Howell Farm is hosting two interesting back-to-school events this week:
Friday: The experience of teaching in a rural Mercer County one or two room schoolhouse in the 19th and early 20th century is the topic of a talk by historian Larry Kidder on September 7 at 7:30pm in the Charles Fish Barn at the Howell Living History Farm visitor center. Using the Pleasant Valley School, located adjacent to Howell Farm, as a case study, Mr. Kidder will discuss the changing nature of teaching at the school between 1820 and 1936.
Saturday: The Howell Farm school mistress has McGuffy readers, slates and slate pencils ready for students of all ages to begin their lessons in the three R's. Visitors can take a seat in an antique school desk and try their hand at orthography using pen and ink, or attempt to solve farm related arithmetic problems on the chalkboard. As in yesteryear, children can help with farm chores before attending class.
The school bell will ring on the hour at 11:00am, noon, 1:00pm and 3:00pm to begin lessons and halfpast the hour at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 3:30pm for recess and a quick tour of the privy. During recess, children will be introduced to hoops and sticks, tug of war and other old-fashioned games and toys.