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When I was in high school, I somehow managed to get an entire class period in the school library where I did some simple tasks for a 4th grade teacher. Not only did I get class credit for this period, oftentimes I was done with the work in fifteen minutes and was able to spend the rest of the time perusing the books on the shelves.
My school was tiny and not particularly wealthy. Despite the fact that it was a private school, we didn’t have much. This meant that where other libraries might get rid of a book due to age, our library kept older tomes on the shelves, making liberal use of packing tape on any repairs they might need. In some cases, this wasn’t the best idea, and the books probably should’ve been disposed of or sent to someone who knew more about book repair. But in a few cases, especially for books that weren’t particularly popular, I was amazed at the condition in which they had been kept, some for over 100 years.
There is also something special about reading words that at least a few generations have read before me. I appreciate the wisdom and glimpse at a different time and thinking (in most cases) that many of them have to offer.
Today I thought I might share a little glimpse at the books the Form I students in the PNEU schools of 1922 were reading. PNEU Programme 94, which lists the books and resources each Form would be using over the course of the term, was the last one published before Ms. Mason’s death in early 1923 and, as my friend Dawn puts it, it’s the last Programme “we know of from Charlotte Mason’s life.” As I’m still a baby in the Charlotte Mason world, I found this list fascinating when it was brought to my attention and the bibliophile in me was immediately inspired to find these old tomes, some of which were familiar and others not so much.
I want to preface the list by saying that I’m posting it purely for informational purposes and not so anyone feels pressured to use these exact books in their own homeschool. At around the same time I was introduced to this Programme, I was in the process of trying to find a good drawing book for us to use during our lesson time that was instructional but not rigid, overly-ambitious, or far too complicated. When I saw What To Draw and How to Draw It listed in the Programme, I looked it up on Archive.org and found that it was exactly what I was looking for. While this is definitely not the case for every book listed below, I think it’s interesting to look at the style and kinds of books they were using for different subjects and use that information when considering what to use in our own school time.
Each title is linked to an online version of that particular book, if I have been able to find one. I also included the name of the author and publisher as listed in the Programme. And I have linked to a modern reprint, if available. Yesterday’s Classics has done a wonderful job of publishing high-quality reprints of classics and I have been pleased with every single book I’ve purchased from them. More recently, Living Book Press is also printing classic books. If you are looking for a book used in the PNEU schools that’s not listed below, I’d highly recommend checking out these two publishers to see if they offer that title. And if you see any modern reprints that I’ve left out, please let me know!
PNEU Programme 94 Form I Book list
|AB||Joshua and Judges||J. Paterson Smyth||SPCK||Yesterday’s Classics|
|AB||Children’s Book of Prayers||S. B. Macy||Longmans|
|A||A Book of Golden Deeds||Charlotte Yonge||Pinnacle Press|
|B||Parables from Nature||Margaret Gatty||Living Book Press,|
|B||The Child’s Book of Saints||Pinnacle Press|
|AB||Sidelights on the Bible||Brightwen|
|AB||The Wonderful Prayer||G. Hollis|
* This is not the same version mentioned in the Programme but a modern version from the same publisher.
|B||Andersen’s Fairy Tales||Oxford Press or Dent||Leather-Bound Classics|
|B||Grimm’s Fairy Tales||Oxford Press or Dent||Knickerbocker Classics|
|B||Aesop’s Fables||Murray||Wentworth Press|
|AB||Our Island Story||E. H. Marshall||Jack||Living Book Press,|
|A||Tales From Canterbury||Frewen Lord||Sampson Low||Amazon|
|A||Atlas of Comparative Geography||Philips|
|B||The World at Home||Nelson||Andesite Press|
|B||How the World Travels||A. Methley||Gardner Darton||Palala Press|
|AB||The Changing Year||F. M. Haines||Wadsworth|
|AB||Countryside Rambles||W. S. Furneaux||Philip||Yesterday’s Classics|
|AB||A Nature Study Guide||W. S. Furneaux||Longmans||Yesterday’s Classics|
|A||Birdland Stories||O. Pike||R. T. S.|
|A||Insect Life||Cassell||Yesterday’s Classics|
|A||Tommy Smith’s Animals||E. Selous||Methuen||Yesterday’s Classics|
|B||Plant Life in Field and Garden||Fisher||Cassell||Yesterday’s Classics|
|B||Tommy Smith at the Zoo||Methuen||Yesterday’s Classics|
|AB||The Teaching of Mathematics to Young Children||I. Stephens|
|AB||New Concrete Arithmetic||Pendlebury||Bell|
|A||New Junior Arithmetic||Bompas Smith||Methuen|
|A||La Livre Rouge||Blackie|
|A||French Fables in Action||V. Partington||Dent||Yesterday’s Classics|
|B||Illustrated French Primer||Henry Bué||Hatchette & Co.|
|B||The Children’s Entente Cordiale||L. M. Oyler||Jack|
|AB||What To Draw and How To Draw It||Skeffington & Son||Living Book Press|
|A||The Fairy Green||R. Fyleman||Methuen|
|B||Recitations for Little Children||G. H. Tuffley|
|B||The Children’s Letter Box||E. Tetley||Jackson & Son|
|B||Dickory Dickory Dock: The Children’s Reading Box||E. Tetley||Jackson & Son|
|B||The Happy Reader||E. L. Young||Simpkin, Marshall,|
|B||Puss in Boots||Blackie|
|AB||French Songs||Violet Partington||Dent|
|AB||French Rounds and Nursery Rhymes||Augener|
|A||Ten Minutes’ Lessons in Sight-Singing||Curwen & Son|
|A||The National Song Book||ed. C. V. Stanford||Boosey & Co|
|B||The Joyous Book of Singing Games||John Hornby||Arnold|
|B||Songtime||ed. Percy Dearmer||Curwen|
|AB||The Joyous Book of Singing Games||John Hornby||Arnold|
|AB||Rhythmic Games and Dances||Florence Hewitt||Longmans||Scholar Select|
|AB||Syllabus of Physical Exercises||Eyre & Spottiswoode||Forgotten Books|
|AB||British Marches for Schools|
|AB||The Little Girl’s Gardening Book||Mills & Boon|
|AB||Little Girl’s Sewing Book||R. T. S.|
|AB||The Little Girl’s Knitting Book*||R. T. S.|
|AB||What shall we make?||M. La Trobe Foster||C. M. S.|
|A||Paper Modelling||M. Swannell||Philip & Son||Living Library Press|
|B||Paper Folding||H. G. Paterson||P. N. E. U.|
* This may be a mistake. There is another book by the same author as the Little Girl’s Sewing Book under the title, The Little Girl’s Knitting and Crochet Book.