It is my great pleasure to present to you the delight that is Tea Time. Before you immediately write this idea off in your mind, because, well, it's Tea Time, please know that none of the most likely reasons for thinking that Tea Time isn't for you actually make Tea Time not for you. Tea Time is for boys, girls, moms, the active, the busy.... Everyone. Its virtues are many, and the affects of just one Tea Time are surprisingly exponential. Let's take a look at exactly what Tea Time is, what it has to do with education, and the variety of ways we can implement it, adding beauty and richness to our homeschool days.
Things to Know:
Tea Time was a practice of Charlotte Mason, not a principle. Tea Time itself was naturally a part of her days, as she was British. This is different for us, because I don't know many people who regularly have "tea" in its original form. So we, instead, schedule it into our days and make the effort to incorporate it into our homeschool. Why? Well, not only is it still a fantastic way to accomplish essential elements of Charlotte Mason principles but it turns out that Tea Time itself is a virtuous, beautiful, beneficial practice in education.
Tea Time is an intentional stop to a busy day and a time to feed the spirits of our children while feeding their minds. In order to truly understand its value, we must learn to view our children as whole beings (born persons, remember?). We can not separate their academics from their spiritual, emotional and mental lives. We can not separate their minds from their hearts, spirits, and souls. We must find ways to intentionally feed all parts of their beings at once. Tea Time accomplishes this for the busy homeschooling mother. Tea Time invites conversation, bonds mothers and children in new and beautiful ways, and teaches virtues and graces not taught in quite the same way through any other avenue. It truly feeds the soul.
Practically speaking, Tea Time is exactly what it sounds like, but can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For Tea Time, the homeschooling mother steps away from the classroom into... The dining room, the patio, the kitchen, the porch, a blanket in the back yard, a picnic table, the garden... Anywhere. Tea can be coffee, lemonade, juice, or... Tea. There are really no requirements, and one should never be stopped from having Tea Time because they don't have what they think they "need", because it really is a matter of the heart, not a matter of the perfect china. However, it should be intentional and not always just thrown together with no care and purpose. It can be an extremely valuable part of educating these born persons of ours. I find it to be worth the effort, and I'm confident that you will too.
During Tea Time, you have a variety of worthwhile, workable choices for using the time to feed the spirits and minds simultaneously. You can use Tea Time for your poetry, your literature, your "free reading" books, habit training, baking, other reading, picture study or composer study. I believe that Poetry is a perfect start for newly implemented Tea Time, and a wonderful way to continually use Tea Time throughout homeschooling our children. Poetry anthologies are a great Tea Time resource. Short, lovely illustrated stories and stories of Virtue are also wonderful to read at Tea Time. Finally, play classical music during Tea Time, to do more "feasting" effortlessly!
Things To Ponder:
I invite you to mull over this single thought with me: "Your children won't remember everything that you do, but they will forever remember how you often made them feel." My friends, your children won't remember every worksheet, every craft, every carefully planned lesson, or even every wonderful book. They will, however, remember Tea Time. I dare say, that makes it worth it.
So, find some tea cups (or punch cups, or whatever small cups you can find), fill them with juice or tea or cocoa, prepare some small sandwiches, cheese and crackers, or fruit, set the table, throw on some classical music, grab some poetry and... Have Tea.
Things to Do:
Bite Sized Challenge For Implementing -
1. Read This:
The Virtues of Tea
2.Invite your children to have Tea with you once, and have a simple Tea Time, reading some poetry aloud. Ask them how they liked it, and evaluate the value of trying again.
Digging Deeper Challenge For Implementing-
1. Read Virtues of Tea article above.
2. Schedule a weekly Tea Time. This could be halfway between your school day, or at the end of it. It could even be on the weekend or on a "light" school day. Gather things to read (see resources below) and Tea supplies and just. do. it.
The thrift store is a wonderful place up shop for Tea cups/sets and allowing your children to participate is a fun adventure!
Virtue and Heroes-
Book of Virtues
Book of Heroes
More Great Poetry-
A Family of Poems
My Favorite Book of Poems/Stories-
To Ride a Butterfly
Classical Music for Reading
From Charlotte Herself:
" ... these should include a good deal of poetry, to accustom him to the delicate rendering of shades of meaning, and especially to make him aware that words are beautiful in themselves, that they are a source of pleasure, and are worthy of our honour."
"We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before et can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life."
Happy Tea Time!