From the one-room school house to another school… and another

September 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm 4 comments

 My one-room school house was only the beginning of my formal learning.  I was blessed with excellent teachers from whom I quickly learned to read and write, learn arithmetic, geography and history. I made many friends.

The classroom was a safe place to learn, the classes small and eight grades in one large room. Arithmetic was largely rote learning with much repetition to learn times tables, which we seemed to review endlessly. My teachers there— Miss Wittig, Miss Merrill, and Miss Lupton— were all competent teachers and well prepared. My mother says that when Mary started school, there was a shift in teaching reading, with less emphasis on phonics. She felt that more attention to phonics would have been helpful to my sister in learning to read.

By the time I reached Grade 5—  a challenging year, as I remember— I had two sisters in the same classroom with me. Being a peace-loving person, I wasn’t about to create a ruckus in school anyways, but had I done so, I had two sisters to tell on me at home. 

As the school board made its plans for our future, one-room school houses across our county were going to close. After Grade 5, I would go to another school for Grade 6, a two-room school house about the same age as the one up the road from us. My sister Mary was bused to yet another one-room school for her Grade 5 year, while Bonnie stayed at our nearby school. It must have been challenging for our parents if they had to talk to different teachers. Meet the teacher nights were not common as they are in city schools, or perhaps I just don’t remember.

As I attended that second school in Hickson, a new school was being built up the road— a multi-room school that was to become a senior public school. Except for illness that winter, when I missed a few weeks of classes, I enjoyed being in another school, having my first male teacher, Mr. Piggot, who would move on to that new school the next year too.

The next year, I attended Grade 7 at that brand new school, then Grade 8 too.  Students came to this school from all over our township. I rode the bus each day, a longer trip this year as I was on the bus early and the second last one off at the end of the day. I made lasting friendships and felt comfortable with my teachers Mrs. Kennedy, Mr. Piggot and Mr. Hall.

During those years at the senior public school, we were bused into Woodstock for home economics classes. That building, once an armoury, had been converted for educational uses.  I remember those bus rides to Woodstock when we sang half the way there and back and waved to other drivers out the back windows of the bus.  Our bus driver, Shorty, so called on account of  his height, didn’t mind as long as we were not too loud and as long as we behaved.

Mrs. Scott, our home economics teacher, taught us about cooking and sewing. We took turns cooking and baking in the kitchen and cleaning up after ourselves, and had days at the sewing machine, making an apron or a dress or whatever we chose to sew. Only a few girls put the sewing machine needle through a finger and probably some had a burn or two working with the stove and hot pots, but I had already been in the kitchen a lot by that time, and I had already done some sewing at home.

Before the end of that second year, and because we asked, the boys were allowed to visit our classroom one time. We were ready with treats, cookies and cake.  Another day, we were allowed to visit the shop, but not to touch any of the tools. That was okay by me. We had hammers and awls and screwdrivers and saws at home in Dad’s drive shed. The power tools I didn’t care to experiment with anyways.

To be continued another day…


Entry filed under: school. Tags: .

School days Waiting

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Donna Fawcett  |  September 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your account of the one room school house. Thank you for sharing it:) Blessings.

    • 2. storygal  |  September 8, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks, Donna. Glad you enjoyed it. Have a great day!

  • 3. Kimberley Payne  |  September 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I loved watching Little House on the Prairie for the one-room school house episodes! Thanks for taking me back.

  • 4. storygal  |  September 12, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks, Kimberley. We didn’t have to endure the cold until someone got the stove working, though. We had a furnace. Interesting comparison.


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