51/365 days of blogging.
When I started homeschooling, my mother wasn’t to keen on the idea. She had some of the same concerns that most of the rest of my family and friends had. “How will she ever learn to be social? How will she ever excel academically because you don’t have a teaching degree? I just don’t see how it will work.”
Well I recently came across a book that my mother wrote about her childhood for all of us kids to cherish after she is gone. She gave a copy to all 4 of us kids a copy, and most of the grandkids. I was glancing through the pages and came across this story about her schooling days.
When I was five years old, I started to school in Forker, Missouri with my brothers. The school was next to the church. Across the street was a country store and a blacksmith shop. The railroad tracks to the right of the store. We lived about 1 1/2 mile from Forker and about eight miles from Brookfield. I only went to the first grade at that school when it closed down. I then went to another country school called South Eagle School. I don’t know why it was called that because as far as I know there never was a town called South Eagle. There was a church across the road and a garage by the school for the bus. The South Eagle school was only one mile from where we lived towards Brookfield. There was around 25-30 kids going there in a one room school-house. They had grades one through six. When the kids had to be punished the teacher had the kids to bend over a desk and take so many swats on the rear with a board that had holes in it, or we had to stand in front of the class with their arms outstretched holding a dictionary in each hand. If they dropped their hands down, they would get a swat with the famous board. The third main discipline was to draw a circle on the blackboard up high and stand on our toes with our nose in the circle. If we dropped down on our feet we again got a swat.
There was a blackboard across one side of the room and windows all around the other sides. There were no curtains for shades. There were two doors on the front of the building. In one corner stood an old boiler furnace that burned coal for heat. The furnace had a large water tank on the side for moisture. We used to put cans of soup in the hot water to heat it for our dinner during the winter. The water got very warm.
The seats we sat in to do our studying was a combination seat and desk. It had a shelf underneath for our books. There were grooves across the top for our pencils and chalk and holes made for ink bottles for the older children who used ink well pens.
When we started school, we had one book called “The First Reader.” We had a slate and chalk instead of pencil and paper. The teacher sat at a large desk in front of the room. Usually the smaller kids would gather around her desk by grades and recite their lessons. The older grades would rise and go to the blackboard for their lessons. We never had homework to take home like they do now.
We got on the bus at 6:00 am and got off the bus at 5:30 pm. We each had to milk our cow before we got on the bus every morning and again that evening after we got home, before we could do anything else.
When I graduated from 6th grade I got to go the big town school! It didn’t take me long to realize it was nothing but clicks. Friendships were already made and I was just a little country hick girl. I felt very much alone that year.
I could do gymnastics a little, like stand on my head, do backbends, flips etc. So I got to be in a lot fo programs in gym class. At the time the physical ed. class put on programs. I was finally the center of attention, because I was so little and flexible.
I next moved clear across town to a really big school, high school! By this time my brothers and my sister had quit school. I was determined that I was going to graduate. Our parents didn’t care if we finished or not, because we didn’t have the money to go to school and the boys were needed in the fields. I didn’t take any lunch to school but I didn’t care because I was determined that I was going to finish.
When I was a senior I had to have my appendix removed, and because of that I missed my senior trip. I still go to graduate with my class. I was very proud of my diploma. I was the only one out of 5 kids to graduate.
So at the beginning of the story I thought to myself, “If our public schools had never lost sight of these principles, parents would have to worry about making the decision to home school.” But the reality is for me and my child…I enjoy teaching her. I can teach her in a Godly environment, and still accomplish a good education. Then towards the end…I was reminded why I continue to home school my teenager! CLICKS! PEER PRESSURE! And so on and so on.
I love reading about my moms childhood. As time goes on I may share more of her book. It is very fascinating as to how she lived as a child and she remembers being very poor but having lots of fun as a child. Kids just don’t have fun like that anymore.
I love you mom. Thanks for sharing your memories with me.