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Perhaps some teachers will say the course I have presented will occupy too much time. Very likely it will if they think it necessary that a class should "read around” several times and over three or four lessons, otherwise it will not, if correctly understood.
Finally, whatever course I take in conducting an exercise in reading, I insist that the scholars shall sit or stand erect, read slowly in an easy and natural manner as possible, observe the marks of punctuation, and pronounce the words correctly and distinctly.
LETTER FROM INDIANA.
TERRE HAUTE, Dec. 8, 1864. MR. EDITOR:- I want to say to the R. I. SCHOOLMASTER that the school master of Indiana is abroad. Enlightened politics and education are intimate companions in this State. The progress of one insures the success of the other. In many of the towns and cities the improvement has been almost magical. This city among the best. Some over a year since, Prof. J. M. Olcott, of the right old Connecticut stock, came to this city as a Superintendent of the Public Schools, thoroughly reorganized and graded the several departments, and now the system, as a whole, is working successfully, and the city in an educational point is one of the first in the country, taking into account the length of time of the present successful arrangement. The schools will improve rapidly with the same continued good sense of the Superintendent and his excellent core of teachers. The school buildings can be improved, much to the comfort of the teachers and children.
The system of public instruction was inaugurated by J. H. Moore, Esq., in 1858, and though the term or length of school year was but seven months, yet the schools attained a high rank in the west. Mr. Moore left the profession and entered into that of the law, still retaining an interest in the schools, and so continued until leaving for the army. But death soon overtook him, and left this community and all who knew him to mourn the loss of one of God's noblemen, and the schools a very warm friend. His excellent wife, who has but few equals, has been given a place in the High School, and elevates and adorns the position. It gives me pleasure to make a record of the above facts, and say that the West does not forget its noble school masters, nor those left in earth,
asi. Yours truly,
THE RELATION OF THE HOME TO THE SCHOOL.
While it is justly claimed that there has been a very great improvement in the condition of our schools, as compared with what it was fifty years ago ; yet when we remember how much has been written and spoken and done to accomplish this change—the vast amount of earnest thought, of zeal, of enthusiasm, of patient labor expended, it must be confessed that the result is by no means commensurate with the effort made to obtain it. The engine has worked sluggishly, laboriously, with side motion and friction ; but with very much less progress than the power which was applied promised. What has been the retarding force ? What is the chief obstacle which has kept back the car of educational progress, until those who have had the train in charge have, at times, almost lost hope of bringing it to the terminus of a broad, well-laid, thorough, universal education? The opposing power is undoubtedly complex. The obstacle is many-sided. But the one persistent hindrance, the ever-obtruding obstruction, is the fact that parents do not rightly comprehend the obligation which rests upon them primarily to secure for their children the best possible education—that it is an obligation imposed upon them not by the child, nor by man, but by Him who first set men in families. Parents do not co-operate with the teacher as they ought in the education of their children. By this it is not here meant that they do not furnish a commodious school-house, constructed after the most approved model, located in the most advantageous spot, supplied and surrounded with whatever will make it the most convenient and attractive; that a teacher thoroughly qualified and liberally compensated is not provided—the text-books of the most popular issue are not furnished, nor that the school is not visited, and the teacher is not sustained in his methods and effort of teaching and disciplining. None of these very common, and too often very just, charges are made. The delinquency lies back of all this. It is antecedent, broader, deeper, more vital. This neglect of co-labor is not in the school-house, but at the fire-side. It grows partly out of a natural disposition to evade justly imposed obligation, and partly out of a very prevalent error concerning the essentials of a good education. Most men, if asked what they intend by the phrase, a good education for a boy or girl, would reply, a thorough knowledge of those branches usually taught in our public schools. A very little observation and reflection will show that this is not necessarily true. The answer of the Greek philosopher, Aristippus, was much nearer the truth—that youth should be taught “ those things they will need most to use when they become men.” It is not the boy who has during his school days acquired the greatest amount of knowledge, who is the most thoroughly educated ; but it is he who, while he was acquiring this knowledge, has had secured to him, or rather, by the help of others, has secured for himself the most complete development and discipline of all his faculties and powers of mind and heart. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography are well—they are important. But habits of patient thought, of careful observation, of critical discrimination, of judicious decision, are better,—they are indispensable. However much a boy may have acquired of the former, if he has not succeeded in laying a foundation for the upbuilding of the latter, he is illy qualified for the duties and trials of life. He is poorly educated. It is precisely here that we err in our estimate of the value of the education of those who are designated as “ self-made men.” They are deficient, as we say, in academic culture ; but they are men of strong minds, and stronger wills; thoroughly trained and skilled in the application of knowledge to useful purposes. They may be unable to translate Greek and Latin, but by an invincible determination, in the face of obstacles, and under difficulties, they have placed their understandings in contact with cultivated intellect, and have succeeded in establishing mental habits, which qualify them to be interpreters of men and nature. The particular process by which one becomes a man, is of much less consequence than the fact that he is a man. Boys can not be taught too early that the most of every man’s manhood is secured by the habits of his boyhood. Often the best part of a child's education is progressing when both he and his teacher are unconscious that he is doing anything in that direction.
But how shall parents most successfully co-operate with the teacher to secure the educational advancement of the child ? The very first thing to be attempted is to establish in the mind of the child a reverence for rightful authority, and a habit of prompt and cheerful obedience. One of the earliest manifestations of every child is, that he is possessed of a will; a power to choose or not to choose, to do or not to do,-a power more or less strong and impulsive in different individuals. Before entering upon any course of moral and intellectual training, for they are intimately associated, the parent must obtain the entire, unqualified, habitual submission of the child to parental authority. This is the sine qua non--the base of future safety and success. The parent should insist upon this submission, not for himself, but for the relation which he holds to the child. . There is a natural tendency in most children to a spirit of insubordination, more or less flagrant. We see an exhibition of it in all our families, in all our schools, and in all our communities—a prevailing disregard for constituted authority. It is full of peril to our domestic, social and civil organizations.—R. I. School Commissioner's Report, 1864.
QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN EXAMINATIONS.
ELECTION OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT.
We have recently passed through one of the most, if not the most, important Presidential Elections that has taken place in our country. The character of the entire future of our republic seemed to be crowded into the space of a single day, and nobly did a free people shape its glorious destiny. Probably the prayer, “ God save our country,” was deposited with more votes on the eighth day of November, 1864, than on any previous election.
1. What is Government ?
Government is the administration of affairs according to established constitution, laws and usages, or by arbitrary edicts. 2. What is a pure Democracy?
A government in which all the people exercise the powers of legislation and sovereignty in person. 3. What is a Republic ?
It is a representative democracy, or a government where the laws are made and administered by representatives elected by the people.
4. What is a vote?
An expression of the will or preference in elections or in deciding propositions. This expression may be given by holding up the hand, by rising and standing up, by the voice, by ballot, by a ticket, or otherwise. 5. What is a ballot:
It is a ball used in voting. Ballots are of different colors, those of one color give an affirmative and those of another a negative. A written or printed ticket is also called a ballot. 6. When does a ballot become a vote?
When deposited with the proper officer, 7. Do the people of the United States vote directly for President and Vice President?
They do not. 8. Who vote for President and Vice President?
The Presidential Electors. 9. Who are the Presidential Electors ?
Persons duly chosen by each State to be electors of the President and Vice President. 10. Who nominate the electors ?
They are usually nominated by a convention of delegates from each town and ward in a State. 11. When are they nominated ?
Each political party has what is called a State Central Committee, the Chairman of which in due time requests the voters in each town and ward in sympathy with the party represented, to meet in primary meetings and appoint the proper number of delegates to meet in convention at a specified time and place, there to transact such business as may come before them-such as nominating State officers, Presidential Electors, &c. The Electors are usually put in nomination several weeks before they are voted for. Of course each voter is at liberty to make up his own ticket on election day, or when he pleases. 12. When are the electors voted for ?
On the Tuesday next succeeding the first Monday in November, four years from the last election. 13. Who vote for the Electors ?
All persons qualified to vote for general State officers. 14. Who are the general State officers ?
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Attorney General. 15. How many sets of Electors were recently nominated in Rhode Island ?
Two; the National Union party nominated one set, and the Democratic party another. 16. How many electoral tickets were recently run in the loyal States ?
Two. 17. How many were run four years ago ?
Four. 18. Why did not all the Southern States participate in the recent election?
Because they were in rebellion against the United States Government. 19. Is there any chance of a failure to elect the Electors in any State ?
There is, by means of the votes being equally divided among the candidates or otherwise.