Do the Amish Go to School?
For centuries, the Amish have amazed the world with their steadfast way of life, which includes avoiding the use of modern technology such as computers and cell phones. This makes many wonder if they also avoid sending their children to school.
In this article, we will discuss the education of Amish children. We’ll look at what age they begin school, what type of schooling they receive, and if they attend public or private schools. We’ll also explore the importance of education to their lifestyle and culture.
What this article covers:
- Education in the Amish Community
- The Amish School House
- Who Provides Land for Amish Schoolhouses
- How Do Amish Schools Function?
- Teachers and Curriculum
- Are Parents Involved in the Education of Their Children?
- Amish Education Values
Education in the Amish Community
Amish education begins at age six, with the start of school. At this age, children are taught all the basic subjects, such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. They're also taught the basics of their faith and how to live by it.
At age 14, Amish teenagers conclude their formal schooling. After completing eighth grade, most Amish children won’t attend high school or pursue higher education. Instead, they embark on an apprenticeship to learn a craft and prepare for adulthood in their community.
The Amish School House
The type of schooling that Amish children receive is quite different from what we’re used to. Amish students attend a one-room schoolhouse, with all grades taught together in the same room by one teacher.
While modern schools are armed with state-of-the-art technology, the Amish schoolhouse adheres to the Ordnung, a strict set of rules that dictate what is and isn't allowed in the community. This means that no electricity, modern technology, or even musical instruments are found in an Amish schoolhouse.
Instead, the teacher uses traditional methods to teach the students, such as blackboard and chalk. Books are also kept in limited supply; emphasis is placed more on learning through memorization rather than reading books.
Most Amish schools have 30-40 students. They’re usually divided into two classes - the younger class and the older class - with the teacher moving between them to provide instruction. The Amish school day typically runs from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
The environment is quite different from that of modern public schools. Students are expected to be quiet and respectful, with no talking or loud activity allowed. The focus is mainly on basic educational material and religious teachings, though other topics like history, science, and music may be covered as well.
Who Provides Land for Amish Schoolhouses
One of the facts about Amish schools is that they aren't government-sponsored. The land is often donated to the community by a local Amish family or purchased with funds generated within the Amish community.
Once land is available, the community comes together to build the schoolhouse. This is mostly done by men in the community, but women also volunteer their time to help.
The schoolhouse is typically a simple one-room building. It may include wooden benches, desks, gas lamps, and a wood stove for heat in the winter months.
How Do Amish Schools Function?
Basically, Amish schools function like normal public or private schools. They’re centers of social activity, providing children with a place to learn, interact with their peers, and grow together. Parent meetings are held regularly, and the teachers are responsible for teaching their students in accordance with their faith.
Regular educational programs are also offered at Amish schools, including debate and spelling bees. These activities serve to help students develop important skills such as public speaking and problem-solving.
Unlike modern schools, Amish schools are largely self-sufficient. They tend to be smaller in size and more intimate than public schools. They’re solely run by the community, with no government funding.
Teachers and Curriculum
Amish teachers are usually young, unmarried women who volunteer their time to teach the children in their community. They’re handpicked by the parents and often have a strong background in the Amish faith.
The curriculum is taught in three languages: Pennsylvania Dutch, English, and High German. Pennsylvania Dutch is the language of instruction for the first two grades and English is introduced in the third grade. High German is usually not taught until eighth grade, depending on the school.
The curriculum typically includes reading, writing, arithmetic, health, history, geography, civics, hymn singing, and housekeeping/homemaking skills such as cooking and sewing. It's not uncommon to find young girls being taught to make Amish baby dolls and cute Easter baskets while boys make wooden bread boxes and birdhouses.
Amish education generally follows the same curriculum as public schools, but it’s taught according to the religious beliefs of the Amish community. Science and technology aren’t typically included in the curriculum because they’re viewed as a potential source of worldliness by many in the Amish community.
At the end of their education, Amish students must pass an eighth-grade exam to receive a diploma. Unlike public school graduates, most Amish students don’t attend college or university. Instead, they’re expected to continue living and farming with their family.
Are Parents Involved in the Education of Their Children?
Parents are very involved in their children’s education. They often visit the school to observe and discuss progress with teachers, help with fundraising activities and parent-teacher meetings, and provide moral support for the classroom environment.
Parents also strive to ensure that their children are learning the values of their community and faith. They play an active role in their children's education, including reviewing educational material to ensure it’s congruent with the values of their community.
In addition to physical involvement, Amish parents support their children's education by providing them with the necessary supplies and materials they need. They also encourage their children to attend school regularly and strive to ensure they learn valuable skills.
Overall, Amish parents are highly involved in the education of their children, which helps foster a supportive learning environment and encourages students to do their best.
Amish Education Values
The Amish believe that education shouldn’t be used to promote modern ideas but rather to teach practical skills and values such as hard work, self-reliance, humility, and obedience.
Amish parents are invested in the idea that their children should learn the values of their faith and community so they can lead successful, fulfilling life. They emphasize the importance of an education that’s rooted in faith and community service, teaching children to respect authority, develop confidence, and live a humble lifestyle.
Amish education focuses on instilling traditional values while also preparing students for adulthood. This includes teaching them practical skills necessary for working and living in their communities.
Respect for authority, humility, and obedience are highly valued in the Amish community and are essential for developing successful individuals.
The values of the Amish community are deeply rooted in their education system, and the best way for children to learn these values is through a schooling system that encourages and reinforces these principles.
The Amish community takes education seriously, and their system of education reflects the values and beliefs of their faith. Amish students aren’t only taught basic curriculum, but they also learn important life lessons centered on self-reliance, hard work, and faith.
Though their schooling system is drastically different from that of the general public, it’s clear that Amish children receive a quality education that serves them well.
Ultimately, the Amish educational model is tailored to those who are part of the community, providing a safe and secure environment in which children can learn and grow without any of the distractions that come with formal schooling. Whether you agree or disagree with the Amish way of life, it’s undeniable that their commitment to education is something we can all admire.
Did You Find Our Blog Helpful? Then Consider Checking:
- Types of Amish
- Amish Traditions
- Amish Names
- Amish Religion
- Amish Values
- Amish Rules
- Amish Rules for Women
- Are Amish Polygamists
- Amish Marriage Rules
- Amish Dating Rules
- What Age Do Amish Get Married
- Do Amish Celebrate Thanksgiving
- Do Amish Celebrate Christmas
- Old Order Amish Beliefs
- Amish Folk Culture