• 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."

    "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 © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.


Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

I’m particularly thankful as a born American and naturalized Canadian that I have two official opportunities each year to be thankful, and so many unofficial opportunities and reasons.

Many of the things I’m thankful for this year are the same things for which I’ve been grateful for years, in no particular order:

my husband, who is kind, thoughtful (in all senses of the word), strong, a hard worker, a good earner, a great dancer, and blessed with masses of common sense and a terrific sense of humor, and so frugal that he enjoys leftovers; he is a dandy father who enjoys taking the kids along for the day, whether it’s for building, farm chores, paying bills in town (at such fun spots as the farm supply store, automotive shop, and lumber yard), or hunting at dawn. And because he turns a blind eye to the boxes of books, and the bills for boxes of books, that arrive here regularly. And, as always, a special giving of thanks to my sister-in-law, who 12 years ago decided that her wedding had to take place in rural Alberta instead of downtown Toronto, and who kept insisting that her brother take me along to run pre-wedding errands.

my three kids — healthy, joyful, and smart cookies all. They enjoy spending time with each other, with us, and discovering all there is to discover each new day. They have lively bodies and lively minds and are a joy to spend time with every day, something I’m mindful of when I encounter non-homeschooling parents who laugh too loudly when they say, “Oh, I couldn’t spend all day with my kids.”

our little house on the prairie under the huge prairie sky, warm, comfortable, and cozy, about to bulge out with a kitchen addition suitable for homeschooling (bookcases on the east wall!), dontcha know. And the four seasons, each so different, and some not as long as others (which can be a good thing and a bad thing). And speaking of pioneer life, I’m thankful for hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, central heating, good roads, and supermarkets. And those butterfly bandages in the medicine cabinet.

a freezer full of our own beef, chickens, ducks, geese, venison, rhubarb, and saskatoons; and shelves of Mason jars filled with our own home-canned pears and peaches, cranberry sauce, and apple sauce.

the Zabars care packages from my parents, collected annually during our visits down south — tubes of garlic paste, Zabar’s freshly ground Mocha-Java, *real* pepperoni and unpasteurized Brie

our library and the magic of interlibrary loans, which brings books and audiobooks nearly to our door from across the province

the upcoming change to visit Grandmama and Grandpapa, loving grandparents and parents extraordinaire.

And a few new things this year:

Laura’s discovery of the joy of reading (and her newfound artistic abilities),

Daniel’s discovery of his ability to read

Davy’s discovery of the joy of writing, which has brought him to discovering the necessity of the ability to read

hibernating bears

kittens that made it to adulthood without discovering fan belts in trucks or coyotes in the back yard (aka Back 40)

our close friends, who are now 15 minutes away instead of two-and-a-half hours

Amazon.ca, which has seen the errors of its customer-unfriendly ways and has started shipping orders qualifying for “free shipping” in a timely manner rather than holding them hostage

and last but not least, all of my new invisible imaginary online friends, most of them other home schooling mothers, and all of them smart and smart alecky, strong, funny, and kind, who have opened doors, windows, and hearts for me. I thank you.

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