• 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.

Downloading the Declaration and Constitution

“I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag.”
U.S. Congressman Craig A. Washington (D-Texas, 1989-1995)

Via GeekDad, the news that voiceover artist Debra Jean Dean has recorded her readings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution for free downloads.

GeekDad calls it “a portable civics” lesson, and I can’t think of anything more important this election year, especially when some folks who should know better are trying to get away with such hooey as,

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

(More U.S. Constitution resources in this old post)

In order to form a more perfect Union

Crissy at Classical Home [she’s now blogging here] is, quite rightly, still bothered that “Americans can more easily identify the Simpsons cartoon characters than the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment”*, as the BBC announced the other week.

To help remedy the current sorry state of affairs, Crissy writes,

I believe our children will learn what we offer, so let us offer this information.
Let’s make it interesting. Fun, even.
But let us also help our children to understand how important it is to know our Constitution.
They will be far more likely, as voters, to give up these rights and freedoms if they don’t know what they are.

and offers several links, including The U.S. Constitution Online. To which I’ll add, for the youngest kids,

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow

Syl Sobel’s The U.S. Constitution and You

Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

…If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy and illustrated by Joan Holub.

Handy for adults and older kids are

The United States Constitution: What It Says, What It Means: A Hip Pocket Guide by The Founding Fathers and JusticeLearning.org; with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and an afterword by David Eisenhower

The U.S.Constitution for Everyone by Jerome Agel and Mort Gerberg

The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution by Linda R. Monk

And for the Bill of Rights,

A Kids’ Guide to America’s Bill of Rights: Curfews, Censorship, and the 100-Pound Giant by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Anna Divito

In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy

And just in time, So Many Books reviews A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution by poet Jen Benka. This slim volume is made up of one poem, in sequence, for each of the 52 words that comprise the Preamble to the Constitution. Here are the first three works/words:


where were we during the convening
two hundred years ago or yesterday
we, not of planter class, but mud hands digging
where were we during the convening
our work, these words, are missing
the tired, the poor, waylaid
where were we during the convening
two hundred years ago or yesterday.


the days wave into months
the sickness claims too many
the bodies overboard
the thick mist finally lifts
the sight of land at last.


crushed dust thrown
across ocean
family bones
a name, my own.

Oops — almost forgot, even after Stefanie at So Many Books reminded me that I, too, am of the Schoolhouse Rock generation who memorized the Preamble this way:

In 1787 I’m told
Our Founding Fathers did agree
To write a list of principles
For keepin’ people free.The U.S.A. was just startin’ out.
A whole brand-new country.
And so our people spelled it out
The things that we should be.

And they put those principles down on
paper and called it the Constitution, and
it’s been helping us run our country ever
since then. The first part of the
Constitution is called the Preamble and tells
what those Founding Fathers set out to do.

“We the people
In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution
for the United States of America.”

* “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”