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easily learned facts which, without being precisely scientific, are the first steps and rudimerts of all sciences.

4th. Arithmetic, mental and written.
5th. Natural Philosophy.
6th. Physiology.
7th. Geography.
8th. History
9th. Vocal music.
10th. Use of pen and pencil, in writing and drawing.

11th. Morals, embracing the culture of the conscience, culture of the affections, moral sentiments and principles, and good behavior.

This course, though embracing some studies not ordinarily regarded as belonging to the common school, still leaves out some which are desirable to be included, and which may, in some cases, be properly substituted for those mentioned. But the list is already too numerous to be taught each term, by a single teacher; and only by confining some of them to winter terms, while others are taught in the summer, can they be successfully and properly introduced.

It will be seen that this list embraces all the branches now recognized as common school studies, Reading, Writing, Orthography, Arithmetic, Grammar and Geography. To these it adds as studies: Common Things, Natural Philosophy, Physiology and History; and as training exercises or arts, Thinking, Talking, Vocal Music, Drawing and Morals. The utility of the common studies of Reading, Writing, Orthography and Arithmetic does not require any discussion. They have already gained the testimony of universal use. They are daily needs, and almost indispensible to a successful conduct of the affairs of life.

The claims of GRAMMAR are by no means of the same commanding character. Language is learned far more by talking and reading, than by any study of grammar. Many men come to a very ready and correct use of their mother tongue, both oral and written, without ever knowing a rule of grammar,

while many profound students of grammar habitually blunder in speech. The truth is, that grammar is not the art of correct speech or writing; but simply the art of criticism. Its special use is to furnish the rules for determining the correctness of language in any case of doubt. But it has a far higher use than this in the school course, as a keen and powerful exercise of the mental faculties, in their more advanced stages of growth. The analysis of the forms and philosophy of speech, involves the discrimination of the subtilest relations of thought, and trains the intellect to the keenest perceptions of truth. But the mind must have attained considerable maturity before such a study can be successfully prosecuted; and hence, grammar, if studied at all in the common school, should be confined to the oldest and most advanced classes. The study of language, however, begins in the nursery; and holds, as has already been shown, an early and prominent place in the school course.

Geography, also, has been greatly overrated as a common school study. Introduced by accident, it has maintained its place by the aid of bookmakers, who have multiplied and simplified to the most ridiculous extent, the text books and apparatus for its study. If it is urged that we ought to know something of the world we live in, and especially of the country whose citizens we are, this is freely admitted. But so ought we, and by a greater need, to know something of the vegetable world which surrounds us, and from which we derive large a proportion of our food and wealth; of the animal world, whose wonders lie unsuspected all about us, and whose denizens so faithfully serve us, or so fatally prey upon us; of the mineral kingdom, of soils, stones and metals, the materials of our arts and the source of our support; of chemistry, with its wonderful laws ever acting around us in every combination, change and decay of material things; and of a score more of studies equally interesting and useful with geography. If its simple usefulness is its only claim, then geography must yield its place to more useful and important branches of learning. But it is notorious that its study in school is not indispensible to this


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usefulness in life. Men who never studied a geography in school, easily inform themselves by means of maps of the locality and distance of places, and travel without embarrassment to the most distant countries. He who has studied the geography of the schools is almost equally obliged to consult maps on each fresh occasion, and seeks out his routes of travel as laboriously as the other.

But the geography of the common school is not true geogra phy; it is only a miserable hotch potch of insignificant fragments, and is utterly unworthy the great name it bears and the time it occupies. Geography is one of the grandest of the sciences. Its gigantic facts, its magnificent generalizations, its splendid speculations, involving, as they do, the mightiest problems in several of the other sciences, are certainly not fitting food for little children's minds. Their imaginations are confounded at its first propositions. The buge rotund world, swinging unsupported in limitless space, and wheeling with an inconceivable velocity along its trackless orbit, parceled into vast expanses of continent and still vaster oceans, and peopled with a billion of human beings, what a conception is this to offer to a little child! Picture it, esplain, illustrate it as we will it still remains a great mystery, of which nothing is learned but the vaguest ideas. Nor are its later problems less difficult than these first and fundamental notions. The alternations of day and night, with their varying length in different latitudes and different seasons; the variety and succession of the seasons and their relations to climate; the procession of the equinoxes; the movements of the tides, the flow of the oceanic currents; the sweep of the winds; the great laws of climate; the geographical distributions of plants and animals, and the migrations and varying civilizations of the human race; these surely are not questions for mere tyros in learning and novices in study, to solve.

It is not denied that geography abo’ınds in interesting and picturesque facts, which, with the aid of abundant illustrations, may be explained to the minds of common school pupils.

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But these facts, thus isolated, are not geography; and all ex" perience tells of how little real use they are when learned, and how speedily they are forgotten.

It is not recommended that geograpby shall be entirely abolished from the common school, but that it shall be adjourned to the riper age and learning of the highest classes, and then studied in its natural connections with history. And if but few pupils reach it in the course, still no irreparable injury is done. It was never pretended that children can learn every thing in school which they will need to know in life. If common things be properly taught, every child will learn without a book, and directly from nature, the varieties of natural scenery, the simple facts of country and climate, and the use of maps, which are the main fruits of geography as now taught through a senseless series of books and a tedious succession of terms.

I have assumed that Grammer and Geography were introduced in the list of Common School studies by mere accident, and without sufficient reflection; and certainly if a careful comparison of the actual value of the several sciences had been made, these studies would not have obtained the promi. nent place they now occupy.

If any one should still think that the strictures are too severe upon these studies, let him reflect that no parent or friend of children, prompted by the unerring instincts of nature, is ever seen teaching Geography or Grammar to little children at the age at which they are studied in school.

Listen to that father as he sits down with his children to spend a leisure hour. What does he talk about? What topics does his instinctive knowledge of their childish tastes and powers, lead him to choose in order to interest and instruct them? Certainly not the abstruse mysteries of language, nor any views of the globe, as a whole. It is rather the objects immediately about them; the things they can see and handle ; the birds, the beasts, the insects, flowers, fruits, pebbles, rain. drops, icicles, fire, water, a knife, a pencil, their own eyes, nose, mouth, hand or body, and their own actions, or the actions

of other children, or of animals. Nature, which never errs, always dictates these as the text books, when we wish to enlist the attention and excite the interest of little children. It is ever to the present and the sensible that she teaches us to resort. Alas! that in the school room we so often ignore nature, and pursue paths 80 unnatural! How much of our ill success in education


be traced to the fact that we have attempted to make children learn the incomprehensible; to study topics beyond their years ; to eat food for which they have neither appetite nor digestion.

A brief explanation will exhibit the propriety and value of the several studies in the proposed course.

1st, Languarje. The importance of the knowledge of language has already been considered. Of the common subdi. visions of the study of Language - Reading, Orthography and Grammar-nothing further need be said. Talking, and Written Composition, also given as subdivisions of this study, are the ordinary uses, the one of oral language, the other of written. “To speak and write correctly,” has long been regarded as a proper study for the common schools, and grammar was ad. mitted in the list of common school studies solely because it was erroneously believed to be the most direct path to the acquisition of the power of correct speech. But evidently the art of talking is only to be learned by talking, and the art of composition by composing; just as the art of walking is to be acquired by the act of walking rather than by a study of the anatomical structure of the feet, or of the philosophy of their movements. The propriety of regular and systematic drill in the arts of oral and written speech will not be questioned by any one who has just views of their importance, or of the proper modes of teaching them.

2nd, Thinking. Thinking, in its broadest sense, embraces all intellectual action, from the simplest act of perception to the highest flight of imagination, or the profoundest process of reasoning. To acquire the right use of intellectual facalties is the chief end of all mental culture. And that this

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