National Geographic : 1893 Jul 10
The Study of Home Geography. public schools of the higher grades; much in the same way as the energetic commissioners of the topographic survey of Rhode Island have secured the distribution of their state map free to all their public schools and libraries. The legislature would soon see, from the employment of these geographical chapters year after year by thousands of teachers, the appreciation that this hitherto undeveloped economic field might receive from those occupied with the advance of public education, and as sured support would then be given to the work, even on enlarged scale. By some such practical steps we may secure a material advance in the quality of geographical instruction. During the past year, I have had many illustrations of the need of material of geographical of the kind here referred to. Teachers in our public schools are well aware that they have not now the fuller account of the facts that they would enjoy; and yet they know not where to turn to find what they need. Many teachers, principals, and superintendents with whom I have spoken admit at once that the books to which they now have access are quite insufficient to satisfy their wants, and they listen gladly to any feasible plan that will provide a more ex tended and more scientific description and explanation of the facts of geography near at home, with which they have to deal from their earliest to their latest teaching. Geologists or geog raphers who are already acquainted with our local geography from personal experience can perform a grateful service to the schools by preparing elementary accounts of the regions with which they are familiar, and such books as these should be greatly multiplied; but, so far as I have been able to learn, it is only the smaller part of our country that is now known well enough to those who can be prevailed on to write elementary books, and hence the importance of actual geographical exploration in order to supply our teachers with what they need. If some such plan as the one proposed above were put in operation, it might come to pass in a decade or two that the graduates of our common schools would not be so blinded as they now are to the facts of their home geography. HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
1894 Jan 31
1893 May 05