The One Room Schoolhouse

Our schoolroom display depicts how a one-room schoolhouse might have looked during the 1800's and through the early 1900's. The school was usually built by a group of settlers or community residents to provide a place to educate their children. Many of the early schools were one-room, housing all eight grades.

One teacher taught all grades for children of all ages. Female teachers had to be single. Once they married, their teaching days were over. The subjects taught were the three "R's", reading, writing and arithmetic. Lessons also included penmanship, memorization and recitation.

Children in those early schools wrote on slates with pencils made of graphite. In our schoolroom we have a pot bellied cast iron stove, which was normally the only source of heat. Wood was supplied by local families. Each morning a different child was responsible for starting the fire before the other children arrived. The children also helped keep the schoolroom clean by sweeping the floors, cleaning the blackboards and washing the windows.

The ringing of the bell signaled the beginning of the school day and roll call. After a morning of reading and writing, each grade would take turns reading aloud while other students did written work.

Recess was a short break in the morning and afternoon. The children went outdoors to play games, talk and explore. Marbles were popular as well as guessing and singing games. After recess, the children would practice their arithmetic and then break for lunch. Those children who did not go home for lunch carried a lunch basket or tin pail. Some children brought milk for all to share. Afternoons were devoted to history, geography and speech making.

Each day ended with announcements and the duties for the next day. Children who had misbehaved during the day usually had to stay late. Punishments could be very harsh. Children were punished for arriving late, answering questions incorrectly and falling asleep in class. They were usually punished again by their parents when they returned home. "Bad behavior" led to a "dunce cap" or signs around their necks, standing in a corner or even a strapping with a hickory stick.

As more children were being sent to school, the Little Red Schoolhouse was built as a two-room school and opened in 1910.