• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming and home schooling. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 17/Grade 12, 15/Grade 10, and 13/Grade 9.

    Contact me at becky.farmschool@gmail.com

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    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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  • Copyright © 2005-2014 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

For the liberty of unlicenc’d printing

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
John Milton, “Areopagitica”

Last week, I just happened to find on my parents’ shelves their copy of Where There’s a Will: Thoughts on the Good Life by Rumpole creator and former barrister John Mortimer; it came out the other year when Mortimer was in his early eighties but seems quite prescient in light of recent events. The book amounts to a curmudgeon’s — and why does curmudgeonly increasingly seem to be a synonym for common sense? — last will and testament of advice to leave behind, from the dangers of political correctness to the joys of outdoor sex. And surprise, surprise, one of the chapters (lucky number 13 as it happens) is titled “Causing Offence” which Mortimer, naturally, supports:

A life during which you’re caused no offence would be as blandly uneventful as death itself. Being caused offence stirs up the spirits, summons up the blood and starts the adrenalin flowing. … A state in which everyone tiptoed around whispering for fear of hurting somebody’s feelings would be dull beyond human endurance. A political or religious belief which can’t stand up to insult, mockery and abuse is not worth having. …

It seems to me to be an insult to the religious beliefs, as well as to those who hold them, to say that they need the special protection of a law which makes it a criminal offence to hurt people’s feelings. …

In fact being caused offence not only stimulates debate but confirms belief and strengthens it. Milton, no enemy of religion, had it right when he wrote ‘if we have free speech truth will look after itself’. And if we have a censorship which stops us offending anyone, the truth may be concealed in the surrounding blur.

One Response

  1. Ah, Becky! I missed this post the first time around. Another book to add to my skyscraping wish list.

    I feel vindicated, as if my vocation of choice, Button Pusher, has finally been acknowledged as a worthwhile pursuit.

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