Return of the One Room Schoolhouse

What structure does a one room schoolhouse most closely resemble?
Think about that for a bit, while you read the rest of this post.

This post is more timely than ever. Since last year the the one room schoolhouses have exploded. The parents who care about their children have had enough.

REPOST 8/15/2021

This is an Eighth Grade final examination from 1895. Note the use of the word “examination” instead of “exam”.  This was not a multiple-choice test.  If you were an eighth-grade student in 1895 your teacher would decide on the basis of your answers to these questions, whether or not you were educated or a dumbass.  If you adjudged to be a dumbass you would not receive your Eighth-grade diploma and your education would end. Rightfully so.

How well would you do?

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10.Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of N.A.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10.Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

I am willing to bet that seventy percent of today’s  college graduates would fail this exam.

It’s no secret that our educational standards have dropped so low that I’m amazed anyone under the age of forty can read this.

There are a lot of reasons why and I am will to bet just about all of them are right.  There really is no one thing.

Although there is without question a first thing.

Getting rid of the One Room School House.

I have family in the teaching profession.  One of them went into Special Ed.  I casually asked her why and her answer has stuck with me.  She told me, “I’m tired of teaching to the Middle.  In the system we have now, the smart kids can’t help but get bored past a certain point.  The ones that need the most help, fall to the bottom because they end up being neglected. The only kids that do all right with the system we have now are the ones in the middle and they are boring as hell to teach.

At least with Special Ed, I’m doing some good for someone who needs it.”

So wouldn’t the One Room School House have been worse?  You ask.

Well actually no.  We can start with the fact that the school day began with Christian prayer.

Almighty God, Our Heavenly Father, from Whom all life and all true gladness springs.  We pray You to send Your blessings upon this school, upon those who teach and upon those who learn, that accepting daily the guidance of the Holy Ghost and holding fast to all that is good.  May we worship and serve You all our days through Jesus Christ our lord.  Amen.

These words are, as you know, a serious criminal offense if you are a member of the modern teaching profession. And would result in your being barred from pedagogy for the rest of your life, if you even murmured them under your breath.

Having asked for the Almighty’s blessing the children got down to the day’s lessons.  The question you probably have is how did they make it work?  All grades being in one room and all.

I’ll answer that question with a question.  What is the best way to learn something?

Answer: you teach it to someone else.

The older students would teach the younger ones.  The Third Years would tutor the First Years on reading, the Eighth Years would drill the Fifth Years on Algebra and so on.

Part of the reason that standards were higher was that the more advanced stuff was presented to the younger students in the class room before they actually had to learn it.

Debates were conducted.  Rhetoric was learned, then developed. Critical reasoning was a necessary skill to complete a primary school education.

All of this was accomplished by local communities without a Department of Education standing on their shoulders and telling them the proper pronunciation of the pronoun “xyr”.

Getting back to my first question of, what does a one room schoolhouse look like? I am willing to bet that most of my readers answers were either a church or a townhall. There is a reason for that. It was meant to be a bit of both.

When an American community reached critical mass it would get together to solve communal problems. The fire engine keeps breaking down when we need it. How do we raise the money for a new one? The train now comes through town. We need something better than that tent for depot. And of course, we got young’ins all over the place now. Their mothers are doing what they can to school them but a woman’s work is never done as it is. We need a schoolhouse and a teacher.

My real point is this. The one room schoolhouse was created by the community, to address the needs of the community. It instilled the community’s values. It fed patriotism. It honored and observed the Christian faith.

It was not imposed on the community by the federal government.

Yet slowly but surely that is exactly what ended up happening. The modern school system is not meant to address the needs of the local community, it is meant to address the needs of the forces that are destroying our country. When was the last time you walked into a school and thought to yourself, these people work for us?

I understand the desire for homeschooling. I get the motivations. But it has a major flaw. You can’t build a community with homeschooling. Kids have to learn how to get along with each other by integrating with each other on a daily basis. What is needed is the return to the one room schoolhouse.

And the good news is, it’s happening already. There is a movement underway to build these private community schools. To call them successful would be an understatement. A number of them have had to resort to lotteries to select which kid will get into one.

But they are vulnerable. The forces that want to destroy them are the same ones that are battling against charter schools.

Whether they win or not is largely up to you.

11 thoughts on “Return of the One Room Schoolhouse

  1. As an engineer working in Europe the arithmetic questions scream “Metric system, for the love of Christ, metric system” to me.
    But at a second reading, this is a pretty solid amount of questions.
    Disregard question 1 and 10. But 2 to 8 does require a solid amount of calculations.


  2. For the above poster I’ll retreat to the old saw, when you get to the moon get back to us with the Metric system.

    I’ll add social trust to the equation, the low security institutions are a hot bed of sociopathy and psychopathy, off the scales bad. Remember that Parkland shooter the low Omega boy, once I saw that shaved head chick I knew that psychopath had a connection with him and she did, she bullied him and admits it. Even in my Red state area little school district an unpopular girl who had no respite from being bullied by the popular girls killed herself, thank you social media. My Boomercon wife poopoohed the poor girl’s fate as not tough enough becuz back in the day blah, blah. So I had to remind her that the girl had no respite, 24/7 world wide social media.

    I’ve come to believe God gave us Christ not so we men don’t go stickin our dicks in everything with a hole or kill somebody behind the bar in a fight it is to reign in Women’s behavior.

    Even in the one room school house the women teachers will need to be closely supervised by men.


  3. Kids have to learn how to get along with each other by integrating with each other on a daily basis.

    I’ve always been on the fence with this theory. Sticking a bunch of kids into age based classrooms tends to lead to all sorts of problems. Does a one room schoolhouse fix that since you are dealing with a wider range of kids? My guess is it probably does. However, between socialized in normal school kids and homeschoolers, the homeschoolers on average seem to be better adjusted adults.

    My sister homeschooled her kids. There seemed to be plenty of non-school interaction with other kids. Actually they had more time to do things since they weren’t cooped up in a classroom with make-work.


  4. Had a lot of fun taking this with a room full of my college educated friends. I think together we got a 50 on all sections combined


      1. We got a ton of partial credit but other than math and geography we really couldn’t answer must things even in the fields we studied. For instance I have no idea what they want for 1607 and 1620 and History was my major. My wife majored in creative writing and she only got 6 on rules for capitalizing. Also no one new what a bushel of wheat was.


  5. Watching HGTV last night and ad for an online High School came on, probably a scam but there it was on what is a fairly popular cable channel.


  6. My score would be around 60%. had forgotten many of the definitions; however, the rules of grammar were properly ingrained at a young age.

    Another defect of the metric system is that common length, volume, and weights are no longer related to anthropocentric relations. You can approximate a foot, inch, yard, and fathom easily. A mile is eight furrows long (furlongs); get out the ox team and plow. Pint, quart, and gallon are related to easy drinking capacity. A bushel is a basket size and weight easily hefted and moved, eight gallons of dry measure or around a cubic foot of volume. The conversions used to be on the backs of copybooks, for just that learning reference.

    Now I feel ancient, and not in dog years.


  7. I read several essays on this topic in SF anthologies in the 80s and 90s, by writers like Jerry Pournelle and Ann McCaffrey. My paternal grandfather had an 8th grade education from a one-room school. One day he showed me the English and math textbooks he’d used. The English looked like Harbrace’s, only higher level, and the math was algebra. High school was for people going to college, which was for the intellectual elite. The schoolhouses prepared people to work in the real world.


  8. The vast majority of those questions went right over my head and I consider myself a fairly learned and we’ll read person.

    Maybe it’s just the way language has changed, but it’s obvious now that without having the nuts and bolts of English, those who haven’t developed an instinctual grasp of it from lots and lots of reading are being retardified on purpose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s