• 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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Poetry Friday: "that time when you played outside all day"

Autumn is definitely on the way. It comes a bit earlier this far north and in most years would have arrived weeks ago, just after the country fair. We’ve often shivered through Laura’s mid-August birthday, determinedly pointing at the calendar and ignoring (at our peril) Mother Nature.

Some of the leaves are beginning to turn, fuzzy brown and black caterpillars are out in full force, the meadowlarks have made their usual brief return before their eventual departure, the hummingbirds have already buzzed away, and a few geese have been spotted overhead. The nights are cooler — downright cold sometimes — and at least one neighbor has had frost on the pumpkins. The apples are looking ready, very ready, to pick, which means cider pressing time is on the way too.

These are the days when we begin to look forward to afternoons spent indoors, circled around a book of stories; when the kids are more than content to remain in the kitchen at the table after breakfast with a math book instead of racing outside, the screen door banging behind them, in search of frogs or birds or kittens. And I’m happy to spend afternoons in the kitchen, with a vat of bubbling berries or an oven full of pies, lazily looking through the Sears catalogue, in search of a few more pairs of pants that will come down past Laura’s ankles. Back to school shopping isn’t particularly frenzied around here — in fact, it’s more like a treasure hunt than anything else, for new and amazing stationery supplies and longer and warmer clothing, some of which aren’t even new, just new to us (the boys tend to get a fair amount of nifty hand-me-downs from friends, including the fancy t-shirts and sweatshirts with NHL logos I won’t shell out for).

To me That Was Summer by Marci Ridlon (1969) is the perfect end-of-the season poem. We have, at best, only a few more weeks of playing outside all day left. Because the copyright is still in force, I’ve omitted the middle two stanzas. You can find the entire poem in Joanna Cole’s New Treasury of Children’s Poetry: Old Favorites and New Discoveries (1984).

That Was Summer
by Marci Ridlon

Have you ever smelled summer?
Sure you have.
Remember that time
when you were tired of running
or doing nothing much
and you were hot
and you flopped right down on the ground?
Remember how the warm soil smelled
and the grass?
That was summer.

. . .

. . .

If you try very hard
you can remember that time
when you played outside all day
and you came home for dinner
and had to take a bath right away,
right away?
It took you a long time to pull
your shirt over your head.
Do you remember smelling the sunshine?
That was summer.

* * *

Head over (maybe that should be up, as in Up North) to John Mutford’s The Book Mine Set for today’s Poetry Friday round-up, not to mention more poems on the end of summer.

(Great minds: I see that Literacy Teacher at Mentor Texts & More picked the very same poem. Far from having the urge to pick another poem, I’ll just chalk it up to That Was Summer being the perfect poem for this week in August, whether you’re on the prairies up north or in New York City. Cheers!)

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