Monday, May 4, 2015

Commonplace Book....Random Thoughts on the History of Education...

From The Rainbow Book of American History by Earl Schenck Miers, pg 140-143...

Early education in America placed first emphasis on proper moral conduct.

Among the colonies, Massachusetts took the lead in education, passing a law in 1647 that required every town of fifty homeowners to establish a primary school and every town of one hundred homes to provide, in addition, a secondary or grammar school.  The following year, Dedham, Massachusetts, became the first community in American to tax property owners in order to support a local public school.  Boston already claimed the first Latin, or high school, established in 1635, where, by the age of fifteen, students were supposed to be ready for college after intensive instruction in Latin and less vigorous preparation in composition, literature, mathematics, modern languages, philosophy, and science. 

The "prevocation school," such as the academy established in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin was found only in the larger towns and concentrated on training pupils for "real life."  Another standard form of education in early America was "apprenticeship training," illustrated by Franklin's service to his father as a candlemaker and to his brother James as a printer's devil. 

From A Nineteenth-Century Schoolgirl, The Diary of Caroline Cowles Richards, 1852-1955 edited by Kerry A. Graves, pg 6-7...

During the 1800's, most boys and girls went to public elementary school until they were 10 to 12 years old.  They learned to read, write, and spell.  They studied grammar, math, geography, and history.  Students also took physical education classes.

Most children who studied beyond elementary school went to private schools.  Few public high schools existed before 1860.  Only middle- or upper-class families could afford to send their children to private high schools.  Many of these private high schools were boarding schools.

Boys and girls did not go to the same private schools. At the time, people thought boys and girls had different educational needs.  Boys attended private schools called academies.  At academies, boys learned composition, literature, history, math, religion, and foreign languages.  These classes prepared boys for college and jobs. 

Girls attended private schools called seminaries.  At seminaries, girls studied some of the same subjects boys did.  But girls also learned dance, drawing, and needlework at seminaries.  People thought these classes taught social skills and prepared girls to be good homemakers. 

pg 12...

During the 1800's, students used books called readers.  The stories in these books taught moral values, good manners, and religion.  Students used stories from their readers and from the Bible to learn reading and writing.  They memorized parts of the stories and recited them in class. 
McGuffey's Readers were the most popular readers.  William Holmes McGuffey was a minister and teacher.  From 1836 to 1857, McGuffey wrote six reading books and one spelling book for young students.  McGuffey's Readers became widely used in the mid-1800s and remained popular until the early 1900s.  

From Getting Started, Systematic Mathematics by Paul Ziegler...

I do not advise formal math education before 3rd grade.  Children are simply not ready for formal math instruction before that age.  First and second grade math textbooks did not exist before the 1960's.

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