• 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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Tapping toes and teaching to tests

Go on to sleep now, third grader of mine.
The test is tomorrow but you’ll do just fine.
It’s reading and math. Forget all the rest.
You don’t need to know what is not on the test.

Each box that you mark on each test that you take,
Remember your teachers. Their jobs are at stake.
Your score is their score, but don’t get all stressed.
They’d never teach anything not on the test. …

Thinking’s important. It’s good to know how.
And someday you’ll learn to, but someday’s not now.
Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.
Don’t think about thinking. It’s not on the test.
from the new song, Not on the Test, by Tom Chapin & John Forster

Tom Chapin put his latest song, Not on the Test, on his website recently, since it’s not out yet on CD, and according to Chapin probably won’t be anytime soon. Thanks to Camille at Book Moot for the information and the link to yesterday’s School Library Journal interview with Chapin, which calls Not on the Test a “funny, satirical song”. From the interview:

John Forster, who is my wonderful collaborator, and my other friend, Michael Mark, and I have written over the years for National Public Radio; so I got together with John Forster one day and said, “Let’s come up with some ideas.” We bounced around things; and one of them, we felt, was a hot item—both of us being parents and having had kids in public school: how testing has become this huge thing. …

So what do you think of NCLB and all the attention on testing?

The real thing is how it’s changed the experience of school. I know teachers who have stopped teaching because they just are no longer allowed to do what delights them and what delights the kids.

What’s your message to the Bush administration?

[Testing] doesn’t work. It’s the corporatization of education.

The SLJ article also mentions Chapin’s audiocassette giveaway: “We have a roomful of cassettes. My assistant [Claudia Libowitz at Sundance Music] came up with the idea that, since we’re not selling these anymore, and since a lot of schools still have cassette players, what better thing to do with them than get them to teachers. So, if you’re a teacher or librarian and would like some free Tom Chapin cassettes, as long as they last, e-mail us.” That would be info at Tom Chapin dot com. The offer is good for the U.S. and Canada, and includes a small shipping free. More info at the website.

Tom Chapin music, especially free Tom Chapin music, is not to be sneezed at. Some of our favorites, for children and for adults, which I’d buy again at twice the price, include Around the World and Back Again, Doing Our Job, Moonboat, Family Tree, and Some Assembly Required.


And, by the same SLJ writer, Joan Oleck, these articles, Chronic Reading Problems Linked with Depression (last week) and Study: Kids’ Crucial Learning Period Extends beyond Year Three (yesterday). Who knew?


One Response

  1. Thank you, Tom Chapin, for a GREAT song. I am a veteran teacher who stongly believes the ruination of public education is NCLB!!!! Due to to state and federal mandates, we are going to create a generation of children who HATE going to school!!

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