• 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

  • 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 © 2005-2014 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Homeschool contest: Tell your favorite American history story

and you just might win a prize!

If this sounds like a fun way to kick off your family’s new school year, not to mention a nifty writing assignment for the kiddies, Jennifer Armstrong, author of the new history title, The American Story, wants you. Details of Ms. Armstrong’s new contest just for homeschoolers are here, and as she writes, “Have fun! Writing about history is a blast!” Ten winners will receive an autographed copy of the book.

And did you notice that Jennifer Armstrong’s new blog is called Just for Homeschoolers? Color me impressed.

UPDATED to add: I’m feeling even more colorfully impressed this morning.

Run to the Edge of the Forest

Not the real forest. The online kidlit journal, The Edge of the Forest, issue #6, brought to you by editor Kelly Herold. I haven’t made it yet to even the edge of the Edge of the Forest, but I’ve heard there are interviews with kidlit author Melissa Wiley and kidlit librarian Fuse #8, as well as more interviews, more than a dozen book reviews, and a kidlit blog roundup. Sounds wonderful!

Autumn is a-cumin’ in

Saturday evening we headed for town to help celebrate our little town on the prairie’s 100th birthday. Not a great age compared to many, even in eastern Canada, but quite an achievement and a thrill for the kids especially to be a part of the occasion. There was a big dance followed by fireworks, then more dancing, and oodles of food throughout. And a chance to remember the pioneers who started it all with their hard work, and those who carry on. To whom we all say a well-deserved thank you.

Speaking of thank yous, Tom arrived home on Friday with a case of very, very ripe peaches. I’ve come to be very wary of this sort of gift when I’m least prepared and usually up to my armpits in some other garden preserving activity, and I’ve told Tom in previous years on various occasions that yes, dear, I will buy and can cases of peaches and pears — Davy calls them “hot sugared fruit” — but on my own schedule, dear, since that I had planned to deal this weekend with the last of the green beans, rhubarb, and a few other housekeeping projects. The peaches were well on the way to beyond ripe, so I had to do something fast. And quick and easy, to, which meant one cobbler, one pie, and peeling, chunking, and sugaring the rest for pie filling.

The leaves on the Virginia creeper have turned bright red already, harvest is in full gear in the fields around us, geese are honking and ducks gather on the dugouts and sloughs and the hunters from the U.S. are starting to circle too, our neighbor’s famous end-of-summer “corn supper” is next week, and though it’s still unusually warm for this time of year (we watched the fireworks at 10:30 pm in light shirts), the light definitely looks like autumn. I’ll miss the carefree summer weather and schedule, my garden especially — I’m enjoying great big blowzy bouquets right now, zinnias, cosmos, hollyhocks, cornflowers — but there’s something exciting about the change in seasons, especially this next season. Autumn usually means a withering and a decline, but as someone who always loved school (Tom and I decided to homeschool Laura in part because we wanted her to love school and learning as much as we had), this time of year to me signifies not only an ending but also a beginning, marked by kraft-paper covered books, new knee socks and art supplies, the excitement of new friends and activities. Now that the days are dramatically shorter — it’s getting dark before nine now — even the kids are starting to show a bit of curiosity and interest in our new schedule, not as freeform and out-of-doors as it’s been. Where and when will the 4H meetings be held? What will the new piano and voice teachers be like? What new books will be using? It’s all part of the new adventure!

Poetry Friday: The golden August edition

August
by Celia Thaxter (1835-1894)

Buttercup nodded and said good-by,
Clover and daisy went off together,
But the fragrant water lilies lie
Yet moored in the golden August weather.

The swallows chatter about their flight,
The cricket chirps like a rare good fellow,
The asters twinkle in clusters bright,
While the corn grows ripe and the apples mellow.

Read more about and see Celia Thaxter’s garden in An Island Garden, written by Celia Thaxter and illustrated with paintings by (Frederick) Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

****

Updated to add that both Liz B. at A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy (here) and Jen at Jen Robinson’s Book Page (here) have compiled the day’s round-ups. Thank you!

P.S. What are the chances of two selections by Celia Thaxter in one week? Go to MotherReader for hers.

And Karen at lightingthefires has, if not an official offering for Poetry Friday, a lovely offering for poor benighted Pluto by Walter de la Mare.

Books indeed

One of my favorite quotations has always been this from the Dutch scholar and teacher Erasmus: When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” Not all that practical for too many folks, though.

Melissa at The Lilting House wrote the other day about a new nonprofit organization, Kids in Need – Books in Deed, started by some of her friends, that, in their words, “brings free books and free author visits to Kids in Need in the state of Florida.” Click the links to learn more and to see how you can help, either by donation or through a Write-a-Thon.

"Do you home school?"…

asks Jennifer Armstrong, author of the new children’s history book, The American Story, I mentioned on Tuesday, the date of publication:

I’m going to make sure that when my new site is up and has the classroom history contests it makes provision for a home school family or group to participate. Maybe a homeschooling family would even like to share some of the ways they plan to use the book. I’d love to hear from you.

Howzabout them homeschooling apples? Many thanks to Ms. Armstrong for recognizing a serious history-loving and book-buying segment of the educational market!

The Country Fair is back

The sixth Country Fair is up.

My favorite post so far is from Karen, in part because I’m delighted to discover her blog, lightingthefires, by another Canadian homeschooler. Which I know because she has posted recently about a free online Canadian history program and the Sir John A. action figure that I wrote about the other month. But lightingthefires is a wealth of resources, inspiration, and reasoned thought well beyond life up north (if you don’t believe me, read this and this). Thank you, Karen.

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