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For between thirty and forty years I have laboured without pause to establish a working and philosophic theory of education; and in the next place, each article of the educational faith I offer has been arrived at by inductive processes; and has, I think, been verified by a long and wide series of experiments. My excuse for venturing to offer a solution, however tentative and passing, to the problem of education is twofold. The Child Should Be Made Familiar With Natural Objects IX. These three principles (15, 16 and 17) should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need. We should allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and 'spiritual' life of children; but should teach them that the divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life. The Child Gets Knowledge By Means Of His Senses VIII. To help them in this choice we should give them principles of conduct and a wide range of the knowledge fitted for them. In venturing to speak on this latter subject, I do so with the sincerest deference to mothers, believing that, in the words of a wise teacher of men, "the woman receives from the Spirit of God Himself the intuitions into the child's character, the capacity of appreciating its strength and its weakness, the faculty of calling forth the one and sustaining the other, in which lies the mystery of education, apart from which all its rules and measures are utterly vain and ineffectual." But just in proportion as a mother has this peculiar insight as regards her own children she will, I think, feel her need of a knowledge of the general principles of education, founded upon the nature and the needs of all children. ______________ End of Preface _______________________ My attempt in the following volume is to the suggest to parents and teachers a method of education resting upon a basis of natural law; and to touch, in this connection, upon a mother's duties to her children.
I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr Carpenter's for valuable teaching on the subject of habits contained in some two or three chapters of that work. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to a 'child's' level. By Education is a discipline, is meant the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. "The consequence of truth is great; therefore the judgment of it must not be negligent."––Whichcote 1. These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon, whether by fear or love, suggestion or influence, or undue play upon any one natural desire. Therefore we are limited to three educational instruments––the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas. By the saying, Education is an atmosphere, it is not meant that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child environment,' especially adapted and prepared; but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. Before this great deliverance comes to us it is probable that many tentative efforts will be put forth, having more or less of the characters of a philosophy; notably, having a central idea, a body of thought with various members working in vital harmony. Not having received the tables of our law, we fall back upon Froebel or upon Herbart; or, if we belong to another School, upon Locke or Spencer; but we are not satisfied. is upon us; and assuredly we should hail a workable, effectual philosophy of education as a deliverance from much perplexity.