• 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.

Home Schooling

Carol Windley on deciding to become a writer: “I love the way language can be used to create a faithful facsimile of real people living real lives, although changed, of course, by fiction’s magical prism. As a child I fell into the world of books with great relief and joy — in a book’s pages, life made sense. Perhaps it’s a natural process to go from reading to writing, to want to join in that wonderful community of writers and words. Besides, it happens to be the only thing I can do reasonably well.”

I’ve been a fan of Carol Windley‘s writing since discovering her first book shortly after moving to Canada 12 years ago. So I was thrilled to hear this summer that her newest book, Home Schooling, a collection of short stories, had just been published.

No, not about home education the way you might expect. And not nonfiction. Ms. Windley’s latest is about looking “at how family is the place where we first learn about relationships and community,” she said in a recent interview. She continued, “Parents hope to give their children a sense of family history as well as certain attitudes and values and while children are very receptive, very willing to learn, they’re also very critical and sceptical. In a child’s imagination, received wisdom can undergo startling changes. And in a family, everything is fluid and mutable, anyway, as a result of personality and temperament and circumstance, so trying to give of a sense of this in the fictional families in Home Schooling became my main concern.”

Impatient for my interlibrary loan copy to arrive, I’ve been happy to discover two recent interviews, the one mentioned above and this one with the CBC; happier still to learn that she’s working on another novel. Even in Canada Carol Windley has been rather overlooked, maybe because of the spans between books. It’s been eight years since her last book, the novel Breathing Underwater, and that came out five years after her debut work, the short story collection Visible Light. But now Home Schooling is one of the five shortlisted titles for this year’s Giller Prize, the winner of which will be announced on November 7th (on live television no less), and I’m hoping that Ms. Windley will get more of the attention she deserves.

Carol Windley on what she would do with the Giller prize money ($40,000 CAN) if she wins: “If I were lucky enough to win, the first thing I’d do would be to go to a bookstore and buy a completely scandalous quantity of books. I’d also do what I think would be at the top of any writer’s wishlist: buy the necessary time in which to write.”

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