A Privilege to Attend School in the 1830s

A Privilege to Attend School in the 1830s

Did you know …


Attending school in the early 1800s was a privilege because every community didn’t have one. In those days, children went to subscription schools where parents paid the teacher a certain amount for each child. Parents also provided wood for the fireplace.

Teachers stayed with families

Families usually took turns boarding the teacher. Children liked this extra time with their teacher. In those days, most teachers were men.

Boys and girls learned to read, write, and do math. They also played blind man’s bluff and ran races at recess. Cat and corner ball were two of the ball games they enjoyed.

The school year didn’t last long

School usually lasted four months during the fall and winter and then students were done for the year.

Daily spelling bees

The teacher gave spelling bees daily where he gave the words aloud for the class to spell. Neighborhood schools competed with each other throughout the winter to find the best spellers.

The schools were usually log cabins with greased paper in the windows. A wide fireplace took up one side of the school.

Students sat on split log benches. They used wide split slabs along one side of the room for writing tables.


-by Sandra Merville Hart



Welker, Martin. 1830’s Farm Life in Central Ohio, Clapper’s Print, 2005.












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