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

Continuing today’s French theme: Plus ça change…

or, how do you say “Tossing textbooks” en français?

Yesterday my father sent me The New York Times article on the latest on textbooks, “Schoolbooks are Given F’s in Originality”. Sadly but not surprisingly, the 2005 edition of the high school text A History of the United States by the late Daniel J. Boorstin and Brooks Mather Kelley has been adulterated by its publisher, Pearson Prentice Hall. What Mr. Boorstin, a historian, a Rhodes scholar (and Balliol man), the founder of the Center for the Book, and Librarian of Congress, would make of the publisher’s shenanigans gives one pause.

Aside from the U.S. history suggestions in my previous textbook post, I can also suggest one of Mr. Boorstin’s earlier works, the very good and unadulterated Landmark History of the American People; as many homeschoolers know, this one is required reading in Sonlight‘s Core 4. Another option by Boorstin is his wonderful three-part series, “The Americans”: The Americans: The Colonial Experience (volume one); The Americans: The National Experience (volume two); and The Americans: The Democratic Experience (volume three, the one that earned Boorstin his Pulitzer Prize).

Moral of the story: you are definitely not stuck with whatever textbook drivel you find yourself (or your child) assigned. And the more you’re willing to consider books that aren’t au courant up-to-the-very-
last-minute, the more options you’ll have. You will also spend much less for all three Vintage paperback editions of “The Americans” than you would for the one hardcover edition of the 2005 textbook, and you’ll be able to say you helped slow Mr. Boorstin’s whirling a tad over this shameful excuse for history.

Updated: I didn’t have a chance earlier to include that the business about the plagiarized passages in the two Pearson Prentice Hall textbooks was brought to light by author James W. Loewen, who’s in the midst of updating his 1995 bestseller, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, a survey of the then top 12 high school textbooks on American history. Well worth a read, particularly in conjunction with Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, especially Chapter 9, “History: The Endless Battle.”

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