• 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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Dangerous things

The last TedTalk to make a big impression on the home education blogs and groups was Ken Robinson’s, on how schools educate children to become good workers rather than creative thinkers.

The next TedTalk to start making the rounds and already making a splash is Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do by Gever Tulley of The Tinkering School, a summer program to help kids ages seven to 17 learn to build things. The talk comes from Tulley’s book in progress, Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do; click the book link and you’ll find some of Tulley’s labels which should be familiar to Make fans; we here at Farm School are always keen on subversive labels and stickers. As I once quoted Charles Darwin,

“Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life as one can, in any likelihood, pursue.”

Gever Tulley and Matt Hern, author of Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better (and whom I wrote about here) certainly seem to be on the same wavelength.

Oh — those five (really six) things? Not including playing with power tools at age two, which Tulley mentions at the beginning of his talk (and one of these days I’ll have to write about my daycare program for Laura when I was pregnant with Daniel; it consisted of sending Laura to work with Tom, her father the builder, six days a week to build a house for a client. Power tools, scaffolding, ladders, and openings to the basement without stairs, were a given. Needless to say, they’re all whizzes with power tools by now.)

1. Play with fire

2. Own a pocket knife (better yet, two or three or four, one for each pair of pants)

3. Throw a spear (or a paper airplane, or a baseball)

4. Deconstruct appliances (Tulley suggests a dishwasher, but radios and toasters are great good fun, and if you don’t have a dead one of your own, you can find them cheap and ailing at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store)

5. Break the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (which we apparently do routinely)

6. Drive a car (or truck or tractor if you have no cars about)

Some helpful related links

Interview with Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept

Kitbashing in the homeschool with Willa at Every Waking Hour and Mama Squirrel at Dewey’s Tree House

GeekDad, where I first read last week about Gever Tulley’s TedTalk

Boing Boing

Make Magazine and Maker Faire (where the motto is “Build, Craft, Hack, Play, Make”)

Make Blog

Craft Magazine

Craft Blog

And, of course, the usual Farm School ramblings about childhood fun, danger, acceptable risk, responsibility, and independence.


One Response

  1. Just wanted to let you know that the book is finally out! The website is fiftydangerousthings.com and the book is also available on amazon.

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