• 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.


Today was poetry day at the Arts Festival, and we moved in from just before 9 a.m. until around noon. A long morning, between the recitations and adjudications, but it went very well. First, once he was done with both of his poems, Davy sat on my lap fairly well. Toward the end he did get kind of floppy, and while Laura was reciting the St. Crispin’s Day speech, he had to chime right in, and not softly either.

The adjudicator went very easily on all of the younger kids, and had helpful words for all. My three got five first places between them (two poems each — of course, it helps if you, like Davy, are the only competitor in your category…), everyone got a couple of certificates to gussy up the homeschool portfolios, Laura won a cash prize for doing the best of the seven- and eight-year olds, and best of all —

Daniel told me at the end how much fun he’d had,

and there was not a peep or an inkling from anyone, not last night or this morning, about being anxious, nervous, or otherwise unhinged about the prospect of standing up to speak in front of a crowd of strangers. I’m delighted and proud. I’m also one sneaky mama, who’s kept mum about the possibility of nervousness on purpose, so as not to put the idea into anyone’s teeny tiny head. There are enough peculiar ideas floating around in there without my planting any. Though I did have to do some damage control afterwards when Daniel was found repeating what his grandmother had told him earlier in the day, after he stalled on a line — “You’re forgetful,” she told him, “just like Papa.” Naturally, being just like beloved Papa is always a good thing, so Daniel swallowed this one hook, line, and sinker. I had to tell him, and it seems to have worked already, that a) he is most certainly not forgetful (he’s got an almost visual memory), b) Papa is not overly forgetful, and c) grrr, sometimes people tell us something that isn’t true when they’re trying to make us feel better about a mistake we’ve made.

Which was all followed by an afternoon with friends at their house, with chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade bread, chocolate chip cookies, sledding, Spring cookie baking and decorating (happy Spring, by the way), and as my nice Saskatchewanian homeschooling friend puts it, a jolly chin-wag over tea. I was ready to ask for a few sleeping bags so we could just stay a bit longer, instead of heading home for dinner.

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