My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I attempted this book several years ago, but I didn’t make it passed the talk at the beginning about airing, vulgar servants, and other particulars to Victorian London. This time I skimmed through the beginning and was rewarded by the meaty and edifying second half.
I liked the title: Home Education: Training and Educating Children under Nine. Yes, under nine we are assuming are best suited to learning at home under their mother’s care rather than at school under a master. Miss Mason posits that children can and should give full attention to their work in short bursts, rather than drawn out “desultory” reading and thinking. With short but intense chunks of work done in the morning, alternating types of application required (10 minutes of listening to quality reading, then narrating, then 10 minutes of a discipline like copywork or math, then 10 minutes again of reading and narrating, etc.), a full and quality education can be had in a couple morning hours, leaving the majority of the day open for hobbies, out-of-doors, and free play, which are productive and necessary activities for children.
From this book I have a better idea of how to secure attention (it comes from the child knowing he will be accountable to relate the information in his own words, every time), how to draw out a narration, and how to instill habits of order and “easy living.” I also feel reassured that a solid, meaty education can be had with only a couple hours a day spent in lessons. Quantity of time and work does not a quality education make. A quality education is made with quality books and quality thinking, done in short bursts of complete application.
I am sorry I wrote these books off for so long, but grateful I went ahead and purchased and read them before forming much in the way of school-time habits. Now, granted I am accustomed to reading older British books, but still I don’t think the language was difficult at all, nor would it be a hurdle to anyone who is comfortable with Austen.