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.114''School Progress. By John Hancock..444
Indianapolis, 67, 427; Youngstown, Township System, The
[382, 425, 462
465 ; South Charleston, Dayton........466 426, 464; Huron, Franklin, (384),
107 rion, 233; Belmont, 347 ; Gallia,
131 381; Fairfield, Preble, 382 ; Cler-
Self-Reporting in Schools..... ..146, 452 Miami, 425; Muskinguin, Union,
.154 Morgan, Licking, (425), 384; Lo-
180 rain, Morrow, 425; Defiance, 462 ;
ton, Geauga, Seneca, 464 ; Richland,
Hamiton, Stark, Lake.
State Board of Examiners, Circular of.231 Kimball
School Supervision, County. By T. Wilberforce, A Plea for. By T. E.
Some questions of duty are forever recurring in forms, more or less changed; are discussed as comports with the zeal and ability of the advocate of the time being; receive the unanimous consent of those concerned; are sealed with the great seal of public approbation ; are sanctioned in every possible manner; and yet they somehow never come into the actual life of any except a few oddities who strive to live up to their little light; but, by some unparliamentary legislation, are laid upon the table, to be taken up and discussed again and again as fancy suggests, or as the leisure of the hour permits. Such a question is the one which has regard to the relative duties of home and the school, in the work of training children ; and, though in this article there may be nothing new advanced, yet, like a new sermon on an old theme, it may, at least, arouse some backslider, or some heedless guardian of youth, to the consideration of his ways.
At the very outset, it must be acknowledged that there are countless difficulties in the way of the practical solution of the problem. In sparsely settled districts, the home is of necessity the school. For a child whose home is Bedlam or the Five Points, the school is bound to supply more than legitimately belongs to it. Such exceptional cases are not now presented for consideration; our design has reference to homes and schools as they are generally found in our own and neighboring States. Restricting ourselves, then, to families whose condition, intelligence and culture are fully equal to the average, we start with the proposition that, in the work of educational training, parents are shamefully negligent of the welfare of their children. These are cruel words, but if the charge is unfounded, no one will rejoice at its groundlessness more than the writer; if, however, they express the truth, if they fall short of the whole truth, they should be so brought before honest and God-fearing parents that their sin will, hereafter, be not of ignorance.
Having supposed our typical family to be of the average stamp, we shall also assume that the school is fully equal to the demands on it, and therefore above the average. This will preclude any of the common charges of the negligence of parents in insufficient support of teachers, in foolish expenditure of school funds, in failure to maintain proper authority, and the like, although there may frequently be sufficient foundation for them.
Having thus excluded exceptional cases, and narrowed the discussion to homes and schools of fortunate conditions, we remark that, in the training of children, the school is merely the complement of the home, not its successor, still less can it supplant
that the work of instruction belongs primarily and principally to the family—to the school only as accessory; that the training of the child being of necessity begun at home, should be in its whole course directed by the head of the family, and finally finished at home.
Let us consider a little: The legal school years of the child extend from six to twenty-one. In that time a child may attend school fifteen years, forty weeks in each year, five days in each week, and six hours a day, or in all 18,000 hours; but the same years embrace 131,590 hours, so that the child is, at the best, less than one-seventh of his time within the influence of the school. Now these bare figures are somewhat instructive. How much of the child's training fall to the other six-sevenths of his time? If we add his sleeping hours to his school time, both will amount to less than one-half of the time. With such a marked disproportion of allotted time, how can the influence of the school be otherwise considered than as a mere bagatelle? Some objector may say that the figures do not include the time spent in study out of school. Find out how much is thus spent by the average pupil, make the due allowance by actual calculation, and it will not sensibly vary the result already attained.
Another consideration: The school deals with the pupil in the aggregate, considers him merely as one of a class, robs him of a part of his identity, and seldom ascertains his peculiar characteristics. The home knows only the individual child, considers him from his birth as an essential part of its little republic, sharpens every line that marks identity, appreciates every struggle toward a higher level, allows for every weakness, and envelops the child with a sympathy that rejoices with every success and condoles with every misfortune. With these broad differences how much more ought the home, instinct with the life of the family, to be the prime element in education rather than the school, which, with all the poetical notions that cluster about it, is nevertheless a soulless thing—a mere incorporation ?
Nor should we forget that the home is vastly superior to the school in unity of design and singleness of purpose which come from the permanence of its executive. The school authorities change from year to year, both in the individuals which constitute them and in the plans they pursue. The head of the family, so long as the family remains intact, has but one purpose, and that solely for the welfare of the family. His plans are characterized by a devotion to the interests of the child which no committee can feel, and a self-sacrificing spirit utterly impossible for the most conscientious teacher to realize.
We must not tarry longer to enumerate other advantages which the home, by virtue of its constitution, has in the training of children, but proceed to inquire whether the charge of negligence can be established.
No one doubts that the highest educational training has reference to religious truth. Now to whom is entrusted the work of leading the child to love God and to serve Him ? Mainly to the pulpit and the Sabbath-school. How far preaching is calculated to advance the child in the divine life is not our business to discuss; the time of service is needed by the parents for their own good, and the child may get what it can. There have been families in days not long gone by, where even dry sermons became of great profit to the younger members by a wholesome discussion of the theme in the home circle—but it is idle to expect everything. The Sabbath-school has of late been unduly magnified, called the children's church, but there are limits to its usefulness, and when it attempts to usurp the place of the parent, it commits an enormity which should not be countenanced in a Christian land. As originally established, the office of the Sab
bath-school was to provide religious instruction for children who have no homes, or for those of irreligious parents; then, as a sort of after-thought, it became an assistant to Christian parents in the spiritual training of their children, and, at the present time, let the experience of any man answer how much of this work is assigned to the Sabbath-school teacher and how much is retained by the parent. If it is answered that the parent no longer attempts the work performed by our grand parents, he is simply negligent. If it is added that Sabbath-school teachers are accepted-choice is out of the question—without reference to their ability to teach, and sometimes without regard to piety—if to this it is added that the studies pursued in these schools are frequently unworthy the name because they are devoid of system, or accuracy, or thoroughness—if the children are gathered together, rather to be amused with a story, or pleased with a song, or delighted with a reward, or enticed to continue by the loan of a foolish novel, than to be instructed in the way of salvation-if these things are true of any locality, the parent who suffers that Sabbath-school to take his place with his children is not shamefully negligent—he is sinfully negligent. At the very best, the pulpit and the Sabbath-school can not free the parent from his responsibility in the moral training of his children. They may, under fortunate circumstances, greatly assist him, but can never do his work. They can not add precept to precept, line upon line, as effectively as it may be done in the genial circle at the fireside ; nor supply the tender interest of a father's counsel; nor the blessed lessons learned from loving lips at a mother's knee.
As we have supposed the secular schools to be equal to their duties, it may be urged that in the mental training of his children a father need borrow no care. Let it be granted that the specific work of the school is done in a systematic and thorough manner, that the parent even enforces the observance of an extra school hour at home, and that he is jealous of the reputation of the school-a large concession,-even then we are but at the threshold. What proportion of parents have so studied the capacity of the child as intelligently to direct the proper course to be pursued by it? How many so watch the child's advance as to be able to give the proper oversight to its successive steps in knowledge ? Leaving these questions, though important, we urge principally on this point that the routine of text-books forms but a small part of mental training; it somehow seldom gets quickened with life; seldom becomes a part of actual existence. Nothing quick