Victorian Advice for Good Children

My homeschooler classes at have restarted, and my Philosophy Explorers (aged 6-8) requested that we time-travel to Victorian times. I used an activity created by Lucy Baker, a teacher at Derby High School, back in 2014 when I did a Victorian Adventure day there. Someone is making a compendium of the advice given to children at that time, and they are asked to assist with what is good and bad advice. (Examples below).

We then made the move from past to present, which is often a good way to get a philosophical angle on a historical topic, and produced a similar guide for the modern child. Then we took the discussion to a more general level with “What makes something good advice?”. There was some interesting debate about whether advice had to be true, or whether what mattered was that it was good for you (“eat your greens or you will get warts”). One idea that caught on was that advice had to be tailored to the person receiving it, and how they were feeling, so that even the best advice wasn’t always good advice. Kids can be very sage! 

Least said soonest mended.Eavesdroppers never hear good of themselves.A secret is only a secret when you don’t tell anyone.
Protect yourself from other people’s bad manners by a conspicuous display of your own good ones.If you can’t say something nice about someone don’t say anything at all.Elbows off the table, hands in laps.
Don’t start until your mother is served.Eat your greens or you will get warts.How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.
Don’t make mountains out of molehills.Idle people never prosper.                                                                                 Absence makes the heart grow fonder.                                                             
A woman’s place is in the homeCleanliness is next to Godliness.                                                                           Brush your hair one hundred times before bed.

Best wishes, 


P.S. I realised on Sunday, after a day moving a liveaboard narrowboat to its new location, that it was the first time in a year that I hadn’t opened my laptop for 24 hours. So my advice to myself is to make sure it’s not another year before that happens again… 

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