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The Hunt for One Room Country Schoolhouses, continued...


The school in Appleton -- Ann Kloehn Log Schoolhouse -- is located on the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, actually in the town of Little Chute on the edge of Appleton. It is a replica of a colonial-era school and was built entirely with donations and is staffed by volunteers. We arrived on a day when there was a living history event to teach children what education for children their own age experienced before the United States became independent of England.

The school was lighted by candles at each end of their log-hewn benches which made me nervous since the one small door was the only means of exit and there were probably 25-30 people in the little school. The open door brought in needed light and the flames of the fireplace helped also. The school's setting was appropriately next to a small cornfield which gave it a distinctly authentic feeling.

The children were instructed in proper manners which included standing next to their bench when called upon by the teacher and never just speaking out without permission. Morals and manners were a large part of education during the time.

We were told about 60,000 school children of all ages have toured the school. They found that learning is possible without computers, TV, AV equipment and calculators.

These children are dressed in clothes reminiscent of the colonial era. They are dipping candles.

The students sat on benches made of half logs with heavy tree branches to act as legs (which I routinely stumbled over every time I stood up to write with the quill pens at the back of the school opposite the fireplace. So did a lot of others). They did their lessons on slates held on their knees.

This was one of the most memorable of school house experiences we had, mostly because there were students in attendance. We learned that like a church, it is only a building and the people are the church and so it is also with an old school. The kids make it a school.

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