Category Archives: Amish facts/history

Amish School

Amish facts/history, Amish photos Comments: 4

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 school houses. 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 ebook 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.

Reader Question: The Amish and Genetic Diseases

Amish facts/history, Amish view Comments: 19

We had an awesome discussion during our last post regarding the Amish and their general health. If you missed that, you can read it here. Many of you followed up with this question:

Don’t the Amish deal with a higher incidence of genetic diseases? 

That’s a good question, and I’m sure knowledgeable people have written entire books analyzing the topic. I’ll tell you what I know and then refer you to some other sources for additional reading.

First of all, from what I’ve read the genetic issues are not a problem of inter-marriage. In fact, it’s part of a bishop’s job to research a couple’s family tree and Continue reading

Amish gardens

Amish facts/history, Amish view, Gardening Comments: 16

Today I thought we’d talk about Amish gardens. Raise your hand if you’ve seen one.

I live in Texas, so I’m well acquainted with gardens. My husband’s Uncle Joe had a very large vegetable garden even after he’d gone blind. Uncle Joe was Continue reading

Monte Vista, Colorado

Amish facts/history, Amish fiction Comments: 27

This week I wanted to share with you pictures from the Amish community in Monte Vista, Colorado. If you’re receiving this blog in your email box, you might need to click on the link in order for the photographs to show. Who the Bishop Knows, the last of my novels set in Monte Vista, officially released on March 6, and I’m so pleased at the response. Thank you to everyone who Continue reading

Amish Holidays

Amish facts/history, Amish Holidays Comments: 2

amish-buggyOne of the most frequent questions I get is: How do the Amish celebrate holidays?

The short answer is “it depends.” Different communities celebrate different ways. Each family has their own traditions. But there are some common things that you’ll find in an Amish home if you were to stop by on Thanksgiving:

  • The meal will be a potluck. Remember Amish families are quite large, so one woman wouldn’t try to cook the entire thing.
  • Families do get together. They usually live close to one another, see each other often, and eat together for holiday meals.
  • There will be lots of youngsters. I mean a lot. The average Amish family has 8-10 children, and each of those grow up and marry and have 8-10 children. One sweet Amish woman I met told me she had 42 grandchildren!
  • There will be games. The Amish love to play games–everything from Checkers to Dutch Blitz to Jenga to board games.
  • Amish folks like to be outside, so you’re likely to see them playing baseball or jumping on the trampoline. It’s also common to find them fishing and hunting when they have a day off.
  • And remember, there’s no television. Chances are you won’t find men sitting around watching a football game, though you still might find them asleep in their recliner.

One of the reasons that I like to write about the Amish is that it reminds me to simplify my life, to pay more attention to the people around me, and to focus on my faith. I hope that this holiday season you are able to do the same.



Announcements for this week:

  • Quite a few of my books are currently on sale in both paperback and ebook. You can visit my author page at Amazon, B&N, and CBD for details.
  • I’ve put out a call for my 2017 Street Team. If you missed the announcement in my newsletter, you can access the form to apply here.
  • I’m giving away 5 Christmas packages. Interested? Check out the details here.
  • An Amish Harvest once again earned a place on the ECPA bestseller list. This is the 3rd month in a row, and I so appreciate my co-authors and the work they put into this collection of stories.

Do Amish Vote

Amish facts/history, Amish view Comments: 2

img_4211I’m often asked if the Amish cast a vote in local and national elections. Since I wasn’t sure, I asked some Amish folk when I was visiting northern Indiana. Their answer was typically brief, “Some do.”

When I pressed the point, the person told me that largely it will depend on the community that you live in. Some bishops encourage participation. Others suggest that they remain apart and not involve themselves in politics. It is never forbidden to vote.

What impressed me was when an Amish woman admitted, “We may vote, but we don’t sit around and watch the news or read the paper worrying over the outcome. We leave that to God.”

I don’t know about you, but I could do with a little less news watching myself.



Announcements for this week:

The Story Behind the Story

Amish adoption, Amish facts/history, Amish fiction, plainmiracles Comments: 4

plain-simple-3My newest release, Sarah’s Orphans, is about a young Amish girl who is abandoned by her mother, left to raise her siblings, and then finds two homeless children. Today I thought I’d share the “story behind the story.”

  • I started out with this question. As Christians, are we still responsible for caring for orphans? I mean there are a lot more government/charity programs than there were in Jesus’s day. Orphanages in the US are rare, and there are long waiting lists for parents seeking children to adopt.
  • I spent a lot of time on the national and state websites for adoption. One thing I learned is that currently there are 400,000 children living in the U.S. without permanent families. Of those 100,000 are eligible for adoption.
  • Of course we can’t all adopt a child right now, for various reasons–health, economics, etc. So how can we help?codys-creek-collage
  • I also learned that the Amish have adopted in the past. Here is a great story of adoption within their faith, and here is another describing adoption outside of their religion in the past.
  • Of course I visited Cody’s Creak (which is actually Chouteau, Oklahoma), and had a wonderful time talking to the Amish and taking pictures.

The children in this story really won my heart! Of course it’s not an easy path to blend two families together, but my goal was to show that God can use each of us in a special way, and we can all find a small way to minister to others.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have any questions about Sarah’s Orphans?



Announcements for this week:

  • Anna’s Healing, the first full length book in the series and a Christy Award finalist, is still on sale for $2.99 at Amazon (ebook).
  • Anna’s Healing will soon be available in large print. So if you prefer large print books, pass this along to your local library and ask them to purchase it.
  • Deep Shadows is now available in print and ebook. **Amazon ** B&N ** CBD. And the price has stayed below $9 for most vendors, so get your copy today! CBD is offering the print book for 47% off — only $7.99
  • I will be at the Jewett Quilt show next weekend. If you’re in the Waco, Texas area, stop by and say hello. I’ll also have autographed copies of all of my newest releases for sale.
  • Also, my Fall Rafflecopter giveaway will be live tomorrow, and I think you’re going to love this month’s Prize Package. Details and entry form will be on my main webpage tomorrow, so stop by and check us out!