• 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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Reviving "Reviving Ophelia"

I picked up a paperback copy of Reviving Ophelia the other week for a quarter at the library book sale. As the mother of a daughter (pre- preteen), all I can say is this is an appropriate time of year for scary and horrifying reading material. I don’t have the book with me at the moment, but all I can say is that the book was written over 10 years ago and in that time the cultural situation to which Mary Pipher refers has only deteriorated. I don’t know that I’m learning anything new but rather having some fears and concerns and other assorted thoughts confirmed. The prime one would be that control is not a bad thing, if exercised wisely. Hold your children close…

On a similar note, we’ve been spending lots of times with our friends, the H. family, who moved back here recently. They have a daughter Laura’s age and a son Daniel’s age, and all five get along like a house afire. Mr. H is Tom’s best friend since first grade, and they were married a few months before we were. The H’s had hs’ed earlier this year, from January to June, but after moving here decided to put the kids in the local public school a) to make some friends and b) because they have lots of extended family here, and some of the sisters in law aren’t exactly open to hs’ing. But after a couple of months now, the kids are getting bored, especially their son in first grade; while he’s been reading for several years now, his classmates are only just learning the sounds of the letters. Mrs. H has asked to borrow some of our hs’ing books — especially the “What Your xx Grader Needs to Know” series by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and Rebecca Rupp’s similar one-volume effort — and I’ve been more than happy to oblige. Our family is silently urging them on, especially because it would be much easier to get the kids together without dealing with the public school schedule.

Next Tuesday after piano lessons we have our facilitator meeting. In Alberta, we’re required to register with a hs’ing board, and we’re assigned a facilitator (you can change boards as often as you want, and also request a different facilitator from your board if you don’t think s/he is a good fit with your family), who comes to visit twice a year to check our progress. Our board and facilitator are very low key and very trusting in Tom’s and my ability to know what’s best for our kids, thank goodness. In part, it’s because — surprise — the board is not secular. It’s nominally Catholic, and many of the facilitators and families are evangelical Christians. But they are all homeschoolers first, and Alberta Education Department bureaucrats last; in fact, they are all more than willing to take on the oodles of paperwork on behalf of the families registered with them.

The kids are eagerly awaiting Mr. M’s visit next week. Laura is planning to move her ever-growing Post-It Note bookworm — each note has the title of a book she’s read since becoming a bookworm herself — to the kitchen so he can see it, and working on her “diary” (which replaces her formal grammar and spelling lessons twice a week now — her idea, and she’s having great fun with it). Daniel wants to show Mr. M how he can read now, and carefully writing out a list of camping supplies to demonstrate his penmanship. Davy, who as a kindergartener technically isn’t registered yet, doesn’t want to be left out so he’s readying his binder for “facilitator show and tell.” Mr. M won’t know what hit him after Hurricane Farm School bowls him over with enthusiasm lol.