• 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."
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    "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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Still standing

The latest blizzard and cold snap haven’t broken us, and neither has our busy list of activities. Though it’s never good for blogging.

Last week, in addition to more blowing, more snowing, and more much-too-cold weather, we had busy days of music lessons and 4H meetings, art lessons, museum meetings, new baby gift delivery, rehearsals, and chocolate making.

We also had a Valentine gala, where Tom and I dined and danced, and where Laura and a hardworking band of 4H members helped the catering staff clear tables. And earlier in the day, the kids each baked an apple pie, for Saturday’s pie baking contest, a fundraiser for a nearby one-room schoolhouse-cum-community center. Tom took the boys and the pies to the contest on Saturday morning (Laura stayed home with me to rest up and rehearse for Sunday’s 4H public speaking), and came home with the good news that Daniel had won first prize with his lattice-top creation, beating out his siblings (Davy made a deep dish pie, and Laura’s top crust was made of overlapping heart shapes) and at least six adults. Tom managed to buy back the boys’ pies at the auction sale afterwards (finding out too late that his own father was bidding against him), but Laura’s pie was bought by a determined bidder and consumed on the spot.

Yesterday we spent all afternoon at the 4H public speaking event and despite some doubts earlier in the week and serious case of the butterflies that had her in the bathroom five minutes before speech time, Laura did a wonderful job with her talk, about her first (and last) trip to New York, as well as with her one-minute impromptu. She took first place in her age category and goes on to the district-level round next month. We are very, very proud (and relieved).

One thing Tom and I noticed, and one of the judges mentioned, is that few of the kids gave speeches. They read essays, in most cases not particularly well, as though yesterday afternoon was the first time they’d bothered to read through their own writing (and the fact that much of it sounded as if it had been cut and pasted from Wikipedia is another matter entirely). In its entirety, heads down and eyes glued to their teeny tiny script printed out in teeny tiny print from the family computer, a far cry from the index cards with prompts they are meant to use.

What I find disturbing is the general attitude that the annual public speaking event is a torturous event meant to be endured, not an educational exercise, and however the kids get through it, well, that’s fine. Which is the mindset that lasted us about two months at the local public school, but that’s yet another matter.  I know, I know, I’m old-fashioned and crotchety.  And that’s after a good night’s sleep and a pot of coffee.

So that’s what we’ve been up to, and why I haven’t even thought of doing laundry baking George’s cherry pie. Though I just might have some leftover lattice-topped apple pie later on with some more coffee…

4 Responses

  1. We both had 4-H in our weekend. I helped out with a rabbit/guinea pig show on Saturday. But, sadly, there was no pie.

  2. That sounds like so much fun and much less fraught than public speaking, Mrs. G.

    Which do you have at home, rabbit or gp?

  3. Well, congratulations to the bakers and the speech-sayer! How exciting was that? What kind of apples did they use?

    Tell me, what tipped you off to the Wiki cut’n’pastes?

    Don’t worry about the laundry – I think I have to do enough today for a small village. Ugh. I’d rather be gardening, even if it is raining.

  4. Sheila, VERY exciting! McIntosh apples. In fact, one of the old ladies in attendance, suspecting that the kids hadn’t really baked the pies themselves, asked the 7yo what kind of apples and was treated to a long drawn-out discussion on the merits of McIntosh vs. Gala (his preferred eating apple) vs. Granny Smith. My husband reported she seemed very, very sorry to have begun the line of inquiry…

    As far as the tip off, general ability and interest level any time of the year except speech or school report time. My husband’s aunt, a retired English teacher who’s still doing some substitute teaching, says she has the same problem in the classroom.

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