A One Room Schoolhouse


On a typical school day in a one room school, teachers would often teach grades one through eight, with class sizes ranging from three to as many as fifty.

Though they were remarkably different in attendance, size, and construction across the frontier, there were many similarities in a typical school day among one room schools in the old west. Generally, younger students were seated at the front of the room, and older students were in the back. Boys sat on one side of the room, and girls on the other. This separation would extend into recess with the grounds in the rear of the school divided into two parts, one the boys and and another for the girls.

On a typical school day classes were generally taught in 10- to 15-minute sessions to each grade level, and the curriculum tended to focus on the basics: reading, spelling, penmanship, arithmetic, and history. Learning was largely the result of rote memorization, recitation, and oral drilling.

By far, the greatest challenge to teaching and learning on the frontier was a lack of supplies. Schools sometimes lacked even the barest of essentials. Many schools had no slates, pencils, pens, or maps. But by far the most challenging aspect of a typical school day in frontier schools was a lack of textbooks. Since many parents could not afford to purchase textbooks, students were sent to school with the books available in their homes, which often was simply the Bible. It was not uncommon for each student in a school to have a different textbook -- if they had any textbooks at all.

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