Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Educational Value of Manual Work, Part I

Dear Readers,

While searching for some old household tips to share with you, I found this pertinent section in my "Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis' Cook Book" (1908). I'll type it out for you here, and share with you some photos of a recent nature outing we had at banks of the Snake River:

If one dog is good, two dogs is better!

"From the educational viewpoint the workroom is (or ought to be) next in importance to the library. And in the earlier years of childhood it is probably of superior importance. Every boy and girl should have manual training in all the domestic arts. To know how a thing can be, or should be , done is of very little value in comparison with the acquisition of skill and ability to do it and do it properly.

My mother and her friend (and dogs) came with us.

Many persons nowadays-when it is customary to send for the carpenter or the plumber, or to take articles to be repaired to the cabinet-maker or the harness maker or the iron worker-are wont to say that they could do these things for themselves if they had a mind to, but that it is cheaper and easier to have them done by others, and that they have therefore no need to acquire the necessary skill. Aside from the question of economy that is involved, this is a very shortsighted view to take of the matter. It is impossible to use the fingers without at the same time using the brain. And it is also impossible to use for any other purpose those parts of the brain that govern the use of the fingers. Hence, if the fingers are not used in a great variety of ways, certain parts of the brain are not properly developed and the mind is limited and restricted in certain important ways in its development."

The Sage Queen

"It has been pointed out that the American farmer of the past generation carried on in the neighborhood of sixty to seventy different processes on the farm that in modern times have given rise to as many different arts or trades. The pioneer farmer had necessarily to be his own blacksmith, iron worker, carriage ironer, wheelwright, carriage painter, carpenter, cabinet-maker, harness maker, bootmaker, shoemaker, and so on-just as his wife had to be her own spinner, weaver, dyer, dressmaker, tailor, soap maker, and the like. In those days there were no artisans in the vicinity of the pioneer farmhouse. No one could be called in, nor could the work be sent out to be done by others. Hence so many necessary tasks accumulated that the boys and girls of the family were obliged at a very early age to master a large number of domestic arts and processes.

The wind-blown look

The natural desire felt by all children to equal or exceed their models resulted in the acquisition of considerable skill, which was thus transmitted from father to son, and from mother to daughter, through generations."

Isn't this good? We sometimes underestimate the many little household things that our children help with every day (at least I do!), but in reality, these things are helping to develop their brains as much as sitting at a desk doing copywork.

The Railroad Bridge

What does AnnaMarie spy with her little eye?

A big bald eagle, flying high!

Frankie, straight from an old Disney photo shoot!

And a beautiful "Good Night" wish from Above!

Thanks for visiting with us, and

Have a blessed day,



  1. I love the picture of your daughter in her prairie-girl outfit! my oldest LOVED her bonnet. my girls tend to go everywhere in an apron and bonnet these days - i guess our daily reading from the Little House series and our recent study of the Oregon Trailhas them a bit obsessed with the idea of pioneer life!!

  2. dear mami,
    it was fun going to the river!!!
    i love you and i like you!!!


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