Beginning in the 1850s, many young, single Protestant women went west to teach, educating boys and girls of all ages in small one-room schoolhouses.
School buildings might be literally holes in the ground, dug out of the earth, or open-air “tents” made of trees and brush.
Sometimes there were desks, but often there were only uncomfortable benches. There were no standard textbooks; the children had to bring their own books, if they had any, from home.
All the students were expected to learn the three R’s: reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.
Beyond that, the subjects studied depended on what the teacher knew and which books were available.