Not having received the tables of our law, we fall back upon Froebel or upon Herbart; or, if we belong to another School, upon Locke or Spencer; but we are not satisfied. is upon us; and assuredly we should hail a workable, effectual philosophy of education as a deliverance from much perplexity.Before this great deliverance comes to us it is probable that many tentative efforts will be put forth, having more or less of the characters of a philosophy; notably, having a central idea, a body of thought with various members working in vital harmony.
And the path indicated by the law is continuous and progressive, with no transition stage from the cradle to the grave, except that maturity takes up the regular self-direction to which immaturity has been trained.
We shall doubtless find, when we apprehend the law, that certain German thinkers––Kant, Herbart, Lotze, Froebel––are justified; that, as they say, it is 'necessary' to believe in God; that, therefore, the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and the chief end of education.
(This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as diversion, whose office it is to ease us for a time from will effort, that we may 'will' again with added power.
The use of suggestion––even self-suggestion––as an aid to the will, is to be deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character.
But we have no unifying principle, no definite aim; in fact, no philosophy of education.
As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the' fallings from us, vanishings,' failures, and disappointments which mark our educational records.But, believing that the normal child has powers of mind that fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, we must give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care, only, that the knowledge offered to him is vital––that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas.Out of this conception comes the principle that,–– 13.books; for we know that our business is, not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of–– 'Those first-born affinities That fit our new existence to existing things.' 14.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. The Way of the Will.––Children should be taught–– (a) To distinguish between' I want' and 'I will.' (b) That the way to will effectively is to turn our thoughts from that which we desire but do not will.Those of us, who have spent many years in pursuing the benign and elusive vision of Education, perceive that her approaches are regulated by a law, and that this law has yet to be evoked. We know that it is pervasive; there is no part of a child's home-life or school-work which the law does not penetrate.