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Pioneer Schools.  A letter from a student

October 1st, 1901


My name is Amanda.  I just started Grade 2 at the school in our town.  My older brother, Billy, is in Grade 6 and my younger sister, Sarah, is just starting Kindergarten.

pioneer school

My teacher asked us to write a note to students 100 years from now to tell them what school is like now and to try to imagine what it will be like for them.  Father thinks people will have given up on school by then -- he thinks school is a big waste of time.  But I think there might still be schools.  There might even be two or three teachers in a school instead of just one!

My brothers and sisters all go to the same school -- we share one big classroom.  Miss Matheson is the teacher.  She teaches all the kids in our community and from the farms nearby.  Right now Miss Matheson is living at the Durkson's house.  But next month it will be our turn to board her.  I'm very excited about having her move in with us.  She's very pretty and so smart!  I wonder if one day parents will build the teacher her own house?

Miss Matheson teaches everyone from Kindergarten to Grade 12.  But there aren't very many students in the higher grades.  Billy is in Grade 6 now.  Father says this will be his last year in school.  He needs Billy to help more on the farm next year.  Billy already misses school around harvest time.  I go to school most of the time, except when I have to help mom go to market to sell our eggs.  I think that in 100 years, there will be special days off so that kids can help sell eggs and won't have to miss class to do it.

I like school -- most of the time.  We practice writing, reading and arithmetic.  We use small chalkboards to practice math and we use pens that we dip in ink to practice writing.  I like writing with the pen, but I hate when the boys dip my hair in the ink!  If there are still schools in 100 years, I'm sure the boys will still be dipping the girls' hair in ink.

We have to buy our own books and Father says it's too expensive to buy new ones each year.  I always have to use Billy's old books.  He took pretty good care of them -- Father would have taken him behind the wood shed if he hadn't!  But it would still be nice to have a new book, just once.

It's chilly this morning.  We have a big stove at the front of the room to keep the class warm in the winter, but we don't get any wood for it until it's cold all day.  In the autumn we have to wear our sweaters in the mornings until the sun warms things up.  I think in 100 years, they'll be able to start the stove in autumn so their fingers won't be so cold in the mornings.
I made our lunches today.  Sarah helped.  She liked packing the old syrup buckets full of the sandwiches I made.  I wonder if in 100 years, kids will still bring their lunches to school in old syrup buckets?  Maybe they'll get brand new ones instead.

Billy never has time to eat his lunch.  He's too busy taking care of his horse.  He's so lucky to be able to ride to school.  Sarah and I have to walk.  I know it's only one mile and that lots of kids have to walk farther, but it would still be fun to ride a horse.  I think in 100 years all of the kids will have their own horses and be able to ride to school -- even the girls.

It's almost time for recess, so I'm going to finish my note now.  One thing's for sure, if there's still school in 100 years there will still be recess!



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