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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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P.N.E.U. Notes.

Volume 14, 1903, pg. 475


Edited by Miss F. Noel Armfield, Sec., 26, Victoria Street, S. W.

To whom all Hon. Local Secs. are requested to send reports of all matters of interest connected with their branches, also 6 copies of any prospectuses or other papers they may print.

N.B.—Kindly write on one side of the paper only.

The Annual Conversazione of the Parents' National Educational Union will be held at the Kensington Town Hall, High Street, Kensington, on Monday, June 8th, 1903, at 8 p.m. (for 8.30 punctually).

The Countess of Aberdeen will preside.

A Paper will be contributed by Miss Mason, Founder of the Union, entitled:—"Studies serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability."

A P.N.E.U. Manifesto

Every child has a right of entry to several fields of knowledge.
Every normal child has an appetite for such knowledge.
This appetite or desire for knowledge is a sufficient stimulus for all school work, if the knowledge be fitly given.
There are four means of destroying the desire for knowledge:—
(a) TOO MANY ORAL LESSONS which offer knowledge in too diluted a form, and do not leave the child free to deal with it.
(b) LECTURES, for which the teacher collects, arranges and illustrates matter from various sources; which often offer knowledge in too condensed and ready-prepared a form.
(c) THE TEXT BOOK compressed and re-compressed from the big book of the big man.
(d) THE ABUSE OF EMULATION AND AMBITION as incentives to learning rather than the adequate desire for, and delight in, knowledge.

Children can be most fitly educated on Things and Books. Things, e.g.:
i. NATURAL OBSTACLES for physical contention, climbing, swimming, walking, etc.
ii. MATERIAL TO WORK IN—wood, leather, clay, etc.
iii. NATURAL OBJECTS IN SITU.—Birds, plants, streams, stones, etc.
iv. OBJECTS OF ART, SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS, etc.

The value of this education by Things is receiving wide recognition, but intellectual education to be derived from Books is still for the most part to seek.

Every scholar of six years old and upwards should study with "delight" his own, living, Books on every subject in a pretty wide curriculum.

This plan has been tried with happy results for the last twelve years in many home schoolrooms, and some other schools. (Illustrations and bull details will be given in the lecture.)

We contend that thus the mechanical difficulties of education—reading, spelling, composition, etc., disappear and studies prove themselves to be "for delight, for ornament, and for ability."

We are persuaded that these principles are workable in all schools, Elementary and Secondary; that they tend in the working to simplification, economy and discipline: and that they lend themselves especially to the solving of a difficulty which will meet most County Councils, the formation of small Secondary Schools in semi-urban districts.

Short speeches will be made by Professor Armstrong, F.R.S., Mrs. Scott (Principal Godstowe Preparatory School, High Wycombe), Rudolph Lehmann, Esq., and the Rev. A. F. R. Bird, M.A., F.R. Hist. S. (Headmaster, Forest Hill House School).

Extra cards of invitation may be obtained from Miss F. Noel Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S. W.

New Branches.

The Executive Committee has been approached with a view to starting Branches in the following places:—
Barry (Glamorgan).
Bradford.
Brisbane.
Bristol.—Names may be sent to Mrs. Daniel, Dunelm, Stoke Bishop, Bristol.
Cardiff.—Names may be sent to Mrs. Hamilton, Blackladies, Dynas Powls.
Cheltenham.
Croydon.—Names may be sent pro tem. to Mrs. Hall, Colleendene, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon.
Dunfermiline.—Mrs. Beveridge, Pitreavie, Dunfermline, would be glad to hear from people interested.
Esher.
Guildford.—Names may be sent pro tem. to Mrs. Clarke Kennedy, Ewhurst Rectory, near Guildford.
Huddersfield.
Manchester.—Mrs. Freston, 6, St. Paul's Road, Kersal, Manchester, will receive names of people interested in this Branch (pro tem.).
Nottingham.
Prestbury.
Surbiton.
Swansea.
Tunbridge Wells and District.—Hon. Sec. and Treasurer: Mrs. Trouton, Rogherfield, Sussex (pro tem.).

Readers of the Parents' Review living in these districts, or having friends there, are asked to communicate with Miss Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S. W.

Branches of the P.N.E.U. will shortly be opened at Bristol and Croydon. Will members having friends in Bristol kindly communicate with Mrs. Daniel, Dunelm, 23, Downleaze Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. Miss Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S. W., will be glad to receive the names of people, in or around Croydon, likely to be interested in the formation of a Branch.

Bournemouth and Boscombe.—A Nature Study excursion for the Juvenile Nature Study Club took place on May 6th. The party met at Milton station, near the New Forest, and were conducted by the Rev. J. Kelsall through the country lanes, and by the kind permission of the owner over some lovely private grounds. Mr. Kelsall drew the attention of the young naturalists to the various flowers and birds they saw during their walk, the golden-crested wren being, perhaps, the greatest excitement. The interesting stroll was concluded by a sumptuous tea, hospitably provided by Mr. Kelsall at his rectory, which in itself is a perfect museum of natural objects.

Hyde Park and Bayswater.—Hon. Sec., Mrs. E. J. Franklin, 30, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.—On Thursday, May 14th, at 33, Cavendish Square (by kind permission of Mrs. Symes Thompson), Dr. Schofield gave a most delightful talk on five of Miss Fortescue Brickdale's charming pictures, which had been lent for the occasion. He showed how the pictures, besides giving to all an aesthetic pleasure, contained in them the deepest philosophy of life, and illustrated two of our mottoes, "Education Is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life." and "Take heed that ye offend not"—The next lecture will be given on June 25th, when Professor Lloyd Morgan, F.R.S., LL.D., will speak on "Description and Explanation."

Ipswich.—A most interesting address was given by Mrs. Richmond, at the Museum, on April 22nd, the subject being "Discipline." She maintained that parents made a mistake in expecting children to find at school something entirely new in discipline, authority, concentration, etc., it should all have been begun at home. Stricter attention should be paid to their prayers; in many cases the baby or childish prayers were allowed to continue till they almost ceased to have any meaning for the children who had outgrown them. With regard to the Bible, she advised beginning with the New Testament and bringing in the Old as it is referred to; also not to be afraid of big broad views for our children. She thought the advantages of boarding school were, first, the fellowship and companionship it offered, and also a wider view of life. They should be taught to look upon their lessons as the business of their lives. Some very interesting questions were raised and discussed, and the vote of thanks was proposed and carried with evident appreciation of the speaker's very helpful address.—One of the most interesting lectures of the season was given on Thursday, May 14th, at the Museum, by Mrs. Steinthal, of Ilkley. The President, Lady Farren, was in the chair. The subject was "Friendship between Mothers and Daughters." The lecturer began by warning the mothers that she intended to speak rather strongly on a very serious subject—they were not to feel too much hurt. She instanced various types of mothers and daughters who did not get on too well together; this was a saddening and pathetic aspect of life, and she was anxious to suggest some remedies for these difficulties. She considered that the keynote to a real friendship between mother and daughter lay in the word "consult." This principle, judiciously applied, invariably opened the heart of the girl, making her far more amenable to suggestions. In first leaving for boarding school, the wider views of life, and the friendships formed there must necessarily have a great influence on the girl's character; the wise mother must be prepared for this and not feel hurt if she and home appear for a time to take a secondary place in her daughter's interests. She must try and realize her growth, both physical and mental; probably the age of fifteen is a good one at which to begin to give the child a freer rein and to start on a more equal footing of friendship. It is quite possible to be too much of a "chum" to one's children; for example, their practice, in some instances, of calling their parents by their Christian names was much to be deprecated. It was possible sometimes for a mother to be too unselfish; unthinking unselfishness in a mother sometimes generated selfishness in her children. Mrs. Steinthal held the interest of her audience throughout. There was little discussion, members preferring apparently to think over and digest the wise suggestions and thoughtful advice contained in the paper.

Kidderminster.—On Wednesday, May 13th, a meeting for women was held at the High School for Girls, at which Mrs. Penrose, of Barnard Castle, gave a beautiful and able address on "The Need for the Definite Teaching of Purity by Parents to their own Children." She began by explaining that a "purity meeting" to many people suggested the hearing about impurity, and begged her listeners to at once dismiss that idea. She showed how very gradually and reverently from early years the young child's mind should be trained by teaching God's laws in grand simplicity, and that surely truth was better than the fairy tales with which children's questions were generally put off. She urged mothers to remember that it was in their hands whether the children were first taught purity or impurity, and that the connection between parent and child would be increased tenfold by this sacred confidence. At the close of her address, to which the audience listened with profound attention, Dr. Mary Sturge, of Birmingham, added a few words. She said it was often remarked that the teaching of purity should be relegated to doctors and clergymen, but she considered that such training must begin in the nursery. It was impossible for the doctor to watch continually how infants were nursed, bathed, etc., and she pointed out how terrible might be the results of careless or improper handling. Speaking of older children, she said that information was often given to innocent boys at school by companions already initiated into evil practices. To children trained beforehand in the habits of purity the temptations of school life would be infinitely less. The audience numbered about 70, and at the close of the meeting a good deal of purity literature was sold.

Reading.—Natural History Club.—The first ramble arranged for in our summer programme took place on may 2nd, when we spent the afternoon in a copse not far from town. Permission having been kindly granted by the owner, the children wandered about, chiefly at their own sweet will, to gather flowers, which are abundant in such situations at this season of the year. Kingcups, hyacinths, primroses, anemones, dog violets and purple orchis were found by all, whilst some of the more diligent brought home golden saxifrage, wood sorrel, wood spurge and others. Many spring birds were heard, including the nightingale and blackcap warbler, and several nests (some containing eggs) were examined and the different methods of building noticed. The weather proved exceptionally fine, and a most enjoyable time was spent. About 70 members were present.

Richmond and Kew.—In April a good meeting was held at Lindsmere, Kew Gardens, to hear a paper on "Classical Education," by C. D. Olive, Esq., M.A. An able and animated discussion followed.—May 8th, the members met at the Girls' High School, Richmond. Miss c. L. Thomson gave an address on "Literature for children."—The last meeting of this session is to be held at 108, Church Road, on June 17th, when we hope to have a paper by Dr. Beresford Kingsford, on "Infection."

Winchester.—In connection with the proposed Nature Study walks for children, we had a pleasant afternoon on May 9th at Mrs. Alexander's Bolton Lodge. The heavy rain prevented our taking the walk, but we had the advantage of hearing Miss Hart-Davis, who came to help and advise us in starting our Children's Club. The children's attention was riveted by the simple yet interesting description of some of Nature's wonders, and it was shown how an ordinary daily walk to school, otherwise monotonous, might become a pleasure if they grew to be observant of Nature's unfolding marvels. Miss Hart-Davis also gave helpful suggestions for pressing and drying flowers, the best way to keep tadpoles, etc. We trust all our members will bear in mind the excellent advice given as they study the ways of butterfly, beetle, or bee, that "it is better to learn of things living rather than dead." Nothing should be ruthlessly destroyed to satisfy a collecting craze, and even flowers should never be wastefully gathered. [We may add, in passing, that brush-work drawing might be of great service in copying specimens.] At the close of the lecture Major Alexander thanked Miss Hart-Davis for her kindness in coming to us, and visitors were invited to tea.—A prize will be offered for the best collection shewn at the autumn exhibition. Pressing boards and nature notebooks may be had on application to the local secretary, Mrs. Alexander, Bolton Lodge, Christchurch Road, who will also be glad to give further information.



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