Friday, August 20, 2010

When you finish your homework get ready for battle...

 by Norman E. Hooben

It was the eve of the revolution, the Boston Tea Party was just a month away and Stephen Barret was attending school as well as farming the land and also finding time to court his future bride.  Stephen was already twenty-four years old although that was not a factor for attending school in those days.  Among the twenty to thirty young people in this one room were some his age, most between eight and fifteen, and a few as young as six*.  All had the desire to learn...can't over emphasize "desire" its sorely missed now-a-days.
Textbooks were scarce but all contained the essentials to better one's self for the times ahead.


Computers were still about three-hundred years away and about the closest thing to Google was probably the almanac.  I wonder how many people today know what an almanac is?  (Whoops there I go again...my English teacher said, "Never end a sentence with a preposition." Well that's one sentence I don't believe in. [ LOL ] )
Well for those that do not know, an almanac is a book or pamphlet that you can look up things such as the weather and what its going to be like for the coming spring growing season.  Or maybe you want to know when the sun will rise tomorrow morning.  Of course all this information was based on historical data that someone recorded for future best-guess scenarios.
Meanwhile back at the one room schoolhouse Stephen Barret was mulling over an arithmetic problem that needed his undivided attention if he was going to run a farm after the war that he wasn't sure was coming... Paul Revere had not yet rode through town yelling, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"
Now without using your calculator (Stephen didn't even have the word calculator in his dictionary in those days.) We are going to see if you are smarter than a fifth grader, so here's the problem.   Are you ready?  From the historical archives here it is:


"If you buy a pasture sufficient to summer 15 oxen and 20 young creatures and give 700£ for it, how long will be before you make the money you gave, if you have 3£ per head for summering the creatures?"*
When you finish your homework get ready for battle...the eve of the revolution is upon us.

The Muslims are coming!  The Muslims are coming!
(Listen to their world view...Jihad!)

* Source: The Minutemen and Their World - Robert A. Gross - 1976
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Want to know what education is all about?  Check this out...watch it 'till the end; you may want to watch it again!

2 comments:

Findalis said...

#1. What is a summering and how does it pay? Sorry but I'm a city girl(Brooklyn).

#2. Are these funds to be given before or after the government funds for not raising too many livestock in order to keep prices high?

#3. What is the exchange rate, if any for £ to $. And will we need to know this on the quiz (I am assuming there will be a quiz. [Do you grade on the curve? If no, why not?])

#4. Isn't raising animals for food evil? PETA says it is!

I could go on like this all day. This is what today's students are taught to think like. Scary isn't it?

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Scary!