• 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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Poetry Friday

I was going to skip Poetry Friday today (yet again…) because we’ve been busy, and I’ve been away from the computer, with the Farm Curl (the kids are curling with Tom and two others), a birthday party that suddenly  materialized for tomorrow, and writing 4H speeches, but then I saw that Karen Edmisten is hosting today, and I thought, pshaw, what’s one little poem?

The New York Times health column by Dr. Perri Klass earlier this week on the importance of manners learned and taught — and bad manners can be very bad for your health, especially once people figure you’re old enough to know better —  put me in mind of the following poem, from Phyllis McGinley’s Stones from a Glass House (1946).  Of course, anyone in a glass house, unless he or she writes as well as Miss McGinley, should probably be on their very best behavior…

The Velvet Hand
by Phyllis McGinley

I call that parent rash and wild
Who’d reason with a six-year child,
Believing little twigs are bent
By calm, considered argument.

In bandying words with progeny
There’s no percentage I can see,
And people who, imprudent, do so,
Will wonder how their troubles grew so.

Now underneath this tranquil roof
Where sounder theories have their proof,
Our life is sweet, our infants happy.
In quietude dwell Mom and Pappy.

We’ve sworn a stern, parental vow
That argument we won’t allow.
Brooking no juvenile excess here,
We say a simple No or Yes, here,

And then, when childish wails begin
We don’t debate.
We just give in.

* * *

I’ll second Dr. Lewin’s recommendation of Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children by Judith Martin. Please. And thank you.

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Karen Edmisten — head over there for a weekend’s worth of poems.  Thank you, Karen!

3 Responses

  1. Love it! So true! (We have 3 kids, too: 12, 9, 5). Plenty of argument here, alas….but much giving in, too (alas!)

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. LOL I wasn’t prepared for that last line. Wonder how that works…

  3. Jennifer, your kids are very similar in age to ours (11, 9.5, and 8). I’m finding I’m glad we didn’t give in too much when they were younger. It’s the sort of thing we’d start paying for in a year or two!

    cloudscome, not very well, I would think! Having read Phyllis McGinley’s two prose books, I don’t think there was much debate *or* giving in in her household, just lots of loving firmness…

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