Practical Education was first published in 1798 and, in both the preface and appendix to their work, the Edgeworths emphasize that its composition was based “entirely upon practice and experience” (11: 5). “Several years ago”, they remark,
a mother who had turned her attention … to the subject of education, resolved to write notes from day to day of all the trifling things which mark the progress of the mind in childhood. She was of opinion that the art of education should be considered as an experimental science, and that many authors of great abilities had mistaken their road by following theory instead of practice (11: 409).
The “mother” in question here is Honora Sneyd …
Murphy, Sharon Jude. "Practical Education". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2557, accessed 10 December 2016.]