Today we joined with a group of home schoolers to visit The Bell School. It was a really fun day. The kids were supposed to wear “Little House on the Prairie” type clothes and bring a lunch that might have been typical of that time period.
The morning started with a lecture by Mr. Holt about the customs of the time period, including common tasks, weekly schedules and hygiene.
Then it was time for the schoolmarm, Mrs. Holt, to take over. The children lined up in two lines in front of the school.
Once inside the school, Mrs. Holt taught the children to “make their manners” (bow/curtsy) and led them in the pledge and the Lord’s Prayer. Next, she gave us an overview of schools during that time and a few decades before.
Each child had a slate, a slate pencil and a cloth for erasing. They got to practice writing on the slates while other groups of children were called forward for recitations. Mrs. Holt had selections from the McGuffey Readers for them to read aloud at the recitation table.
Abby diligently made up math problems and answered them. Emma mostly drew stars and hearts.
After each group had a turn to read, it was time for penmanship practice. They got to practice writing with a feather pen and a fountain pen (the moms walked around with the ink to minimize spills).
And then it was lunch time.
After eating lunch, the children took turns trying out various activities such as the corn shucker, the clothes washing…um, stick thing, playing with toys and walking on stilts.
The day ended with a spelling bee. When it was Emma’s turn, she confidently said, “Actually, I’m four and a half, so I need an easy word.” (She didn’t really understand the concept of spelling though, so she had to sit down right away. She didn’t mind.) Abby correctly spelled “can” but missed “calendar.” A bit of difference in difficulty there, don’t ya think?
It was a fun and educational day. I’m sure they will remember it for a long time. When I asked them about their favorite part of the experience, Abby said she liked the spelling bee best. Emma said she liked the dog. (Duh.)