Saturday, May 23, 2009

School in the 1800s

This was originally an essay written in early 1976. I tried to trace the family’s development from about 1800 through to the late 1900’s. My main source of information was my maternal grandmother, Nanny (1883 – 1978), who had her 92nd birthday on November 9th, 1975. She passed away after a stroke in LTC.

This is a part of my grandmother's recollections of school in the late 1800's.

Eventually, Anne and the boys went to school. It wasn’t compulsory and Anne continued going until she was 14 years old. Harry, Fred and Edward all became molders and went into apprenticeships after grade eight. By the time Anne was 14 they had all married and moved out. The school was a typical one-roomed schoolhouse with 24 children of various ages. The strap was the main form of punishment, but Annie, as she was called, didn’t get the strap because she was a good child.

They studied the three R’s very carefully. Arithmetic was very important, as was spelling and penmanship. They also took geography in which they drew maps. They didn’t have history or other related subjects. Every day they had about an hour of homework. If they didn’t do their homework they had to write lines.

Nanny remembered that they always wore long dresses to school, no skirts at all, never mind pants. (My high school, Jarvis C. I., now 200 years old, only allowed girls to wear pants to school my first year of high school, in 1970.) Nanny remembers pretend tea parties at recess under the trees in the sunshine. They played with dolls, tops, dollhouses, and toy dishes.

The photos are from an archive.

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