Frontier Schools


Seasons and weather had a profound affect on those frontier children that were fortunate enough to go to school. Classes were usually attended every day except for Sunday, from October through May. This 'school calendar' reflects the main planting and harvesting seasons and weather conditions. In fact today's school year still reflects this design. However in many parts of the west the exact dates and months would vary to reflect the regional seasona and weather conditions. It was not uncommon for teachers to declare the school closed for several days or weeks when agricultural or extreme weather conditions warrented.

School hours varied greatly, usually at the descrestion of the individual teacher. However the one thing that probally most affected school hours was daylight. Since many students had to walk several miles to get to and from school, starting and finishing times were often determined to allow these students to travel during daylight.

One room schoolhouses were found from Montana to Texas, and needless to say, that the effects of seasons and weather on education in them certainly depended on their location and the time of year. Almost all one room schoolhouses had some source of warmth, usually a wood burning stove. It generally became the oldest male student's responsiblity to see to it that the stove heated the room properly. This would entail several trips daily through the snow and wind to the wood pile behind the school.

There was little that could be done for those really hot days, especially in southern areas, when the temperatures climbed to well over 100 degrees. Teachers would open windows and doors, but for most frontier children the heat just became a fact of life.

Seasons and weather could sometimes effect students so adversly that the teacher might deem that it was just too hot, or too cold for the students to 'learn' and let classes out early. This, of course, was a rarity.

Did your great grandparents go to school in a ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE
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