Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simple Times at The One Room Schoolhouse

We visited a one room schoolhouse, my daughter and I, for a field trip.
And it was COLD- seriously cold. So cold that I wore leggings under my jeans!
And I am not one to wear so many layers! There was unexpected snow here on the island and we had to drive in it, but, praise God, it was okay.

The school was so neat and from the late 1800s. It was small and had 2 doors, one for girls and one for boys.

It was only heated by a wood burning stove. I sat in the back and froze until I realized the kids were warmer closer to the stove. The museum "teacher" taught the kids all about the schoolhouse and gave them a lesson they would of had in 1880.

The kids had to do a chore much like the children of the times. They had to saw a log using a "bucksaw" . They dressed up from that era or tried to - this seemed especially hard for some of the boys- one boy wore suspenders and then upon realizing no one else had, he never took his coat off, all the while thinking of how upset he was with his mom for making him wearing said suspenders.

The kids each sat a desk for 2 and sat by a name tag of a child that actually went to school there in 1895. The kids thought this was great fun and my daughter continued the little game well after we returned home- not fun for a mama who needed the table set pronto and couldn't get her daughter to come by calling her by her birth name!

The class was so simple and of course, it made me want to return to simpler times. Imagine that the kids woke up early, maybe even 5 am, had farm chores to do, walked about a mile or so to school to be there by 8, stayed there till 4, and then walked home, only to most likely have more chores awaiting them at home. They did this in the winter! School was always during the winter and the summer, to avoid planting and harvest. I saw this poem on the board and thought it applied to me and my life even more than it applied to the children.

Work and Play
Those children who are
all the day
Allowed to wander out
And only waste their time
in play
or running wild about
Who do not any school attend
But trifle as they will,
Are certain in the end
To come to something ill.
There's nothing worse than idleness
To lead them into sin,
There to end in wretchedness
In poverty and pain.

Nassakeag School, c. 1895.
Teacher (far left), Ben Robinson; Students from left to right:
Windows: Kate Wood, Sarah Rowland, Maud Smith, Sadie Danbury and Olive Darling
Third row: Flossie Winters, Annie Fallon, Cleveland Davis, Ralph Hawkins, George Beach, Lillie Davis, Will Calahan, Rom Hawkins and Henry Rowland
Second Row: Laura Rowland, Elsie Davis, Bessie Freeman, Jennie Freeman, William Phiefer, Ed Beach, Manley Smith and Warren Rowland
Front Row: Ben Phiefer and Ed Calahan

My daughter was Bessie Freeman for the day and that would make her the taller of the 2 girls with the folded arms. Notice the bare feet and the "class dogs".

Ah, simple times...

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  1. Oh my, I LOVED this post and the pictures and the names of the students. What lovely names too. I want to know more about them now....
    Thanks for sharing. I truly enjoyed it
    Call me!

  2. How cool! That looked like such a fun day! My FIL grew up in an Old Order Mennonite family and actually went to school in a one-room school. It's just down the road from us and is still operational.

    The children from the Old Order Mennonite families still walk or ride their bikes to school every day. It's very much the same as it was 50-100 years ago.

    By the way, today I posted my recipe for sandtarts. You left a comment a couple weeks ago & asked what a sandtart is. I was amazed that hadn't heard of a sandtart, but maybe you just call it something different in your area? Anyway, it's an awesome cookie.

  3. Looks like fun. We will have to go sometime. I think it is very close to where I used to teach.

  4. Hey Karen!
    Don't you ever just want to join in and be like the Mennonite families?
    I love the idea of simple times, but I do enjoy my baseboard heating!

    A little about the kids.
    Ed and Ben were the owners of the dogs in the picture.
    Olive Darling's family was well off because they sold stagecoaches.
    The teacher told the kids a little about each of the kids.
    It was amazing.
    Theresa- you should go and visit- they have museums on the premises.
    It is right in stony brook and very easy to get to.


Hey! Thanks for dropping by- I love comments and read them all!


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