• 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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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Our new favorite family magazine

Sometime last fall at the grocery store I was surprised to find a new magazine, BBC Knowledge — “for the curious mind: science . history . nature”. The layout is rather busier than I like and the articles not as in depth as Smithsonian‘s, but the magazine is packed with all sorts of interesting articles, with something for everyone; I’ve found at least one science article that was rather racy for the kids, so reading ahead isn’t a bad idea if you have younger keen magazine fans at home.  And the magazine staff is doing a terrific job finding experts in all areas, especially those with new books, to write on what they know.  So in a nutshell, a magazine with lively coverage of timely subjects, and more often than not suitable for kids.

The first issue (October 2009) featured the cover story, “How to Build a Planet” and one of Arthur C. Clarke’s last interviews.  The second issue (December 2008) featured articles on the “small world” (aka “six degrees of separation”) theory, sloths, and Simon Schama on United States history and politics; you can read the second issue online for free.  The third issue (February 2009) featured the cover story, “Lincoln’s Legacy” (“From Abe to Obama”…), the rise of the superscraper, and classicist Mary Beard, author of the new The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found, on the “A-Z of Pompeii”.

The fourth issue, for April 2009, is now on sale, featuring (only a tad late) Darwin 200 and Robert Burns.  For Darwin, the magazine offers a 22-page evolution special with a Richard Dawkins interview, Carl Zimmer on “Evolution in Action”, PZ Meyers on “Is evolution dead?”.  The issue also includes biographer Robert Crawford on Robbie Burns and Democracy.

One of my favorite features so far is “World News in Context”, two pages of informed commentary from The Independent‘s David Keyes accompanied by a map, brief timeline, and several suggestions for further reading.  This month it’s Georgia (the country), last issue it was Zimbabwe.

BBC Knowledge comes out six times a year, and the cover price here in Canada is $5.99. Which means that it’s cheaper for me to pick it up at the store each time rather than subscribing at $37.45 annually or $74.90 for two years.

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