Tea time is one of those activities I have read about on homeschooling blogs over the past couple of years anxiously awaiting the time I could implement it in our own home. I don’t remember if I first came across the idea in Elizabeth’s book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home or through Julie’s Bravewriter blog, but I know both women helped to plant the seed. So the first order of business was to find some tea cups and a tea pot.
I set out last Friday with friend Melba hoping to piece together some mismatched cups and a tea pot we could use. I wasn’t after fancy or expensive, just “special” dishes we would use for our teas. We scoured the local antique mall, and I had just about given up hope when I came across this gem.
It was lovely and absolutely perfect. (In fact the only problem with it may be when we inevitably break our first piece and bust up the set -- pun intended). I brought it home and the kids eagerly helped me to unpack every piece, so excited about the impending tea party. I made them wait the entire weekend before we put it to its first use.
While John napped, Olivia and I baked muffins, washed the tea set, and set the table.
They loved it. Now with it being in the mid-90s everyday we are substituting lemonade for tea at the moment, but we look forward to cooler days when we can have an herbal brew or hot chocolate instead.
So, what does tea time have to do with “school”? Here are our tea time plans for the year:
- Poetry teas (a la Bravewriter) -- reading poetry and playing word games. This is what we did Monday and the kids loved it, even asking me to read a couple of poems again.
- Liturgical Teas – Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things posted an entire year’s worth of liturgical tea plans complete with menus and activities. We will be eagerly doing these as the year progresses. Note our green table cloth above for Ordinary Time. We have green and red and will be adding more soon -- got to get violet before Advent.
- Seasonal activities – We will do many of the readings and activities from our Monthly Themes Lists during tea time.
We won’t do tea everyday, but hope to most days. The 3:30 time slot will help to bookend our day and keep us on routine while providing an afternoon snack as well. Sometimes the fare will be store-bought, while other times Olivia and I will bake our goodies together while John naps (more learning!). On nice, cool days I hope to take the party outside on the back porch, especially when observing our seasonal themes.
If you are in the neighborhood we hope to have you over for tea this year!