• 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.

How can you resist "the Anarchist Cookbook of the nursery"?

It turns out, according to The Telegraph, that the Forbidden LEGO book I looked at the other month is a “surprise Christmas bestseller”* (no, I decided against it for Daniel this year — in my head I sounded like Ralphie’s mother: “You’ll put your eye out” — instead biting the bullet and trying Sploids, which join Lego and K’Nex, though I still haven’t heard from anyone I know who has actually used them; and at this point, they’re winging their way northward, so if you have them and don’t like them speak up before I stuff them in a stocking); the book,

dubbed “the Anarchist Cookbook of the nursery”, is topping the Santa Claus wish list for naughty children and their parents all over the world.

Forbidden Lego, Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against subverts a playroom favourite since 1958 to provide detailed instructions on how to turn the ubiquitous plastic building bricks into unauthorised working devices.

A toy Gatling Gun, a continuous-fire ping-pong ball launcher and a catapult siege weapon are among the designs featured.

The manual, created by two former top Lego research scientists at the Danish company, is mirroring the success of books like The Dangerous Book for Boys to put danger and creative risk back into playtime.

Ulrik Pilegaard, a one time senior designer at Lego and Mike Dooley, a former director of development, told the Danish media that the book allowed them to share all laboratory models they created but were unable to convince company risk assessment teams to let the public play with.

“When I worked for Lego, every once and a while we created some really cool things that couldn’t get approved,” Mr Pilegaard told the Copenhagen Post.

Mr Pilegaard and Mr Dooley, published by the self-styled “geek” publisher No Starch Press in San Francisco, aim to get both young and older Lego users “to try inventing their own rule-breaking models”.

“The Lego Company has its official (and sensible) rules for building that include no cutting or tampering with bricks, creating models that shoot unapproved projectiles, or using non-standard parts. Well, toss those rules out the window,” they write.

“You’ll learn to create working models that Lego would never endorse.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly Lego has responded cautiously to the book that promises to reveal blueprints for “high velocity aircraft launchers” or “a high voltage Lego vehicle” among other dangerous sounding devices.

“When we heard the title, we thought the authors were revealing the secrets of our products,” said Trine Nissen, a spokesman for Lego.

“But once we found out what it was about, we were much more at ease.”

The book has been enthusiastically welcomed by online reviewers and YouTube postings of rapid-firing Lego guns — with the plastic bricks acting as both the construction material and as ammo — have driven meteoric sales.

Andrew Liszewski, writing on OhGizmo.com, confessed that as much as he loved his “army of G.I. Joe figures and armada of Transformers” most of his time was spent with Lego.

“Like any kid tired of engineering my own miniature town I occasionally built a Lego gun or rifle but unfortunately they never actually worked,” he said.

* I checked, and it’s #410 at Amazon.com and #334 at Amazon.uk. Curiously, not available from Amazon.ca but Canadians can find it here.

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