• 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.

Sunday catch-up

English celebrity Katie Price (apparently also known as Jordan when she’s modeling for Page 3 of The Sun and Playboy; Wikipedia seems more than adequate here if you haven’t heard of her either) is in the middle of a book brouhaha in the UK. In 2006, Random House UK handed over a £300,000 advance to have Ms. Price’s name on the ghostwritten series, Katie Price’s Perfect Ponies. Now Katie Price’s Perfect Ponies: My Pony Care Book has been shortlisted for the WH Smith Children’s Book award; the other four books on the shortlist are Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo, Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman by Francesca Simon, Kiss by Jacqueline Simon, and That’s Not My Penguin, a fuzzy Usborne board book by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells. Writing in The Guardian Books Blog, Guy Damman writes that the Katie Price title [links all from The Guardian]

has been spurring the literary commentariat into action. Shock and indignation at the fact that a ghostwritten book should be included in the shortlist for such an award have found expression in numerous quoted sources from Tracy Chevalier to Robert Harris.

One response to the outrage, however, assumed a more reasonable, thought-provoking form: Michael Rosen, children’s laureate, made the interesting point: “We get too hung up about authorship. None of us writes a book entirely on our own. We get help from editors, or ideas might come from conversations with our families, or children. The issue is whether the book’s good, not who has written it.”

The point is rarely made, in fact, that most literary awards, with the exception of the Nobel prize, are awarded to books, not to the individuals who cash the prize cheques. But Rosen’s wider point — “we get too hung up about authorship” — is rarer still, and is all the more refreshing for it.

A glance at the world of film, where credits now often run to over 10 minutes, is instructive. Although, when discussing Oscar nominations for best film, the names we think of are usually those of the relevant directors, it is the producers — those “unseen hands” who carry overall responsibility for seeing a writer’s pitch carried to worldwide celluloid distribution – who take away the statuette.

Read the rest here. Too hung up on authorship, eh?

Also at The Guardian Book Blog, John Freeman writes, “Has reading about books replaced the real thing? The sheer amount of reviews we can now access has taken some of the joy out of books”:

Say you spend just one hour a day reading about books — in a year you’ll have burned up two weeks of your waking life. Never had time for Moby Dick or Remembrance of Things Past or Crime and Punishment? There’s your reading window.

In truth, these equations are always misleading, because the time we spend skimming or grazing on reviews is not ideal for reading fiction. Flicking over to a website has become our mental fidget, a way to satisfy our constant desire to be “out there” when we can’t be — whether it’s because we’re sitting at an office, or waiting for the potatoes to boil.

On a related note, Roger Sutton at Read Roger is reading and enjoying Hard Books.

And, saving the last for the best, Sippican Cottage demonstrates the accuracy of the old saying, a sound mind in a sound body. From the former,

I encounter an enormous and growing number of people who have no frame of reference for the whole world, and everybody and everything in it, except that which they learned from watching, listening to, or reading entertainment. But unlike the elderly I mentioned, they are not using the TV to remind them of a world they have already participated in. They are deriving their reality from the flickering screen. Every single thing they say or do is filtered almost entirely through the lens of movies, teleplays, and magazines — paper or virtual — things that use reality only as a veneer, if that, and simply to lend verisimilitude to wholly fictitious inventions.

It is now possible to walk up to any stranger on the street, and be as likely to find a person whose views on every subject are shaped entirely by bad song lyrics as any other education. Or their understanding of economics is entirely seen through the prism of Michael Douglas yelling into a satellite phone. Love is one hour fifty-five minutes of a hooker that looks like Audrey Hepburn being wooed by a captain of industry. The only talk they have is small, and consists solely of misremembered quotes from Fletch. Their response to any query about the meaning of their life might elicit not St. Augustine, but Lloyd Dobler:

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

I have no idea what you’ve got, but I know I don’t want it, is an interesting worldview.

Read the rest here, because it gets even better.

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