Recently my older two boys and I visited Rose Hill School with our homeschool group (Classical Conversations). Built in 1895, the one room school house was moved to the Cherokee Strip Museum in 1971. Since 1988 it has welcomed thousands of students each year to experience what school life was like in the early 1900s. I remember visiting back when I was in fourth grade. It is definitely one of those field trips most kids remember.
A strict school marm told the kids that as they crossed over the bridge, they would be transported back to 1910.
Most of the school is original, including the wood stove and desks.The students participated in various activities like penmanship, reading, spelling and math. There were several rules for the day, including absolutely no talking or giggling. Consequences for breaking those rules included standing with your nose in the center of a circle on the chalkboard.
The marm also informed my second son that using his left hand was prohibited. He would have his left hand taped behind his back and would be required to only use his right hand. A wave of panic washed over his face, then she stepped out of character and told him she would let it slide for the day. And a wave of relief washed over me!
There were lots of “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Ma’am”s. There was also more silence than I’ve heard in a really long time. Despite being told it was okay to take pictures, I was a little afraid my name would be called and I’d be disciplined!It was an intimidating environment. The school marm did a wonderful job playing her role and giving the kids a real taste of what a one room schoolhouse in 1910 was like. There were also some smiles and fun too.Thanks to the stilts my grandpa built for me as a little girl – I impressed my boys with my mad stilt walking skills.The Cherokee Strip Museum has several different displays related to life and work in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is well worth the visit if you are in the area. I am not sure if you have to be a school group to visit the Rose Hill School. In a few years, I’ll go back with my next set of 3-5 graders…if their big brothers haven’t scared them away!
It was a great experience for all of us and made several books we’ve read from that time period really come alive. I think in the end, the boys gained a greater appreciation for me and their other teachers!