22 responses to An Amish School Guidelines Booklet
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    Greg Stutzman
    Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 4th, 2014 at 06:21)

    Having grown up in Holmes County, Ohio I am very familiar with the Amish Schools dotting the landscape. I attended both the second and third grade in a 2-room East Holmes public school located in Bunker Hill just out side of Berlin, Ohio There stood a 1-room Amish school directly adjacent to the tiny Bunker Hill public school. In grades 4 through 8 at Berlin Elementary we would play the Wises Amish School boys in softball each year and typically get our butts kicked.

    I would be very interested to read the disciplinary sections of the manual if you would be so kind as to post them. Even at the public Berlin Elementary the paddle was freely applied to those of us who, in the sole unilateral opinion of a teacher would dare to misbehave. Mr. Loil Brown was the 5th grade teacher at Berlin Elementary and was a legendary paddler. Each person who received the wood was asked to write their name on his huge solid wood paddle and after he applied the business end of that thing to my backside he showed me my own father’s name written upon it.

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      Comment on Corporal Discipline in Amish Schools (December 5th, 2014 at 04:17)

      Corporal Discipline in Amish Schools

      I’ve just posted the Special Discipline Problems section above. I think I’m missing a bit of the booklet but by the way it’s written, it looks like it is just this one page or not much more. There’s not much there on how teachers are specifically expected to discipline, though there might be more in a bit that I don’t have.

      Does the paddle live on in schools today? Karen Johnson-Weiner in Train Up a Child shares that corporal discipline is a part of even mainstream Amish schools, though the teacher quoted suggests it’s not often used (pg. 119). In the section on Swartzentruber schools, KJW writes that “corporal punishment is acceptable”, and quotes a teacher who says “If you don’t spank the children that need it, you could lose your job. The school board wants discipline.” (p. 46-47)

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        Comment on Where can I find a copy? (December 6th, 2014 at 01:19)

        Where can I find a copy?

        Can I purchase a copy of this for myself?

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        Greg Stutzman
        Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 8th, 2014 at 17:16)

        Thank you for posting these Erik. As usual, the information is fascinating.

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    Comment on Ironically ... (December 4th, 2014 at 07:00)

    Ironically ...

    … the Amish scholars are probably far better prepared for the world they are most likely to face than the graduates of our public schools are for the one they will face.

    I think that the model that the Amish use will probably out outlive the public schools in our country. What I see happening is a slow drift to the point that private and parochial schools will displace public schools. The public schools will still exist, but only the people who can’t or wont pull their children out will see them “educated” by the public schools. Everyone else will send theirs elsewhere.

    This is not easy to say for someone who not only attended public schools for 11 of their first 13 years of schooling, but also taught in the public shools, is married to someone who retired after teaching for 36 years in public schools and raised two children who attended public schools from K through 12.

    My 2 cents.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 4th, 2014 at 07:01)

    I love the way the procedures for dealing with a complaint about the schoolteacher is modeled on Christ’s instructions for internal correction, with the addition, “If the parent remains dissatisfied, maybe he should teach the school himself for a period of time.” It sounds to me like a nice way of saying, “It’s not as easy as you think.”

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    Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 4th, 2014 at 07:46)

    As someone who is in my 33rd year of teaching math — many years of higher-level math — in public schools, I can only dream of teaching in an Amish school. Within a system where the norm seems to include respect for authority and Biblically sound values, the students and their families should gain many benefits that get lost in much of our public education. My favorite statement in the excerpts posted was the same one Trish+in+Indiana quoted: “If the parent remains dissatisfied, maybe he should teach the school himself for a period of time.”

    I know that our world has many jobs that require more education and training than the Amish children receive in their 8 years of school. But I can’t help but wonder if many of those scholars are not better prepared at the end of those 8 than many of our students are at the end of 12 or more.

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      Comment on Kudos to you Pam (December 4th, 2014 at 19:57)

      Kudos to you Pam

      Anyone that can teach in the public schools for more than 3 decades should be recognized; for their unbelievable endurance if nothing else. I went from being a strong proponent of public schools to one their harshest critics during the years that my wife taught elementary school, the vast majority of which were in our little town of 4,000.

      So it was not like she was teaching in an inner city school, she was teaching in the county seat of a county where up until a few years ago cows outnumbered people by a fairly wide margin. This is a small town, middle America school. It should have been an ideal situation. It was not, in fact it was far from it.

      Donna, or “Mrs. OldKat” as I like to call her, had told me for years that she would teach “as long as I continue to enjoy it”. Over the last 6 to 8 years that she taught I could tell that she was enjoying it less and less. Two years ago last month she suddenly told me “When school starts next year I am not going back”.

      I told her that I already knew that & of course, she wanted to know how. Especially since she had just made the decision that week. I told her “It is really simple. When August 1st rolled around you didn’t go down to the school and spend all day everyday for 2 &1/2 to 3 weeks getting everything ready. You spent 1/2 of ONE DAY, the day before in-service started”, yep I knew right then that she was done.

      The sad part is when we are talking to friends and neighbors whose children or grandchildren are majoring in education at college. They want to tell us about it, thinking that we will be excited for their child/grandchild … when in reality neither of us can think of a single reason that ANYONE should pursue that field as a career choice. If someone asks me directly, I will tell them that I don’t know a single young person that I dislike enough to encourage them to become a teacher.

      BTW: When I hear someone criticizing teachers I encourage them to go substitute teach so they can “Show those teachers how it should be done”. Funny; few have ever taken me up on it, but those few that did suddenly became way less vocal in their criticism of teachers!

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    Rich Stevick
    Comment on My major professor's observations from a visit to a one-room school (December 4th, 2014 at 09:20)

    My major professor's observations from a visit to a one-room school

    “While touring through Lancaster County, a professor from Texas Tech University who specialized in educational research visited a one-room school. In relating his experiences to me, he was visibly moved in recounting the interactions of the students with each other and of the pupils with the teacher. Although she was obviously in charge, all her pupils called her by her first name or simply ‘Teacher.’ In addition, she knew the families of each student. The visitor watched as the eight graders listened to the second graders read or helped them with their times tables and spelling words . . . He concluded, ‘That school is modeling what we profess to value. The classes are manageable, and the teacher cares about each pupil, both as an individual and a learner. She clearly knows what she is about. It is obvious that students feel valued, competent, and safe with her and with each other. We have a lot to learn from them.'” End Quotes from pp 74-75, GUA. (For anyone who wants to really learn about Amish education, Karen Johnson-Weiner’s book, Train Up a Child, is a must.)

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    Naomi WIlson
    Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 4th, 2014 at 09:36)

    Very interesting! I would like to read the whole booklet. We are in our first year of home schooling and are using Amish Pathway and Schoolaid curriculum materials. We are very pleased with the quality of the curriculum, and find it better than the 1st grade curriculum in the public school where my husband teaches. Yesterday, the children were delighted to start learning subtraction when Spunky, the donkey, got a little too frisky and some hay bales fell off his wagon! I have often wondered if an Amish school would permit attendance by “English” children. Our church has a nice, small parochial school, but we live too far away for our children to attend.

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      Trish in Indiana
      Comment on Naomi, re: English children attending (December 4th, 2014 at 10:54)

      Naomi, re: English children attending

      I don’t know about Amish schools near you, but part of the booklet quoted in the article says “Pupils from the outside may be admitted to our parochial school system if they are willing to comply to standards of our schools.” It also points out that this may be referring to Old Order Mennonite pupils, whose lifestyle at home would be considerably more similar to that of their Amish classmates than a typical “English” child. But certainly,I think you could inquire about the possibility.

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    Al in Ky
    Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 4th, 2014 at 12:05)

    Is this book for all Amish schools in all Amish districts in the state? I’m thinking specifically about conservative Amish groups
    such as the Swartzentruber Amish in the Orleans area and the conservative Old Order Amish in the Paoli area.

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      Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 5th, 2014 at 04:21)

      Good question. At the least the State standards discussed in the book would be something they’d have to adhere to. I don’t know how much input otherwise would go into this booklet from those more conservative churches.

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    Comment on Rural schools book (December 4th, 2014 at 20:35)

    Rural schools book

    A book, “Memories of the Heart: Rural Schools in Illinois” by Warren Royer is an interesting read. One of the teachers profiled taught in the Amish area near Arcola.

    P.S. The reason that the book is interesting to me is that my mother is one of the profiled teachers, but not the one who taught in the Amish area.

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    Comment on Not related but I need some help (December 4th, 2014 at 21:15)

    Not related but I need some help

    I often visit an Old Order Mennoite area in Synder County, Pa. I have established a relationship with these farmers. The Saturday before Thanksgiving was the last day the produce stand was open and I went there to buy a couple of pumpkins, Yukon Gold potatoes and some turnips for Thanksgiving dinner. The girl that I deal with walked up the lane and presented my with a pumpkin pie baked in a pyrex plate. It was the best pie I’ve ever had. I told her that I would return the plate but it would not be anytime soon. She replied “No hurry…no worry”. I love that response. But now I have to return the plate. My Mom always said to never return an empty plate. What can I add to the plate that would be proper. I can not make anything that would equal what they make and I’m thinking that I can fill the plate with Hershey kisses. Would that be OK or what else could I fill the pie pan with? Please help. I’m hoping that someone out there with closer ties to the culture can suggest the proper return gift.

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      Trish in Indiana
      Comment on Jerry: Here's a thought (December 4th, 2014 at 21:24)

      Jerry: Here's a thought

      You were presented with something they make well. Why not present them with something you can make well, something they wouldn’t usually have from your “English” world? Yes, the wrapped kisses could be good, but why not fill it with marshmallow rice krispie treats instead? (I like chocolate chips in mine!)

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      Comment on An Amish School Guidelines Booklet (December 5th, 2014 at 04:23)

      I like Trish’s suggestion, but if you’re not a baker I don’t think they’ll mind other sweets including store-bought. I do like the idea of not returning a plate empty, never heard that one before. Sounds like they appreciate you Jerry!

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    Comment on Thanks, (December 7th, 2014 at 09:29)


    Thanks. Rice Krispy treats it is.

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    Barb Zimmerman
    Comment on Elkhart/Kosciusko County Schools in Northern Indiana (June 30th, 2015 at 10:53)

    Elkhart/Kosciusko County Schools in Northern Indiana

    I do remember some English friends in this area mentioning that they attended Amish schools for a year or so before going to public school. I know it is allowed, but very rare these days. I hear some English parents talk about it, but I don’t think any of them have followed through. I think they figured out that the extra involvement required from them (the parents) was more than they were willing to do.

    I substitute in the Wa-Nee schools (Nappanee & Wakarusa, Indiana) and have noted quite a number of Amish kids attending Junior High and some in high school. Some have told me that they attended Amish school long enough to learn English then started public school in second grade. They tend to sit by themselves, especially during lunch, and very few socialize with English kids. In fact, the two groups tend to ignore each other unless an opportunity arises to ask how the Amish teaching on something differs. Then the English kids get interested and ask them questions, too. Some of the Amish kids no longer remember the Amish school because they have been away from it too long.

    Over in Lagrange and Noble counties a few of the public schools around Topeka, Emma, and Lagrange are predominantly Amish/Mennonite. It is probably the only place in the world where the school systems try to hire someone to provide special needs in Deusch (Deutsch?) as well as Spanish.

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