• 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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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.


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


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


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


Bronx Zoo

Watching Jacques Torres make chocolate


“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


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


12 Responses

  1. I moved this entry from a page to a post, and here’s Kathy’s comment:

    “If you haven’t taken them to the Hall of Science in Queens, it’s GREAT! My kids loved it. Lots of living things to study under microscopes.

    And hey! I once went on a blind date with Leonard Marcus (”Storied City”)! But I don’t think he was into children’s books then, and the fact that he was afraid to go outside if it was raining was kinda a deal breaker…”


  2. Kathy,

    (Aack — I owe you an email reply!)

    I wasn’t planning on it this trip — we’re there for 10 days and I think it’s already stuffed. Though I was at the World’s Fair in ’64 — somewhere there’s a photograph of me in the baby carriage with my grandmother, with the Unisphere in the background. If there’s time, we’ll squeeze it in — I know Davy would love the chance to look at more stuff under microscopes.

    No rain? Yikes!

  3. Put the original version of ‘The Out of Towners’ (Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis) on your DVD list for a look at the brighter side of a New York visit.

  4. One of our family favorites (doesn’t everyone read about sewers and electricity grids?) is The Works: Anatomy of a City, by Kate Ascher. Written for grown-ups but perfectly understandable for kids with an interest in infrastructure! Lotsa diagrams.

  5. One of our favorite tours was the Tenement Museum. My kids, who were 6-12yo at the time, were fascinated. We talk about it still.

  6. I remember reading something about a man who was in the Brooklyn Botanical Museum, doing something with gladiolas, and thought “That would make SUCH a great story.” I forget now what that story was, but the BBM has left an indelible impression upon my imagination. Have you ever been there?

  7. OC, I don’t want to scare off the non-native NYers in the family.

    Susan, thanks for the recommendation. We have something similar around here, something with “Infrastructure” in the title and lots of photographs. Will have to find it. Could well be in a child’s room!

    Ruth, that’s on Laura’s list since reading some of “All of Kind Family”. I’m hoping we get to it, but I think we’ll have to shave off quite a bit since it’s only 10 days… The kids are already thinking of things for “next time” and we haven’t even left yet!

    Sheila, when I was younger we’d go there but mostly to the Bronx Botanical Garden (aka NY Botanical Garden). My sister and I would go wading in the pond to catch tadpoles to take home on the subway. You know you’re going to have to wrack your brain for that gladiola story so you can tell me!

  8. Sounds like a LOT of fun. I laughed when I saw your list of movies and realized I’d seen all but one or two, and several are my kids’ favorites! (Especially “On the Town” and “Miracle on 34th Street”.)

  9. A book I often recommend is Jack Finney Time and Again for the historical perspective. The Ellis Island museum is great, haven’t been to the tenement museum, next trip perhaps. I do love the Cloisters and the Frick, too.

  10. Jen, “On the Town” is a huge favorite around here. My kids have a very warped, older than their years, idea of NYC — the city of my childhood and even long before is fairly familiar to them. Thanks to the movie, they know all about the Hippodrome and Miss Turnstiles/Miss Subways, not to mention hootchie-kootchie girls.

    Mary Lou, oh I love the book! My parents have my copy at their house in the West Indies. I’ll have to reread it and see how it would be for a readaloud for the kids. The problem with a 10-day trip is that we can shoehorn only so much in without leaving completely exhausted and dizzy. On our last trip, I found it was best to have one fairly quiet day (in Central Park or window shopping on Madison Avenue) after a few busy days of museums/tall buildings etc.

  11. Have a great trip!

  12. […] Geography lesson: New York City Bookmark this site, geography teachers:  Farm School is going to New York City for the “American Thanksgiving” holiday.  Check o… […]

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