Classic Country Schoolhouse Recollection Reprinted
Submitted by Wisconsin Historical Society Press
On a hazy August morning in 1939, five-year-old Jerry Apps donned a denim shirt with new bib overalls and then combed his hair at the insistence of his mother. Carrying a lard pail as a lunch bucket, two yellow pencils, and a five-cent pad of paper, he took his place in the procession of children on the dusty road headed to Chain O'Lake School in Waushara County. At the sound of the bell that signaled the start of the school year, the students hurried into the modest white building, where one teacher taught children spanning eight grades in a single classroom. It's a memory that might sound familiar to anyone who attended a one-room rural school in the early twentieth century. From 1791, when the first school was established in what is now Wisconsin, to the consolidation of rural school districts in the 1960s, the one-room school's history has been one of growth and change.
In "One-Room Country Schools," Jerry Apps relays this history through his own vivid recollections, along with the stories told to him by some of the countless students and teachers who populated small country schoolhouses across the state over the years. From the organized chaos of teaching disparate age groups in one room, to tales of recess, holiday programs, and classroom mischief, these stories provide a lively and detailed portrait of what it was like to be educated in the same room as one's siblings. More than just memories, this book provides insight into the value of the highly localized and more personalized educational practices of the past.
Find more Jerry Apps here!
And, discover a complimentary book about one-room schools for younger readers, One Room Schools by Susan Apps-Bodilly
What was it like to attend a one-room school, to be in the same classroom as your older brother or younger sister, or to have your teacher live with your family for part of the school year? In "One Room Schools," Susan Apps-Bodilly chronicles life in Wisconsin's early country schools, detailing the experiences of the students, the role of the teacher, and examples of the curriculum, including the importance of Wisconsin School of the Air radio programs. She describes the duties children had at school besides their schoolwork, from cleaning the erasers and sweeping cobwebs out of the outhouse to carrying in wood for the stove. She also tells what led to the closing of the one-room schools, which were more than just centers of learning: they also served as the gathering place for the community. Susan Apps-Bodilly drew from the research compiled by her father, Jerry Apps, for his book "One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections." Apps-Bodilly has geared her book toward young readers who will learn what students and their teacher did on cold mornings before the woodstove warmed them up. They also will find out how to play recess games like Fox and Geese and Anti-I-Over and will learn the locations of ten former one-room schools that can be toured. Apps-Bodilly also encourages readers to ask themselves what lessons can be learned from these early schools that have application for today's schools. "One Room Schools" will transport young readers back in time and make their grandparents and others of that generation nostalgic--perhaps even prompting them to share memories of their school days.
To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.