The One-Room Schoolhouse

By: Varshni Murali

Location

  • One-room schoolhouses were often found in the open country (the rural areas).

  • Many of the children came from families lacking financial benefits. Therefore, the schools were often constructed upon the poorest lands available, so that the farmers could use the lands with better attributes.

Exteriors and Interiors

  • The schools were extremely simple in structure. Some schools were built using sod. However, they were extremely expensive to maintain, and this lead to the deterioration of one-room schoolhouses as the people living in rural areas dwindled.

  • The water pump and restrooms were located outside the building, so to make use of either of these facilities the students had to venture outside.

  • One-room schoolhouses were usually painted white. White paint was inexpensive when compared to other colors, and the farmers had little money to spare.

Furnishings

The schools had very little supplies, and the funding was extremely poor.

Children used slates and slate-pencils to practice writing and penmanship.

Students recited lessons on the ‘recitation bench’, often located at the front of the classroom beside the teacher's desk.

Students

  • Children of ages 5-16 attended one-room schoolhouses.
  • Many children were unable to attend school on a regular basis. They had many responsibilities at home, and often had to help out on the farms.
  • Some schools offered a high school education, while others sent children to public high schools after the students had attained their eight grade diplomas.

Curriculum

  • One-room schoolhouses had three main subjects- reading, arithmetic, and writing. Writing was also known as penmanship.
  • The schools were required to follow the state curriculum.
  • The teachers were young, unmarried ladies. Some teachers were as young as seventeen. The teachers had to have good morals and go to church. They were required to teach all eight grades.
  • At school, children learned responsibility and respect. Patriotism was also a major part of the curriculum. Children were taught how to be good citizens and benefit their communities in positive ways.

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