How Were Courses Scheduled A Hundred Years Ago?

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, October 22, 1912:  Came to the conclusion that I didn’t know very much in Geometry. We had an exam in it this morning.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I can’t figure out how the classes were scheduled a hundred years ago. Based on the diary entries, it seems like courses started and ended at random intervals. Courses apparently didn’t last for the entire year, or a full semester or quarter.

School started on August 26, 1912. On September 24, 1912, Grandma wrote:

. . . Had an exam in Geometry. Took up Arithmetic today.  Didn’t have to but I chose to do so.

In September I thought that it seemed odd that geometry apparently was finished, and that it was being replaced by arithmetic.

But now this diary entry makes me think that perhaps geometry never ended—and that arithmetic was just somehow an extra class.

4 Responses

  1. I would imagine that especially in math that a textbook might have multiple types of math. Today we have separate classes for Geometry, Trigonometry, Algebra, etc.. I think back then they were all mixed together. Also, she may have been reviewing Arithmetic to better understand Geometry. I have some old textbooks around. If I wasn’t in so much of a cold fog I would look at them :-).

  2. hey it was all numbers and not words– math is my nemesis

  3. [...] 92% on a geometry test sounds good to me—especially since Grandma’s entry the previous day suggested that she thought that she hadn’t done well on [...]

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