• 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, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)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"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "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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My swimming stars

The kids spend so much time in pools and in swimming lessons that for the past few years I’ve been training them and me not to get too wrapped up in patches (received for passing a level) or stickers (received when you don’t pass) or passing or levels. It’s the skills and proficiency, and enjoyment too, that matter. I’m so delighted and proud that they leap into the water and get their faces wet bravely and exuberantly, sail off ropes, and cartwheel off diving boards.

Which is why I surprised myself by how giddy I got this morning when all three kids walked out of the weekly swim class with patches and certificates to show that they had each passed their respective levels this week — Davy, level 3; Daniel, level 4; and Laura, level 6 (there are 12 levels in total in the Canadian Red Cross’s Aquaquest program, geared for kids up to 14 years old, and my three have generally been the youngest and smallest in their classes). I am definitely one proud bragging mama now.

I had thought that the boys would probably ace their levels, this being the second attempt for both. We had talked after class last week (after receiving, ahem, stickers) about what they needed to do to improve. In Davy’s case, holding those back floats and front floats for a few more seconds, and in Daniel’s case, keeping his head down and practicing the 15-meter endurance swim. But I really thought that Laura would need several rounds in level 6 before passing, especially with the 50-meter endurance swim and more advanced life-saving skills.

We celebrated afterwards with enormous Lifesaver popsicles sold at the pool, and then promptly drove over to Dad’s worksite to share the good news. And I have to admit that as tired as I am of sitting through two weeks in a row of swimming lessons, there’s a teeny part of me that’s ready to sign them up for round three on Monday, because they are so eager for more pool time and because they could so easily capitalize on this new momentum. Maybe I should just ask Tom if we can make it to the pool for the public swim tomorrow afternoon. Mmm, that’s a plan. And I’m definitely reconsidering swim club for next spring, although we’ll have to rejigger it to make it fit our schedule; Monday through Thursday, every week in May and June, from 5 pm until 6:30 is just way too much to be fun or nice.

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