If you had grown up in a very wealthy 19th-century family, instead of going to school you might have been taught by a governess, a teacher who lived in your home.

Not many people employ governesses these days — the exceptions are generally members of royal families. So unless you're a prince or princess, you probably attended elementary school rather than having a governess teach you reading, writing, and etiquette at home. In well-off Victorian families, unmarried, well-educated, middle-class women were paid to teach young children the basics. Older boys then moved on to male tutors, while girls usually focused on music and art lessons.

Definitions of governess
  1. noun
    a woman entrusted with the care and supervision of a child (especially in a private home)
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    type of:
    instructor, teacher
    a person whose occupation is teaching
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