• 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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Catching up, of sorts

The boys did well at their swim meet last Saturday, not well as they did last year with all the gold medals and first place ribbons, but with a flurry of other-colored ribbons and lots of fun. And there’s another swim meet the weekend after next, so they have the chance to try again.

We spent most of Sunday and Monday at the fairgrounds for the 4H beef club achievement day. Laura showed her cow-calf pair, and placed third for the junior class and for showmanship. Now she’s getting ready for the 4H baking club achievement days this Friday and Saturday, which includes a bit of community service Friday evening, planting flower boxes for some local businesses. Don’t ask about the weeds in my own garden, or the potatoes that have yet to be planted.

Lots of odds and ends to sort out as various activities come to an end — I have a library board meeting this afternoon while the kids are swimming, have to type up the 4H results from the weekend to include in Laura’s article for the local papers.

A moose walked through the backyard, and we found a ground sparrow nest with several eggs. The kids and I are reading, and listening, to some good bird books, some new and some old, and I’ll post those titles when I have a chance.

I don’t think I can, and don’t particularly want to, catch up, but these links have caught my eye. You’ve probably found them elsewhere since I’m late, but here they are, just in case:

  • On the weekend, string theorist, author, and physics professor Brian Greene made an eloquent case in The New York Times to “Put a Little Science in Your Life”: “Science is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Science needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places science in its rightful place alongside music, art and literature as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.”
  • The website of children’s history and science author Joy Hakim has been updated and redesigned. I had an email from Smithsonian Books, publisher of her science series, The Story of Science, with the news, also letting me know that Johns Hopkins University has recently completed Teacher and Student Quest Guides for the newest volume, Newton at the Center. Pricey and curriculum-y, these strike me as more useful, or at least more affordable, for institutional classrooms rather than home schools.
  • The battle over evolution in children’s science textbooks continues in Texas, with a new strategy as well as ramifications for the rest of North America, Laura Beil writes in today’s The New York Times. Read the article, if only for the thoughts of Dr. Dan Foster, former chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
  • I’m on a roll here with science subjects, so I should mention a few recent posts by science professor and naturalist Chet Raymo at his website, Science Musings, and blog, Science Musings Blog. At the website, don’t miss his essay on science and children’s books, “Dr. Seuss and Dr. Einstein”; The essay was originally published in the September-October 1992 issue of Horn Book, adapted from a talk Prof. Raymo delivered at Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts, that year. Also, a lovely post on The Wind in the Willows, which is celebrating its centennial this year, and news of Prof. Raymo’s new book, When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy (Ave Maria Press, September 2008).

2 Responses

  1. Have you written anywhere about the Hakim science books? Do you use them? Are they worthwhile (without the school-y additions)? Thanks,

  2. JoVE, I’ve written just a bit, most recently here,


    We read them and they’re very worthwhile, probably more so — in my opinion — without the school-y additions. Without the lesson plans, the kids think the books are fun to read in bed and elsewhere on their own time. Though not a stand-alone science course.

    I stumbled across the first two at BookCloseouts several years ago but would gladly have paid full price. I’d rather the books had a higher opinion of their readers — they seem pitched toward average institutionally schooled kids who don’t necessarily like science — but since no-one else is writing such comprehensive “history of science” books for children, I suppose it’s a minor quibble.

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