Swedish Unit: Swen Swenson the School Teacher

Swen Swenson is my great-great-grandfather. He was born on January 4, 1850 in Grödby, Kristianstad, Sweden.

Swen was the youngest of 7 children and was only 9 years old when his mother, Kjerstin died. He felt this loss deeply.

Even though he didn’t get much of an education while growing up, he had a strong desire to go to college. With very little money, this dream seemed impossible. But in the fall of 1870, he packed his bag, took all his money (which was only a few crowns) and set out for the university to try to get accepted. And miraculously, he did! He graduated from college on June 8, 1875. His graduation certificate was signed by P. Winfrey, Rector and said “Swen Swenson has proven himself very industrious and his deportment has been most excellent.”

After graduating, Swen went on to become a school teacher.


This is the schoolhouse in Röena, just outside Osby, Sweden. Half of this building was the school where Swen taught, and the other half was the home where Swen, Thilda, and their children lived.


This a recent photo of this same schoolhouse, which still exists. My mom’s cousin’s daughter went on a trip to Sweden last year and took this photo of the schoolhouse.


We learned a bit about Swen (we will continue the rest of the story in another lesson), and then decided to re-enact a Swedish school day… or bits and pieces of it at least.

In Swen’s classroom, school was always opened with a prayer and singing of a psalm from the Lutheran psalmody, and then began the rehearsing of memorized lessons in Biblical history, and from the Lutheran catechism.

We also learned the Swedish alphabet, did some math, and some handwriting.


I know some people don’t like long videos, so the top video is the short version and the bottom video is the longer version (long version is mostly so I could record more of the details)

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