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It depends on where you lived and what your social class or your gender were. In Massachusetts, what was the first public school in the state was also the first in the country-- the Boston Latin School was founded in April of 1635, to provide a humanities-oriented and liberal arts education to its young (male) students, many of whom came from upper-class backgrounds. Other schools that were almost as old included Cambridge Latin, a school that was originally affiliated with Harvard and prepared its students for higher education. Some early colleges in the colonies also had a relationship with a public school: religious studies (Christian religion only), study of foreign languages (including Latin and Greek), and study of philosophy would have been expected, since many of the young men were being educated to become ministers or teachers. Young girls and women were usually taught at home (subjects it was thought girls would need-- mainly domestic skills that related to her duties as a future wife and mother); literacy was not a high priority for females, and it was generally not expected that girls would go to school the way boys did in the 1600s. There is some evidence that a few young women did learn to read and write, but again, they would have come from an upper-class background more likely than not, and no public schools in the 1600s were open to them yet. As for lower class young men in the colonies, they were more likely to study as apprentices and learn a trade.

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2006-04-14 08:26:57
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Q: How were children schooled in 1600s?
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