« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
271 We have now mentioned four different ways, or means, of producing religious impressions on a school, to which we suppose no individual or sect in the wide world, would ever present an objection. But there are other means of accomplishing the same result, which we think will be regarded, with few exceptions, as equally unexceptionable.
5. We believe few parents-if indeed any-would even object to opening and closing the school, every day, with the reading of a few verses from the Bible, and a short prayer. There are some who would object, perhaps, to requiring the pupils to be concerned, formally, with the exercise as in reading a verse; or number of verses, in their turn. But the teacher may read them; there is seldom, if ever, any objection to this.
6. Another admirable and so far as we know, universally acceptable method of making religious impressions, is by frequent appeals to the Bible, for authority in enforcing discipline. Thus the fifth command, which enjoins and enforces obedience to parents, may be read, and sundry other passages of the same import. The duty of servants to masters, may be referred to, as in Ephesians. Passages may be read condemning the fault committed, or requiring the conduct or duty which is omitted, &c.
7. There are a few teachers who possess in a greater or less degree of perfection, the happy talent of Dr Franklin; that of drawing, with great readiness, moral lessons from the commonest occurrences. When a person who is not only moral, like Franklin, but truly religious, possesses this happy talent, tempered with some discretion, he may not only moralize but spiritualize, on ihe most familiar events of life. But no teacher should fail to seize on sudden accidents or deaths, and striking or unexpected events, of any sort whatever, as a means of making those impressions which, in our present state, it is one object of the Creator to produce on us by all his dispensations.No parent, so far as our own observation has extended, ever complains of this sort of instruction. Few indeed, seem to regard it as religious instruction, unless it has some immediate connection with prayers or religious exercises.
8. Dr Paley thought the habit of seeing God in his works was peculiarly valuable. For example, in studying the wonderful adaptation of the parts of an animal to the purposes which they subserve, as the soft wide spread foot of the camel, to the sandy deserts he is made to travel over; and the fine warm fur which covers animals in the cold climates of the north; he thought the habit of looking upward to the great contriver of these things, was one of the most desirable habits in the world. Now we think this habit should be assiduously and strenuously cultivated by
Where Character is chiefly formed.
the schoolmaster. It can be done in the study of almost any thing whatever. The wisdom of God, in the works of Creation and Providence, shines out every where; and he must be a stupid teacher indeed, who does not perceive it; and an unfortunate one-if such a person there be—who has not the art of directing that way, the attention of his pupils. Perhaps the mind of the young cannot be more readily drawn to look through Nature up to Nature's God, than in the study of the anatomy and physiology of the human being. A teacher, however, whose heart is full on this subject will find God—we mean now through his laws-every where ; not in men alone, not in the huge animal, or the gigantic tree alone; but in the meanest of all animal and vegetable and mineral forms ; nay, in the simpler elements of water, earth, air, &c.
But we must reserve for another occasion, the most important as well as most interesting method for common schools of engaging the attention of the young, and leading out their affections to their Father in Heaven. On that, we shall dwell at considerable length ; for we flatter ourselves that if we present nothing which is truly valuable, it will at least have one recommendation ; that of novelty. It is a plan of religious instruction, of which, it is believed, few district school teachers-possibly none but ourselves—have, to any considerable extent availed themselves ; but to which no parent of any christian sect whatever, would ever think of objecting for a single moment.
INSTRUCTION BY HOUSEKEEPERS.
[The following is extracted from a volume 424 pages, written by the editor of this journal, and just published by George W. Light of this city, entitled
“The Young Housekeeper, or Thoughts on Food and Cookery. Though intended principally for housekeepers, it is, after all, in its bearing and tendency, little else than a work on physical education.]
We boast of our literary institutions-our infant schools, our coinmon schools, our high schools, our institutes, our colleges, our universities. But what is the influence of these, excellent as it may be, compared with that of the kitchen and parlor ? Say what we will, it is here-exactly here—that our characters, even in a literary point of view, are determined. I would not say formed; for of this, I am not so sure. But I have never yet
Moral Influence of the Housekeeper.
known, personally-others may have known such instances--of a lover of knowledge or moral progress, who was not initiated into this love by those who had the control of his early infancy and his childhood. On the contrary, I could fill half this volume with anecdotes of those in whom the seeds of that love of literature and science which they subsequently manifested, was sown in early infancy by that maternal teacher whose influence is, after all, most awakening, most impressive, and most permanent.
Were it left to my choice to say which of two things the world should have—the right sort of household management and education, with no school instruction whatever, or the best sort of school education of every grade, but without any thing done in the household beyond what is now done by nine tenths if not nineteen twentieths of mankind-I should not hesitate a moment to decide on the former. Such is the value I attach to the domestic institution and the family school; and such are my conceptions of the native dignity of housekeeping.
I do not mean by all this, that the house-keeper is to have, necessarily, her set hours and set lessons of instruction, though I wish her to have time for even these. But I mean that she should so manage in all concerns of the household--and these it is which, as I shall never cease to repeat, go far to form character, the great object and end of education—that the results, along with the aid of those who co-operate with her, shall do more for the children which form a part of it, than all else which is done for them, directly or indirectly, in the whole process of their forming stage of progress. But is not that the truest, noblest literary institution in the world—nay, is it not more than all others, which secures all this as its inevitable results?
Let me not be understood as saying, that in the present state of things, every housewife who had leisure to do things as she ought, and to control things as she ought, would do them right. There would be still, as there now is, both good and bad education. But even as the general knowledge of housewives now is, the common belief that the family is more important, because more influential on character than all other schools, would be in favor of human happiness, provided they would adopt, as speedily as may be, those principles, and that rational system of housekeeping, which it is the object of this work to recommend and inculcate.
I would have the young housekeeper form and pursue a meditated plan or system for her own comfort and health, but much more for the sake of her own peace, and quiet, and edification. I would have her do so for the comfort also of her hus
Instruction at Home.
band and children, who are certainly, at all times, the more happy for it, in body and mind. But I would have her do so, above all, that she may find time not only to do her work slowly and instruct her daughters-yes, and her sons, too-in regard to the nature of her employments; but to give them numerous lessons in philosophy, chemistry, natural history, physiology, health, &c.
Nor should I be satisfied till she had so simplified her business, as to find time, even for set lessons in her family, both in the forenoon and in the afternoon. The education-the right education-of a family of children, seems to me, I must say again, the more important part of the duty of a housekeeper, provided she is, at the same time, as I maintain she generally should be, the wife and the mother.
But this subject of combining house-keeping with maternal instruction, cannot be pursued to its full extent in this volume. I will only repeat here a remark which can never be too often repeated, that the combination of elementary instruction with household duties, is one of the best methods-perhaps the only successful method—which can ever be devised for rendering the family what it was obviously intended by Divine Providence it should be, the most agreeable as well as most happy place in the world, for the young of both sexes.
It almost unnecessary to add, that should the time ever arrive, when the sons and daughters of our citizens come to prefer the kitchen, the parlor, the garden and the chamber, and the company and familiar conversation of the mother and of each other, to all the pleasures and enjoyments to be found abroad, half the temptation, and half the vice and crime in the world, will be prevented.'
PREPARATORY, OR FAMILY INSTRUCTION.
UNDER this head, I might include all that kind of instruction which is given either at home or at school, or which is believed to be indispensably necessary, prior to a child's commencing the regular study of any of the sciences. Thus, before he commences the study of grammar, as such, there is a process of preparation for it, which is of the utmost importance, if we mean to have the subsequent study of this science either pleasant or useful. It is for want of this preparation, more than for any other reason, that grammar now is and long has been considered both dry and unintelligible.
Familiar Exercises, by a Mother.
The same remarks might be made in reference to geography, history, arithmetic, chemistry, and even reading. In short, there is an immense work to be done by the mother, ere the child is fit to be subjected to the ordinary processes of the schools, even of infant schools.-The following is one of the most important exercises with which I am acquainted. They are represented as actually taking place, in the family of a friend.
The mother would take first, a pint of some kind of liquid, usually water, and, in the presence of the family, pour it into various vessels. First, perhaps, she would pour it into a large bowl or basin, then into a pail, then into a large bottle, then into a spider, and then into a large kettle.
The object of all this, was to enable the children to judge of the capacity of vessels. Few of the young have the least conception how much a pint is, when not in a pint or quart measure. Ask them to guess to what depth a pint of water would fill a given pan or basin of large size, and they would not have, in general, the most distant conception of the truth.
Exercises which would enable a child to judge of the capacity of vessels of various sizes, would be of the utmost importance, not only in themselves, but as a means of disciplining the mental faculties. They would cultivate, at the same time, perception, attention, memory, comparison and judgment. It can hardly be said that they would cultivate the eye, directly ; although they would have an effect which would at least be adequate to such a result. For though a child who could judge well of the capacity of all sorts of vessels, could hardly be said to see them any better than another child who knew nothing at all about it, yet it would certainly improve his observation. He would go through the world with his eyes open' much more; and if his eye sight was really no better, in the abstract, he would actually see more.
But I am proceeding with my reasonings faster than with my facts. Mrs Thomson would not only show her children how much a pint was in various forms, by pouring it into vessels of various shapes and sizes; but also by filling up a large vessel, pint by pint, and letting them see how many pints it actually held.
Suppose it to be a common wooden pail. She first pours into it a pint of water. The children are required to observe how deep it fills the pail. Another pint is added. They examine again. The question is now asked, perhaps ; How many pints do you think the pail will hold, if we keep pouring in? - I have taken for granted here, what I presume to be a matter of fact, that before they are introduced to these exercises, they are taught