• 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

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    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

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    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

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    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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Do it Yourself Science

Via Boing Boing and Pharyngula, word of a new, subversive (that’s PZ’s term) chemistry book, just out this week from the Make Magazine folks:

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture by Robert Bruce Thompson, part of O’Reilly Media‘s DIY Science series.

Thompson is also the author, along with his wife Barbara Fritchman Thompson, of the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders: From Novice to Master Observer, first in the DIY Science series. Both now added to the Farm School list of books to buy.

Mark Frauenfelder’s review, with an extensive excerpt from the preface, at Boing Boing is well worth reading if you’re considering buying the book. And if you’re not considering it yet, Mark’s post just might push you off the fence. By the way, we’re very much enjoying our new copy of Mark’s experiment book for younger children, Mad Professor, which I found at BookCloseouts when I saw that our usual online booksellers had a several week delay listed (usually a sign that the book is out of stock). There are still a few copies left at BCO.

And if you’re going to be at Make’s Maker Faire this weekend, here’s something to note: Robert Thompson will be there too, “doing demos of lab experiments from the book on Saturday (1pm – 1:45pm) and Sunday (3pm – 3:45pm) at the MAKE Demo stage in the Maker Shed.

Updated to add: Geekdad has a post too, “Bright Colors and Stinky Smells” by Dave Hinerman

7 Responses

  1. Ooh, must have this book, as much for myself as for the kids. My brother, a chemistry buff from childhood, has tried unsuccessfully for several years to find a chem set for my older son with no success. This looks like the antidote to that!

  2. Looks like a must have for those of us who plan to homeschool through high school. And I suppose those of us who were chem majors, however briefly, should really get this… One of those good things to have on the shelf, no doubt.

  3. This sounds like just what I need to organize my chemistry lab experience for homeschooling teens next year. Perfect timing for me. Thanks again.

  4. I thought it sounded delicious — glad you all agree!

    Speaking of high school science, I’ve also been looking over

    “Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications: Easy-to-Use Labs and Demonstrations for Grades 8-12” by Herr and Cunningham, and “Hands-On Physics Activities with Real-Life Applications: Easy-to-Use Labs and Demonstrations for Grades 8 – 12” by Cunningham and Herr,



    It’s nice to have a few choices…

  5. I just clicked a few links and if you go to the publishers page that you link, you can even see a sample chapter from the Thompson book. It is the one on which chemicals you need, safety issues, etc. Very informative.

  6. […] suggestion from Becky, who has linked to some great reviews. Enough to entice me to buy the Illustrated Guide to Home […]

  7. Do you happen to know of a Canadian supplier of chemicals for experiments? I know of HomeScience Tools in the States. We are hoping to purchase small amounts of the chemicals like they sell.

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