• 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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Waiting for the Magic

Today, the kids and I are going to finish up with our reading of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and catch Narnia, possibly with Tom, at the local theater before it departs tomorrow.

I’m still waiting to get captivated by the book, and can’t shake the impression that Lewis must have said to himself, “And now I think I shall write a children’s book” (or the impression that the kids view the book not as a particularly good story but only as a means to an end — our third trip to the movie theater). I’m rather disappointed by the lack of depth and detail, and by so much going on so quickly (perhaps a slower pace would have solved my need for more depth and detail) and by too much repetition, especially that bit about the importance of leaving a wardrobe door open; perhaps Mr. Lewis thought we wouldn’t understand or realize that good, thoughtful children leave wardrobe doors open and bad, thoughtless children close them? And I know the Pevensie children, and we, are supposed to care innately about Aslan because the author says we are supposed to — “the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different” — but I just, er, don’t. For the same reason none of us felt particularly sad or upset or involved, as we were supposed to, when Aslan ended up on the Stone Table, though the violence of the scene was certainly felt.

I can see the magic in the book — witches, dwarves, talking wolves and lions and beavers (which, you’d think, should have some special hold on Canadian children), and a portal to to a different world — but for the life of me I can’t find the Magic, the same Magic that I find effortlessly (and the kids do too), or rather that finds us, in Understood Betsy, Blueberries for Sal, the works of E. Nesbit and E.B. White, Anne of Green Gables, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Maybe we’re just missing the Narnia gene, she wondered with a sigh…

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