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


Welcome to Farm School.

We’re a Canadian prairie farm family of five. Tom has two full-time jobs, farmer and builder, and keeps well away from the computer. I have several full-time jobs as well, including farming, mothering, and home educating the kids, who are at the moment are ages 12 (Davy), 13.5 (Daniel), and 15 (Laura). No, those aren’t our real names. Because of the farming, mothering, and home education, plus my aversion to sharing our private lives with strangers, this blog in no way reflects real life around here. And I’ve been known to go for weeks and months without posting.

I’m originally from the Upper West Side but have lived here long enough now that most of our neighbors seem to have forgotten my exotic foreign roots.

Most of my book, music, and movie links are to Amazon.com, rather than any Canadian online seller (including Amazon.ca) or independent sellers, not because I think Amazon is the best purveyor but because it has the most complete and informative website. I don’t care much for the idea of hoping, asking, or expecting friends, virtual or otherwise, to pay for my books and other goodies, so unless otherwise mentioned (I think the only exception I’ve made has been for some Cybils award books in 2007), any links for books or anything else are NOT associated with any affiliate marketing program. I’m a big girl and I’m going to buy the stuff anyway, so you don’t have to buy it for me. And, to satisfy the FCC’s new 2009 guidelines, 99 percent of what I mention here I have bought myself with our own money, thank you very much.  The few items received gratis (Cybils award books, for example) are so identified in the particular post. Since 2010 or so, 100 percent of what I mention here has been bought by me.

We’ve been home educating since 2003, when Laura was a few months into first grade. We started off full-bore with The Well-Trained Mind, but have evolved slowly since then, as the kids have grown and the boys joined us for our studies. While WTM remains our general framework, we also include the philosophies and methods of Charlotte Mason, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Daniel Carter Beard, W. Ben Hunt, and Swallows & Amazons. You should be able to search the blog for any of those names (except, I think, Thoreau, but I’m hoping to remedy that soon), and find some posts that will explain.

Our unofficial family and school motto is: BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON’T DROWN.


10 Responses

  1. Um…is anyone going to explain that motto to me?

    Wandered over from Derfwad Manor – pleased to meet you!

  2. sc, it’s a line from one of our favorite books, “Swallows & Amazons” by Arthur Ransome, published in 1930. It’s about a family of English children who ask their father for permission to spend the summer sailing and camping on their own. He sends back a telegram with the above quote, which makes sense if you substitute “incompetent nincompoops” for the rather more English “duffers”. A delightful summertime read, though it does give *some* children ideas (if you’re not overly worried about them drowning, though, it’s okay).

    Thanks for stopping in, and glad to meet you, too. I see we share a fondness for “The Egg and I”, which makes you just about kin in my book!

  3. Dear Farm school !

    My name is Batkhuu Gantulga,from Mongolia,Ulan Bator, I am teacher in Mongol Farmer College in Mongolia in Ulan Bator/UB/. This september I teach history of farm farming in worldwide! In Mongolia Farming is new thigs, we dont have any information about history farm in worldwide. Please help to us!
    Books and materials about history of farm in worldwide!!
    Thank you a lot!
    My address: Mongolia,Ulan Bator,chingeltei district,1 st minidistrict,house #35-8-96. Batkhuu Gantulga.


    Batkhuu Gantulga +976-99768569 /my mobile/

  4. Dear Batkhuu Gantulga,

    We are a small family farm (two parents, three young children under the age of 11) and unfortunately are not in a position to send out free books on the history of farming worldwide, or to make long distance phone calls to Ulan Bator. But just the way you seem to have done an internet search for “farm school”, I’d suggest a similar search for “history of farming” online and see what you come up with. All best wishes for the new course in September.

  5. hi
    I am a producer on the science desk at National Public Radio (NPR – based in the US). We are working on stories to put together for a Darwin Tribute website and wonder if you and your kids have ever done any scientific experiments based on Darwin’s teachings…if so, we would like to hear about it!

  6. Thanks for writing about POETIC LICENSE! Appreciated. Check the website: We’re posting video interviews with all the stars who read.

  7. Hi! As a former home schooling mom and a long time writer, I wanted to let you know that I have linked you to my blog. I am brand new to the blogging world and I am really enjoying the experience. I hope you take a look and I really appreciate that I can offer your poetry site to my readers.

    Have a beautiful day,
    Kimberley Formosa

  8. Anyone there from New Orleans? “Lagniappe” is a great word that I associate with New Orleans, my husband’s hometown.

  9. Renee, nope, just a seventh grade teacher who loved etymology, and several high school summers spent with Mark Twain : ).

    Kimberley, thanks for the link, and welcome to blogging!

  10. This is a wonderful blog and a great resource for our family! We have a small farm in central NC and homeschool both our girls here. Can’t wait to get more great ideas from your posts!

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