Berlin, Ohio bed and breakfast. People are surprised to learn that the Amish in this area go to school through the 8th grade and stop. Many assume that by not continuing on to high school or college that the Amish are not very educated. Carol Steffey, owner at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, near Berlin, Ohio, had an eye-opening experience concerning this myth. "I took a Naturalist class and a couple of my classmates were Amish young adults. I was really surprised that before our instructors started teaching that they could hold up a piece of bark or a leaf and our Amish classmates knew the tree. They identified birds, knew about soil conservation, identified flowers, etc. My Amish classmates probably could have taught the class! It was then that I realized what television, computers and electronic games have done to our society. The Amish, who live without electricity, spend a lot of time reading books while the rest of world is watching TV. They are very educated in many topics. Amish children can thoroughly discuss things that they read about like horses. A 5-year old neighbor told me all about different horses, how to care for them, characteristics of various breeds after having people read him books about and teaching him about horses. A local substitute teacher told me that she has met Amish kindergarten students reading at a 2nd grade level. It was her belief that if you tested an Amish 8th grade graduate against a 12 grade student in our public schools in subjects that both had studied that the Amish student would most likely score higher. The teacher contributed this to the fact that Amish schools don't have sports, clubs, proms, and other extra curricular activities. Amish students focus on learning. She also added that the discipline in Amish schools is much stricter than public schools." This could be a challenge to the rest of the world to turn off the television for an hour each evening and read. Who knows what we could do or what we could become?
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608 www.garden-gate.com