The Book of Women's Rights.




English translation copyrighted 2nd April 2023.









We are agreed, Madam, that private education is always defective, because the child, not living in the society of his equals, does not get used to social life, and he becomes impregnated with all family prejudices.

We are also agreed that the function of educator, requiring special faculties, cannot be fulfilled by all fathers and all mothers; which again leads to the necessity of collective education.

You say you want to find a model house and you ask me for my advice. I will gladly give them to you, but you will try to understand me half-words; for I can only give you very general indications here.

We will define Education: as the art of developing the human being with a view to his particular destiny brought into harmony with the collective destiny of our species.

You and your collaborators must therefore have formed for yourselves the Ideal of this destiny, and have complete faith in it.

Furthermore, you and your collaborators must know human nature in general, and have a clear idea of ​​that of each of your students.

Finally, you must have a good method, a rational method of direction.

Among the definitions that have been given of our nature are these:

Man is a compound of spirit and matter;

Man is an intelligence served by organs;

Man is sensations feeling knowledge;

Man is organized freedom.

But neither you nor I know what matter is, what spirit or soul is, where one ends where the other begins; these definitions, even true, can be of no use to us.

The third is incomplete since it neglects free will, the educator's best weapon.

The fourth, which is by P. J. Proudhon, would sufficiently flatter our inclinations; but we are indeed obliged to tell ourselves that it is not exact, since part of our life passes in the fatality of instinct.

You remember that we defined the human being: as a set of faculties destined to harmonize through freedom under the presidency of Reason; but this definition needs to be developed by the educator; that is to say, he must be well acquainted with our various groups of faculties, the age of their preponderance, their antagonism, etc.

He must consider each of us as a living synthesis, where organ and function are inseparably united; so dependent on each other, that one cannot oppress, exalt one, without oppressing, exalting the other; that in a word, any manifestation of what is called the soul is revealed as a function of a part of our body, consequently that to cultivate the body is to cultivate the soul and vice versa.

This of course, you must always bear in mind that life is not a being in itself, that it is the product of a relation: thus there would be no vegetative life in the brain, if this organ was only excited by the presence of the blood, if it was not put in contact, in relation to it; there would be no images in the brain, if it were not put in relation, by the senses, with the bodies which occasion them, any more than there would be life in the stomach, was not related to the bolus of food.

From these observations, you must conclude that it suffices, in order to develop an organ and make it strong and alive, to expose it, in a just measure and gradually, to the action of its own stimulants: that every organ grows vitally by the struggle and withers with rest.

Sustained exercise of any organ, besides developing it, makes it stronger, more alive, and produces habit. The habit which, as you know, profoundly modifies our being, imprints on us a particular stamp, makes us indifferent, agreeable, even necessary, impressions and things at first disagreeable or harmful; makes easy for us what we thought impossible; makes us, in a word, a second nature, transmitted by generation.

All these physiological laws are your weapons: it is up to you to know how to use them properly.

There are two domains within us: instinct and free will: the first, which is the most extensive, includes our simple and involuntary impulses.

These impulses are blind and are divided into several groups: those who are the first awakened relate to the preservation of themselves: the child is an organized egoism. Next comes the group of social impulses which connect us to our fellow men; then the conservative impulses of the species which awaken in youth, and enter into conflict with the social faculties.

Along with these groups which relate to our individual conservation, to that of the species and of society, there are others that put us in contact with nature in order to know it and modify it: such is the intellectual faculties, scientific, artistic, industrial, the tendency towards the ideal, etc.

All these impulses have as minister the will, which we must be careful not to confuse with free will, or faculty to choose, between two contemporary encouragements, that which we will obey by preference.

A division and a philosophical analysis of our faculties, of the influence which each of them exercises on all the others, could not find a place in these general indications; we will only say that you must give great strength, by continual exercise, to the social instincts and to Reason which judges the truth of relations, so that the selfish faculties and those of the conservation of the species remain within their legitimate limits. : because they are naturally more numerous and stronger than those which connect us to our fellow human beings.

In the ideal which should have the faith of your pupils, humanity is its own work: what good it has produced and will produce is and will be the result of the development of its faculties, of the triumph of its will, of its Reason, of his freedom over natural fatalities. Such an ideal obliges you, not only to cultivate the Reason of your pupils but also to respect in them the freedom, the will, the instinct of struggle: persuading you well that beings of weak will are only good to carry irons and cannot be virtuous.

To respect oneself and, consequently, to respect others, one must feel free and worthy; therefore you must not lessen in your pupils the feeling of their worth and their dignity.

All our progress is due to the cultivation of our intelligence, our Reason, and our Sensibility, your care must tend to develop them in your pupils; to accustom them to believe nothing that contradicts science; for all would be lost if you placed the contradiction in them.

The regularity and correctness of our functions depend on the good condition of our organs, you must take all means to ensure that the health of your pupils is solid and vigorous. Weak health makes as many slaves as want of will or dignity, or the predominance of selfish instincts.

So here we are already a long way from the old method since you must neither humiliate nor strike your pupils, nor break their will, nor order them to believe, nor punish them by harming their health, nor tolerate their submission to evil. physical or moral that they can prevent.

Having said these generalities, let us dwell on physical education.




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Education begins from the cradle; I, therefore, advise you to have an annexed preparatory establishment for children from six months to five years. You would have them directed and supervised by young girls previously instructed in the slightly modified Froebel method.

Far from removing these young children from the influence of cold, heat, etc., accustom them gradually to submit to them, especially the first.

Every day, unless there are contraindications that can only be temporary, the child must take a bath in cold water for a few minutes, then be walked outside when it is not raining.

It should never be held in a room heated by a stove.

As soon as he can sit up, you will have him put on a blanket and let him roll over, trying his strengths.

You will recommend to mothers to abstain from swaddling their children; to take care to leave their limbs and chest free, their heads bare or very lightly covered; to turn their little bed so that they have the light directly opposite if it is not very bright, and directly opposite if it is very bright, in order to avoid strabismus, eye fatigue or their difference in strength; you will also recommend that they sleep longer on the left side than on the right because the very young child has a very developed liver.

When the child walks alone, you will prescribe that he be allowed to take all the movement he pleases, subjecting him, by imitation, to certain regulated movements, in order to develop and equalize the strength of his muscles., and to prepare him for serious gymnastics to which you will subject all your pupils from five to sixteen or seventeen years of age.

To gymnastic exercises, you will add swimming and walks to which you will always give a useful aim.

However young a child may be, never give in to her whims and demands: remember that a child is only strong from the weakness of those around her: she neither cries nor cries on credit. However, let your resistance be calm; do not scold, do not raise your voice, do not try to intimidate the child: he must yield to necessity or to reason, not to fear which weakens the soul.

Let's say a few words about the diet. The young mothers who will bring their children to your annex house will often ask you for advice on this point: tell them that every mother must feed her child unless it is found that she is too weak or suffering from an organic; that after the mother's milk, the most suitable is that of another woman of approximately the same age, the same complexion, the same color of eyes and hair; but, that in general, if they are not very sure of the wet nurse, it is better to raise the child with the bottle: the best milk for this use would be that of the mare; but as it is difficult to obtain it, it is necessary to have that of the same cow: goat's milk makes the children lively, capricious, mobile: it must be avoided. Little by little, one adds to this food panada made with the crust of bread dried out in the oven. In general, the diet should be adjusted to teething: the more difficult and later it is, the less substantial the food should be, and the longer breastfeeding should be.

When the child eats alone, since it is necessary to avoid the predominance of the nutritive instinct which leads to selfishness and prevents the cultivation of a lofty ideal, the food must be simple: milk, eggs, vegetables, cooked or very ripe fruit and bread at will: this must be the basis of the child's diet; the meat must be given in very small quantities and always well cooked: a diet of almost raw meats makes one hard and arrogant. Above all, I recommend that you avoid tea, coffee, liqueurs, spices, and pure wine for your pupils. Remember that stimulants are often the seed of terrible habits that kill childhood. You will also carefully avoid sweets and pastries that spoil the stomach, and you will never promise these things as a reward, any more than you will give dry bread as a punishment. Your children are human beings whom you must lead by honor not by the nerve buds of the tongue.

Let us return to moral qualities.




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The child is naturally a thief because he is selfish, and does not understand Justice;

He is naturally a liar because he knows what displeases, and wants to do it to be satisfied, but does not want to be scolded and punished;

He is naturally angry because he loves himself, and is irritated when people resist what pleases him;

Weak he is cunning, strong he strikes mercilessly; he is rarely generous because he feels only himself;

In general, he is very tender towards evil and laments the slightest thing;

Depending on his degree of strength, he is a tyrant or cowardly and devious.

But he has a lively imagination, a good memory, an inexhaustible treasure of faith, an admirable logic, the instinct of imitation, and the divination of the feelings felt for him by those around him.

Prohibit, under pain of immediate dismissal, your collaborators, and your servants from telling your students tales of wizards, ghosts, werewolves, and bogeymen: it would be better for them to make a thousand mistakes than to be held back. to make one out of fear of one of these absurdities; that fairy tales never find access to your house: that falsifies the mind: that nothing enters the thoughts of your pupils which cannot remain there; never deceive them: if it is not possible to satisfy a question, it is better to tell them that they are in no condition to understand the answer.

Your children being observers and imitators, will ensure that nothing they see and hear can be imitated: your examples will always be worth more than lessons.

Act in such a way that your children feel that you Love them so that they Love you and have full confidence in you; but while they are convinced of your Reason and your firmness.

Above all, remember that when they are young, you will only correct them by appealing to their selfishness.

To those who are thieves, no morality; take their favorite thing. When they complain about it, just tell them: why did you do to your partner what you're sorry they did to you? Give back what you took and tell the one you wronged: I'm sorry to have done to you, what I wouldn't want you to do to me. If you do it again, you will be ashamed to stay at home, while your companions come with me for a walk to learn about such and such a thing: the thief deserves to be ignorant.

To those who are liars, no morality; look serious; and when they tell you something: I don't know if it's true, will you answer; how do you expect me to believe someone who was cowardly enough not to tell the truth? The liar will bear witness to shame and grief, will promise you never to do it again: then come back to her frankly and speak to her again of her fault only to tell her: you had not thought that lying accuses of fear, that fear is cowardice, that you should not lie to others, because you would not want them to lie to you; I'm sure now that you've thought it over, you won't do that nasty thing.

If your pupil is angry and hits, demand that the person hit give it back so that he knows what it is; then lock her in a room without saying a word. When she has calmed down, tell her quietly that she made herself look crazy, aroused pity, set a bad example and offended someone; that she will not be allowed to return among the others until she has apologized to the person she has offended, and said to her companions: I am sorry to have done what I would not have done wanted me to be made, and for having given an example which I would have found bad for me to be given. If the child is willful and stubborn, ask her why she wants or doesn't want to do such a thing: she will tell you. Demonstrate to her that she is wrong and why she is wrong, make her agree, and tell her gently: that there is nothing better than giving up wanting something that, by mistake, you first wanted; nothing weak and unreasonable, like persisting in wanting what one does not believe is best; that, moreover, she is free, but that you will experience grief, you who Love her if she prefers her pride to your appreciation.

If it hits weaker than it, immediately give it back; and when she cries, add: I who represent Justice, I have punished you without anger, to make you return to yourself and excite you to understand that one is a coward to strike who cannot defend himself; present your excuses and do not do to weaker than you, the harm that you would not want stronger to do to you.

In your secondary establishment, advise the supervisors not to let the young child hit the object against which she has collided and, if she does, to call her a little silly and not to pay attention to her crying, unless she has hurt herself, in which case we should treat her without pity.

Advise them likewise not to allow children to torment the animals you have, to cultivate their sympathy with all living things.

If a student is a coward, allows herself to be beaten, put her to great shame; compel her to defend herself vigorously; for she must accustom herself to believing herself as respectable as the others, to resisting oppression, to defending those weaker than herself; there are tyrants only because there are majorities of cowards.

If the student is ill, treat her quietly: do not pity her and, when she can reason, ask her if her complaints will cure her, and why she risks annoying others without profit for her.

Never allow a student to make a secret report to you; but require the pupils to warn each other; punish the great ones who do not do it, and prescribe that you bring before you the one who several times has committed a blameworthy action and that those who warned her be her accusers. Chase without mercy from your establishment the student who has exposed his class to being punished for his unacknowledged fault: because this reveals a proud, unjust and cowardly character.

Your pupils, through Love of themselves, will come to practice and understand Justice in this way, to feel that they have no right to expect anything from others when they give nothing in return: it is still to their selfishness that you must address to make them sensitive and good. They know that by rendering them care and services for which they give nothing, one uses kindness, not justice, towards them; make them understand that the way to discharge is to be polite to those who have been good to them, to render them all the services they can, and to act with regard to the weak as well as the strong acted towards them.

There is only one case where all are permitted to make them fast; it is when they preferred to employ their money in frivolous expenses than to give it to the poor who asked them for alms. So, make them feel in their flesh the suffering of their fellows. It is by getting used to feeling oneself in others that one becomes good: sensitivity and kindness are only the extension of selfishness, which becomes all the more preponderant in the circumference as it is. less to its center or personality.

I cannot stress enough, Madam, on the chapter of the toilet: your duty is to make mothers understand that you do not want your pupils to be luxury dolls because you want to make them serious women, extinguish, as much that there are in you, the germs of vanity which are in the well-dressed child, and the germs of hatred, of envy, of revolt which the sight of these children develops in the soul of the daughters of the poor. Tell these bewildered mothers that when you return their daughters to them, they will prefer to adorn themselves with simplicity and devote the surplus to clothing a poor worker without work, than to incite her to pervert herself by the sight of her laces and her twenty meters. of silk.

By accustoming your children to serve themselves and to exchange their services, you have accustomed them to equality; you made them feel that society is based on the exchange of services and that all useful functions are honorable. Never lose sight of a single opportunity to bring out this last truth, by showing them when they are of age, that the highest functions have for their basis those which seem least, and are only made possible by the existence of the latter: so, you will tell them, if the servants didn't use their time as they do, I wouldn't have time to bring you up. What would it be like if I had to build my house, make my furniture, weave, tailor, sew my clothes, and my linen? You see, my children, any useful function is honorable and necessary for the fulfillment of others; we, therefore, owe consideration and respect to all those who fulfill them, however humble they may be. Remember that we are worth in society only through work since society is based on work: our duty is therefore to put ourselves in a position to fulfill a function useful to us and to others, and which gives rise to the exchange of services.

You will not allow, Madam, that your pupils ever renounce to do a possible thing which is not beyond their strength, nor that they submit to what they can avoid: remember that resignation to physical evil and morality over which one can triumph, is not wisdom, but cowardice; that this resignation is the enemy of Progress and the auxiliary of tyranny.

I do not need to remind you that you must spare the dignity of your pupils very much and only reprimand them publicly in rare and exceptional cases. Almost always, if not always, take the student who has made a mistake aside and ask him calmly and kindly why he has committed wrongdoing; tell her she thinks she was right; that you are ready to hear it; force her, by a series of questions placed within her reach, to recognize her fault and to find the means of repairing it.

If it is a question of a habitual defect, add: that this defect will make her unhappy and will cause those she loves most to suffer; that if she wants to, she can correct herself, and that you esteem her enough to know that she will want it and that she will have the strength to do so; that you will help her by warning and directing her; that finally, you are ready to take on this task because you Love her with all your heart, and sincerely desire that she be esteemed and cherished by all. You will then see how this brave little being, raised in his own esteem, left free in his will, loving you and having confidence in you, will make every effort to obtain your approval.

If she falls back, don't scold her, pity her and tell her gently: courage, my daughter, I myself had such a defect; when I had made the resolution to correct myself, I fell back into it twenty-five times the first month, twenty the second, fifteen the third, and so always decreasing until I was cured of it. Do the same and you will win: for everything is possible, in the moral domain, with the omnipotence of the will.


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A habit that you must instill in your pupils early is to make their examination of conscience every evening: nothing helps in self-correction like this wise practice. So as soon as they are five or six years old, you or your collaborators will take them aside before putting them to bed and they will be told: Let's see what good and bad we have done today. You will then remind them one by one of their faults without reproaching them for them, adding to each one: this is not good because we have done what we would not like to have done to us. Did you fix this as much as you could? Have you made your apologies?

And since the child must not only avoid evil but also do good, you will add: we should have given this poor man a penny, because, if we were unhappy, we would like would give us; we should have defended such a little companion that we have allowed to be beaten, because we would like to be defended, etc., etc. Tomorrow we will do whatever repairs we can and will watch over ourselves better.

When the student can take her exam alone and has a conscience firm enough not to have any illusions, only say this word to her when she makes a mistake: I send you back to your conscience this evening.

Above all, accustom your pupil to respect his internal judge, not to believe that he is allowed to think and do what he would not dare to confess. Your main moral task is to make her feel that if her imperfection should make her modest and indulgent, her duty is to improve herself and to believe in her strength and the efficacy of her will.

Notice, Madam, that I speak to you of modesty, not of humility; modesty consists in not exaggerating one's value and one's power of action; humility is a vile sentiment that leads to lowering oneself, to misunderstanding oneself, to putting oneself below all and to suffering from all; now nothing is more opposed to our ideal than this vice which favors laziness, cowardice, is a negation of justice, order, and solidarity, a preparation for tyranny, and is the basis of the character of the slave: carefully guard your pupils against this moral debility.

So far, the student, being only an egoist, you had to take as a measure of her actions towards others, the Love she has for herself and give her as a criterion this maxim: do or do not do. not what you want or don't want to be done to you. She did not realize that, by defending weaker than herself, for example, if she was doing in one respect what she would like us to do for her so as not to be overwhelmed, in another side, by hitting the one who hits, she does to her what she would not want them to do to her. It is time for you to reform what maxims based on selfishness are wrong, transforming it thus: do unto others what you would find just and equitable to be done to you; do not do to him what you would find unfair and inequitable that was done to you. Without this transformation of primitive maxims, your students would not understand that society allowed itself to be vigilantes, nor that any of us had the right and the duty to be one, when society is not present or not. did not provide.

Now, notice, Madame, that our conception of society imperiously demands the modification that I am indicating to you. The formulas drawn from self-love were good when power was believed to be delegated from above, and justice emanated from god, whose ministers the king and the priest were: then all redress belonged to god and to those whom he had committed for this purpose. But today we know that all justice emanates from us, and that society, which is only the organized collection of individuals who compose it, can have no other Morals or other rights than theirs.

If then the old morality said: to god and to his lieutenants belongs the right of justice; as for you, individuals, Love your enemies; when you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other; when they take away your tunic, give your cloak again; you cannot humble yourself too much, suffer too much from others; leave justice to god and, by your humiliation, make your way to heaven; if I say the old Morality says that, you, priestess of the new Morality, emerging from the new ideal, you are on the contrary required to say to your pupils: as long as you do not know the Moral law, you are neither good nor wicked; when you know it, by your free choice, you can be one or the other. Within you is the strength necessary to triumph over the exaggeration of your instincts. You are the equals of all; seek to know yourself well, in order to fulfill, if possible, the function to which your faculties call you; do not suffer, if it is possible for you, that an incapacity supplants you: you owe it to yourselves and to the social body.

Progressive creatures, do not attempt to justify your faults with your weakness, for you are bound to improve yourself and others. Your duty being to prevent evil within and without you, you must neither commit nor suffer injustice and wickedness, for you are responsible, not only for the evil you do and for the good you neglect to do, but also of the vices of others and of the evil which results therefrom, if, being able to correct or contain them, you have not done so.

And so that this morality does not make your students hard, unindulgent, proud, accustom them to counting and weighing their faults, to knowing their imperfections, to not being more severe towards others than they are towards themselves; to tolerate faults that do not cause real harm, just as they find it good to have theirs tolerated; to convince themselves that in many it would be absurd to get angry about it since it is common knowledge that we have often done the same; that, finally, there is no fault more intolerable than susceptibility, because it tortures those around us, prevents outpouring, and because a meticulous character loses its best friends, for it no society is possible with a thornbush.

Make them understand that not tolerating evil in others does not mean setting oneself up as a censor and professor of Morality, but not consenting for oneself and others to become the victim of an injustice or of a capital defect.

Brought up in this way, your pupils, from the age of twelve, will know, by their daily practice, by rendering themselves the services of order and cleanliness, that all useful work is honorable.

By exchanging their services, they have learned that society is based on work and exchange;

By receiving and rendering free services, they have learned kindness;

By defending against their companions their dignity, their rights, and those of the weak, they have learned justice and solidarity;

By triumphing over the obstacles that you have been able to measure against their strengths, they have learned that one must never resign oneself to the evil that one can suppress or diminish;

By struggling against their faults, by triumphing over several, they have learned that they are progressive beings and that the will is all-powerful;

By your calm, your impartiality, your justice, your fairness, your indulgence, they have taken on a lofty idea of ​​the social power that you represent to them: they know that it must enlighten, moralize, punish according to the intention and in the purpose of making people think, of improving;

They have only three axioms: do to others what you would have done to you within the limits of justice and equity;

Do not do to others what you would find neither just nor fair for them to do to you;

Do not suffer from others, nor against others, which is neither just nor fair;

But these axioms are in their practice: it is the soul of their life, the criterion of the examination of conscience which they make each evening.

Your pupils are not, in truth, profound theoreticians; but they are good and sincere practitioners, stronger in Sociology and Morality than all our phrasemongers: they are ready to make their practice a doctrine.




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The child abstracts and generalizes more than us, but not in the same way, because he only understands the concrete: his exaggerated generalization disposes him to confuse species and misunderstand individuals. So that he is not all his life in the approximate, all his care must be taken to develop in him the spirit of analysis, constantly combined with comparison.

No sooner does the child move his arms intentionally than he wants to see and touch everything; it is then that you would do well to amuse him methodically with Froebel’s toys so that he applies to each thing all the meanings that are applicable to it. Does he fix his eyes on something else? Follow the same method. Does he look at a rose, for example? tell him, showing him every detail: rose stem green leaves stinging thorns, and bringing it to his nostrils: it smells good. Take care, as much as you can, to bring out the analysis, to put immediately after it something opposite; thus to the odor of the rose oppose that of marigold; to the shape of the ball, oppose that of the cube.

When the child speaks, do not let him get into the habit of calling a dada horse, a doggie dog, naan treats; but accustom him to naming each thing by its name, and take great care to make him describe the object of which he speaks to you for the first time: if he speaks to you of a goat, for example, help him to tell you that she is has a body, a neck, a head, and four legs, hair of such color, large eyes, a beard, and horns; whether she walked or climbed, or browsed the grass; that she lowered her head and presented her horns when approached; that she didn't smell good; whether his hair was soft or rough, etc. By thus accustoming the child to analysis, he will acquire clear ideas from what he sees; will establish groups by comparison, and will not be disposed of in his life to content himself with vague expressions, ill-defined notions, the intellectual vice of most of us.

The child, we have said, understands only the concrete; it is therefore a misinterpretation to furnish his memory with words that represent abstract notions or feelings which he cannot experience: anything is so distressing as to see him transformed into a chattering bird, reciting a fable by La Fontaine, a history or grammar page.

In your annex house or preparatory establishment, your pupils learned by playing to read, write, calculate, and draw a little; as soon as they are with you, you must gradually make them understand that work is not a game, but a duty. Allow me, Madam, to insist here on the order and the succession of the studies, as much as on the method of teaching.

History and literature should not be a special objects of study until quite late; Reason and taste must be developed before thinking about it; I say the same of theoretical philosophy. But all education must be a practical philosophy: the pupil must be a philosopher without knowing it, as she is a moralist without knowing it: and her great historical studies must be marked out without her suspecting it.

Be good enough, Madam, to follow me with attention to the summary indications that I am going to give you, in order to clarify my thoughts.

Your student must know her language: she must therefore learn grammar, syntax, and spelling. Instead of beginning, with it, with particular grammar, as everyone else does, begin with general or philosophical grammar and logical analysis; tell the student: any word that represents a person or thing is a noun; any word that represents a quality is an adjective; any word which represents the simultaneous existence of a noun and quality is a verb; any word which marks the relations of situation, direction, cause, etc., is a proposition, the subject is the object of the quality; the diet is what is dependent on the quality. Show many examples of these words; carefully distinguish a main clause from an incidental clause, a direct clause from an inverse; put each word in its logical place, and find the verb to be in all the combinations.

To learn the usual spelling, it is enough for the pupil to know the variations of tense and genre, and to read each page of the dictations she will do until she is more or less sure of the correct spelling. write without fail under dictation: because dictation is not to learn to spell, but to make sure that we remember it, and to point out the words that we need to write ten or fifteen times, until 'till we leave no more faults.

When your student is strong in general grammar, logical analysis, and common spelling, move on to specific grammar; divide the name into Surname and first name; the adjective into Adjective, participle, adverb, article, etc.; give on each thing the greatest details; require reasoned grammatical analysis, and do many syntax exercises.

For Arithmetic, explain the principles well; require students to account for all the details of their operations; from arithmetic pass to algebra, then to geometry, for which they acquired a taste with Froebel’s toys.

Each week, take your students to the zoo once; another, to the mineralogical galleries; another, finally, to the botanical garden.

Excite their curiosity, and their attention, so that each retains one thing. On their return, have them draw what they have seen, then give each one, aloud, the name of the native country of the animal, of the plant, of the mineral that they have noticed; the customs of one, the uses to which the others are employed in industry, medicine, &c. Name the acclimators, the inventors, so that the pupils feel the progress in all things. Take advantage of these lessons to give a sketch of the natural and political geography of the country, and encourage the pupil to make a map of it, to relate everything you have told him about it, to find and describe all the animals, all the plants, all the minerals of this country.

As at every moment you are obliged to say to the student: this animal, this plant is of such order, of such family, she will be eager to learn the classification of the sciences she is studying, which will greatly shorten your task, and will give you occasion to point out that the classifications are only artificial methods, created by the human mind, because of its insufficiency; that they only take into account certain points of resemblance, and neglect the often very numerous differences; that consequently they do not represent nature, but certain general relations discovered by us.

To those who have passed these first studies and continue them on board, you will show experiments in chemistry, physics, and machines.

The explanations you give on cases will lead you to talk about the laws and classifications of these sciences, and the curiosity of the pupils, the interest you have aroused, will do the rest. Never forget to take science at its beginning, to show its progress, to name its inventors and those who have perfected it, and augmented it; for the pupil must feel and see the progress everywhere.

Take advantage of the beautiful nights to introduce your children to the names of the constellations. In front of the magic spectacle of a calm and starry sky, give them your lessons in astronomy, the theory of the formation of the globes, and the laws of celestial mechanics: quite naturally this will lead them to question you about ours and its change of circumstances; on the successive creations of the planet, manifest in the geological strata they have studied. Tell them the theory of the learned on all these things, and show them the terrestrial creations rising from the mineral to us by a series of progressive transformations, to present themselves as our outlines, as our species arrested at various points in its development. They will then see that we are the synthesis of our planet and that there is no less progress in the works of nature than in ours.

To complete the preceding studies, you will take care to give your pupils notions of comparative anatomy on the skeleton and on the board and, at the same time, notions of physiology, ending the whole with a course in hygiene. Here, as in the preceding studies, you will point out to them the progress in the series of species, in individual development, and in that of the science that we have of these things: you will point out to their recognition the scholars who have discovered and classified the facts and worked out the theories which bring out the laws.


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The Eighth Chapter continued>




English translation copyrighted 2nd April 2023.


The Book of Women’s Rights. 1860.