• 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."
    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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Over the river

Over the river

and through the woods

and over another river

and over the the newly-renamed bridge

to Grandmama’s and Grandpapa’s

Upper West Side apartment we go!

Happy Thanksgiving!

*  *  *

A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day
by Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood –
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding”,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood –
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood –
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

New York: Autumn 2008

We’ve decided to head to NYC to spend American Thanksgiving with my parents. We haven’t seen them in a year and a half, and we’re all excited to spend part of the holiday season in NYC, where we haven’t been for four years.

I’m using this page to keep track of some of our readalouds etc. in preparation for our trip, and also some sites/sights we’re planning to visit and revisit.

BOOKS

Storied City: A Children’s Book Walking-Tour Guide to New York City by Leonard Marcus; found at BookCloseouts a few years ago and bought on a whim. I just wish there was a book like this for most cities.

The New York Chronology by James Trager, a great big doorstop of a book (for adults and older children), found not too long ago at BookCloseouts and still available there

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden; we read this four years ago, but Daniel, who was five-and-a-half, remembered little, and Davy, who was four, remembered nothing.

Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride by George Selden

This is New York by Miroslav Sasek

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg; same as Cricket — the boys remember little to nothing.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

A Rat’s Tale by Tor Seidler, illustrated by Fred Marcellino

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick; also very good for chapter one of SOTW4 (about Queen Victoria and the Crystal Palace)

On This Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by Lee Christiansen; also good for prehistory/evolution

My New York by Kathy Jakobsen

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Glasser

DVDs

Miracle on 34th Street with Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood

On the Town with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, Vera Ellen, and Betty Garrett. And Comden and Green and Leonard Bernstein.

My Sister Eileen with Betty Garrett, Jack Lemmon, Bob Fosse, Tommy Rall, and Janet Leigh

A Night at the Opera with the Marx Brothers and Kitty Carlisle

Life with Father with William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor, and Edmund Gwenn

It Should Happen to You with Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon

Guys and Dolls with Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Jean Simmons

Bell, Book and Candle with James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Jack Lemmon; somehow it’s just not a NYC movie without Jack Lemmon…

An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

The World of Henry Orient with Merrie Spaeth, Tippy Walker, Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss, Angela Lansbury, and Tom Bosley

Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif

King Kong with Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot

West Side Story with Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Splash with Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and John Candy

The Muppets Take Manhattan

American Experience: New York directed by Ric Burns

“The Odd Couple” with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman

Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts

SITES/SIGHTS

Free 90-minute walking tours of the Flatiron District, starting at 11 am every Sunday

Museum of the City of New York, especially the exhibits on NYC theater and my childhood favorite toys (including the dollhouses for Laura) and the fire engines

New-York Historical Society, especially the new exhibit on the Hudson River School, “Nature and the American Vision”; and Audubon’s incredible watercolors for his “Birds of America”.  And, good timing for our current Civil War studies: “Grant and Lee in War and Peace”, the new exhibit at The New-York Historical Society; particularly good along with the NYHS’s the permanent exhibit “Slavery in New York”

American Museum of Natural History, especially the new Horse exhibit; and the Planetarium/Rose Center

The Maxilla & Mandible shop near the Museum of Natural History

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade; the parade itself and the balloon blowing-up the night before, on my old block (West 77th Street)

USS Intrepid/Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for Daniel

South Street Seaport — the museum, not the shopping (oy). Some interesting looking family programs on Saturdays, free with admission.

Gramercy Typewriter Co. for Davy

New York Doll Hospital

Zabar’s

Bronx Zoo

Watching Jacques Torres make chocolate

Chinatown

“Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors”, at the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum from September 19, 2008 through January 4, 2009.
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016
closed Mondays

FOOD

New York City’s new Rat Tracker website, officially known as the “Rat Information Portal, complete with a searchable map of rat inspections and violations”; via the Associated Press

From Serious Eats/New York:
The NY Times covers cheap sandwich spots in downtown Manhattan
A Guide to the Best Doughnuts in New York
The kids are intrigued by the idea of $1 meat on a stick under a bridge, especially the hot dog flower. Less so the octopus…

Chocolate egg creams (and BLTs) at Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, and just egg creams at Lexington Candy Shop luncheonette

Black and white cookies and chocolate eclairs at the Glaser Bake Shop, 87th and First

Economy Candy on Rivington Street

Remembrance Day 2008

Library and Archives Canada, in conjunction with Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has an online exhibition, Oral Histories of the First World War: Veterans 1914-1918 featuring audio interviews and written transcripts, as well as photographs.  The exhibition is organized into seven “interview themes”: Second Ypres, Vimy Ridge, War in the Air, The Somme, Trench Warfare, Passchendaele (Third Ypres), and Perspectives on War.

The exhibition is based on the CBC‘s 1964-1965 radio broadcasts In Flanders Fields, a series of interviews with veterans of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

The Library and Archives Canada website includes a number of other online virtual exhibitions, including The Battle of Passchendaele, Canada and the First World War, and Faces of War.

Also online: The Canadian Letters and Images Project, a virtual archive of the Canadian war experience, from the Riel Rebellion and Boer War to World War I, World War II, and the Korean War (one letter).  The project began in 2000 at the Department of History at Vancouver Island University. In November 2003 the Project was very pleased to bring in as partners the History Department at The University of Western Ontario.

The following is a letter in the collection written by Flight Sergeant Harry Hansell of Vulcan, Alberta.  He was 19 when he enlisted with the RCAF in 1942. He was 20 years old when he and his crew were shot down on a raid over Germany in September 1943.

May 21st, 1943

Dear Dad:

I received your letter of the 20th and was very glad to have got one. I haven’t received any letters yet for about 2 weeks. I am glad that Mary got my picture. I have never met a girl that could stand up to her yet, and I don’t think I ever will.

I can’t tell you what l am doing, but I am not in the tail, but in the mid upper turret. I might say I am in the front line now, please don’t worry.

I received mother’s letter and got the address but I only had 5 days’ leave and that was taken up by travelling to the next station. I wish mother would send me some parcels. All the lads are getting them but me. I found my kit bag just as I was leaving the other station. So I got all my personal belongings. It’s all just about dirty laundry. I haven’t stayed in one place long enough to get it all done. I have a very fine crew of fellows. They are all Sgt. just as I. There is seven in the crew all together. I hope my picture turned out all right in the paper. I sure want to see it.

I am not going to write to Mary so much because you can’t tell what may happen, but I will nevertheless continue to write very often. I sure am very proud of her. By the way, I would like to know why Ruth is quitting school. I am doing my part so that she can have the privilege to go to school. I wish now that I was still in school. You tell her that she can’t quit school just as she likes. What do you think the war is for? You tell her she just can’t do as she likes along the lines of education. I realized too late about my education and I don’t want her to do the same. Well, there is no more paper.

I will write soon.
Love to all,

Harry

Half of Sgt. Hansell’s file includes family and government letters after his death.  One RCAF letter three years later finally gives the complete details of the fate of Sgt. Hansell and his crew:

The aircraft crashed on the night of 27th September, 1943 about 1.5 miles South of Eberholsen in a forest. This town is located approximately 22 miles South of Hanover, Germany. The aircraft exploded when it hit the ground and unfortunately individual identification of the crewmen was not possible. Your son, together with his crew, were laid to rest in the Town Cemetery at Eberholsen in a Communal Grave located in the North East corner of the cemetery. The grave is nicely kept and marked by a cross upon which is inscribed the names of the crew.

Previous Farm School posts marking the day:

Remembrance Day 2007

Poetry Friday: Remembrance Day Edition (2007)

Remembrance: “Nothing forgotten” (2006)

Remembrance Day II (2005)

Remembrance Day 2005

“A language with roots”

James Wood, in the current issue of The New Yorker‘s “Talk of the Town”, on talk:

A theatre critic once memorably complained of a bad play that it had not been a good night out for the English language. Among other triumphs, last Tuesday night was a very good night for the English language. A movement in American politics hostile to the possession and the possibility of words — it had repeatedly disparaged Barack Obama as “just a person of words” — was not only defeated but embarrassed by a victory speech eloquent in echo, allusion, and counterpoint. No doubt many of us would have watched in tears if President-elect Obama had only thanked his campaign staff and shuffled off to bed; but his midnight address was written in a language with roots, and stirred in his audience a correspondingly deep emotion.

Read the rest here.  The entire issue is devoted to the election and well worth reading, from Roger Angell on “A new start for the Greatest Generation” to George Packer on “The New Liberalism”.

(And if you need a break from politics, try Joan Acocella’s book review/article in TNYer on the rise of “overparenting” , and the morality and socioeconomics thereof. Not for the faint of heart.)

Brains are back, or, Even when no-one is looking

From Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times op-ed column, “Obama and the War on Brains”, today:

Barack Obama’s election is a milestone in more than his pigmentation. The second most remarkable thing about his election is that American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual.

Maybe, just maybe, the result will be a step away from the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life. Smart and educated leadership is no panacea, but we’ve seen recently that the converse — a White House that scorns expertise and shrugs at nuance — doesn’t get very far either. …

At least since Adlai Stevenson’s campaigns for the presidency in the 1950s, it’s been a disadvantage in American politics to seem too learned. Thoughtfulness is portrayed as wimpishness, and careful deliberation is for sissies. The social critic William Burroughs once bluntly declared that “intellectuals are deviants in the U.S.”

(It doesn’t help that intellectuals are often as full of themselves as of ideas. After one of Stevenson’s high-brow speeches, an admirer yelled out something like, You’ll have the vote of every thinking American! Stevenson is said to have shouted back: That’s not enough. I need a majority!)

Yet times may be changing. How else do we explain the election in 2008 of an Ivy League-educated law professor who has favorite philosophers and poets?

Granted, Mr. Obama may have been protected from accusations of excessive intelligence by his race. That distracted everyone, and as a black man he didn’t fit the stereotype of a pointy-head ivory tower elitist. But it may also be that President Bush has discredited superficiality.

An intellectual is a person interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity. Intellectuals read the classics, even when no one is looking, because they appreciate the lessons of Sophocles and Shakespeare that the world abounds in uncertainties and contradictions, and — President Bush, lend me your ears — that leaders self-destruct when they become too rigid and too intoxicated with the fumes of moral clarity. …

… as Mr. Obama goes to Washington, I’m hopeful that his fertile mind will set a new tone for our country. Maybe someday soon our leaders no longer will have to shuffle in shame when they’re caught with brains in their heads.

Read the rest here, and comments at Mr. Kristof’s blog here.  By the way, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Mr. Kristof writes of President Bush “I can’t think of anybody I’ve ever interviewed who appeared so uninterested in ideas.”

Speaking of science books

Chris Barton at Bartography is giving sneak peaks of his new science book, The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, illustrated by Tony Persiani, to be published by Charlesbridge on July 1, 2009.

Here’s the cover, and here’s a two-page spread with a deliciously retro illustration by Tony Persiani of the Brothers in their lab (with a background of books).

Chris, do I get to be the first to say that I hope The Day-Glo Brothers receives a host of glowing reviews?!

Anatomy for children

I’ve been trying to catch up on my blog reading before I unplug myself in the middle of next week and just discovered that my online friend Kathy Ceceri recently reviewed David Macaulay’s new The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body:

Kathy’s review at the Geekdad blog

Kathy’s related post on Human Anatomy Books Old and New at her blog Home Biology (“for homeschoolers and anyone else who wants to learn about life science without a lab!”).  By the way, some of my family’s favorite old and new human anatomy books:

My Body by Patricia Carratello from Teacher Created Materials; Laura had great fun our first year, and the boys subsequently, making life-size body patterns complete with organs, photocopied and colored in from this reproducible book.  We used it to go along with, among other titles, one also mentioned by Kathy — From Head to Toe by Barbara Seuling and Edward Miller

The Human Body: What It Is and How It Works (A DeLuxe Golden Book) by Mitchell Wilson, with illustrations by Cornelius De Witt (1959).  Out of print but well worth tracking down.  A large, profusely illustrated, hardbound volume, with the text and color illustrations based on Man in Structure and Function by Fritz Kahn. 140 pages, with a glossary and an index.  (Another aside: more on Fritz Kahn here and here.)

The How and Why Wonder Book of The Human Body.  Out of print; I grab any book in this series that I come across.

Dover’s Human Anatomy in Full Color book, “within reach of grade-school-age children” according to Dover

Dover’s Human Anatomy coloring book

*  *  *

Kathy’s Home Chemistry blog

Kathy’s Crafts for Learning website

Kathy’s Family Online blog

Kathy, I owe you at least one email and I’ll try to get it out in the next few days!

Links

Via Michael Barton at The Dispersal of Darwin: two UK projects for schoolchildren as part of Darwin200, Survival Rivals (website not yet up and running) and The Great Plant Hunt (up and running already)

Via Jessica Jones at How About Orange: free printable Four Seasons gift tags to download, from Rachel Weber at Fog and Thistle.  Just in time for holiday gift giving.

Also at How About Orange: a project for very tiny fingers — origami mini books.  Jessical also has a section with free downloads.

Poetry Friday: A thousand whirling dreams of sun

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) wrote movingly, painfully, and honestly about blacks in America, in poetry, plays, essays, and stories. He was inspired by poets Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Claude McKay, and Carl Sandburg (“my guiding star”, Hughes called him).

In a 1947 article, “My Adventures as a Social Poet”, Langston Hughes wrote,

Poets who write mostly about love, roses and moonlight, sunsets and snow, must lead a very quiet life. Seldom, I imagine, does their poetry get them into difficulties. Beauty and lyricism are really related to another world, to ivory towers, to our head in the clouds, feet floating off the earth.

Unfortunately, having been born poor — and colored — in Missouri, I was stuck in the mud from the beginning. Try as I might to float off into the clouds, poverty and Jim Crow would grab me by the heels, and right back on earth I would land. A third floor furnished room is the nearest thing I have ever had to an ivory tower.

Some of my earliest poems were social poems in that they were about people’s problem’s — whole groups of people’s problems — rather than my own personal difficulties. Sometimes, though, certain aspects of my personal problems happened to be also common to many other people. And certainly, racially speaking, my own problems of adjustment to American life were the same as those of millions of other segregated Negroes. The moon belongs to everybody, but not this American earth of ours. That is perhaps why poems about the moon perturb no one, but poems about color and poverty do perturb many citizens. Social forces pull backwards or forwards, right or left, and social poems get caught in the pulling and hauling. …

After detailing some of his experiences and including some poetry, Hughes concluded,

So goes the life of a social poet. I am sure none of these things would ever have happened to me had I limited the subject mater of my poems to roses and moonlight. But, unfortunately, I was born poor — and colored — and almost all the prettiest roses I have see have been in rich white people’s yards — not in mine. That is why I cannot write exclusively about roses and moonlight — for sometimes in the moonlight my brothers see a fiery cross and a circle of Klansmen’s hoods. Sometimes in the moonlight a dark body swings from a lynchng tree — but for his funeral there are no roses.

From Arnold Rampersad‘s “Unwearied Blues” essay for PEN on the centennial of Hughes’ birth,

Langston Hughes loved books. During his lonely childhood, while he was living with his aged grandmother, books comforted him. “Then it was,” he confessed, “that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books, where, if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language—not in monosyllables as we did in Kansas.”

For Poetry Friday today, I offer a selection of the poems of Langston Hughes.

 

My People (1923)

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.
Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

*  *  *

Merry-Go-Round (1942)

Colored child at carnival

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can’t sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There’s a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we’re put in the back —
But there ain’t no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where’s the horse
For a kid that’s black?

* * *

Mother to Son (1922)

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

* * *

One-Way Ticket (1949)

I pick up my life
And take it with me
And I put it down in
Chicago, Detroit,
Buffalo, Scranton,
Any place that is
North and East —
And not Dixie.

I pick up my life
And take it on the train
To Los Angeles, Bakersfield,
Seattle, Oakland, Salt Lake,
Any place that is
North and West —
But not South.

I am fed up
With Jim Crow laws,
People who are cruel
And afraid,
Who lynch and run,
Who are scared of me
And me of them.

I pick up my life
And take it away
On a one-way ticket —
Gone up North,
Gone out West,
Gone!

* * *

Dream Boogie (1951)

Good morning, daddy!
Ain’t you heard
The boogie-woogie rumble
Of a dream deferred?

Listen closely:
You’ll hear their feet
Beating out and beating out a —

You think
It’s a happy beat?

Listen to it closely:
Ain’t you heard
something underneath
like a —

What did I say?

Sure,
I’m happy!
Take it away!

Hey, pop!
Re-bop!
Mop!

Y-e-a-h!

* * *

As I Grew Older (1926)

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun —
My dream.

And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose slowly, slowly,
Dimming,
Hiding,
The light of my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky —
The wall.
Shadow.
I am black.

I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.

My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

*  *  *

For more on Langston Hughes:

The Voice of Langston Hughes; CD from Smithsonian Folkways, recorded by Moses Asch, featuring works from

Langston Hughes: Voice of the Poet; Hughes reads his poetry (audiobook, with accompanying book)

The Essential Langston Hughes; more of Hughes reading his poetry, from Caedmon

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad

Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes, edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad

The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Works for Children and Young Adults: Poetry, Fiction, and Other Writing (Volume 11); and at Amazon.com

The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Works for Children and Young Adults: Biographies (Volume 12); and at Amazon.com

The Langston Hughes Reader

Langston Hughes by Milton Meltzer, a children’s biography by Hughes’ friend and writing partner, published the year after his death

Langston Hughes: American Poet by Alice Walker, illustrated by Catherine Deeter; children’s picture book biography

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes; his poetry collection for young people, illustrated by Brian Pinckney

A Pictorial History of African Americans (1995) by Langston Hughes and Milton Meltzer; the most recently revised edition of what was originally published as A Pictorial History of the Negro in America (1956), and then A Pictorial History of Black Americans (1973)

The Glory of Negro History (1955), Langston Hughes’ spoken word history on Folkway Records

The Story of Jazz (1954), Langston Hughes’ spoken word musical history on Folkway Records

*  *  *

There are more poems and poets at the week’s Poetry Friday round-up, which MsMac is hosting as an early Thanksgiving potluck over at Check It Out.

Vigil

Some links for Remembrance Day 2008:

I’m at least two days late in writing about Vigil 1914-1918, which began this past Tuesday. Vigil 1914-1918 is a project from noted Canadian actor and director R.H. Thompson and lighting designer Martin Conboy to mark the 90th anniversary of the armistice.  From November 4 through November 11, the names of the 68,000 World War I dead will be projected at night onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa, buildings in other regions of Canada and onto the side of Canada House in Trafalgar Square in London, England.  Here’s the link to a CBC article with a photograph of names on Ottawa’s National War Memorial.

The BBC’s film production of My Boy Jack, the story of Rudyard Kipling’s son who was lost in action at the age of 18, after only two days at the front, is now available on DVD. I wrote about the poem and a bit of Kipling’s family history in this post last year at this time.

The current issue of Smithsonian Magazine has an article, “One Man’s Korean War”, featuring reporter John Rich’s color photographs, seen for the first time in more than 50 years.

Fallen Canadians in Afghanistan, at the Department of Defence website

Faces of the Fallen, American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, at The Washington Post

Autumn links

I’m behind with some nifty links for October and November:

It’s gift buying season, and if you have children’s books on your list, the Cybils 2008 nomination list, broken down by category, is a terrific way to find current titles for the children you love.

I’m not quite sure what happened to October, so I’m going to try to get caught up with the October edition of the Carnival of Children’s Literature, “Snuggle Up with a Children’s Book”, especially since it’s better snuggling weather now.  I’m currently snuggling up with the kids and a rat, as we read through the fascinating A Rat’s Tale by Tor Seidler, illustrated by Fred Marcellino; it’s part of our NYC readathon before we take off.

The October edition of the Carnival of the Elitist Bastards, “We Be Sailin’ the Wine Dark Seas”, is up.  Eggheads of the world, unite.  And celebrate!

The New York Times explores the question, “When does a recipe become a science project?” in the recent article, Dry-Ice Martini and Electric Cake”.  For kitchen chemists everywhere.

A new Yahoo group from my online friend Suji: the secular LivingScience books group, inspired by the Living Math website.

Growing up

The New Yorker‘s George Packer writes in his latest Interesting Times blog post this morning,

We will have a President who can think and feel and speak; we will have a grownup who will treat us like grownups.

I was thinking of this yesterday listening to Quebec comedian Derek Seguin’s piece on CBC radio featuring eight years’ worth of audio clips of priceless bumbling Bushisms.

Links: Farm School Favorite Blogs/Reading and Books

Links: Farm School Favorite Blogs/Education (at home and elsewhere)

Some of these blogs are no longer in existence, some still exist but no longer update…

Links: Our Curricula/For the Parents

Links: Our Curricula/For the kids

This is the latest and last version of this; over the years of this blog, I updated the list as the kids got older. It’s fairly out of date at this point, and if I make the time, I’ll update it.

Links: Book Lists, Home Schooling and Library Information

Links: Lagniappe

Courting Danger

Farm School blog posts

Do It Yourself Science

In search of freedom and independence, and big bangs

Outdoor life, or, How to have an old-fashioned, dangerous summer

Fun with gunpowder

Dangerous Things

A manual for childhood

How can you resist “the Anarchist Cookbook of the nursery”?

Still searching for danger

Paddle your own canoe

Science with Tom Edison

Retro-progressives of the world, unite

Why safer isn’t always better

New for dangerous girls and daring boys

Other blogs:

Home Chemistry

The Borderline Sociopathic Book for Boys post introduces The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys

The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls

Wisdom of the Hands

Self-Sufficient Living

Craft Blog

Make Blog

Geekdad

Lenore Skenazy’s blog Free Range Kids (not to be confused, by the way, with the nifty and dangerous home schooling blog Free Range Academy)

Websites:

Boing Boing

Make Magazine and Maker Faire (where the motto is “Build, Craft, Hack, Play, Make”)

Craft Magazine

Traditional Scouting

TedTalk “Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do” by Gever Tulley ofThe Tinkering School, a summer program to help kids ages seven to 17 learn to build things; the talk comes from Tulley’s book in progress,  Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do

Recommended books, some for adults and some for children, from the Farm School shelves and wish lists

The American Boy’s Handy Book by Daniel Carter Beard (do yourself a favor and get the Centennial edition published by Godine, with the lovely foreword by the late Noel Perrin)

Shelters, Shacks & Shanties: And How to Build Them by Daniel Carter Beard (also with a foreword by Noel Perrin

Field and Forest Handybook: New Ideas for Out of Doors by Daniel Carter Beard

Camp-Lore and Woodcraft by Daniel Carter Beard

Boat-Building and Boating by Daniel Carter Beard

Daniel Carter Beard’s Online Books

Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger

Woodcraft and Indian Lore by Ernest Thompson Seton

Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton

Scouting for Boys: The Original 1908 Edition (Dover Value Editions) by Robert Baden-Powell

Boy Scouts Handbook: The First Edition, 1911 (Dover Books on Americana)

Canoeing with the Cree, the late reporter Eric Sevareid’s account of the expedition he, then 17, and 19-year-old friend Walter Port embarked upon several days after graduating from high school. The boys paddled 2,250 miles in an 18-foot canvas canoe, from the Mississippi River at Fort Snelling to Hudson Bay.

The Boy Mechanic, a four-volume series by the editors of Popular Mechanics, reprinted by the good folks at the Canadian woodworking and gardening institutionLee Valley, which also offers the reprint Boy Craft

Another, one-volume, version of The Boy Mechanicthis one subtitled “200 Classic Things to Build”

Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices by William Gurstelle

The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery by William Gurstelle

Whoosh Boom Splat: The Garage Warrior’s Guide to Building Projectile Shooters by William Gurstelle

Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against by Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture by Robert Bruce Thompson

Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders: From Novice to Master Observer by Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson

Mad Professor by Mark Frauenfelder

Manual Of Formulas: Recipes, Methods and Secret Processes by Raymond B. Wailes (Popular Science Publishing)

Lee’s Priceless Recipes: 3000 Secrets for the Home, Farm, Laboratory, Workship and Every Department of Human Endeavor compiled by Dr. N.T. Oliver, from the Classic Reprint series section of the Lee Valley Tool catalogue

The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, available free online as a PDF file and a bit torrent file, and for under $30 as a reprint from Lulu

The How and Why Wonder Book of Chemistry by Martin L. Keen, illustrated by Walter Ferguson, published by Grosset & Dunlap, 1961, part of The How and Why Wonder Book series; out of print but worth looking for

Mr. Wizard’s 400 Experiments in Science, by Don Herbert and Hy Ruchlis; and don’t miss Mr. Wizard on DVD, especially the episode where he electrocutes the hot dog. Danger at its finest!

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden

Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better by Matt Hern

Miscellania:

The Canadian classic film Song of the Paddle (1978); “Outdoorsman Bill Mason, his wife, and two children set out on a wilderness canoe camping holiday. In this film, the art of canoeing is more than technical expertise; it becomes a family experience of shared joy. Along the way there are countless adventures and much lovely scenery, including the Indian rock carvings of Lake Superior.”

Remember: BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON’T DROWN.

 

History

Farm School blog posts on history (world, Canadian, American), and history books we’ve liked and used:

 

General

Teaching, and learning, history with passion

“Education Truly Begins at Home”

History and story: When “folklore and fact collide”

Respectable history for a general readership

Tossing textbooks

World history

Getting back to Gombrich: A Little History of the World, with a listing of some of our favorite narrative world history books, for adults and for children

Farm School bait: Children’s history book reviews, including E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World and H.E. Marshall’s Our Island Story.

Canadian history

Canadiana and Canadian history links for children

Beefing Up SOTW3: Adding more Canadian history

Nicola Manning’s Canadian history reading list

American history

A Benjamin Franklin Education

Chris Barton’s American history picture book reading lists for kids, Prehistory-the Present

 

Miscellaneous links

Sonlight Books in WTM order

Paula’s Archive: Resources for Story of the World (SOTW)

Paula’s Archive: Literature to Supplement History

Paula’s Archive: Movies to Supplement History; many of these can be found at Netflix, Zip.ca, or your local library; and for purchase at Amazon.ca or Amazon.com

Regena’s lists of history and science books

Suggestions for copywork

Thomas Jefferson quotations

Benjamin Franklin quotations

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

: :  History books on the Farm School shelf  : :

World history books

A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich; for children and the rest of the family; also available inexpensively and unabridged on audio CD

An Illustrated History of the World: How We Got to Where We Are by Gillian Clements; this books seems to have gone out of print recently, which is a great shame.  A cartoon history much enjoyed by the younger historians in the house.

The Story of the World (SOTW) series by Susan Wise Bauer (four volumes), more comprehensive than elegant; for children (grades one to four or five)

Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History; I have to confess that my kids have a fondness for the previous incarnation, The Usborne Book of World History, and its cartoons

The Golden History of the World: A Child’s Introduction to Ancient and Modern Timesby Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Cornelius de Witt, 1955.  A Giant Golden book, long out of print but worth finding.  Perfect for Kindergarten, first grade, and up.  Well-written and beautifully illustrated.

Oxford Children’s History of the World by Neil Grant; similar to the Usborne book (above) but not as comprehensive

A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer; for children

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon, updated by John Merriman; for children

Outline of History and/or A Short History of the World, both by H.G. Wells; for adults and older children

The New History of the World by J.M. Roberts; for adults and older children.  For something less unwieldy, you can try Prof. Roberts’ abbreviated A Short History of the World

Asimov’s Chronology of the World: The History of the World from the Big Bang to Modern Times by Isaac Asimov; for adults and older children

The Columbia History of the World edited by John A. Garraty and Peter Gay; out of print but easy enough to find

National Geographic Visual History of the World, with a foreword by Douglas Brinkley

The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant, the masterful 11-volume series, for adults and older children

Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age by Will Durant

The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination by Daniel J. Boorstin

The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin

The Seekers: The Story of Man’s Continuing Quest to Understand His World by Daniel J. Boorstin

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, her Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the outbreak of World War I

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman (a more or less complete list of her works here)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Canadian history books

The Story of Canada by Janet Lunn; beautifully illustrated narrative history book (available new only in paperback, worth tracking down secondhand in hardcover); intended for children but wonderful for the whole family

My First History of Canada by Donalda Dickie; the recent reprint is apparently out of print. Worth tracking down but not worth three figures.

The Story of Canada by Isabel Barclay; also out of print but very good for the very youngest readers

The Kids Book of Canadian History by Carlotta Hacker, for children

Kids Book of Canadian Exploration by Ann-Maureen Owens, for children

Pierre Berton’s series for children, slim yellow paperbacks in the original “Adventures in Canadian History”, recently reprinted as bindups in the new “History for Young Canadians” series: The Battles of the War of 1812by Pierre Berton, with a foreword byCharlotte Gray;  Exploring the Frozen North by Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Eric WilsonCanada Moves West by Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Arthur SladeThe Great Klondike Gold Rushby Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Ken McGoogan

Stampede for Gold: The Story of the Klondike Rush by Pierre Berton, for children

Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside’s biography series for children

The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children

The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children

Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children

A Short History of Canada by Desmond Morton

The Illustrated History of Canada, edited by Craig Brown

Penguin Books Canada’s new(ish) “Extraordinary Canadians” biography series of twenty of Canada’s “most influential historical figures” by 18 of Canada’s best contemporary writers; the series editor is the writer (and husband of the formerGovernor GeneralJohn Ralston Saul.

Who Killed Canadian History? by Jack Granatstein

American history books

The History of US by Joy Hakim

Betsy and Giulio Maestro’s “The American Story” picture book series: The Discovery of the Americas: From Prehistory Through the Age of ColumbusExploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars: 1689-1763;Liberty or Death: The American Revolution: 1763-1783A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution

Out of print but very good: the multi-volume “History for Peter” by Gerald W. Johnson, illustrated by the great Leonard Everett Fisher, for ages 10 or so and up: America Is Born (volume 1, published 1960), America Grows Up (volume 2, 1961), and America Moves Forward (volume 3, 1961). I understand that most families want considerably less than a three-volume US history for children, especially when each volume is the thickness of four or five Hakim books. All three “History for Peter” volumes were selected by The Horn Book as part of its Fanfare/best books for the years they were published, and the first and third volumes were Newbery Honor books for their years. You can read more on the writer/journalist Gerald Johnson and his politics here.

Also out of print and very good is the brief, one-volume illustrated The First Book of American History by noted historian Henry Steele Commager (1957), illustrated too byLeonard Everett Fisher with muscular, energetic woodcuts; part of Franklin Watts’ very good ”First Book” series for children. For ages 6 or so and up.

Jean Fritz’s American history biographies for children

The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong

Kids Make History: A New Look at America’s Story by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Randy Jones

Places in Time: A New Atlas of American History by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Randy Jones

Journeys in Time: A New Atlas of American History by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Rodico Prata

Journeys for Freedom: A New Look at America’s Story by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Rodico Prata

The Landmark History of the American People by Daniel J. Boorstin with Ruth F. Boorstin

Daniel J. Boorstin’s “The Americans” series, a social history of the United States: The Colonial ExperienceThe National Experience, and The Democratic Experience; for adults and older children

The Growth of the American Republic by Henry Steele CommagerSamuel Eliot Morison, and William E. Leuchtenberg (volume Ivolume II)

1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough

American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis

To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian by Stephen E. Ambrose

 

General history books

Practicing History: Selected Essays by Barbara W. Tuchman

Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past by Daniel J. Boorstin

The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant