About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of
Historic Places registration file "Freeman Homestead and Freeman School" (with photographs) and other sources. The Freeman School was written by Lorna Lange-Daggs, a former Park Ranger at Homestead National Monument of America. Jean West, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff edited the lesson. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in U.S. history,
social studies, and geography courses in units on
westward expansion and homesteading, the history of education in America, early mapping of lands, and studies of American cultural developments.
Time period: Late 19th century to early 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1)To understand the relationship between U.S. land and homestead policies and the construction of schools and development of communities on the western frontiers.
2) To describe the importance of one-room schools to people in developing rural communities of the American West as both educational facilities and community centers.
3) To compare and contrast the educational experience of rural students in one-room schools with their own educational experiences.
4) To research the history of the oldest school in their community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map showing the Blakely Township;
2) three readings about the history of the Freeman School, former students' accounts of their experiences at the school, and entries in the school treasurer's account book;
3) five photos of the Freeman School;
4) two paintings of activities at the Freeman School.
Visiting the site
The Freeman School is part of Homestead National Monument of America and is administered by the National Park Service. The monument is located in southeastern Nebraska, 40 miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska and 4 miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Follow U.S. Highway 77 to U.S. Highway 136 to Nebraska Highway 4 to reach the monument. The park is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25. Visitors wanting to enter the Freeman School need to contact the park ahead of time to schedule a visit. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Homestead National Monument of America, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, Nebraska 68310, or
visit the park's Web site.