• 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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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.
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Define "recently", please

From a post today on The New York Times politics blog, The Caucus (emphasis mine):

Will Iowa’s conservative Christians turn out in force for Mike Huckabee? …

Despite a negligible organization here last summer, Mr. Huckabee pulled off his second place finish in the Ames straw poll in August with help from the strong support of Iowa’s home-school families. It is unclear how many evangelical Christians in Iowa teach their children at home — some estimates are over 10,000 — but the network of families is tightly connected and highly motivated. They come together in groups and online to share curriculum information, form sports teams, and stage other activities. And many, aware that homeschooling was illegal in almost every state until recently, fear that if they relax their vigilance politically[,] teachers’ unions will push to take away their rights.

While you could hold The Times‘s feet to the fire for such an inane comment and wish for a little more old-time New Yorker-style fact checking, I’m fairly certain that the little gem above resulted not only from the fact that Times reporters are so darned busy sorting out just how Stewart and Colbert are going to tap dance around the writers’ strike, but also from an organization that happens to be mentioned in the post’s very next paragraph, an organization you would think (are meant to think) has home schoolers’ best interests at heart. Heck, the organization even has the words “home school” right there up front in its name — Home School Legal Defense Association. So you might, just might, be forgiven for thinking that they want what’s best for homeschoolers.

But you’d be wrong. I’ll admit that when we first started home schooling, very abruptly partway through Laura’s first grade year, I had no idea of the lay of the land and which way was up, so in addition to a few particularly lousy curricula choices, I also signed up for a year with HSLDA. It took me about a year, until the subscription renewal arrived, to get my bearings and figure out that the organization has a vested interest in keeping homeschoolers fearful. Because the more afraid we are, and the more we’re made aware of just how far on the edge our educational choices are, the more willing we’re going to be, supposed to be, to cough up $100 each year. Do the math when HSLDA says it “is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.” That strong voice is supposed to help all of the little people, those home education families with quavering voices quaking in their shoes.

And for shame trotting out that ancient NEA bugbear. The determined but ineffectual old dears have been trotting out the same anti-home education resolution annually at the big convention since 1988, and HSLDA knows it. By the way, does anyone else find it amusing, even without considering HSLDA reaction, that Mike Huckabee and the NEA get along so well?

Once I’m again, I’m reminded that Raymond Moore, the pioneering home schooler who with his wife established The Moore Foundation and who died last year, was right when he wrote his White Paper on “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion” 10 years ago, all about HSLDA. The last two links include a lot to read, but are most worthwhile. Mr. Moore, who was 80 or so when he wrote his White Paper, refused to quake and quaver or put up with HSLDA nonsense.

New Hampshire, here they come. You can have ’em.


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