Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A One Room School -- 1980s style

I went to a one room schoolhouse in 1988-1989.  Well, almost. It was a converted farmhouse, and walls were removed to make one large room.  From where I sat, I couldn't see the boys' room, my view was a closet that held hymnals for our weekly chapel.  If you had already guessed it was a Christian school, you are correct.  We were loosely associated with a Pentecostal church, but we were the only Christian school in the area and we had Pentecostal kids as well as Mennonite, and me, a then-Nazarene attending the school.  Aside from the actual texts we used, there was no one belief that was taught to be superior.

There were 16 students in grades -- um something -- through 12.  Except for seniors, no one was really quite sure what grade they were in, so they usually said what grade they would be if they were in public school.  We used a curriculum where we worked at our own rate.  Twelve workbooks equaled one credit.  We worked on our own and if we had a question we would ask our teacher.  Upon finishing a section, we would "go score".  We never thought of the secular use of the word "score" and we tossed around sayings like "I need to score."  "I left that at the score table."  "I really need to score."   What was scoring?  Basically checking our answers.  There were red pens at the score table.  (Our teachers used green on tests.)  Until we reached the end of our workbook, we checked all our work ourselves.  Then we took a test, and if our grade was under 80%, we had to redo the workbook.

As you can imagine, with so few kids, we had some great times.   This post is first in a series and basically gives you a bit of an overview.  Our school day started at 9:00.  We began with the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible.  There was the Scripture of the month read.  If we wanted to be on honor roll, we had to memorize that passage.  Then someone would open the day in prayer.  I always hated when they called on "Sister Jennifer" to pray.  I wasn't even a Christian then (though I didn't realize it!) and I thought "Sister" in front of my name sounded so funny and I'd always have to hold back a giggle before I prayed.

We then worked in our workbooks until morning recess.  (Yes, even 12th graders got recess!)  After that break which was sometimes playing volleyball or going into the basement to play ping pong with badmitten birdies or tennis balls, we were back at our workbooks until 11:30, at which time we had an hour for lunch.  We often brought board games for this break, and the picture on this post is us playing Old Maid.  For some reason we played that quite a bit.  After lunch, back to work until 1:30.  On Wednesdays we were dismissed at 1:30 (and had no morning recess because we had chapel instead.)  The other days, the final hour of school might be gym (either volleyball or running around the school building 12 times.)  This was also the hour where girls had home ec and boys had wood working, at least for a while.

I eventually showed up once a week to school.  Homeschooling was illegal in my state at that time, and the school said as long as I did 2 1/2 hours of school work each day, I would be counted present.  I went to school to take tests and get new workbooks.  Home Ec was then 120 hours of cooking, baking, sewing, crafting something I had never previously made.

I have so many unique and fun memories of that year I will be sharing over time on my blog. . . so stay tuned. . .

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