Acton's 1915 report from Superintendent of Schools Frank Hill provides a fascinating glimpse into the concerns and the home-school relationship of that time period. He proposed (page 20) that awards be given for home work that would contribute to "the teaching of thrift, efficiency, art, hygiene, music" and "a more positive vocational guidance," giving credit for different aptitudes. His suggested plan included the following home work possibilities (Credits for each item given in parentheses):
Building fire in the morning (1)
Milking cow (1)
Currying a horse (2)
Mending a chair (4)
Making biscuits (2)
Getting an entire meal (6)
Wiping the dishes (3)
Washing, ironing and starching own school-clothes (20)
Clean hands, face and nails (3)
Retiring before 9 o’clock (1)
Sleeping with window open (1)
Later reports do not mention whether Superintendent Hill's plan was ever put into action. However, his 1917 report (page 13) showed that the home-school relationship seems to have been more of a divide than a collaboration:
'Good behavior’ is well and thoroughly taught in the schools of the town, but too often its practice begins and ends in the schoolroom.... The influence of the school day will never extend through the twenty-four-hour day until the public meets the teacher at the school door in the afternoon and says, ‘I will be as careful of the behavior of these children until they return to you in the morning as you have been today.’ This would be real cooperation and would be much appreciated by the schools.
It is hard to imagine a superintendent in Acton today writing a similar report.
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