The One-Room Schoolhouse

This morning at the Senior Center, our singtime included schoolhouse songs from the past. That would be my past, in fact. We sang, “Clementine” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” Alas, those songs are not in my edition of the “Golden Book of Favorite Songs.” When I came back home, I reached for my tattered book from which we sang in my Chain O’ Lakes schoolhouse which I attended from 1948 to 1954. Once in a fit of nostalgia, I bought my 1923 edition on ebay.

The schoolhouse did not have indoor plumbing, but it did have electricity. In the spring and fall the building was cooled by open windows and throughout the winter it was warmed by a large, pot-bellied stove that consumed wood. The parents donated wood, split wood, and the man across the road started the fire on those frosty mornings. Trips to the outhouse in the winter were fast, to say the least.

Eight grades were taught by one teacher. Looking back, I can attest to the fact that my elementary education was superb. Someday I will write a tribute to Mrs. Jenks who served as my teacher for grades 1, 2, 3 and 6. She stopped when she had a baby, thus the gap in grades 4 and 5.

Back to the contents of that song book I see that we had a section of patriotism that included the “American Creed” and the “Gettysburg Address.” We all stood and said the pledge to the American Flag every morning. We sang a patriotic song every morning because Mrs. Jenks played the piano beautifully! When music class time came, we sang a mixture of songs: “Old Black Joe,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and “Reuben and Rachel.” I also remember singing “Abide With Me,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.” At Christmas we sang “Silent Night” and other songs right along with “Up on the Housetop.”

No one questioned our music selections. Parents approved our recitations of the Twenty-third Psalm, and the American Creed. Parents knew that we needed balance in our lives and those one-room schoolhouses produced the Greatest Generation and those of us who followed in their footsteps.

I say all of that to encourage a round of applause to parents who choose the one-room schoolhouse for their children when they choose to educate their children at home. Last week I supervised a one-room school as my grandsons attended classes in a room set aside in their home for school. Yes, computers are in that classroom, and their teachers teach via live streaming classes from a Christian school in Florida. They love history, science, and arithmetic. Each morning they pledge the American flag, and the first class they attend is Bible class. I was on hand in the absence of my daughter, a teacher in her own right with an erned degree. All I had to do was supervise because the boys listened to the teachers and did their work without complaint.

For those families who appreciate the character of the older generation and want the values of God and Country in curriculum as well as in family living, this kind of one-room schoolhouse is still available. I have life-long values implanted in my life from my own one-room schoolhouse, and see the same values being ingrained in my grandchildren. A generation gap exists but only in technology. Our values are as solid as the Word of God.


1 Comment

  1. Beautifully written, Karyl. Good old days, indeed, when even in a public school system you were taught patriotism, biblically sound ethics of morals and behavior. We were proud to be Americans back then. I still am.

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