Land of the Brave

Colonial Education

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Colonial Education


This article contains fast facts and information about Colonial Education that was available to kids and children before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Colonial Education was determined by the social class of the family. The early American colonists who had immigrated from Europe followed the standards of education that used in the 'mother countries' and were based on wealth and class. Some of the institutions for Colonial Education were tax-supported and some were privately operated. Girls were rarely given the opportunity to be educated. Colonial Education was determined by the social class of the family.

Colonial Education of the Upper Classes
The boys from upper class families were taught be private home tutors and then sent to college or university. Many of the Upper Classes sent their boys abroad to English educational institutions in order to receive a university or college education.

Colonial Education of the Middle Classes
Boys from the middle class, the sons of merchants, ministers, doctors and lawyers, attended dame schools, elementary schools and grammar schools. Only occasionally would they attend college

Colonial Education of the Lower Classes & Indentured Servants
Limited colonial education - apprenticeships were available to some lower class boys

Slaves
Slaves had no education and in the Southern colonies slaves were forbidden by law to learn how to read and write

Colonial Education - Life at Colonial Schools
The life of school boys at school was quite strict. During summer the school day started at six o'clock in the morning and finished at five o'clock in the evening. There was a two hour break at midday. The school week consisted of a 5 full days and a half day on Thursday,  which continued for up to 44 weeks of the year – more than double the current school hours. The punishments were fierce and fifty strokes of the cane was not an uncommon occurrence. education was based on repetition and constant examinations. A typical school week and education at a Colonial Grammar School would cover:

  • Monday: An examination based on the previous Sunday’s sermon
  • Tuesday to Thursday: The basic curriculum
  • Friday: Examinations and Punishments
  • Saturday: Study of the catechism and some mathematics

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