A Visit to an Amish School

It’s August and for the kids here in the Sooner State (and others too, I’m sure), it’s back-to-school time. Not just for the English kids, but the Amish ones as well.

Although Amish schools are very different from English ones, not all Amish schools are the same. Last year, I got to visit an Amish schoolhouse and observe. What great fun to see the teacher and scholars in action. I also asked a ton of questions (how unlike me, right?). Here’s some of the great info I discovered and saw.

Before school starts in the fall, the moms clean the schoolhouse. The teacher has a few students come the week before to help her get set up. Just before the first day of school, everyone (students, parents, and teacher) will go to an all-school singing and picnic.

When we arrived at the school, the students stopped what they were doing and sang three songs for us. I found out that they do this for all visitors. While they sang, we were allowed to look through the visitor’s binder. Inside is a page for each scholar at the school. At the beginning of the year, they answer certain questions and decorate a scrapbook page.

One of the scrapbook pages I saw was “What I want to be when I grow up.” Some girls put “own a bakery” and “be a maid” and they decorated the page with stickers. A few of the boys wrote “be a hunter” and “be a farmer.”

Some of the questions from the binder were name and grade, along with the names of their siblings and parents. Other questions included:

Something people don’t know about me

Some cute answers I saw were:

“I like pickles.”

“I know how to milk.”

“I was in an accident when I was two and got to ride in a helicopter.”

“I went on a train to New Jersey.”

My pet peeve

Some cute answers were:

“When people chew with their mouth open.”

“When people talk with food in their mouth.”

“Milking cows.”

“Going to the dentist.”

“Do-overs.” (A do-over is when someone gets a 70% or below. They have to do that paper over until their grade improves.)

A good habit the entire world should practice

Almost everyone wrote The Golden Rule

The binder was such fun to look through. It really gives good insight into the likes and personalities of the kids.

The teacher called each grade to the front by her desk to practice reading out loud, locating states on a map, doing flashcards, and practicing German vocabulary. When each grade came up, the others remained at their desks doing silent work.

The teacher held a spelling activity for the third grade girls. They all went to the front and had to spell words to get back to their seats. A consonant was a step forward and a vowel was a step backward. So they spelled the word aloud as they took the appropriate steps. It took four to five words to get to their seats.

When the lessons were over and it was time for recess the teacher said, “Everyone sit up straight and tall.” Once they did as she asked, the teacher rang a bell, and they went outside. Some kids have chores to do before recess like sweeping the floor.

The kids played softball outside and we stayed to watch. (Well, I watched. Stacey played. But that’s a blog post for another day. LOL) The children also like to play tag where if you get tagged you hold hands and make a long train as they keep trying to catch people. Like most schools, there were swing sets and see-saws to play on as well.

A Few Fun Facts I Learned About Amish Schools

Amish and Mennonite attend the same school in some districts. (When I was in Pennsylvania, there was one Mennonite boy in the school.)

The parents refer to the children as scholars.

Amish schools do issue report cards.

The school we visited was also equipped with an outhouse. And I’m sure it’s not the only one.

Discipline:

Yes, there is discipline in Amish schools. And there are behavior problems that arise. If a student is not well-behaved, the teacher speaks to the parents and the child works to improve the behavior. If the student still does not follow the rules, they will be sent to a different school for a fresh start. If the behaviors still continue, the parents will be required to homeschool.

A fun example of how the teacher encourages good behavior:

Each mom is sent a piece of paper. On the paper, she writes a reward. The students and the teacher do not know what is written on the papers. Then the teacher places each paper in a balloon and the balloons are left in the classroom. Once the class earns two hundred points, they get to pop a balloon and they earn their reward. The day I was there the reward was a pizza party.

Each school has a board which consists of three men (who are dads from the class). Every so often, the school closes so the three dads along with their wives, the teacher, and the 7th and 8th graders will visit other school houses. They visit four that day. They go to get ideas and to see what other students and teachers are doing.

So as you can see, Amish schools can be as similar to English schools as they are different. Have you ever been to an Amish school?

Pictures from an Amish School:

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52 thoughts on “A Visit to an Amish School

  1. Really interesting, love this. My family and I are thinking of moving to the Lastcaster area in the near future. I went there all the time growing up and took my kids there. We all love the area and lifestyle . Would love to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article and interesting. I could picture the activities of the day😊
    Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your books.
    Good luck to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love reading about the Amish and how they live . I have not got to go to PA . Woukd love to . I woukd love to win one of your book . Thank you . lizd225(at)gmail(dot)com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the very informative interview. I learned about report cards and visiting the other school districts which I didn’t know I have really only read about the Christmas programs the scholars put on.I would love to read your book Amy. Amish fiction is my favorite genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary Ann! I did post about Christmas pageants on another blog before I started this one. Maybe I’ll dig it out, dust it off, and share it here. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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  5. Amy, thank you for this excellent blog post about Amish schools. I have given past some Amish schools in our area but I have not stopped to visit. I appreciate their approach to teaching and discipline. My Amish/Mennonite friends attend their own schools, except for a few who attends the public school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its very interesting to me how they choose the schooling. The Amish in Chouteau, OK, only have one school. It’s a large building, but not all the kids go there. The rest of the kids go to public school.

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  6. I loved looking at the pictures! Just driving by I would have never know they were schools. Such a great article that gave great insight to an Amish school day!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When we visit in the Fall, we love seeing the children (scholars) outside the school house playing. Being retired from an English school system it brings joy to my heart to see the children at school. Thanks for a chance to win and all your info about the schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Recess is the best! The kids just go out and play, then head back in without any grumbles when it’s time I also loved that the teacher kept up with the softball game on a clipboard. I wish I had asked how long it takes them to play a complete game, LOL

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  8. This is my 33rd year teaching 3rd grade in the elementary school I attended as a child. I learned A LOT by reading this post. I have visited many one-room schoolhouses, but never one in session. That would be my dream. I read all I can about Amish schools and other one-room schoolhouses, both past and present. I love the spelling word activity you described. That’s something I am going to try in my own room this year. Love this!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com
    Susan in NC

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was adorable! And so interesting to see what the different grades did for decorations. And of course, the girls’ pages were a little more elaborate than the boys’. 🙂

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  9. It was really nice…to learn some of the facts…about Amish schools…their lives are very interesting…you would think…in a way…that people who won’t let the girls…go to school after a certain age…would actually let them go to work outside the home! Their school reminds me of the schools from “Little House on the Prairie”, which was late 1800’s…I think those are really interesting times too! I love learning about the Amish!!! Thanks so much Amy…first for your books…second…for the time that you put into the research…and third…for all the work that you do…to pull it all together…into a book!!! You are an amazing author!!! God Bless You and Your Family!!!

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  10. Amy,
    A lot of what you mentioned reminded me of the time when I was in school. The school was a private Christian school that is still here 65 years later.
    If the school’s of today were like the Amish school, what a difference it would be.

    Like

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