Notes of Lessons: From Plutarch’s “Greek Lives”, Class II

Notes of Lessons: From Plutarch’s “Greek Lives”, Class II

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Group: History • Class II • Age: 8 and 9 • Time: 30 minutes

By E. A. Parish
The Parents’ Review, 1903, pp. 59-60

Alexander the Great

(An Introductory Lesson.)


I. To establish relations with the past.

II. To introduce the boys to a fresh hero.

III. To stir them to admiration of the wisdom, valour and self-reliance of Alexander the Great.

IV. To increase the boys’ power of narration.


Step I.—Begin by connecting Alexander the Great with the time of Demosthenes, of whom the boys have been learning recently.

Step II.—Draw from them some account of the times in which Alexander lived and of Philip of Macedonia.

Step III.—Arouse the boys’ interest in Alexander by the story of the taming of Bucephalus, which must be read, discussed, and then narrated by the boys.

Step IV.—Ask the boys what they mean by a hero. The old meaning was demi-god, the Anglo-Saxon meaning, a man. Both really meant a man who was brave and true in every circumstance.

Ask them, “What are the qualities which go to make a hero?” Draw from them how far we can trace these qualities in Alexander. We notice:—

Wisdom.—“What a horse are they losing for want of skill to manage him!”

Perseverance.—He kept repeating the same expression.

Self-reliance.—“And I certainly could.” This was justified by the fact that he could.

Observation.—He noticed that the horse was afraid of its shadow.

Courage.—Seeing his opportunity, he leaped upon its back.

Prudence.—He went very gently till he could feel that he had perfect control of the animal.

These are not all the qualities one looks for in a hero, but as the boys will be learning all about Alexander next term, they will be able to find out for themselves what others he had. They will see, for instance, how he never imagined a defeat, but went on conquering as he went. (Hope.)

The name of Alexander has never been forgotten, because he was such a hero. Owing to him, the language and civilization of Greece were carried over a great part of Asia.

Show map illustrating his campaigns. He tried to improve the land wherever he went. Owing to his travels, people began to know more than they had ever known of geography and natural history.

Himself a hero, Alexander reverenced heroes, keeping “the casket copy” of The Iliad.

Step V.—Recapitulate Step IV. by means of questions.