• 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 16/Grade 11, 14/Grade 9, and 13/Grade 8.

    Contact me at becky.farmschool@gmail.com

  • Notable Quotables

    "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 © 2005-2012 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Poetry Friday: Four years, four dream variations by Langston Hughes

Dreams
by Langston Hughes (1923)

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Dream Variations
by Langston Hughes (1924)

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me –
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening…
A tall, slim tree…
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

The Dream Keeper
by Langston Hughes (1925)

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

Water-Front Streets
by Langston Hughes (1926)

The spring is not so beautiful there –
But dream ships sail away
To where the spring is wondrous rare
And life is gay.

The spring is not so beautiful there –
But lads put out to sea
Who carry beauties in their hearts
And dreams, like me.

For more Poetry Friday fun, round up the usual suspects, beginning with instigator Big A little a! Hope to add the other links, maybe tonight. We’re off and running now…

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants

Just a quick note, since we’re in between birthdays — my lovely cake with the yellow roses is all gone, and I’m making Daniel’s tonight for his big “lucky seven” day tomorrow — not to mention off to town to run some quick errands and make it home in time for lunch before our semi-annual homeschool facilitator visit; under Alberta’s homeschooling legislation, homeschooling families are required to register with a school board (some of which, as ours does, specialize in home education), which then assigns us a facilitator, a certified teacher.

Ours is a former teacher, still certified, and currently home educating father, and doesn’t mind at all that we see him only the required twice yearly and don’t feel the need to ask him any questions other than, “What time will you be here?” Mr. Smith is coming to check on our efforts and progress since his last visit in the fall, an opportunity all three kids see as unparalleled for a Show & Tell/Let’s Put on a Show extravaganza, complete with singing, dancing, poetry recitations, an exhibit of our new pets (snails from the pond in a jar), and, if I overheard correctly, some trick riding on horseback if they can get him outside. If it’s like all his other visits, poor Mr. Smith will leave here not knowing what hit him.

Read to me this morning by child number two

from The Happy Birthday Present by Joan Heilbroner, pictures by Mary Chalmers (An I Can Read book):

“Davy,” said Peter.

“Do you know what day it is?”

“Yes, I do,” said Davy.

“It is today.”

“No, silly,” said Peter.

“It is Mother’s birthday.”

“We must tell her!” said Davy.

“She knows,” said Peter.

“I am going to get a present for her,” said Peter.

“May I come with you?” asked Davy.

“Will you be good?” asked Peter.

“I will,” said Davy.

“Come on, then,” said Peter.

“Is this [the toy store] where I get my present?” asked Davy.

“No, Davy,” said Peter.

“It is not your birthday. It is Mother’s birthday. We are going to get a present for her.”

“Oh!” said Davy.

“What do you think Mother would like?” asked Peter.

“A dump truck,” said Davy.

“Mother does not want a dump truck!” said Peter.

“Roller skates?” asked Davy. …

And so day two of our birthday bonanza week continues. The celebration began yesterday, with a bit of a party for Daniel, whose birthday is on the weekend, after homeschool Gym Day, always one of the month’s highlights for the kids. Daniel treated everyone to some Secret Special chocolate chip cookies (made by adding two spoonfuls of cocoa and one cup of mini M&Ms to the recipe on the back of the bag) and juice, more than welcome after an hour and a half of running, bouncing, and leaping. And Daniel, old soul that he is at almost seven, was able to enjoy some more time around the 11- and 12-year-old boys…

Today is supposed to include a bit of schoolwork, a tadpole safari, lots of sunshine and some gardening (made possible in all this warm, dry weather with the wonderful present of a new hose reel), a few remaining preparations for our all-afternoon homeschool facilitator meeting on Friday afternoon, a cake with chocolate whipped cream, and some surprises…

And many happy returns to Carol Burnett, John James Audubon, Frederic Law Olmstead, Bernard Malamud, and Anita Loos (Happy Birthday indeed!).

A new lap dog for George

From today’s Globe & Mail:

The media will be banned from CFB Trenton today when the bodies of four Canadian soldiers killed over the weekend in Afghanistan return home.

The decision to mirror a practice that is controversial in the United States follows an announcement on Sunday that the flag on the Peace Tower will not be flown at half-mast to mark the deaths.

Take that, you nattering Canadian nabobs of negativism.

And only a hopeless cynic would see any connection.

This week’s Carnival of Homeschooling is open for business

at The Common Room, at heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com. Many thanks to the Headmistress for a wonderful job, especially despite all of the pesky technological obstructions.

By the way, while you’re there, don’t miss the Headmistress’s basic tutorial on a Charlotte Mason education from earlier this month.

As always, you can find the archives to the previous homeschooling carnivals here.

New Math + 30 (Years) = Reform Math = Still Fuzzy After All These Years

Squeaking in before the end of Math Awareness Month….

As a former victim of the old New Math — I still remember my father the Oxford graduate looking over some incomprehensible homework and telling me, “You’re on your own, dear” — I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to math and arithmetic instruction, knowing full well the ramifications of a lousy, fuzzy job. It was the subject I spent the most time researching when we decided to homeschool Laura two years ago, because I knew I wanted a program that would give her, and then the boys, a solid foundation in the basics. After looking at Saxon Math, the choice of many homeschoolers but a tad heavy-handed for Laura at the time, I ended up choosing Singapore Math, with a bit of Math-U-See thrown in from time to time. Not for nothing that in my spare time I read books like Knowing and Teaching Elementary Math by Liping Ma or track down Canadian vendors of Developmental Math.

Which is why Joanne Jacobs’s post, “Mathless in Seattle”, about a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article last week, “Seattle’s teaching of math adds up to much confusion: Where 2+2 gets sticky”, got my attention.

Like many Seattle schools, [Rick Burke's] daughter’s school was teaching “reform” math, a style that encourages students to discover math principles and derive formulas themselves. Burke, an engineer, worried that his daughter wasn’t learning basic math skills.

And, shades of the Alberta Program of Studies,

Reform math also emphasizes estimating and being able to analyze whether the answer derived is correct and reasonable. Students are urged to use calculators from an early age, “because as adults, that’s how we do it — we either do mental math or use a calculator,” said Ruth Balf, who teaches fourth and fifth grade at Olympic View Elementary.

Not so coincidentally, according to The Post-Intelligencer, “Colleges have been seeing a rise in the number of freshmen who have to take remedial math courses, feeding into the growing concern that the United States is losing its edge in math.” And it’s not just the United States, my friends. If you don’t believe The Post-Intelligencer, believe erstwhile college math instructor, MoebiusStripper, who blogs at Tall, Dark and Mysterious. Read it, especially this and this, and weep. MS is particularly scathing on the subject of calculators in elementary and high school, to which I can say only, huzzah.

What saddens me is that educrats have gained precious little understanding, conceptual or otherwise, from the results of the first go-round of New Math, and even less since the 1989 release of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. These standards have concerned responsible, right-thinking mathematicians, math teachers, parents, and more than a few states for over 15 years, and yet “the math wars” continue. The good news? According to The Post-Intelligencer, “In Seattle, schools have a lot of autonomy in how they teach math. The district has adopted textbooks and provides guidelines and timelines for teachers to follow, but doesn’t require them to do so. In fact, the district doesn’t keep track of what style of math teachers are using.” Some Washington State parents with a beef with Reform Math have banded together at Where’s The Math?, and a particularly informative article on their website is “A Brief History of American K-12 Mathematics Education” by David Klein. Great good luck to the families in Seattle, where textbook adoption has been postponed until next January. May the new year bring some not-so-New Math.

But let’s not forget the possible bad news — sitting around in nursing homes, waiting for our pension and Social Security checks administered by dolts who can’t function without a calculator (here’s hoping their computers never crash and their batteries never wear out), not to mention living at the mercy of doctors and nurses who didn’t quite master the math. “Hmmm, how many cc’s of morphine was that supposed to be?” Let’s just hope they learned to read with phonics instead of whole language and can tell “Morphine” apart from “Motrin” on the label.

Additional reading: check the the Article Index for Where’s the Math? and the Site Index for Mathematically Correct; Mathematically Correct’s list of Web Links of Interest alone should keep one busy until that room at the nursing home is ready.

Growing with Grammar, now in Canada

Just received the latest homeschool curriculum catalogue from the folks at Academic Distribution Services (ADS) in B.C. and am delighted to see that they now carry Growing with Grammar/Grade 3, on page 19, and at a price of $37.50 CAN (for the student manual, workbook, and answer key), which compares very, very favorably with the GWG website price of $29.99 US.

While GWG isn’t on the ADS website yet, you can request a free catalogue here or by calling 1-800-276-0078. Worth noting is the annual Spring sale on now until the end of June, which features no GST and free shipping on orders over $200. This is when I usually stock up on Singapore math and Explode the Code workbooks.

No, I don’t get a commission from GWG (or ADS), but author Tamy Davis, a homeschooling mother of two, is a friend, and, most importantly, with three kids I have a vested interest in a rigorous, enjoyable, and secular grammar program. My full, pleased-as-punch review from November still stands, and Laura and I are both looking forward to the release of the new Grade 4 material in the fall.

Hello, Moon, Hello, Hurds

If you and your family happen to find yourselves in Rhode Island in the next couple of months, stop by the Rhode Island School of Design Museum for “The World of Clement, Edith and Thacher Hurd: From Goodnight Moon to Art Dog. The exhibition, which opened yesterday, begins with a 17-foot-long mural of the Great Green Room and also includes a life-size version of the little red car from Art Dog for children to climb aboard.

If you can get to Rhode Island before July 23, the museum has also organized reading sessions and other programs for children; there’s a schedule of related events to download. If you can’t get away, you can watch the Museum website’s audio slideshow.

The RISD Museum stop is the final one for the exhibition, which was organized by the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, another very worthwhile holiday stop, and right next door to Shelburne Farms, one of our favorite places for a busman’s holiday. Oops, rabbit trail…

More on Clement Hurd, Edith Thacher Hurd, and Thacher Hurd, thanks to the wonderful Children’s Literature Network website.

Happy day, earth

O Earth, Turn!
by George Johnston

The little blessed Earth that turns
Does so on its own concerns
As though it weren’t my home at all;
It turns me winter, summer, fall
Without a thought of me.

I love the slightly flattened sphere,
Its restless, wrinkled crust’s my here,
Its slightly wobbling spin’s my now
But not my why and not my how:
My why and how are me.

(from The New Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, edited by Mary Alice Downie and Barbara Robertson, and illustrated by Elizabeth Cleaver)

And don’t forget to download your free Happy Earth Day coloring book, thanks to, erm, the EPA.

More Poetry Friday fun

Quick — hop over to Fuse #8 for a wonderful recommendation and review from my favorite New York City children’s librarian. Fuse #8 calls A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, edited by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka, “the most useful of poetry tomes I’ve found in quite some time”:

It’s a truly interesting collection of poetic forms done in such a way that kids will not only understand them, but want to write some of their own. …

The book contains twenty-nine different poetic forms. Everything from your basic haikus and limericks to triolets, aubades, and pantoums. There are blues poems and clerihews, and even the rare riddle poem or two. [But not the au courant Fib, no doubt...] Janeczko has culled the most amusing and child-friendly versions of these forms possible, and it works.

It sounds wonderful — something to request from interlibrary loan as soon as possible and add to our ever-growing list of poetry books and other materials.

Even better, Fuse #8 discovered the book while preparing some Poetry Month selections and activities for the homeschool book group she runs — NYC homeschoolers and holidaymakers, take note! And run to the Donnell’s Central Children’s Room, headquarters of the delightful Fuse #8 and her companions, Winnipeg native Winnie the Pooh and daily friends, and Mary Poppins’s umbrella.

Poetry Friday: Lines for my children now that the grass is greening up…

and our school moves outdoors:

From
“Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance To”
by Carl Sandburg

Spring is when the grass turns green and glad.
Spring is when the new grass comes up and says, “Hey, hey!
Hey, hey!”
Be dizzy now and turn your head upside down and see how
the world looks upside down.
Be dizzy now and turn a cartwheel, and see the good earth
through a cartwheel.

Tell your feet the alphabet.
Tell your feet the multiplication table.
Tell your feet where to go, and, and watch ‘em go and come back.

Can you dance a question mark?
Can you dance an exclamation point?
Can you dance a couple of commas?
And bring it to a finish with a period?

Can you dance like the wind is pushing you?
Can you dance like you are pushing the wind?
Can you dance with slow wooden heels
and then change to bright and singing silver heels?
Such nice feet, such good feet.

(from Rainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl Sandburg, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg)

Power to the people

The other day Susan at Chicken Spaghetti posted a link for a School Library Journal article on questioning authority, with the quote, “Kids need to be skeptical of the curriculum. It’s the only way to develop a balanced view of the world.” Which of course was like dangling a chocolate truffle in front of me. So I hopped over to read “Question Authority” by Glenn DeVoogd and was…sorely disappointed. Too disappointed even to complain about it here, which is why I was delighted to see that Horn Book editor-in-chief Roger Sutton over at Read Roger (and please, read Read Roger) decided to question authority by questioning “Question Authority”:

it seems that DeVoogd isn’t so much interested in getting kids to think for themselves as he is in getting them to see the world the same way he does. … [I]f I were in charge of the curriculum, the first thing the kids would be learning is that irony is always waiting to bite you in the ass.

DeVoogd starts off well:

Teaching kids to second-guess everything they read isn’t easy—in fact, it’s downright controversial. After all, our educational culture promotes sitting back and soaking up information. Sure, it’s easier to continue thinking that teaching is just about kids, books, and skills. But it’s a lot more than that—it’s about teaching them to be analytical thinkers. It’s our duty to teach kids to ask serious questions about the authority of the words they read. Our schools need to teach that being skeptical of the curriculum is acceptable.”

(Which was one of my concerns about the library list situation in California. But I digress.) But then he veers off toward his real destination, undesirable “social and political influences,” by which he means political correctness. And takes a flying leap toward his conclusion: “Ultimately, the goal of critical literacy is to create a more equitable, just world.” When, in fact, true critical thinking is not taking a sentence like that at face value. Because ultimately, the goal of critical literacy, and responsible school librarians, is to create thoughtful people who ask questions, regardless of what the answers are. And they’re not limited to asking questions about the low points in American history, either. A true student of logic, enriched with a lively curiosity, a healthy skepticism, and solid research skills, turns his or her gaze to science, mathematics, literature and language, and the arts, as well. I also hope that by the time my kids are ready to graduate from our little farm school, they’ll understand that sometimes a cow is just a cow.

P.S. Like Roger, I didn’t care much for DeVoogd bibliography (sample item, Developing Critical Consciousness in an Age of Oppression), so here are some other suggestions, for fifth graders on up to parents and other adults, with the proviso that I haven’t read or used them all. A wander through The Critical Thinking Press and Prufrock Press (no, your child doesn’t need to be gifted and talented to make use of their products, just bright and motivated) websites yields all sorts of titles.

A Case of Red Herrings: Solving Mysteries through Critical Questioning, published by Critical Thinking Press

Critical Thinking series, by Anita Harnadek, published by Critical Thinking Press

Prufrock Press (formerly Dandy Lion Logic) books by Bonnie Risby, such as Logic Countdown, Logic Liftoff, Logic Orbit, Logic Safari

Mind Benders series, published by Critical Thinking Press

Cranium Crackers series, by Anita Harnadek, published by Critical Thinking Press

Critical Thinking in United States History series, by Kevin O’Reilly, published by Critical Thinking Press; a friend has used this with her kids and recommends the series highly. To me it seems like a terrific substitute for DeVoogd’s own volume.

The Art of Reasoning by David Kelley; an introductory college logic text that can be used at the high school level

Philosophy: Themes and Thinkers by J.W. Phelan, published by Cambridge University Press

Critical Thinking: An Introduction by Alec Fisher, published by Cambridge University Press

Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors, published by Oxford University Press

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee

Everything’s an Argument: With Readings by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz

Evidence by Robert P. Newman and Dale R. Newman

An Introduction to Rhetorical Communication: A Western Historical Perspective by James C. McCroskey

Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking by D.Q. McInerny

The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction by Wayne Booth

The Rhetoric of Fiction by Wayne Booth

And a fun tidbit, for you or your high school student:

Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer, with a foreward by Stephen Jay Gould; Shermer is the director of The Skeptics Society

The croc hunters

Not that kind. After farm chores yesterday, the kids and I went looking for this, the prairie crocus (Anemone patens), considerably more fuzzy than its Dutch cousin. We went to the one pasture yesterday where they like to grow and found that the crocuses are up, but not yet blooming. At the moment they look rather like newly hatched robins, all wrinkly and bunched up and straining up toward the sun. The photo shows what they should look like by the weekend.

Make mine pecan pie

Three cheers for Bloglines! I was thrilled to see that long-lost Natalie surfaced today with news on the opening of The Homeschool Cafe: four Mississipi magnolias — Natalie, Nancy, Alasandra, and Lioness — holding forth on politics, educational issues, and general discussion. They promise that the coffee is always on and the desserts are calorie-free. Definitely calorie-free but yummy are all the terrific offerings on view in the sidebar, from organizational tools to book reviews. And thank you kindly for including Farm School in The Gallery.

Dream on

A friend wrote me about Richard Morin’s “Unconventional Wisdom” column in last Friday’s Washington Post. You decide if the study qualifies as either unconventional or wisdom.

“Learning the Wrong Things from Poetry”

Fill your house with books if you want little Billy or Beth to grow
up to be an academic all-star. Shakespeare is good. But stay away
from poetry — books of poesy on your shelves may dumb down your
child.

A research team headed by demographer Jonathan Kelley, of Brown
University and the University of Melbourne, analyzed data from a
study of scholastic ability in 43 countries, including the United
States. The data included scores on a standardized achievement test
in 2000 and detailed information that parents provided about the
family. The average student scored 500 on this test.

The researchers found that a child from a family having 500 books at
home scored, on average, 112 points higher on the achievement test
than one from an otherwise identical family having only one book –
and that’s after they factored in parents’ education, occupation,
income and other things typically associated with a child’s academic
performance. The findings were presented last month at the annual
meeting of the Population Association of America in Los Angeles.

Of course, it’s not the number of books in the home that boosts
student performance — it’s what they represent. The researchers say
a big home library reflects the parents’ dedication to the life of
the mind, which probably nurtures scholastic accomplishment in their
offspring.

They also found that not all books are created equal. “Having
Shakespeare or similar highbrow books about bodes well for
children’s achievement,” they wrote. “Having poetry books around is
actively harmful by about the same amount,” perhaps because it
signals a “Bohemian” lifestyle that may encourage kids to become
guitar-strumming, poetry-reading dreamers.

Darn. And here two kids are taking piano lessons and the third wants to play the banjo.

By the way, I don’t suppose anyone pointed out to the researchers that all those highbrow books by Shakespeare contain an awful lot of verse? Never mind…

Step right up, to the Carnival of Homeschooling, Week 16

The latest Carnival of Homeschooling is up, at About Homeschooling (homeschooling.about.com) today. The theme for this week is “Practical Solutions for Homeschool Struggles.” Thanks, Beverly!

If you need to catch up on your reading, archives from the previous Carnivals of Homeschooling are here.

Next week’s Carnival will be hosted by The Common Room, (heartkeeper.commonroom.blogspot.com).

I want one too…

L. at Schola has a “portable schoolhouse” for their upcoming trip to New Zealand. She writes that “it’s beautiful in an obsessive-compulsive kind of way, the girls’ three 5″ binders containing notebooks, sketchbooks, mini whiteboards, and drawing and writing supplies, and mine with its study guides, answer keys, CDs, and even more supplies.”

As someone who has spent the past 30 years pining for T. Anthony’s leather book travelling/carrying case (though it doesn’t seem to be in the current stock list), how can I resist the idea of a portable schoolhouse?

Read the rest of L.’s entry for her thoughts on winnowing down the selection of books — Charlotte Mason, Strunk & White, William Zinsser? — and exploring NZ by VW bus.

Happy Easter early

A happy Easter to all.

The kids colored close to four dozen eggs today (yes, we’ll be enjoying devilled eggs and egg salad sandwiches for the next while): regular old tablet dyes (from Dudley, similar to the Paas variety in the U.S.); bunnysaurus eggs, as Daniel called them, with a bit of vegetable oil added to half of the tablet dye mixtures, to make a second swirly coat; and the Ukrainian eggs. They all turned out beautifully. At one point, right after the Dudley eggs, the kids discovered the piece of paper towel I had given each one had become rather attractive, so the next half hour was dedicated to more artistic efforts with dye and paper towels, and even with some watercolor paper Laura deigned to share from her own stash.

Then she dug out all of the tissue paper and the copy of Usborne’s Things to Make and Do With Paper, so we are now surrounded by masses of gorgeous Easter blossoms (pages 12-13, Tissue Paper Flowers). These have joined the pussy willows we cut the other day and the pink tulips from the supermarket for a very seasonal display on the buffet.

The eggs are now safely in the fridge, the flowers on the kitchen table along with a plate of carrots for the Easter Bunny. The kids are ready to burst with excitement over the surprise they’ve been planning for the past few weeks and hiding in Laura’s room. And I’m waiting for the sound of steady breathing before filling the plastic eggs for tomorrow’s hunt. Tom will distribute them around the yard at about 5:30 am, when he goes out to check the heifers (four are awfully close to calving). Though the kids have promised us that they’re sleeping until 9. Unless the lure of the chocolates and jellybeans is just way too strong.

A little something for Poetry Friday…

and for Melissa, on the arrival of new baby girl.

Sisters
by Eleanor Farjeon

“Come!” cried Helen, eager Helen.
Time enough,” said careful Ann.
But oh, the lilac-buds were swelling
And all the birds had started telling –
“Listen! look!” cried eager Helen,
Pointing where the spring began.
Well, and what of that,” said Ann.
“Something’s happening — oh, let’s go!”
When it happens we shall know.”
“Ah, but that’s so slow!” cried Helen,
“Come on, come!” cried eager Helen.
Time enough,” said Ann.
“I must go!” “And I will wait. You’ll be too soon.” “You’ll be too late!”
Who knows?” said Ann. “Come on!” cried Helen,
And ran and ran and ran.

(For more Friday poetry fun, check Big A little a and A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy)

Luscious links, or, an Easter basket of treats for adults

Lots of wonderful things to read this weekend:

Stefanie at So Many Books has a terrific piece on the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, which encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poems, and the recent NPR piece on it. Rather like a poetry bee, in that the state winners wind up in Washington next month to compete nationally. The website includes a Teacher’s Guide to download and an extensive online anthology. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation, and state arts agencies. I love the sound of Poetry Out Loud, and especially poetry out loud.

By the way, today’s featured poet on the POL website is Donald Hall, and his chosen poem is “Ox-Cart Man“, the picture book version of which is one of our very favorite readalouds.

A Fuse #8’s review of the day is I’m Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen about a baby owl who would rather be considered a huge, sleek hunting machine rather than cute, which hits very close to home here, where several people would rather be considered big, strong, and brave rather than small, cuddly, and adorable.

Kelly at Big A little a, who celebrated a birthday yesterday, gives a glowing review to the words and pictures (and glossary!) of the new picture book, The Boy Who Loved Words. She also thoughtfully recommends Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell as “a great readaloud companion.”

“Unusual Punctuation and Grammar Lessons”, Crissy at Classical Home‘s list of pet peeves. Crissy also asks that important question, “Si Cuniculus Paschalis sit, unde ova capiat?” (If he’s the Easter Bunny, where does he get the eggs?)

And — this seems an appropriate place to end this post — Camille at Bookmoot has a round-up of children’s books about the Titanic, which sank on this date in 1912.

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