For several years I’ve been collecting surveys for what people really took to lunch in one-room schools. So far I’ve got 362 responses with answers coming from everywhere between Canada to Louisiana. Answers on what they took ranged from hoe cakes to ketchup sandwiches to a hot dog kept warm in a Thermos with string tied around the natural casing knot to pull it out. I’ve also collected teaching magazines, parent magazines, and government publications talking about what you should have for school lunch.
I was surprised about how school lunch, or at least providing a hot school lunch, turned out to be a pretty political topic as it was an excuse given as one of the reasons to close one-room schools (until the Thermos made it unnecessary). I also found out that where you ate lunch turned out to be a problem, if you ate on your desk how did you get it or keep it clean? Plus, were students made to wash their hands? I’ve found a lot of interesting things.
I’m going to be sharing some of the answers I found so far at the Midwest Open-Air Museum Coordinating Council conference in November, but I’m still going to be collecting surveys.
So if you went or taught in a one-room school or know someone who did, spread the word.