Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Florence Nightingale's pre-CM education

Perhaps Miss Nightingale's opinion of copywork was why Miss Charlotte Mason wanted one line, done perfectly!

“Victorian children had copybooks in which hackneyed, improving phrases … had to be copied over and over again. Assigned this laborious and boring task by Miss Christie [her governess], Florence got to the letter ‘T’ and then wrote, Stupid Copybook. The use of this copy I never could see and I do not like it, I never wish to write it and I never will if I can help it’” [p. 94-95]

“Each day Parthe [sister] and Flo were supposed to find some object to draw—a flower, a vase—and to practice the piano for at least one-half hour. They always had some piece of needlework to do, and they were encouraged to hand-make gifts….There were chapters of the Bible to read, poems to learn by heart and on Sunday …[they were expected to] take notes on the Sermon and write out a summary when they returned home….Reading was of course important, but for information and spiritual inspiration, not for fun. [Her Mother] disliked ‘story books’ and exercised tight control over what the girls were reading.” [p. 95]

“In [her Mother’s] eyes, physical exercise was more important than lessons and second only to praying and Bible reading….She insisted that they take at least two good walks a day, rain or shine and do daily calisthenic exercises inside.

Thankfully for Florence and her sister, her Father took the radical [nearly unheard of] step of overseeing his daughters' education after this!

Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale by Gillian Gill


Jeanne said...

Fascinating stuff!

I often wonder what children raised on a homeschool diet of Christian workbooks - Abeca or Rod and Staff, I think - feel about their education. Do they resent the fact that Christianity is forced down their necks?

There is plenty of Christian content in Jemimah's education, but not to the exclusion of other things.

Hopewell said...

I'd say most kids like that don't know any different. We've used Rod & Staff math [not doing all the problems on the page]their outstanding English program and their grade 5--8 [had we stayed homeschoolers] Bible program. Used in a CM manner [I wrote a post on this] they are outstanding.We did the English orally. The Abeka things have gotten better over the years, but are not my choice--too heavy handed with the Bible. R&S is a Mennonite work and doesn't pander--it's directed at the Mennonite children. I know a secular family who used these for their excellence and just made up goofy names to replace the religious ones in story problems!! Susan Wise Bauers "Well Trained Mind" recommends the English and maybe the math. Not meaning to sound "snippy' just trying to explain! In another post [the Perfect Madness one] I wrote about the desire to just TRY secular materials for a change of pace and to get away from the Bible for a little!!! :)