16 responses to The Connection: School Days
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    Brenda Henry
    Comment on The Connection: School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 08:25)

    As I write this, I see six of my Amish neighbors children walking the 3 miles to their school this morning, each with their lunch box in hand. Our little community has 30 scholars in the little one room school. The third Thursday of April is the annual Amish school fundraiser, which is a consignment auction and bake sale. People come from far and near. I believe this coming April will be the 9th year. What an event it is!

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    Comment on The Connection: School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 08:53)

    This resonates with me. When Hutterite children start school, they too know little to know English, since we speak a German dialect we call Hutterisch. And like your Amish friends, here some families are exposed to more English, so those children will be able to say some things in their second language.

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    Comment on correction (October 10th, 2012 at 08:55)

    correction

    Hmmm, seems my English needs some work as well. (-: That should say: ‘little to no’ English.

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    LeeAnn
    Comment on The Connection: School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 09:13)

    I think the newspaper that was started up at the school is a great idea. It helps the kids to learn and grow, can help them with future jobs, and brings in the necessary funds for fieldtrips that are either educational or just for fun for the kids.

    What a wonderful thing to have these kids involved and learning about getting a paper out, etc. Smart teacher there.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Ah, school days! (October 10th, 2012 at 11:20)

    Ah, school days!

    I LOVE the Connection, especially the school days section, as I like to share it with my teacher-daughter. I’ve only subscribed to it for about 5 months, but I’m trying to read it cover-to-cover for some “authentic” Amish goings-on (I’m running behind, only up to the August issue).

    I don’t think I’ve heard of a “school newsletter” among the Amish—is this a unique idea at this particular school? It looks as though someone types it—I’m guessing on a typewriter? Even that much “technology” seems like it wouldn’t be embraced by the Amish. (But what do I know?)

    Still, most of the photos could be of my daughter’s classroom, with the students’ work, decorations, bulletin board displays, etc. Just the lack of electrical lighting and the SmartBoard make it seem somewhat different.

    My daughter’s school district starts in mid-August, which is earlier than the other districts around here which start later in August. I’m with you, though, Erik—school shouldn’t start until Sept.! But my daughter’s district is “out” that much earlier in the Spring—mid to late May, the earliest around these parts.

    That Amish children can learn English so quickly (after growing up speaking only PA “Dutch” for 5-6 years) just proves how much easier it is to become bilingual very early in life. I’ve tried to learn other languages, but not a whole lot “sticks” at my age!

    Alice Mary

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      Comment on The Connection: School Days (October 11th, 2012 at 07:55)

      Interesting observation that this could be your daughter’s classroom Alice Mary–this is probably a more “mainstream” school to begin with to be participating in the column. I like how the newsletter also gives the children some practical business experience and I bet a solid sense of accomplishment. Great idea.

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    Carolyn B
    Comment on School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 11:41)

    School Days

    As the daughter of educators now retired, I feel English school shouldn’t start till the Tuesday after Labor Day and should end the Friday before Memorial Day. You have to give older kids a chance to get a summer job to help pay those car expenses, etc.

    Erik, I was really surprised to have a male schoolteacher mentioned. From Amish fiction, I’d received the impression that only single women were teachers. Would you please expound on this either here or in another post as to the requirements, educational & social, to be a teacher for Amish/Mennonite kids? Thanks so much.

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      Comment on Amish teacher qualifications (October 11th, 2012 at 07:50)

      Amish teacher qualifications

      Carolyn good question…You are right this topic probably deserves its own post. On the men, it’s uncommon, but men do teach. I’d estimate males to comprise under 10% of Amish teachers. The credentials required would vary among schools–the basis would be to have finished the 8th grade, but some Amish teachers might undergo further training in various venues.

      On this topic I always point people to Karen Johnson-Weiner’s Train Up a Child. She really does a good job of explaining how different affiliations prepare their children in different ways for different work and social outcomes. For example there is a marked difference in curriculum and probably teacher ability/preparedness in Swartzentruber schools vs. mainstream to “progressive” Amish schools where Amish children are likely to be interacting a lot more with the non-Amish world in their future careers.

      Socially speaking, it’s near-unheard of that an Amish woman with small children would be a teacher. The typical demographic is the young Amish female, pre-marriage. Some go on to teach for longer if they don’t get married, however.

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    Marilyn in New York
    Comment on The Connection School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 16:30)

    The Connection School Days

    When I lived in Florida, the public schools there would start in August, but they got out earlier than the northern schools do like in May. I volunteered for my sister-in-law who was the school librarian and it took me getting use to. When I first came back up north it seemed funny to have the schools starting in September and ending in June. Now, I am use to it.
    Marilyn

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    John
    Comment on The Connection: School Days (October 10th, 2012 at 20:05)

    What do Amish kids eat for lunch at school? Is is something like pbnj or something else?

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      Brenda Henry
      Comment on School Lunch (October 11th, 2012 at 19:06)

      School Lunch

      John, I asked my Amish neighbor about your question, and was told the usually have things like canned homemade bologna sandwiches, sometimes a piece of cake, or some left-overs from supper the night before. PB & J sandwiches are also common. On a very rare occasion, the may be rewarded with chips. We live in West Tennessee, and I suppose it may vary by area. I do know on the last day of school, before summer break this year, most of the mom’s prepared a dish, and took to the school, so they had a delicious potluck lunch that day. I know it was delicious, because I was invited and attended!

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      Barb Zimmerman
      Comment on School Lunch (April 13th, 2015 at 14:19)

      School Lunch

      I’m near the Hastings School in this picture. Around this area are a lot on Amish schools this size or smaller. Mostly the Amish kids carry a lunch to school. But sometimes the women get together and take in hot soup and a hot meal at times during winter. They also make ice cream to take to the kids on hot days.

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    Katrina
    Comment on Question about Amish schools (October 13th, 2012 at 13:18)

    Question about Amish schools

    I grew up near Milford- it is a charming small town. Do Amish children typically attend kindergarten, or do they start school in first grade? In many states, kinder is optional- laws usually state the child must begin attending a school at the age of 6.

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      Brenda Henry
      Comment on Kindergarten (October 14th, 2012 at 09:04)

      Kindergarten

      Katrina, As far as I know, there is no Kindergarten in the Amish schools, at least here in Tennessee, there isn’t. They always begin in first grade at age 6, on the first Monday in October, and ‘graduate’ at around age 13-14, in the 8th grade.

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    Barb Zimmerman
    Comment on Hastings School (April 13th, 2015 at 14:11)

    Hastings School

    I live near the Hastings school. It’s a beautiful location, and I love seeing all the bicycles lined up outside when I drive by. It’s about twice the size of the Amish school a mile from my house. It, too, has a Milford, Indiana, address, but I think it’s called the Gravelton School. It used to be full of students, but I’ve heard that there are only about a dozen this year. I think that’s because the Nappanee schools are close and more convenient.

    Amish kids here start around age 7 or 8 in first grade. There is no kindergarten. They go until age 15 and leave, regardless of whether it is the Amish school or public school.

    At age 15 the Amish kid is considered an adult and can choose to leave or stay in school. Most here will leave school for jobs in manufacturing or carpentry. A few stay in school, having pretty much decided not to follow the Amish way of life. But education continues the rest of their lives.

    An interesting conflict has begun in the state over having Amish kids work in the family businesses. By law, a person has to be 18 to handle machinery, but Amish kids are using the machinery long before that age. The bishops have been pointing out that the kids are learning a skill, as in the industrial skills classes in schools, but because they are working with family members, they are getting more personal attention. So far the state has refused to press the issue, but it could become an issue one of these days, the same as the federal government trying to limit farm kids from operating farm equipment.

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