« PreviousContinue »
We learn from the Report that there are over 3000 volumes in the Society's library, besides a large and valuable collection of letters, pamphlets, and newspa. pers. There are also in the library
thirty-six oil paintings, mostly of distinguished pioneers.
The Society was incorporated in 1849, but had done little up to 1854, at which time it was re-organized.
The present flourishing condition is the result of the indefatigable labors of the Secretary, Lyman C. Draper, who, possessed of the peculiar qualities requisite for the work, has devoted several years to researches into the early bistory of the West, and he intends hereafter to preserve the fruits of his investigations in the shape of biographies of those adventurous men whose enterprise and achievements have resulted in giving to us the noble heritage we now enjoy.
Rays's Higher Arithmetic. The Principles of Arithmetic, Analyzed and Practical
ly Applied, for advanced Students. By Joseph Ray, M.D., late Professor of Mathematics in Woodward College. Edited by Chas. E. Mathews, M.A. Publishers: Cincinnatti, Winthrop B. Smith & Co: New York, Clark, Austin, & Smith.
We like this book very much. The principles involved in pure arithmetic are clearly analyzed, and their applications in Interest, Insurance, Commission, and Percentage, generally fully illustrated. There is a section devoted to Accounts Current, another to Storage Accounts, and the subject of Annuities is treated at length. The work will take a high rank as a text-book for advanced classes in our schools.
First Book of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy. By William A. Norton, M.A.,
Professor of Civil Engineering in Yale College, and author of a Treatise on Astronomy. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 51 and 53 John Street, 1858,
The subject of Natural Philosophy has hitherto received but little attention in our common schools, and, as a consequence, our people are, as a mass, almost entirely ignorant of the nature and causes of the various phenomena daily presented to their view in the physical world. It is believed by many teachers that young children ought not to attempt the study of Natural Philosophy, on account of the difficulty of understanding its principles, but we think that it is no more difficult than geography, and should the teacher thoroughly understand the subject, and provide himself with some simple apparatus to illustrate it, he will not complain of a want of interest on the part of his pupils. The boy who broke open his father's watch in order to find what caused its motions, was old enough to learn the first principle of Natural Philosophy.
The fact is, our children spend from six to a dozen years in the common school to learn a little of reading, a little arithmetic, geography, and grammar, as theories merely, and then their education finished, they go out into the world, knowing nothing scarcely, and capable of appreciating but little of the beauty and glory of nature, or the wisdom and skill and power of the great Creator. And good men wonder that we are a careless and skeptical people, doubting the goodness, and sometimes even the existence of our Heavenly Father; forgetting that we have never learned to read the record written with His own finger in the great book of nature, which, on account of our ignorance, is to us almost a sealed book.
Believing that a more intimate acquaintance with the works of nature would beget greater love and reverence for the Creator, we hail with gladness every movement calculated to popularize and introduce the study of natural science into our common schools. Mr. Norton's little book seems admirably adapted to interest and instruct the youthful mind, and we trust it may meet with a favorable reception at the hands of our teachers.
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY is a decided success, and has made its way, in three short months, to the homes and hearts of our people.
We have made arrangements with the publishers, Messrs. Phillips, Sampson & Co., by which we can furnish this sterling Magazine to our subscribers. in connection with the Journal of Education, for $2,50 a year. Those subscribers whose names are now upon our books, can have the Magazine by sending us $2,50, and new subscribers, by sending us $3,50 will be entitled to the Magazine and the Journal. This also applies to subscribers at club rates. The price of a single copy of the Atlantic is $3 a year, so that by subscribing through this office, you get the Journal of Education for 50 cents. Send in your names, friends, at once, and be eareful to give the name of your post office and county very distinctly.
We have received several Reports, Pamphlets, etc., which we shall be obliged to defer noticing till next month, for want of room.
Office of Supt:"of Public Instruction,
Madison, February 1st, 1858.
TO TOWN SUPERINTENDENTS,
You will confer a favor on this Departm 3nt by returning to the Office of the Wisconsin Journal of Education, the names of the District Clerks elected in your several towns at the Annual Meeting in September last.
Each District Clerk is entitled to a copy of the Journal of Education, and in or. der to insure its regular receipt by those officers, it is necessary that the publishers of the Journal should have a complete list of their names and post office address.
LYMAN C DRAPER,
Supt. of Pubic Instruction.
THOSE of our readers who have perused (the excellent series of articles now being published in the Journal, “On the Value of a Good SchoolHouse,” are prepared to consider some suggestions concerning things essential in the location and construction of that most important feature of our educational system.
We propose to devote a few pages in this, and succeeding Numbers of the Journal, to the presentation of some thoughts, or conclusions, the result of several years experience inside of that unique structure, the country school-house.
In the first place, when a school-house is to be built, it must be located, it must have the ground to stand on, and this is usually the most difficult point to settle, the largest “bone of contention" over which the inbabitants of a district are wont to snarl and quarrel; and in many instances the erection of a school-house, of which the people were in great need, has been postponed from year to year, simply because the site for the same could not be agreed on. It must be located exactly in the geographical center of the district, no matter what the quality of the soil or the shape of the surface may be, as Jones would think himself false to Democratic principles and lacking in independence, if he should vote to locate the school-house twenty rods nearer to Brown's residence than to his own.'
Now, while a central location is of itself a good thing, it is not the most important point to be considered in relation to a building in which shall be congregated the children of the district from year to year, during the most impressible portion of their lives.
The first aim should be to select a healthy location, for no combination of advantages in other respects can compensate for the absence of this; and the house should be built at any point, no matter how far distant from the center, or the district should be disorganized and attached to those which gurround it, rather than expose the children every time they step outside the school-room to the poisonous miasma arising from marshes and low lands in the summer, or the piercing blasts and severe cold of an elevated situation in the winter. Neither should a school-house be built on a level arid waste, where the scorching rays of the sun pour down continuously during the long summer days, drying up vegetation, burning the life out of the atmosphere, and enervating the body and mind of teacher and pupils, but on a gentle eminence, sufficiently elevated to be always free from standing water, and protected, if possible, from winter's winds by a ridge of land or a grove of timber.
Having selected the spot for a site, the next thing in order is to determine its size, and this is the second point at which mistakes are usually made, though there is not generally as much contention about the size as about the locality of the site, all agreeing in providing the smallest one that will at all answer the purpose. In many instances the front of the house is set even with the road fence, leaving no yard except that furnished by the street; in others the fence curves beautifully around the rear of the house, leaving space enough for teams to pass, and an area at the sides on which to pile the firewood, and serving as a place of deposit for ashes, litter, etc.
Notwithstanding the interest felt in the subject of education, and the improvements which have been made in the construction of school-houses, actual examination of a large portion of the State, has convinced me that not one school-house in a hundred has a yard of suitable size and properly enclosed, and this is true of sections of country in which land is not worth more than ten dollars per acre.
Now, that every school-house should have an enclosed yard, is evident from the following considerations: First, as a matter of economy. The house and appartenances are always more liable to damage from accidents, and trespasses on the part of animals, rude boys and uncivilized men, when standing open to the street, than when surrounded by a good fence.
Second, on the score of neatness. A yard or area to which hogs and horned animals have access at their pleasure, is not a fit place for young children to sport and play in, and it is impossible for the teacher to exert a proper influence upon his or her scholars in regard to cleanliness, and the personal habits connected with it, so long as the school-house is situated in the highway, and surrounded by the filth which usually accumulates under such circumstances.
Third, papils shodia have sufficient room for exercise and amusement without using the highway for that purpose, not only because they are liable to injury from passing teams, and often frighten skittish horses, caus. ing their drivers annoyance and trouble, but because of the influence the
unrestricted use of the highway will have upon their future characters and lives.
Habits of lawless self-indulgence and disregard of others rights are the legitimate results of lessons learned in the street, and all who realize the truth of the saying, that “the child is father to the man,” will see in unfenced school-houses, cemeteries, and the like, a cause for the prevalence of the idea which regards the public as an outlaw, whom all are at liberty to hunt and plunder.
Every country school-house should have a yard containing at least one acre of land, and should be so arranged as to afford a separate play-ground for each sex.
The above cut represents such a yard, drawn on a scale of four rods to an inch; size, ten by sixteen rods; the səhool-house in the center, lengthwise, and some what nearer the front than the rear. At the rear of the lot the outhouses are: situated, the wood-house in the center, and the privies on each side. The object in placing the wood-house in the rear is to divide the privies (those for the different sexes should never be contiguous), and to save expense by having the outhouses all under one roof,
The play-grounds should be separated by a high, tight board-fence, extending from the rear of the school-house to the outhouses, and there should be double gates and entrances to the yard from the street, from which walks should lead to the school-house doors, and be separated by a neat and substantial paling. There should be a large gate near one corner of the yard in front, for teams to enter with wood and other necessaries for the school. The well may be immediately in the rear of the house in the boy's play-ground. A plan and description of the schoolhouse will be given in the next Number of the Journal.