With school starting back in most areas, I thought I’d share with you a few things I’ve learned about Amish schools.
School are still mostly one-room schoolhouses. A local farm will donate a corner of the property and families within 1-2 miles will help to build the structure as well as pay for the teacher’s salary (which is small). Remember, this is in addition to regular “Englisch” local school taxes which every property owner pays. And some Amish students (especially in the upper grades) do attend Englisch schools. It depends on the district.
Teachers are not “trained” as we think of it, but they do apprentice under an experienced teacher before they’re left to teach on their own.
Students attend 1st through 8th grade at which point they choose an apprenticeship. They may try several before they settle on what they want to “do.”
Students get a lot of outside time including a 20-minute break in the morning, a full hour at lunch, and a 20-minute break in the afternoon. I spoke with an Amish teacher who assured me that this helps resolve most behavior problems. Ha ha ha. The students are worn out!
The older children help the younger children grade their homework. This helps the older students to review skills, and it helps the younger children to be taught the skill by more than the teacher. At the end of the week, students help to clean the schoolroom. Also, if the teacher is out because she is sick, then the local community “fills in” – this could be grandmothers, grandfathers, etc. Each person will volunteer for half a day. Teachers are usually single Amish women, but they can also be Mennonite teachers (male and female).
One group of Amish children took the California Achievement Test. The 8th-grade Amish students scored on level with the 12th grade Englisch students in reading, writing, and math. However they scored much lower in science. If I remember correctly, the history scores were lower too. Amish schools do focus on reading, writing and math–though they’ll touch on other subjects such as history.
Amish are known to be life-long learners. Because of that, you’ll often see them at local libraries, checking out books and yes–using the computers. We can talk more about that on the next blog if you’d like.
So what do you think? Does Amish school sound fun to you? Leave me a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a box of books. They’ll be “back copies” which means books that have been previously released (earlier in the year or even in previous years). I’ll sign them generically, and if it’s something you already have you can gift it to a friend or library.
Our winners from the last blog were Lisa Sapp, Robert Jeffries, and Cecilia Young. Ladies, you should have received an email from me–so check your email! If it’s not there, send me an email through the Contact button at the top of this page. And if anyone else has a Reader Question, send it to me via the Contact button, and I’d be happy to try and answer it.
Announcements for this week
- Dead Broke is now available for pre-order in e-book format. I’ll have the print link up soon. This is book 2 in my Agatha’s Amish B&B series, and I’m super excited to share it with you. Order from Amazon or other retailers.
- Coyote’s Revenge and Roswell’s Secret are still available for a limited time through KindleUnlimited, or you may purchase them from Amazon.
- I actually have 3 books releasing in October, so stay tuned for details about that! It’s going to be a busy month.
My publisher is running a Goodreads Giveaway for An Amish Christmas Wedding. Enter before 9-22.