Schools were being started in many places by now. Commissioners were created in every township and school districts were formed. To begin with, the schools were held in homes or churches until the districts could afford to build. The first schools were usually log, and school terms lasted only one to three months because of a lack of teachers and because the children had to help at home in the fields and do other chores.

School teaching was by no means an easy job. The rural teacher of long ago had a less complicated situation. The textbook was the standard of education. The main list of studies were reading, writing, and arithmetic. Most rural schools were one room, with up to eight grades, taught by one teacher. Schools were located near a good number of families, giving the school a fair number of students.

Entrance to most of the schools was one well kept dead end country road and trails to the homes through the woods. These trails were wide and well padded by many many feet, small and adult size by shoes in the winter and bare feet of the younger ones in the warmer months.

School would begin about 8:00 A.M. and last till 4:00. The students would range in age from five years up to sometime seventeen. Usually the morning began with a simple prayer, then some brief exercise. Then the work began. Sometimes, due to illness or bad weather, there could be as few as one or two students in some of the more advanced grades. Sometimes winter snows kept the students away.

In winter months, everyone stayed indoors, especially in severe cold or rainy weather. The school was warmed with a large cast iron stove, the older boys keeping it going and making sure there was plenty of wood inside for starting the next morning. They also made sure there was drinking water brought in from the well.

Submitted By Ethel Taylor
June 9, 2004
Copyright 2004

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