School has been back in session in Amish Country, and for that matter much of English Country, for a few weeks now.


Ask an Amish child how he feels about going to school and you’ll get a range of answers, just like you might hear from his non-Amish counterpart. Some enjoy it very much and look forward to the return of school days.


Others would rather be outside, doing stuff.


Speaking recently with a young Amish teen approaching the end of her academic career, I could tell she was probably going to miss attending school. Yet many are glad when the final bell rings on their school years.  Boys especially, it seems.


Contrary to belief, for some Amish children eighth grade is actually not the end of formal education. In communities in Pennsylvania, they must attend what’s referred to as “vocational school” until their 15th birthdays. This typically consists of a few hours of teaching one day per week, often German language lessons among other subjects.


This extra ed may be held at the private home of the vocational school teacher. If a child has a late birthday, they may even continue this for a full year plus part of another. Students are also supposed to keep journals of their activities over this period.


The photos today were taken by reader Ed, on the way to, from, and during school in various parts of Lancaster County.


Batter up?




Taken during visitor’s day at one school.


Heading home to the fun of work and play.


Did you look forward to school’s return at summer’s end? Or dread it like I did?

What back-to-school memories have stuck with you?

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