• 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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Why we love going to dentist

We camped out at the dentist’s office yesterday for nearly three hours so all three kids could have their check-ups (and Laura ended up with sealant on her molars; she was delighted to hear that she, like her beloved horse, has deep grooves). Not as bad as it sounds because

1. thanks to checkups every six months since they were tots (and before that, they’d sit quietly on me or nearby while I had my checkups), they lie there like champs, with their mouths wide open. Even when they don’t have to.

2. thanks to the check-ups every six months, no cavities again. Well, there was that one horrible time when the youngest was too young for teeth and the eldest was old enough to more or less (apparently more) take care of her own and somehow middle child’s mouth got neglected by Mommy — not a good tendency with his tendency away from vegetables and other healthy snacks and toward anything sweet — who was just so tired from looking after various children’s ends and other odds and ends, and somehow middle child ended up with six, count ’em, six, cavities. All at one time. In that teeny tiny mouth. Oh. my. god. I think it was more traumatic for me than for Daniel. I am able to think about it now but am still secretly waiting and hoping for all those cavitied baby teeth to fall out. Soon, damn it.

3. I didn’t have to pay this time. Whoopee! I didn’t even mind that I had started writing out the check (which I can use next week when I go for my own check-up). Because this is Canada, land of national health care (see item no. 6), and because we go to the dentist twice a year, one child’s visit annually is covered under the provincial health care system. (Of course, we could be like the other people in town and go once a year at most. At twice a year, a schedule started by my mother who grew up in war-torn Yugoslavia and ended up with dentures in her twenties, we are the village oddities.) I couldn’t remember that the kids’ visits in the spring had been on our dime, so it was a pleasant surprise to have the receptionist tell me no need to pay. Especially because this was a visit with x-rays and sealant. And I’m not going to mention the braces that I can see marching toward at least two of the kids. Did I mention we farm and have no private insurance that covers such niceties?

4. We left with a bagful of loot — one prize each from the prize room (Laura got a braided, beaded bracelet; the boys, little plastic parachutists who’ve been making appearances down the stairs and into the basement), new toothbrushes and garishly colored and flavored floss, a pack of gum each (the dentist must be part of some Gum-ola scheme, because besides the gum I got a spiel about how this one brand of gum is actually good for our teeth. Yeah, right, more like good for the dentist’s business) which I intend to save for a plane trip after the holidays. And something new for those with no cavities — three coupons for a free movie rental. Double wowee.

5. Laura, a natural worrier like her mother, had her fears about the various bumps and gaps in her mouth allayed first by the hygienist and then by the dentist. The bumps are the belated arrival of her six-year molars (and yet not-quite-five-year-old Davy’s x-rays showed that his six-year molars have just started breaking through the bone now). I tried to explain, but of course a mother isn’t nearly as reliable as a trained professional.

6. Best of all and completely non-tooth related, the hygienist assumed that we’re the same age. To which I will only say a) Ha! and b) I am delighted that at 41 and after nearly three hours in a dentist’s office I can apparently pass for 35. I am so delighted, in fact, that I plan to overlook the fact that the wonderful, younger hygienist from Saskatchewan admitted that she had never heard of famous Saskatchewanian Tommy Douglas (father of national healthcare — called Medicare, by the way, and not be confused with the other Medicare in the U.S. — in Canada, not to mention Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather, ex-father-in-law of the newest Mr. Bennet, and winner of CBC’s Greatest Canadian contest the other year). “I’m not that into politics,” she explained.

Oh.

Well, thanks for everything, and see you in another six months!

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