Monday, 30 April 2012
Back to Basic Furnishings
The inside of the schoolhouse is open (not partitioned) and the log interior walls are natural but whitewashed. Whitewashing helps to reflect some light where there is little--for natural light, the school has four windows. Here we can also see some simple benches like the ones that the students would have sat on for study. As in the early days you will notice that there were no desks for the students. Blackboards were unheard of at this point in time. Some children did use small hand-held slate boards and slender slate pencils for writing their lessons.
Now I would like you to keep in mind that when it was built, the school was in the middle of the woods and children often walked up to five miles to attend school in the winter. (By convening school in the winter months, school attendance would not interfere with other farming duties during busier times of the farming schedule during the year. After awhile, the winter school "term" was expanded to include some of the late fall into the early spring season). Teachers were not tested for competency or regulated and were, in this case, also farmers themselves. Children were required to pay for their tuition which went, in turn, to help pay the salary for the teacher—a sum of about 2 or 3 dollars per child for a four month school term. In addition, each child was expected to provide his (or her portion) of firewood for that term--the only source of heat was likely a single wood stove.
Girls did attend school but boys outnumbered the amount of girls who were enrolled. School would have ended for children in and around the age of thirteen--roughly grade eight.