Frontier Education in the
ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE
When we think of the birth and development of education we picture the one room schoolhouse; however Public education wasn't always a constant on the american western frontier. In the 1830's reformers began asking for publicly funded school systems and in 1852 the state of Massachusetts became the first state with free compulsory public education, but it wasn't until 1918 that all states had passed such laws. For various reasons many of the western states lagged woefully behind in this time line toprovide public education for the masses.
However, even though not mandated many frontier communitiesorganized and supported their own schools. Some districts even levied taxes and built their own schoolhouses, while in other areas economic conditions or the lack of a commuity educational concieousness made 'book learning' haphazardous at best. Education and the one room schoolhouse in the early days of the western states it seems was largely dependant on the area you were from and the importance deemed it by that community.
Even if educational facillities were available not every child attended school. In 1860 only 30 percentof school aged children attended classes. That figure rose as westward expansion continued and by 1870it was reported to be around 52 percent. Sometimes because of the household and farm 'chores' expectedof children, attending school might not be an option until they were in their teens, if at all. Manypioneer parents believed, usually those of less education themselves, that learning to be self-reliant,resourceful and strong was more important than 'book learning'.
However western education and the did survive and was often seen in the form of the one room school house. Please click on any of the links below to get an idea of what school life was like in the old west:
1. FRONTIER SCHOOLS - HOURS, SEASONS AND WEATHER
2. THE ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE BUILDING
3. TEACHING AS A PROFESSION ON THE FRONTIER
4. TYPICAL SCHOOL DAY IN A ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE
5. SCHOOL LUNCH FOR A PIONEER KID
6. SCHOOL DISCIPLINE IN THE OLD WEST
Despite the multitute of challenges of frontier schools many educators succeeded in teaching just as theydo today. Even though the rote memorization, recitation and corporal punishment used during this time period may not seem like ideal methodolgy by today's standards, teachers obviously accomplished their goals of teaching frontier children in a one room schoolhouse. Their students grew up to be farmers, scholars, scientists, lawers, politicians,soldiers, lawmen, inventors, authors, and artists. Citzens that formed and shaped the great American society- and world - as we know it today.
< < < the trail to the SCHOOLHOUSE . .
Grandma's Recipes = $$$