Schooling Schooling has changed a lot since our grandparents were kids. These days we have computers, detention, graphics calculators and learning software to teach us. Back in the early 20th century, teaching was done with a book, a slate, an inkwell and the cane.  Schooling was simple, but effective. It concentrated on the ‘Three R’s. What are they?  Reading, WRiting and ARithmetic.  Or in other words, English comprehension, penmanship and mathematics. Penmanship is a dying lesson in school these days, but back in the old days, you HAD to have nice handwriting, and you were caned if you didn’t.

Teachers used to force lefthanded children to write with their right hands. Why?  There are several theories about this, ranging from devil-worship and sinister evil to bad posture, but there is actually one very simple explanation: The pens.  Until the 1950s, children in school wrote with dip-pens, using liquid ink and inkwells. Dip pens write very wet and glossy on the paper. Writing with the left hand smudged the still-wet ink all over the page, something that right-handed scribblers had no problem with, since they wrote AWAY from their writing, moving across the page from left to right. To prevent the smudging and to encourage neat handwriting, teachers forced children to write with their right hands instead of their left.  Visit our mueum to learn more.


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