us that we must not leave this undone, can also be passed on to our village children. Even town members have found it feasible to invite Board School children for occasional Natural History rambles, and thus to extend the work of their Natural History Clubs. If an organized club could be started in connection with the Children's Country Holiday Fund it would help the town children to get much more real benefit out of their fortnight's holiday-at present many of them look bored and dull, and though physically greatly benefited many opportunities for mental and moral good are lost. Perhaps country visitors will take up this idea. The Board Schools were well represented at the Natural History Club exhibition in London last year, and we hope will be so again. The handiworks and brush-drawing learnt through P.N.E.U. agencies naturally help us all in our various classes and clubs, and our Union must rejoice at the great work Mrs. Steinthal is doing in this direction. Altogether we have reason to feel encouraged, and members will, doubtless, find more opportunities for extending the work on these lines.
All parents, who feel the help they have derived from the Review and the Union, must consider it their duty to put such teaching int he hands of every parent they come across, and must feel anxious to know how they can help forward the movement. Most of us feel that the Parents' Review is the best means of introducing the Union, and members would be doing useful work if they would take copies on their summer holidays, and show them, as well as leaflets and reports, to their friends. It is also very useful if members can induce their doctors and dentists, both in town and country, to allow the Review to be placed in their waiting rooms, and endeavour to place it at local booksellers, clubs, railway stations, hotels, &c.* Many members have told me that they first saw the Review on a doctor's table, and have felt consequently grateful to the introducer. When trying to induce friends to join, one is often met by the reply that the children are still so young, but members who have once really understood P.N.E.U. teaching usually regret that they did not know of it early enough. This feeling should help those who earnestly try to further the movement, and also the fact that it is almost unknown for members who have once grasped our principles to retire from membership and to regret that they have joined. Personally I can say that i have only met with gratitude for introducing the Union to my friends, and many mothers echo the sentiments contained in a letter signed a "Grateful Mother" in last August's Review.
When we remember our motto, "For the children's sake," we are surely encouraged in doing what is sometimes unpleasant and disagreeable to ourselves, as propaganda often is. Yours faithfully,
Dear Editor.--I must tell you what a very successful afternoon we had yesterday. Helen and Cherry and I joined the second excursion of the Reading Natural History Club. There are now 130 members, and there were 80 who went yesterday to Mortimer, close to Silchester, which I think you know. (There are Roman remains there.) We went in the opposite directions from Mortimer, across common and wood, to a pond and marsh. There were most interesting flowers and insects--buck-beau, asphodel. great S. John's wort, &c. I found a rare campanuta patula. The delight of it was that everybody--each child--was so keenly interested, all eager to find plants and know about them. We had plenty of instructors; I counted six able botanists, one of whom gave a little lecture at tea-time. I told them that you had asked me all about the Club, and had sent your good wishes to it.
K. L. H. D.
8, Blandford Place, Clarence Gate, N.W.
Dear Madam,--May I ask you to kindly insert a notice in the next month's Parents' Review to the effect that "Free Method," "Pussy Boxes," and all the educational works by the late Miss S. A. Miller are now to be obtained solely from me, her niece; as by her desire they, with all her MSS., have been sent to me to arrange in such form as may forward the cause to which she devoted her life. I heard this morning from a lady who was present at a P.N.E.U. meeting lately, when the lecturer advocated the use of the "Pussy Boxes," giving the address of my aunt's former printer, not knowing that he had been obliged to send everything belonging to my aunt's system to me. Believing that my aunt was a contributor to your magazine, and a warm supporter of the work of your Society, I trust you will pardon my writing to you, and that you will be so good as to consider this request.
I am, Madam, yours truly,
* Miss Blogg, 28, Victoria Street, will furnish Reviews for this purpose.
Dear Editor--The interest of the magazines and newspapers this month is confined to the Education Bill introduced by the Government, and as this question is largely political, it lies outside the scope of my letters to you, and I must not discuss it. There is, however, the less need to discuss it, as at the time of writing it is certain that the Bill cannot pass this session, in spite of the majority of 267, by which its second reading was carried. But whilst abstaining from detailed criticism, I would beg to be allowed to point out that the agitation for the total exclusion of religious teaching from our public elementary schools has made immense progress during the last few months. Nor is this surprising. I am convinced that the vast majority of parents desire that their children should be taught the rudiments of the Christian faith as held in common by Christians of all denominations, and that this can be done is proved by the history of the London School Board since the date of the famous "Compromise." But when some partizans (Churchmen and Dissenters alike) are seen willing to risk the loss of the teaching of the Bible entirely rather than abandon some advantage to their own communion, the advocates of purely secular schools argue with some appearance of reason. What their ideal is can be seen from two articles in this month's Westminster Review, though the writer of one of them--an avowed secularist--destroys the force of his arguments by the narrow-minded bigotry of his tone, which he would be the first to condemn in an opponent. As another sign of this advance, it is instructive to note a resolution passed last week at a meeting of the London Trades Council, under the presidency of an able member of the London School Board, in favour of compulsory free education, with three good meals per day for all to the age of 14, and no religious teaching. If our elementary schools ever become secularized, this deplorable result will be due--it cannot be too strongly insisted--to the ill-advised action of sincerely good men, whose zeal for religion cannot be questioned, but who allow their differences on minor matters to prevent their acting in unity on essentials.
Any help that can be given to enable the voluntary schools to continue
their most necessary work and to add to their efficiency, will be
gladly given; but the various denominations in whose charge they are
must remember, as the Bishop of London wrote in the Times of June 9th,
that their only claim to retain the management and receive this help is
in the evidence they give of real sacrifice made by their supporters to
maintain them--they must be willing, that is, to show their sense of
the importance of the religious teaching imparted in them, by
contributing much in money and personal service to their support.
To whom Hon. Local Secs. are requested to send reports of all matters of interest connected with their branches, also 30 copies of any prospectuses 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:--
Belgravia.--An excellent address on "Language Teaching" (Gouin method) was given on Wednesday, May 13th, by Mdlle. Duriaux, and much appreciated by those who heard it. The lecture was given at 36, Grosvenor Street (by kind permission of Mrs. Burnet); W. Biddle, Esq., took the chair, and led discussion on the subject afterwards. A course of lectures on English Literature (1670-1700) is being given on Wednesday and Friday mornings. French classes (Gouin method) for children from six to ten 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 being held for Brush-work, Modelling, and Basket-work, and Elementary Singing. Fortnightly classes for ladies for the practice of concerted music are held on Friday afternoons in Harley Gardens.
Hyde Park and Bayswater.--(Hon. Sec., Mrs. Franklin, 9, Pembridge Gardens, W. At home on Thursday mornings). June 8th. Miss R. Leney (ex-student of the House of Education) gave a demonstrative lecture on the "Teaching of Reading and Spelling to young children" (as recommended by Miss Mason). The lecture was held at 13, Campden Hill Gardens (by the kindness of Mrs. Devonshire). Mrs. Holroyd Chaplin in the chair. The audience were much interested. The branch was well represented at the conversazione on the 11th, and members were delighted with the opportunity of hearing Miss Mason. The new programme of work will be issued in September.
Clapham.--A delightful lecture was given by the Rev. Theodore Wood (son of the late Rev. J. G. Wood), on Monday, June 8th, at 8 p.m., at Clapham Rectory, by kind invitation of the Rector of Clapham, who occupied the chair. The lecture, entitled "God in Nature, as Power, Wisdom, and Love," was listened to with the greatest interest, and followed by a lively discussion.
Finchley.--On May 7th a meeting was held at Glenaradale, North Finchley (by kind permission of Mrs. Allan). An address was given by the President, Mr. McClure, on "Personal Influence in the Home Life." There followed an interesting discussion in which several ladies and gentlemen took part. There will be no further meetings of this branch until October.
Reading.--A drawing room meeting was held on Saturday, May 30th, at Merton House, by the kindness of Mrs. Campbell, when there was fair attendance of members, the chair being taken by the Rev. Canon Beach. A lecture was given by the Rev. W. Hume Campbell on "Memory." After lamenting that time and his plan compelled him to omit many most interesting branches of his subject, the lecturer proceeded to examine examples of memory with a view to arriving at some definition. Memory was first found to be "a process of faculty," and in the case of recollected scenes to operate by reproducing mental pictures of what had impressed the brain through the sense of sight. Memory, however, exists, in varying degrees, with each of the senses, so that it was defined to be "a process or faculty by which past sense impressions are reproduced." But what causes them to be reproduced? Further examples showed the power the mind possesses of "linking" different experiences together, so that whenever one is suggested all the others which are "associated" with it tend to be reproduced. Memory, then, was defined to be a process or faculty by which past sense impressions are reproduced in obedience to the laws of association." Discussing the difference between a good and bad memory, the lecturer showed that defects are due either to the quality of the impressions or to the weakness of the associations. If impressions are to be deep and clear there must be interest, repetition, attention. If the links of association are to be strong there must be thought and arrangement. It is along these lines that both correction and exercise must run. The lecturer closed with noticing the remarkable variations in memory and some suggestions as to learning by heart. It was considered well to make children learn by heart anything of which the form was valuable as definitions, formulæ, or poetry; but it was unadvisable to make them learn what they might reason out what would merely cumber the memory or what could easily be looked up without loss of time or opportunity. After a discussion on several points, a vote of thanks was proposed by the Rev. M. T. Friend, seconded by Miss L. E. Haigh, and carried. Those present were kindly entertained at tea by Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Campbell before leaving.
A meeting was held at Grove House, Leighton Park, on Saturday, June 27th, when F. Bate, Esq., gave an address on "Fine Art and Education." The chair was taken at 3.30 by F. J. Edwinson, Esq., M. A.
Natural History Club. The inaugural meeting was held on April 14th, at the High School (by kind permission of Miss Haigh), when a lecture to children on "Nature's Championship," was given by B. T. Austin, Esq., F.L.S. The first excursion for field-work took place on May 9th. By the kind invitation of Mrs. Hart-Davis, the President of the Club, the party visited Dunsden, and were entertained at tea on the Vicarage lawn. Sixty-two members were present. Mr. Hamm, naturalist, was very successful in interesting many of the party in the butterflies and moths of the district; the majority studied plant-life in the fields and woods. The Club has grown rapidly, and now numbers 57 adults and 70 children, amongst whom there is considerable enthusiasm and very lively interest.--C. E. Strachan, Hon. Sec.
Hastings and S. Leonards.--On May 28th, at Ancaster House (by kind permission the Rev. F. R. Burrows and Mrs. Burrows), a paper was read by Miss Beth Finlay, first-class Moral Science Tripos, late of Newnham College, Cambridge, on "University life for girls." The chair was taken by Mrs. Tubbs. There will be no further meeting until next October.
Scarborough.--Two Botany Lectures for children were held in the Museum, on May 22nd and 29th. These lectures were specially prepared by F. W. Nicholson, Esq., B.A., and were full of most interesting detail, which charmed the audience, and kept the children deeply interested for an hour. Between seventy and eighty attended. E. A. Cooper, Esq., M.A., took the chair.
Sheffield.--A meeting of this Branch was held on June 2nd, when Miss Garaway read extracts from papers published in the Nineteenth Century, the British Medical Journal and other magazines, on "Girls' School Games and Bicycling" A short discussion afterwards took place on points raised in the papers.
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