• 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.

Poetry Friday: Oldies but goodies

Ever since the kids have each been four or five years old, they’ve been reciting poems at the speech arts part of the annual spring arts festival.

This year, the boys have one Rudyard Kipling poem and one Canadian poem each, and Laura one poem and her 4H speech. I gave the kids a small stack of books from the Poetry for Young People series, and the boys ran off with the Rudyard Kipling one, and Laura with the Lewis Carroll one.

Here are their selections.

Davy, my monkey child, chose

Road-Song of the Bandar-Log (the monkeys’ song from The Jungle Book)
by Rudyard Kipling

Here we go in a flung festoon,
Half-way up to the jealous moon!
Don’t you envy our pranceful bands?
Don’t you wish you had extra hands?
Wouldn’t you like if your tails were — so
Curved in the shape of a Cupid’s bow?
Now you’re angry, but — never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!

Here we sit in a branchy row,
Thinking of beautiful things we know;
Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do,
All complete, in a minute or two —
Something noble and wise and good,
Done by merely wishing we could.
We’ve forgotten, but — never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!

All the talk we ever have heard
Uttered by bat or beast or bird —
Hide or fin or scale or feather —
Jabber it quickly and all together!
Excellent! Wonderful! Once again!

Now we are talking just like men!
Let’s pretend we are … Never mind!
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!
This is the way of the Monkey-kind.

Then join our leaping lines that scumfish through the pines,
That rocket by where, light and high, the wild grape swings.
By the rubbish in our wake, and the noble noise we make,
Be sure, be sure, we’re going to do some splendid things!

Daniel, who would rather be outdoors digging than indoors doing just about anything, selected this excerpt from

How the Camel Got His Hump (from Just So Stories)
by Rudyard Kipling

The Camel’s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven’t enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump —
Cameelious hump —
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump —
Cameelious hump —
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump —
The horrible hump —
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo —
If I haven’t enough to do-oo-oo —
We all get the hump —
Cameelious hump —
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

And Laura is having great fun with

by Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Our memorization method is about as easy as it gets. Even when the kids get old enough to read and reread a poem themselves, I first read it aloud to them with the emotion, intonation, stresses, line breaks, and so on that I’d like them to have. That amounts to my reading each poem aloud several times a day for about a week, and each child reading the poem aloud several times a day.

For Laura, I was able to find a nice mp3 version of Jabberwocky at Librivox (Version 11 by David Barnes here); I get picky about voices, free and paid — for example, I find Cherry Jones’s Tennessee tones all wrong for the Little House books but perfect for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I made it into a CD for her, which she listens to at bedtime.

* * *

For more poetry fun and today’s Poetry Friday round-up, head over to jama rattigan’s alphabet soup, for some soup, poetry, and Bob Dylan (I’m not a big Dylan fan, since I appreciate the lyrics much better without the voice). Thanks for hosting, jama!


4 Responses

  1. “Jabberwocky” has long since been my favorite poem.

  2. What great poems to memorize! These things tend to stay with you forever . . . Thanks for sharing them :)!

  3. I’m going to have to agree with you on the Dylan comment. He makes my ears hurt and my husband LOVES him.

  4. ozymandiaz, the kids are having fun figuring out which words have come to stay in the language, and deciding which neglected ones should be added now.

    jama, they’re especially fun and satisfying poem to read aloud/recite. The best part is that they’re all enjoying learning and saying each other’s poems!

    Mrs. G., this is part of the reason I was asked to move to Canada. That and my opinion that Bruce Springsteen sounds as though he’s singing through cotton. Of course maybe the cotton is in my *own* ears, oh dear…

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