Of days gone by

Home school students spend day in Wilson's one-room schoolhouse

Home school students spend day in Wilson's one-room schoolhouse

May 14, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

A group of home school students got a taste of 19th-century life during a visit to a Washington County one-room schoolhouse Thursday.

The 25 students, part of the SonLIGHT Homeschool Group, learned how to bow and curtsy and learned other important skills while sitting on antique wooden desks in Wilson's School.

The students ranged in age from 7 to 13, said Michelle Snodderly of Greencastle, Pa., one of the parents of students in the group. While the group consists mostly of Washington County residents, some live in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, she said.


The home school parents wanted students to get a sense for what life was like in the 1850s, so they spent four hours in Wilson's School, Snodderly said.

The schoolhouse built in 1855 by Rufus Wilson for the education of his son, John, is seven miles west of Hagerstown on Route 40.

The students came in period clothing, some of which was sewn by family members for the occasion, Snodderly said. Some students read "Little House on the Prairie" in preparation for the day, she said.

The students were told to bring a period lunch, so they brought hunks of bread and cheese instead of Fritos corn chips, for instance, Snodderly said.

Their teacher for the day, Sal Dobbs, made the students use a wash basin to clean up before eating lunch. She later taught the girls how to properly curtsy and the boys how to bow, then had them demonstrate what they learned.

"Good manners are absolutely imperative. The adults will expect it and so will I," Dobbs said.

For her next lesson, Dobbs talked to students about speaking the truth and being honest.

After the class, the students and some of their parents walked over to the nearby Wilson's General Store for candy and other treats.

A few students reflected on the day and how it compared to their regular schooling.

"It was hotter and harder," Zach Snodderly, 12, said.

He said he liked the teacher but was not so crazy about bowing.

"I don't normally bow much," he said.

Jenna Polk, 11, said she thought the outing was fun but she would not want to live like that every day.

Bethany Yeager, 9, wearing a dress made by her mother, Margie Yeager, said she enjoyed the day.

Yeager said it was exciting that her daughter was able to experience what education would have been like in 1850.

Dobbs said she thought the day went well but there were times when playing a teacher of a different era was difficult.

"My 21st-century brain kept saying, 'The older kids are bored,'" she said.

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