• 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.

The Word of the Week is "Confiscate"

The day after Boxing Day I started confiscating the kids’ favorite toys, clothes, and books, to aid my packing efforts. A week from Saturday we’re departing Alberta for sunnier climes (and donkey spiders, flying giant cockroaches, and mosquitoes that require half my family to take extra-strength Benadryl) to visit my parents for a month. It’s the second year in a row we’ve done this, after our seven-month stay back in 2002-2003. The timing works out well — it’s the only sort of slow period all year for Tom, in part because his apprentice is required to take a two-month college course. We’re all hoping for a mild winter in our absence, the kids because they don’t want to miss any really good snowstorms or too much skating, and Tom and I because we feel guilty enough already leaving his parents with our daily farm chores (feeding cows and chickens and washing eggs).

Thirty years ago my parents took their first kid-less vacation to the West Indies, and loved it so much that they were determined to find some land and build a house. Which they finally did about 20 years ago, though they have yet to move down full time. Yes, I love it down there, though I was never crazy about spending Christmas in the Caribbean, with an artificial tree to boot (in fact, Tom and I got engaged the year I left the family holiday early, just after New Year’s, to rendez-vous with him in Toronto in the midst of a huge, beautiful, snowstorm — yes, my family and friends thought I was nuts both to get engaged only a few months after meeting and to trade a vacation of sun and sand for one with snow). And a four-week stay at my parents’ house is not as much of a vacation as, say, two weeks in a hotel where someone else does the cooking and shopping. Though life with a unfenced pool is much less fraught now that the kiddies all swim and dive like dolphins.

So there probably won’t be a lot of blogging going on, though I hope to check in from time to time, on my father’s computer.

There will be some schoolwork — a bit of math, grammar, history, and lots of fun readalouds (the kids and I are still deciding which books to bring along) — though we’ll be unschooling science for the duration. Helping Grandpapa tend to the four-acre tropical garden, going to the beach, star gazing on warm evenings, and one or two sessions at the hands-on aquarium (where you get to pick up and hold various sea creatures) should do the trick.

Off to confiscate some more underwear. Oh, and some Lego…

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