The Little Red Schoolhouse, by Eric Sloane
Five out of five stars
This short book is an illustrated demonstration of some of the very early school buildings and educational policies of the northern area of the British North American colony that became the United States. They were one-room schoolhouses with extra buildings outside for storing firewood and toilet functions. In that cold climate, the woodshed was often larger than the school building. The timeframe is the eighteenth century and the schools attended by some famous early Americans are described. One of the many interesting points is that the most famous American spy in history, Nathan Hale, worked as a schoolteacher.
Some of the images contain examples of the lessons the students labored over. One interesting architectural fact is that some buildings were built in octagonal form so that all students would be warmed by the stove in the middle. Wages for the teachers were often very little beyond room and board and what they did receive was often farm products such as grain, tobacco and animals. The teachers often auctioned this material off in order to have some spending money.
There is a lot of information packed into this book, it is entertaining and educational, a snapshot of education in the early American colonies.