Sunday, August 2, 2009

School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days

We all know that tune well. My dad always sings it before the first day of school. All the kids grimace and the parents just laugh. I guess we laugh because we've already been there and done that and because we know how much harder life as a grownup is. We know what they don't know yet. That school days are the easy days.
Wait a minute. Who am I kidding? I HATED school. I hated it from the very first day until the very last day. I didn't enjoy one single thing about it. Not recess. Not snacktime. Nothing. And I'm pretty sure my mama has the report cards to prove it. Maybe I did enjoy getting new school clothes, but that is the ONLY thing I ever liked about school. My sisters and I always got a new fall wardrobe. We got five outfits and new shoes.
I can close my eyes and take myself back to the night before the first day of school. Sleeping in the bed of my girlhood. Listening to the sounds that were burned in my memory so I'll never forget. The attic fan desperately trying to cool the house. The muffled sound of the television while mama and daddy stayed up late watching it. The sounds of the crickets, the katydids and all the other bugs that sing so loudly on hot summer nights.
I would lie awake the entire night. Sick in my stomach at the thought of going back to school. Then the morning would come and the dreaded big day was there. Unlike it is now, you didn't get your schedule or know who your teachers were or if you had classes with friends until the very morning you got to school. You went blindly. Fearing the unknown.
The smell of Crayola crayons reminds me of kindergarten. They were in my little school box along with Ritz crackers and peanut butter for snack. Then kindergarten was just for a few hours and that was plenty long enough for me. I'd come home and mama would make me a tuna sandwich on toasted bread. I'd eat it while watching Bewitched.
My elementary school was pretty small. Lots of kids I went all the way through school with. People didn't move around much then, I guess. There was hardly ever a new kid. I remember playing on the playground. The swings and the merry-go-round. And there was a big area that was wooded and we'd play Gilligan's Island there. Nowadays, kids barely get a recess. And do they even get free time at recess to just play pretend with their friends?
When I was in junior high -- what's now middle school -- it started with the 7th grade. Nowadays around here, it starts in 6th. Back then, they put you in homeroom alphabetically. I can still see my 7th grade teacher and still remember being so unhappy that none of my friends had last names that ended with H.
And then there was the locker. How could they expect little old me to remember a locker combination? I still fear lockers and locker combinations. I sometimes would just carry all my books and notebooks to avoid having to go to my locker. Mine was always on the bottom. I don't think I ever had a locker that was on the top. Maybe they did that because I'm so short, but it was terribly hard to get to your locker with someone standing right up over you.
High school started with 10th grade. I was quiet and shy. Lots of kids were driving to school, but not me. I had to ride the dumb bus all the way through school. My dad wouldn't let me drive, nor would he allow me to ride with anyone else. Can you imagine how that would go over these days? My dad never knew that I heard the worst possible language and witnessed countless makeout sessions while riding that bus.
Truly, I think I should've been born in the Laura Ingalls time period.
When you would walk to school. Or maybe Pa would take you in the covered wagon. Your teacher would smell like lemon verbena and come to your house for supper. The worst you had to fear was Nellie Olson. The class would be small and you'd know every person. Your books and chalkboard tablet fit under your desk and you'd never change classes.
Indeed, I think I could've thrived in this school setting. Oh, but wait. Hold on.
Have any of you ever seen or heard of this exam before?

GRAMMAR (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza, and Paragraph.
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of do, lie, lay, and run.
5. Define Case. Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

ARITHMETIC (Time, one hour)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 feet deep, 10 feet long, and 3 feet wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 pounds, what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu., deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at 20 cents per sq. foot?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
U.S. HISTORY (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates:
ORTHOGRAPHY (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Ball, mercy, sir, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences,
cite, site, sightfane,fain, feignvane, vain, veinraze, raise, rays
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
GEOGRAPHY (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall, and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.
I guess these were the type things Laura Ingalls studied. Looks pretty hard, doesn't it? And this exam was for kids finishing up the 8th grade in 1895. Wow. But don't worry, Ms. Beadle would've had you well prepared.
Some things never change. Kids going back to school with sick stomachs. The smell of Crayola crayons. Lockers. The big yellow bus. And the smell of school. That surely never changes. The crickets and the katydids will be singing tonight just like they did when I was in school.
But the good thing is I won't have to lie awake with a sick stomach listening.
Till tomorrow.


suzanne said...

W-O-W! What a great blog! I, too, have happy/sad memories of the night before school starting. Same ones as you, I'm sure. Just include the diesel fuel from a school bus, and you have the perfect makings of vomiting for me. I guess I never realized home was so great, and my Mama was so missed until I couldn't be there with her every day.
Thinking of all that makes me want to cry, but I won't darn it!
BTW, don't you remember Laura got bullied a good bit for being a tomboy? And don't you remember Sylvia, what happened to HER on the way to school? Need I say more?
Anyway, love you tons and really enjoyed reading today.

suzanne said...

Oh, and I almost forgot... that test, fuhgetabout it. I don't know one single answer!

Theresa said...

Yes, I am glad that school is done for this 'ole broad too! I never got to drive to school either, must be a Howell thing:) I rode with Celene in her 1953 Chevrolet, we called the Grey Goose. We didn't care how ugly it was... we were just glad to have some wheels. We would stop at the store on the way and I would get a Pepsi and a $100,000 candy bar. I wouldn't drink a Pepsi now for nothing! I have lots of good memories when I was a little kid. I don't think that I loved or hated school but when I graduated... then I went right to work for 30 Years. I am soooo glad that is over too:) Love you and great post!

Cindy Lou said...

Yeah, school clothes was my favorite part of starting back to school too!!! I hated school!! I am so glad that my children are almost finished!! 10th grade this year!!! I love you and this blog was wonderful!!!

Dena said...

I loved getting new shoes for school. Maybe that's why I'm a shoe fanatic today. :)

Oh my goodness, that test! My first thought was "and they didn't even have calculators to help with the math". Yikes!