By Susan Apps-Bodilly
Have you ever wondered what it was like to attend a one-room school, to be in the same classroom as your older brother or younger sister, or to have your teacher live with your family for part of the school year?
In One Room Schools, Susan Apps-Bodilly chronicles life in Wisconsin’s early country schools, detailing the experiences of the students, the role of the teacher, and examples of the curriculum, including the importance of Wisconsin School of the Air radio programs. She describes the duties children had at school besides their schoolwork, from cleaning the erasers and sweeping cobwebs out of the outhouse to carrying in wood for the stove. She also tells what led to the closing of the one room schools, which were more than just centers of learning: they also served as the gathering place for the community.
Susan Apps-Bodilly drew from the research compiled by her father Jerry Apps for his book, One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections. Apps-Bodilly has geared her book toward young readers who will learn what students and their teacher did on cold mornings before the wood stove warmed them up. They also will find out how to play recess games like Fox and Geese and Anti-I-Over and will learn the locations of 10 former one room schools that can be toured. Apps-Bodilly also encourages readers to ask themselves what lessons can be learned from these early schools that have application for today’s schools?
One Room Schools will transport young readers back in time and make their grandparents and others of that generation nostalgic—perhaps even prompting them to share memories of their school days.