The Life of an Amish Child (part 2)
Amish children only attend school eight months out of the year. During the spring and summer months, they are required to help on the farms with the harvest. Amish boys will help their fathers in the fields, or wherever needed, in order to work together for the betterment of the community at large. Amish boys learn how use farm equipment and heavy tools in preparation for when they are old enough to start working. Since Amish children only go to school through eighth grade, they are expected to know how to become successful members of the working community by the time they are teenagers.
Amish girls will help their mothers in the home when not in school. They learn how to cook and clean for the family, as well as how to do the yard work and other chores that are required around the house. In addition, Amish girls learn a useful skill that will help them to make extra money for their families in the future. They might learn how to make Amish quilts and carry on the tradition of quilting into their adulthood. Amish quilts are highly valued outside the Amish community, so they might be able to sell their Amish quilts in the markets when they're adults. They might also learn gardening, canning, or baking techniques which will help them create products that can also be sold at community markets.
Children are allowed time to play during the working months, but often the games they play serve a dual purpose. Safety games are played in order for the children to learn how to safely live on a farm. Farming communities come with a variety of different dangers that can easily cause harm to the children if they're not careful. With large equipment moving and farm animals roaming around, Amish children need to learn early how not to get hurt. These safety games are an important part of life in an Amish community. Other recreational activities, such as darts, pony rides, skating, fishing, and ball games are all popular amongst Amish children and even the occasional adult.
In the evenings, after dinner has been eaten and cleaned up, the children will usually spend time with the family playing board games, reading, playing with dolls, quilting, making wooden toys, or any number of indoor activities. There are many Amish produced magazines and newspapers that the Amish subscribe to. Some are produced just for Amish children and teenagers and focus on the things that are important and interesting to them, such as quilting, farming, and things related to their school studies. Many Amish children are pen pals with other Amish children, as well as children who are outside the Amish community. Evenings might be spent writing letters to pen pals or other family members.
Finally, the sun sets and it's time to get ready for bed. Since the Amish do not allow electricity in their homes, they are dependent upon gas or kerosene lighting. This generally limits the types of activities that they can participate in during the nighttime hours, so bedtimes are usually much earlier than those in non-Amish homes. The day will start before the sun rises the next morning anyway, so getting a good night's rest is always important for the children of an Amish community.
The Life of an Amish Child (part 1)