• 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.

Bet you didn’t know I read "Chemical & Engineering News"

Just for the articles, though.

Three of them, in fact, from tomorrow’s issue. The first is on homeschool science curricula, especially high school chemistry:

It’s Monday night at the Strouds’, and David is at the dining room table with his two daughters, Fisher, seven, and Ripley, nine. On this particular evening in February, David is performing an electrolysis experiment using a battery and a penny immersed in water. Monday night is chemistry night, and David and his wife, Annemarie, have invited C&EN to join them for the evening. Fisher and Ripley giggle as bubbles begin to form on the coin.

The Strouds are among a growing number of families in the U.S. who homeschool their children. An estimated 2 million students now are being homeschooled in the U.S., and that number is growing at a rate of 7 to 10% per year, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.

More parents are also deciding to homeschool their children beyond middle school, and as they do so, they are discovering that the availability of already prepared chemistry curricula is quite limited. The situation is especially challenging for secular homeschoolers, who say there are virtually no secular high school chemistry curricula out there for the homeschooling community.

The market is slowly responding to these trends, and several high school chemistry curricula that cater to a diverse audience of homeschoolers now are in development. In addition to helping families teach the fundmental concepts of chemistry, these curricula address an important practical question: How do you carry out lab experiments that are challenging and informative yet safe to be carried out in the home? …

Read the article for the rest, including some more on the programs under development.

Another article is on “Help For Homeschoolers: Opportunities abound for learning science outside the home“:

As awareness of the problem grows, more opportunities for learning science have become available to homeschoolers around the U.S. For example, the Maryland Science Center, in Baltimore, for the past eight years has been offering several weeks of educational programming in September specifically for homeschoolers. Students visit the planetarium, watch IMAX films, participate in discussions of various exhibits, and do hands-on experiments in subjects ranging from biochemistry to archaeology.

In upstate New York, the Cornell Center for Materials Research, in partnership with the Ithaca Sciencenter Museum, offers hands-on materials science workshops for homeschoolers. The workshops are led by Cornell faculty, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students. …

The American Chemical Society doesn’t offer any formal programs for homeschoolers, but it offers educational opportunities through its student affiliate groups and other programs. For example, the ACS student affiliates at Waynesburg College, in Pennsylvania, offer a laboratory program in which they do chemistry experiments with homeschoolers. And ACS member C. Marvin Lang, as part of his speaker service tour last November, provided an afternoon of chemistry demonstrations to students and parents of the Marshfield Area Home Educators Association in Marshfield, Wis.

The third article, “Former homeschool students reflect on their educational experiences“, profiles several former homeschoolers who continued on with college studies and careers in science, including Seth Anthon, who

… grew up in rural North Carolina, where the nearest public school was an hour’s drive away. So his mother, who had worked as a teacher, decided to homeschool him. When Anthony reached high school age, his mother began taking a chemistry course at North Carolina State University as a prerequisite for entering pharmacy school. His mom would bring home her assignments, and they would do the chemistry problems together. “Homeschoolers have a tendency to turn all sorts of situations into learning situations,” Anthony says.

For the chemistry labs, Anthony came up with a lot of his own experiments, many based on simple household chemistry. “When you’re doing household labs, you don’t go to the store and buy glacial acetic acid; you use the vinegar you have in your kitchen cabinet,” Anthony says, adding that through his experience he gained a greater appreciation for how chemistry fits in with the real world.

In contrast, he remembers being frustrated with the general chemistry labs when he entered college. “It was very cookbook,” he says. “Everyone was attuned to the procedural way of doing things. I was thinking in a different mind-set.
“Honestly, I can’t say I learned a whole lot about chemistry from the labs,” says Anthony, who is now a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Colorado State University.

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