1950 - 60s
|In the early 1900s, the wealthy children attended private
academies. The schools were houses with a few rooms in them set aside
for classrooms. They were small, with only about three or four pupils
in each grade. One teacher taught several grades in just one room.
In the private schools, girls and boys were not together. They went
to separate academies.
Some of the subjects the girls learned were reading, spelling,
history, arithmetic, geography and penmanship or handwriting. Sometimes they
learned manners and dancing, French, drawing and how to walk and act like
a young lady.
The public schools, on the other hand, were free and mostly attended
by the kids who were not rich. Boys and girls were at the same school.
There was a class for each grade level with about 20 to 30 kids in each class.
Most of the subjects were the same, but the teachers were harder on
the children in public schools. If the kids did something wrong, the
teachers would hit them with paddles or rulers, or box their ears.
Not all poor kids got to go to the free public schools. Many of them had
to work to help their families and did not go to school at all. In
1904, a lot of the work was just reading and memorizing and reciting.
Sometimes kids got to do experiments if the teacher wanted to.
funny things that were different were that, at the rich schools, girls did
stretching and yawning exercises!
They also had lessons in archery and tennis,
got to play basketball and learn how to swim. Something they learned to swim
without any water or a pool by being hung from the ceiling in harnesses
to practice their swimming arm movements and kicks!
In 1904, children were supposed to go to school until
the age of 16; however, most kids never finished the 8th grade. They
went to work in factories, farms and coalmines to help their families.
Some went to high school and a few went to college. In those
days, very few women went to college. Even the rich girls didn't all get
to go to college.