1. Rae_3

    Rae_3 Member

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    1900s schooling

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Rae_3, Aug 24, 2019.

    So, I'm writing a story that takes place starting around 1939, and my main character is going through middle school (although, that wasn't what it was called back then).

    Unfortunately, I started writing this book when I cared nothing about being accurate with the time period, so I currently have him taking two separate classes at school- normal, and art.

    I'm not sure how I can make this work. Maybe I can say he's in an art club? I don't even know if art classes were given back then. if anyone could help me out a bit, that'd be great
     
  2. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    What country does this take place in?
     
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  3. Rae_3

    Rae_3 Member

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    @disasterspark America
     
  4. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    Okay, then it's likely that children never even got schooling thanks to the Great Depression. Not to mention even if they did have school, it would be so poor with barely any supplies to help. At least til WW2.
     
  5. Katibel

    Katibel Member

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    1939 in America was the tail end of The Great Depression and the beginning of World War II. A lot of people are povertous still, poor of health, illiterate, and also the draft is about to begin late next year. Educational reform that would see school systems quickly becoming more formalized won't start until soon after the draft, so probably school systems are fairly lax and disorganized. There will also be an increasing shortage of qualified teachers during this time (In 1939 until 1946) as many of them leave for better paying jobs with the military. So, many teachers might be underqualified at schools, too.

    Most schools, also, were focusing on practical skills--engineering and such--due to the contextual events taking place. Preparatory schools, on the other hand, taught arts like Philosophy. Both school types stressed physical wellbeing and fitness.

    Your MC might be walking to school and their school might still be a one-room building or a more modern schoolhouse with classrooms, depending on whether they live in a rural or urban environment. They likely won't be wearing a uniform to school unless they're in private school (such as Catholic school). And they might be sharing supplies.

    All in all, official extracurricular activities are probably going to be industry / war related, and arts (depending on what you mean by "the arts") in general probably put on the back burner.

    That doesn't mean your MC can't have their own arts club, though! As well, there have existed many exceptions to the standard, so I'm sure a school focusing somewhat on arts could have existed (but they were probably upper class / private).
     
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on where in the US. Like others have said, there was a dearth of schooling in rural America, but if the story is set in a city or somewhere gentrified, the students would be studying Latin and classical piano compositions.
     
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  7. Rae_3

    Rae_3 Member

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    K, I think I know what I'm going to do. Thank you all!
     

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