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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. (This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as , whose office is to ease us for a time from will effort, that we may 'will' again with added power. There are also two secrets of moral and intellectual self management which should be offered to children; these we may call the Way of the Will and the Way of the Reason. (d) That, after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour. The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum. But the mind is not a receptacle into which ideas must be dropped, each idea adding to an 'apperception mass' of its like, the theory upon which the Herbartian doctrine of interest rests. On the contrary, a child's mind is no mere sac to hold ideas; but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual , with an appetite for all knowledge. The Herbartian doctrine lays the stress of education––the preparation of knowledge in enticing morsels, presented in due order––upon the teacher. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structure to habitual lines of thought–– to our habits. In the saying that Education is a life, the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied.
Out of this conception comes the principle that, 13. 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. During these years the child should enter upon the domain of knowledge, in a good many directions, in a reposeful, consecutive way, which is not to be attained through the somewhat exciting medium of oral lessons. This period of a child's life between his sixth and his ninth year should be used to lay the basis of a liberal education, and of the habit of reading for instruction.