• 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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Barbarians, paragons, and March and April fools

Just in time for April Fool’s Day, one hopes, The Telegraph‘s education correspondent reported yesterday,

Lessons in Latin and Ancient Greek have been deemed detrimental to the learning of foreign languages in schools.

A secret document sent to Government officials by the Dearing Languages Review, an influential inquiry into language teaching, reveals that Latin and Greek were excluded from the list of languages that schools will be encouraged to study because they are “dead languages” that contribute nothing to “intercultural understanding”.

The document adds that “important as they can be, their inclusion on the same footing as modern languages could actually undermine our attempts to build up national capacity in languages”.

The revelation that Latin and Greek were intentionally excluded by the review comes only days after news that the Ancient History A-level is to be scrapped by the OCR exam board. The review was ordered by the Government last year in response to a steep decline in the number of pupils studying languages for GCSE.

Boris Johnson, the shadow higher education minister, described the assertion that Latin and Greek could undermine attempts to build up languages as the “most stupid thing I have ever heard”.

“I can pick up a newspaper in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Brazil and the whole of Latin America and understand the news, basically because I studied Latin,” he said.”

And from The Telegraph‘s leader today, “O tempora, o mores!”,

As we report today, the teaching of Latin has been condemned by the committee reviewing languages in schools, on the asinine grounds that it could “actually undermine our attempts to build up national capacity in languages”. Latin, as everyone except the educationalists on that committee knows, is the foundation of French, Spanish and Italian.

But that was only one of the idiocies emanating from this quarter last week. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers called for the abolition of all testing by schools, and the introduction of lessons in walking.

Verbum sapienti: if the low level of attainment of our school children is a cause for concern, we should be just as worried by their teachers. As their pronouncements last week show, some of them make the barbarians who destroyed the Roman Empire look like paragons of sophisticated civilisation.

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