• 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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    "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."
    Cicero

    "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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Poetry Friday/Banned Books Week: Day 7: All the scolding

A twofer for today, to cover both Poetry Friday and my little celebration of Banned Books Week. I laughed when I read that a librarian in Boulder, Colorado, in 1988 had removed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl from the shelf to keep in a locked reference collection (from which books presumably didn’t circulate) because the librarian thought the book embraced “a poor philosophy of life” — what Ursula K. Le Guin referred to as ethical crassness”. Perhaps eating too much candy, or supporting the idea of a lottery? Or possibly the wretched ideas of consequences, however fantastic, for being a great big greedy nincompoop, always chewing chewing gum, being spoiled and spoiling (after all, Veruca Salt and her parents both go down the chute), and of course watching too much television.

Also touching on the issue of censorship — with changes Dahl made to the first edition — and the role of fantasy vs. realism (such as the idea of being imprisoned for life in a candy factory) is this this long and fascinating exchange, mainly between children’s fantasy author and critic Eleanor Cameron and Dahl, in the pages of The Horn Book in 1972-73.

“Veruca Salt!” sang the Ooompa-Loompas.
“Veruca Salt, the little brute,
Has just gone down the garbage chute,
(And as we very rightly thought
That in a case like this we ought
To see the thing completely through,
We’ve polished off her parents, too.)
Down goes Veruca! Down the drain!
And here, perhaps, we should explain
That she will meet, as she descends,
A rather different set of friends
To those that she has left behind –-
These won’t be nearly so refined.
A fish head, for example, cut
This morning from a halibut.
‘Hello! Good morning! How d’you do?
How nice to meet you! How are you?’
And then a little further down
A mass of others gather round:
A bacon rind, some rancid lard,
A loaf of bread gone stale and hard,
A steak that nobody could chew,
An oyster from an oyster stew,
Some liverwurst so old and gray
One smelled it from a mile away,
A rotten nut, a reeky pear,
A thing the cat left on the stair,
And lots of other things as well,
Each with a rather horrid smell.
These are Veruca’s new found friends
That she will meet as she descends,
And
this is the price she has to pay
For going so very far astray.
But now, my dears, we think you might
Be wondering –- is it really right
That every single bit of blame
And all the scolding and the shame
Should fall upon Veruca Salt?
Is
she the only one at fault?
For though she’s spoiled, and dreadfully so,
A girl can’t spoil herself, you know.
Who spoiled her, then? Ah, who indeed?
Who pandered to her every need?
Who turned her into such a brat?
Who are the culprits? Who did that?
Alas! You needn’t look so far
To find out who these sinners are.
They are (and this is very sad)
Her loving parents, MUM and DAD.
And that is why we’re glad they fell
Into the garbage chute as well.”

* * * *

More Poetry Friday fun and today’s roundup to be found over at Stacey’s and Ruth’s Two Writing Teachers. Thanks for hosting, Stacey and Ruth!

And my previous Banned Book Week series posts:

Banned Books Week: Day 6: I’ll be finked

Banned Books Week: Day 5: Running with scissors

Banned Books Week: Day 4: Boo

Banned Books Week: Day 3: Just lousy

Banned Books Week: Day 2: What big teeth you have

Banned Books Week: Day 1: Banned in Boston

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5 Responses

  1. Clicked through to the exchange and “oh my” it is long. In several parts. But takes on McLuhan. So maybe I will read it though this bloody cold some child has been spreading around is not really making me up for it at the moment. thanks for the links.

    Also, until I lived in England, I wouldn’t have known what a “veruca” is but it is quite a common word over there. What we would call a “planter wart”. Nasty name for a child.

  2. JoVE, Veruca, and all of the other children save Charlie, are pretty nasty types. Of course, Dahl himself had his nasty moments too…

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. I read those Roald Dahl letters last year and was amazed. I realize literary arguments still occur today (e.g., on the Child Lit listserv), but Dahl’s such a classic author now, it’s hard to imagine how poor Charlie could have gotten so much backlash!

    My Poetry Friday contribution is also Banned Book Week-themed. I’m eager to read your other posts from the week now!

  4. Lisa, it’s quite the exchange, isn’t it, especially with the heavy-hitters involved, including Ursula K. LeGuin. I haven’t had a chance yet today to get to the round-up, but I’m looking forward to starting with your post!

  5. […] Becky and Lisa got my mind going about Banned Books Week with her post, while Jennie included some banned Silverstein. […]

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