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"The Parents' Review School, an output of The Parents' Union, was, in the first place, designed to bring homeschools, taught by governesses, up to the standard of other schools. A Training College for governesses, with Practising School, etc., was established later. Children may not enter the School under six; because we think the first six years of life are wanted for physical growth and the self-education which children carry on with little ordered aid. The Parents' Review school is conducted by means of programmes of work, in five classes, sent out, term by term, to each of the home schools (and to some other schools); and the same programmes are used in the Practising School. Examination papers are set at the end of each term.
The work is arranged on the principles which have been set forth in this volume; a wide curriculum, a considerable number of books for each child in the several classes, and, besides, a couple of hours' work daily, not with Books but with Things. Many of the pupils in the school have absorbed, in a way, the culture of their parents; but the children of uncultured parents take with equal readiness and comparable results to this sort of work, which is, I think, fitted, not only for the clever, but also for the average and even the dull child.
Class 1a. - The child of six goes into Class 1a.; he works for 2 and 1/2 hours a day, but half an hour of this time is spent in drill and games. Including drill, he has thirteen 'subjects' of study, for which about sixteen books are used. He recited hymns, poems, and Bible verses; works from Messrs Sonnenschein and Nesbitt's ABC Arithmetic; sings French and English songs; begins Mrs. Curwen's Child Pianist, learns to write and to print, learns to read, learns French orally, does brushdrawing and various handicrafts. All these things are done with joy, but cannot be illustrated here. Bible lessons, read from the Bible; tales, natural history, and geography are taught from appointed books, helped by the child's own observation.
Our plan in each of these subjects is to read to him the passage for the lesson (a good long passage), talk about it a little, avoiding much explanation, and then let him narrate what has been read. This he does very well and with pleasure, and is often happy with catching the style as well as the words of the author.
Certain pages, say 40 or 50, from each of the children's books are appointed for a term's reading. At the end of the term an examination paper is sent out containing one or two questions on each book. Here are a few of the answers. The children in the first two classes narrate their answers, which someone writes from their dictation."
"One letter should be perfectly formed in a day, and the next day the same elemental forms repeated in another letter, until they become familiar. By-and-by copies, three or four of the letters they have learned grouped into a word––'man,' 'aunt'; the lesson to be the production of the written word once without a single fault in any letter." Home Education pg. 234
"I can only offer a few hints on the teaching of writing, though much might be said. First, let the child accomplish something perfectly in every lesson––a stroke, a pothook, a letter. Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes. Ease in writing comes by practice; but that must be secured later. In the meantime, the thing to be avoided is the habit of careless work––humpy 'm's, angular o's." Home Education pg. 234
"A Child should Execute Perfectly. - No work should be given to a child that he cannot execute perfectly, and then perfection should be required of him as a matter of course. For instance, he is set to do a copy of strokes, and is allowed to show a slateful at all sorts of slopes and intervals; his moral sense is vitiated, his eye is injured. Set him six strokes to copy; let him, not bring a slateful, but six perfect strokes at regular distances and at regular slopes."
"If he produces a faulty pair, get him to point out the fault, and persevere until he has produced his task; if he does not do it to-day, let him go on to-morrow and the next day, and when the six perfect strokes appear, let it be an occasion of triumph!"
"So with the little tasks of painting, drawing, or construction he sets himself - let everything he does be done well."