As I sat in a one-room frame school that was outfitted with a blackboard and potbellied stove, there's no way that I could have wrapped my imagination around great-grandchildren of mine learning at home from a lighted screen in their lap.

As with nearly everything else, education has evolved through many chapters, and learning has taken place in all of them.

We did not complain about our long walk across the fields; there was no other way to get there. We weren't stopped by the weather; we had to get out in rain and cold to care for the livestock and to do everything else on the farm--why not school.

Often an older student or a person in the neighborhood was hired to build a fire in the stove early enough that the room would be beginning to warm before the teacher and students arrived. If the air was still cold, we kept our coats on and pulled our desks closer to the heat.

Restroom facilities were outhouses behind the schoolhouse near the edge of the woods. Wasp nests overhead and an occasional snake or lizard underfoot added to the adventure.

Our water supply was a bucket and dipper sitting on a shelf near the entry of the school. Someone had to go to the nearest house and fill it from a well. Boys who would rather be outside competed for the assignment. They walked slowly down the dirt road, enjoying the freedom.

We were instructed to practice good hygiene and not drink from the dipper. Each person was to have his or her own cup, often a collapsible aluminum model that fit better in the lunch pail.

Listening to students in other grades recite their lessons was somewhat of a distraction because the room was small. On the other hand, that exposed us to "higher learning" and often served as an inspiration to study hard so we could pass on up to more interesting subjects.

Going to the board for spelling or working arithmetic problems was worked into the teacher's lesson plans unless she was running behind. I remember slick places on the aged surface of the blackboard where the chalk could not leave a mark, complicating our performance.

An area of desired competition in addition to filling the water bucket was taking the blackboard erasers outside to de-dust them. Usually, students would go in pairs and beat the erasers against tree trunks or the side of the coal shed. First, though, they would slap two dusty erasers together in the face of their schoolmate as soon as they were outside and out of sight.

If we were well behaved, the teacher would allow us to take turns ringing the hand-held bell to signal the end of recess or "school's out" for the day.

I'm glad that my family was not wealthy and of the notion to hire a private tutor for my early education. Just think what I would have missed.

And that is the truth, not a sour grapes attitude.