• 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.

Getting Ready

Our flight leaves Friday at 1 pm. For the past few years on our annual trip to see my parents, we’ve left home at 8 am, after finishing farm chores and tidying the kitchen, for the drive to the city. That gives us about two-and-a-half hours to get to the airport, and some extra time there to check ourselves in, a new wrinkle since last year which I loathe because there are always glitches and never any sort of price reduction, which you’d expect since I and not a salaried employee am doing the grunt work. I know a racket when I see it.

Over the weekend, however, Tom and I started thinking about leaving Thursday evening and staying with friends just outside of Edmonton, since the weather lately has been exceedingly cold, snowy, and windy. We spoke with our friends last night and they kindly offered not just to put us up for the night but to drive us to the airport and keep our truck for the duration. Just in time. It snowed all day here, with freezing rain in and around Edmonton, with lots of vehicles in the ditch along the city highways. And not too many flights in or out of the airport either, but that’s another concern. So at this point we’re almost certain about leaving late Thursday rather than early Friday, though it means an extra day of farm chores for Tom’s parents. Plane is scheduled to arrive at 7 pm, then free shuttle bus to the delightful Courtyard by Marriott with the excellent Greek restaurant next door that offers room service, clean duvets, and a bountiful buffet breakfast. And no bedbugs, I hope (yes, I check).

Packing has turned into a mini-spring cleaning. As the kids tried on summer clothes and picked books to bring along, we discovered oodles of things that didn’t fit or weren’t wanted any more, and I have boxes and bags to pass along to friends and the Goodwill tomorrow.

Our hens decided that this would be a good time to molt, and I’m happy at their timing, because my mother-in-law won’t have too many eggs to wash or any to deliver in our absence.

Since we’ll be gone for only two weeks, I decided that I’m not going to make the kids take or do any schoolwork, aside from Laura learning by heart one of her two 4H speeches and the boys learning their two archy the cockroach poems for the Arts Festival next month. Last year I brought the Singapore Math books, which the kids distractedly worked on on my parents’ veranda before they could go swimming each morning. But we were there longer, and I want them now to be able to spend as much time as possible enjoying the delights of their holiday, especially time with my parents.

After much thought and several weeks of shifting around piles, we’re taking these for our readalouds, but may not get through all of them:
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day by Donald J. Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Shows the Way by Donald J. Sobol
Feldman Fieldmouse: A Fable by Nathaniel Benchley, with drawings by Hilary Knight; my old copy, from the old school Book Fair
The Burgess Seashore Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess (alright, a little bit of sneaky school)

Up, up, and away. We hope.

PS Just remembered: I probably won’t be blogging even irregularly, so if I don’t pop back in, February 14th is not just Valentine’s Day but the day the Cybils winners are announced. Chocolate and children’s books — no wonder it’s my favorite holiday!


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