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NDUSTRIAL TRAINING FOR GIRLS, WITH PRACTICAL LESSONS IN HOUSEHOLD-ECONOMIES, AS TAUGHT IN GERMANY.
[By J. Fred. Myers, Washington, D. C.) A Russian publicist of intelligence and high standing, who had devoted many years [bis life to projects of reform in his pative land, (all of which had been unsuccessful,) pally discovered that the real mission of a philanthropist in that empire lay in the Atroduction of a more liberal and thorough system of education among the masses, nd his chief regret seemed to be that he had made this discovery too late in life to ike full advantage of the knowledge so dearly purchased. Not Russia alone, but all European nations are agitating this vital question, because either civil nor political institutions can progress faster than the educational system f the nation will bear. It is, tberefore, unquestionably one of the most assuring ymptoms of the prosperity of mapkind in the future, that there are in the present ra so many distinguished and philosophic minds engaged in the field of educational aquiry. Educational literature, already large, is annually increasing by the acquisiion of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. In addition to this, the local press of the Toited States very generally gives a column each week to the discussion and advanceient of educational interests. Yet, notwithstanding these increasing activities, the all impo:tance of the subject is rarely comprehended, for the safety of the republic nd the 100ndation of order, as well as the solution of the intricate problems of social cience and of political and domestic economy, are dependent thereon. Education is onceded to be, iy even the bitterest opponents to its introduction among the masses, he supporting pillar of all political and religious institutions. Though much has een written, educational science is still in its infancy, and the discussion of its methds has pot exhausted the theme. In fact, the science of education is so extended in ts scope, that, as an astrononer can only observe an infinitesimal part of the horizon at de time, so a thorongh view of the educational field can only be obtained by sepaate discussions of its various pbases; and it is only a portion of one of these we are bout to bring under examir ation.
In a recent tour through Europe, our attention was particularly directed to the quesion wbether a special training for female pupils in our public schools would be of adFantage. We waive that branch of the inquiry which would discuss the propriety or he desirability of educating both sexes (subsequently to the age of 14 years) in separate apartments. Whether the sexes are trained in separate apartments or together, t is evident the general course of life and future destiny of the average man and voman are radically different. Exct ptions there are; for women are sometimes found illiug creditably the places of men. "Some have already graduated from universities, vith honor, as doctors of medicine, as ininisters of the g spel, and as lawyers and proessors. Tre masses of women, however, cannot, any more than the masses of men, become members of the learned professions, but will have to engage in manual labor and business-pursuits. To all who choose to become, and are capable of becoming, graduates of upiversities, the doors of such institutions should be open; and the quesion on entering and graduating should not be What is the sex of the scholar? but What are the mental attainments ?
SPECIAL TRAINING AS TEACHERS. One of the curious blunders which so many writers make when comparing the sexes s that they compare the best woman with the average man, instead of comparing the Dest with the best or the average with the average. The destiny of the average woman is to become, in the capacity of wife, mother, or daughter, the superintendent of the housebold; nor does it matter, in principle, whether this involves the doing of household-work with her own hands or through the agency of servants. Upon the average woman also devolve the education and training of children, the households vhere the father takes the charge of the education of the children being exceedingly care. Thus, if education means the development of the mental and moral powers of
he individual to their utmost usefulness in life, girls ought to be so taught as to enable Ebem to manage the children of the household success ully and secure both the affocEion and obedience of the little ones intrusted to their care. If this is correct, it follows that in all our higher educational institutions, such as, for instance, our union- or high schools, and in our academies, special instruction should be given upon these Copics, and the advanced female pupils should be detailed as teachers to the primary Ecbools, under the guardianship of the regular teachers, so that they may bave some experience in tbe practical management of children.
In Germany the Kindergarten-schools are considered invaluable aids for this purpose; so much so that princesses and ladies of the highest nobility engage in them as amateur teachers, for the chief purpose of learning how to obtain control over their own children; for these ladies realize, more fully than those wbo are born in the ordinary walks of life, what a delicate and responsible task it is so to fortify children in character that they may be able to resist the innumerable temptations which high station and riches always bring. Instruction in the art of teaching and controlling children will, therefore, be of great advantage, not merely to women who expect to become professional teachers, (and a very large number in the United States teach for a greater or less period,) but to all, in enabling them to become successful instructors and controllers of their own children, in case the future should bring with it these blessings.
FEMALE-HANDIWORK. The average woman is placed in a position where a thorough knowledge of needlework will be a source of comfort when presiding over the family.
In the common schools of Germany two afternoons in each week are set apart for the instruction of girls, by a competent person, in the art of sewing, the pupils beginning, as early as 6 years of age, with sewing through paper. They are also taught to knit, each child furnishing its own material and keeping the product of its labor. When they have learned to hem, the next step is mending. Neat mending will be found to require much greater care and skill than is generally supposed, and much wearingapparel is thrown aside because the owner does not possess the necessary knowledge to mend it in a skillful manner. From plain sewing, mending, and knitting, the pupil advances to fine needle-work,tatting, and crocheting. Some of the tapestry-work of the older pupils is often so beautiful in design and so artistic in execution as to challenge general admiration. We saw some of this work at the Vienna Exposition, in the femalebandiwork-departruent, which fell short only of the master-works of the Middle Ages in flexibility and expression.
The average woman becomes the wife of the mechanic and the working man, and a complete knowledge of sewing is to her a great source of comfort as well as of profit, and enables the family to save a sufficient amount to secure a home and protection against poverty when age, with its incidental weaknesses, draws nigh. Therefore, as our common schools are intended more especially for the average children of our country, the teaching of the art of needle-work, which might also be extended to learning the use of the sewing machine, ought not to be neglected. At present our girls are either compelled to pick up a knowledge of this useful art by piecemeal or become apprentices to some dress-maker or milliner, which, for various reasons, is rarely practicable. Instruction in needle-work in the school would encourage economy and industry and become a solid benefit to many households. The higher branches of artistic needlework would, as they have in centuries gone by, afford pleasant occupation to the wealthy classes, who are suffering from ennui.
Since nearly all the teachers of female pupils in our common schools are ladies, it seems to us that it would increase the interest of both teachers and pupils if two halfdays were set apart for instruction in sewing, mending, and knitting. It certainly would be popular with parents, who would quickly perceive the advantage which the product of the labor and the increased diligence and skill of the children would bring to the household.
DOMESTIC ECONOMY TAUGHT AS A SCIENCE. Another most important and useful branch of instruction is the delivery of lectureconversations upon the science of domestic economy. We are witness to-day to events where men, supposed to be worth millions of dollars, are stricken with bankruptcy as with the palsy, and reduced to poverty; and the evil results of such a calamity are often needlessly increased by an utter ignorance on the part of wives and daughters of the purchasing value of money and its uses as applied to household-affairs.
We were present in the Köhler Kindergarten, at Gotha, at several of these interesting lectures, in which the professor discussed with his pupils every phase of domestic economy; and for the purpose of affording to American teachers the opportunity of fathoming its scope and simply as an illustration of method, and not for the absolate value of the suggestions, we shall quote the lectures in detail.
"Young ladies," says the professor, “ suppose that you had to keep house, either as a wife or as a daughter, and that the family consisted of two grown members and three children, and that the income was $1,200 a year, how would you spend it to the greatest advantage and comfort i If you had to reside in a rented dwelling, what kind of a house could you afford to lease? What proportion of this $1,200, id justice to all other necessities and requirements, should be expended for rent? What number of rooms are essential ? Would a garden be an advantage; and, if so, how large 1 Wbat are the prices of house-rent in the city of Gotha "
This field of inquiry seemed to be entirely new, and few pupils were prepared to answer. The professor then said: “Make inquiries ; let us know how many rooins a family so circumstanced could affird, so as not to intrench too largely upon other necessary expenditures."
The next inquiry of importance is the question of nourishment. The professor said: “ Ladies, for to-day's dinner," many of the pupils being boarders, “' as you know, we bad rice-soup, beef, and vegetables for the first course, sausage and potatoes for the second, and pudding for dessert ; can you tell me what was the cost of that dinner per person ?" They could not. “What is the price of beef; wbat is the price of potatoes ?” They did not know. “For to day I will exeuse you; but wben we take up this subject again you must be better informed. Inquire of your mothers or friends, for it is of importance to you to know the value of the necessaries of life.”
Coming back to the initial point, the annual income, the conversational lecture involved a thorough sifting of the details. Its chief value lay in its minute examination, so that every pupil could make either an additional inquiry or relevant suggestion. After a thorough canvass of the house-rent-qnestion, the conclusion was reached that 1 family, with the income specified, could afford $150 per annum for house-rent in that city. In other words, after surveying the whole field, the conclusion was reached that $150 house-rent would be a proper proportion of the whole expenditure and that any considerable increase of expenditure in that direction would tend to diminish the comfort of the family in matters equally essential.
The discussions of the question of proper nourishment and its relations to price, health, and comfort were continued through a number of sessions. Not merely were the prices brought forward, but the questions What kinds of food contain the most nourishment? How to secure a reasonable variety consistently with economy, and How various dishes can be prepared and waste prevented were treated in the same suggestive and familiar mapper. In fact, these conversations were so genial, and witbal so dignified, so pleasant, and, for girls, so interesting, tbat the pupils looked forward to them with anticipations of both pleasure and profit. Questions were submitted by pupils, and the zest with which the discussion was followed up showed that not merely was the topic in itself congenial, but that they appreciated its important relations to their future welfare. After a final and exhaustive review, it was determined that, with the existing prices of food in the city of Gotha, a family with the income stated could afford to spend $300 a year for food.
The next great question was the one of clothing. How shall we be clothed? The consideration of What are the chief requisites for clothing? brought out a number of answers. The first one-Germany being a cold country--was, quite naturally, that it should afford the requisite warmth and protection in winter. This was followed by the suggestions that it should be suited to the seasons; that it should be handsome in appearance; unchangeable in color ; of firm and durable texture. The wearing-apparel of the grown members of the household was first considered, and the cost of silk, woolen, linen, cotton, broadcloth, and cassimere was discussed. The relations of colors to each other and their correspondence with the complexion of the wearer were also discussed, and in this field the ladies were able to contribute many interesting observations.
It was finally concluded, after a number of conversations, carried on twice a week, that $300 per year would clothe the family in a neat and respectable manner. Incidentally the question of making over garments was brought up, and, strange as it may seem to us, that part of the question which treated of the limits to which remaking and turning can be carried with advantage, was bronght prominently forward, for in that country careful women often go the extreme of repairing and making over garments when they no longer pay for the labor expended on them.
One feature upon which the professor dwelt most emphatically was the ever-recurring incidental or extraordinary expenses of the family ; and this is a matter of importance to both sexes and to all classes. The breaking of a pitcher does not happen every day, but in the aggregate there is an ever-recurring wear and tear of furniture and bousehold-goods, which, as these articles must be replaced at irregular periods, constitute what are called incidental or extraordinary expenses, thourh they are as truly ordinary expenses as any others. The keeping in repair of furnirure and other bousehold-necessaries requires an average expenditure of $100 per annum, and $50 more may well be kept in reserve to meet the demands for literary and religious expenditures and to provide for sickness, family-presents, amusements, &c. In a growing family $50 must be set apart for educational purposes, and the father may be considered an economic man if $50 suffices for his incidental expenses, particularly ifas is the case with most Germans-he is addicted to the use of wine and tobacco. Fifty dollars are also needed for fuel, the economic use of which and the various kinds to be used formed an interesting and profitable topic. Finally the expenditures foot op as follows:
300 For special expenditures..... For extraordinary expenditures.. Fur education......
For Ci01 DIDI .............................................
or 100 ..........................................
This leaves about $150 as a savings-fund, and is as little as ought to be saved in times of prosperity; for as children grow larger, and it way be desirable to send a son to the university, and as the family may increase and times may cbange, no man ought to spend regularly a larger portion of his income than is here set forth.
But many men in Germany bave not au income of $1,200. The great majority must live on $800, and even less. Let us, then, consider the question bow a similar fainily can live on $800, ramain out of debt, and be comfortable and respectable. The first question is, “Where can we retrench P” We must at once cut down the rent to 6.0 per annum. We must retrench in the article of food, but the reduction here must not be too great, because a certain amount and quality are absolutely necessary to keep the family in good working condition. It will cost is $250, at least. Then, we must dress plainly; we must use simple, strong woolen goods. This will enable us io reduce this expenditure to $180. Thus all the household-expenses are revised, and, while re-enforcing previous lessons, these new discussions give to them a pleasant variety. These careful and well-digested reviews of the various phases of domestic economy are exceedingly attractive to the pupils, in part, doubtless, because they can ventilate the theories—which nearly every young woman cherishes in her heart-of domestic life.
In this manner a young woman becomes so thoroughly acquainted with the demands and details of domestic economy that she has well-defined ideas, based upon reality and reflection. Far fronı encouraging the husband or father-the purchasing power of whose income she knows-in extravagance, or in the waste of money in some particular direction, to the diminution of oiber necessary comforts, she will be prepared to resist temptation berself and to give sufficient reasons why the income should not be misdirected. Instead of looking upon marriage as a New Jerusalem, where troubles cannot intrude, she is prepared to bear ber share of its great responsibilities and to assume a portion of its ever-increasing cares. Thus the woman becomes selfpoised, firm in character, ready to adapt herself to the varying cbanges of fortune and to meet with courage the vicissitudes of life. Her children wül also be taught that frugality and economy, with the careful use of clothing and household-goods, furnish the only sure way to prosperity.
Is not the average woman, when thus thoroughly equipped with a large store of practical information, better titted to be a successful wife and mother than it her time had been taken up exclusively with the study of geometry and botauy? Will she not be prepared to avoid the dangers of the bankruptcy of her husband and the terrible and barrowing course of “keeping up appearances," in which every comfort is sacriticed to the supposed requirements of social position !
We all know that the happiness of married life is worn out by the ever-recurring annoyances of little things. “Empty pots are filled with contention " is a proverb, in substance, of many nations, and the divorce-courts are often called in as a last resortand a most terrible one they are-when the struggle between impecuniosity on tbe one hand and desires for extravagant expenditure on the other have turned the love of early days into gall and wormwood.
In view of these facts, so common that they must have come under the observation of all, it is to be hoped that these features of special female-education will receive full and fair discussion, so that these new studies, with such modifications as experience shall suggest, may be introduced into our high schools and academies for advanced female pupils.
We are the more certain that these methods are deserving of recognition and adoption because the schools of the city of Gotha enjoy a high reputation upon the continent. The seminary for the educatiou of male teachers and the common schools, under the zealous care of School-Director Dr. Möbius, and the Kindergarten-seminary, under Dr. Köhler, have earned so great a reputation that pupils from Greece, Russia, Hungary, and England, in increasing numbers, are being matriculated. This reputation for thorough and useful training is, moreover, based upon an unselfish devotion and a love for the cause as rare as it is delightful.