Before I go into zen mode talking about tea time, let me give you some background.
Recently, I was having a discussion with myself. That’s what I do. I discuss things to myself, by myself. I’m awesome like that.
I thought, “I really just feel like there’s something missing in my homeschool.”
I wanted something more, but I wasn’t really quite sure what that “more” could be. What else could I possibly add to my list of ought’s and should’s and must’s without winding up in a padded cell with a muzzle?
Well, in order to keep myself from paddling up guilt river (so unproductive), I tried to be logical about it. What was I wanting my kids to learn in our homeschool?
I made a list.
It was all that book-learnin’ stuff. I analyzed it. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So I made another list.
I want them to see the beautiful things around them and appreciate them.
To slow down and breathe.
To connect to the arts.
To connect to each other.
To appreciate one another.
As I was searching for other things, while keeping this list in mind, I found the perfect solution.
Bonus: it’s not overwhelming.
Too often we want to add these things of importance, but find ourselves adding a million things to the “important list,” that we truly lose sight of the real important things.
I catch myself adding things to the list that I think I ought to make important. Or that I think others think are important.
Who am I trying to please here? The wrong people. That’s who.
Even with my own list of have-to’s I can get overwhelmed. I just want to breathe and enjoy my days with my crazy-awesome kids. We don’t get any do-overs. (boo)
How in the world am I going to do this? What the heck was my solution?
Now now. I’m being serious. Maybe you think I’ve lost my mind. Or read too many Regency Romances (not possible). Maybe you’re like, dude, this is old news. N’er you fret, my dears.
Let me explain.
My kids beg for tea time. Yes, even my oldest boy who thinks doing anything girlie is a sin. I didn’t tell him that. Oi, that’s a post for another day.
They beg for tea time.
It has brought peace to our afternoons. Tea time has given my kids an appreciation for the arts and for our time together.
I joke about the zen it brings, but it truly is a magical hour of the day. I’m not rushing around freaking about what needs to get done. The kids aren’t arguing, making messes, shouting across the house.
It’s an intentional quiet time. A time of reflection, peace, and calm. I did say magical right?
As in, swaying grass, a dripping weeping willow, fireflies zipping about, crickets singing, frogs croaking, warm sticky breeze, moon glowing magic.
Well, how can you bring this zen magic-ness to your life?
Speed version: we listen to classical music, look at a piece of art, read poetry, have tea and a treat, and read aloud.
Let me walk you through what our typical tea time looks like.
Ours is typically at 3 PM.
- I pull up Spotify, and play some Beethoven while we set up.
- Boil some water in our tea kettle. (2 min.)
- Put out a table cloth, set out the tea cups, put out a centerpiece. (1 min.)
- I have a tray with herbal teas and apple cider packets. (30 sec.)
- I put some snacks on a tray. (2 min.)
- We sit down, listen to the music and pour some tea. Or apple cider. (3 – 5 min.)
- We serve the snacks. (1 min.)
- I turn off the music and pull out the book of poetry we’re reading. I skip around and read some poems. I have my readers pick a poem to read, too. (10 min.)
- After they’ve finished round 1 of the tea and treats, we pull out the art piece. We do what’s called a picture talk, or picture narration. They each study the picture until they can describe what it looks like without seeing it. Starting from youngest to oldest (me included) we build on the narration. We don’t interrupt each other. We don’t critique the art. (10 – 15 min.)
- Then we serve round 2 of tea and treats. (2 min.)
- I pull out the book we’re reading aloud together and I read until I don’t feel like it anymore. Maybe it’s half a chapter, maybe a chapter, maybe more. (20+ min.)
No matter what, tea time is no more than an hour.
How often do we do this?
I was super ambitious when I first heard about it and said, we’re going to do this every day. Life just laughed in my face. Nice try, Rochelle.
So, now we do it once a week. If I can, I’ll do it more, but once a week is the standard.
Here’s what you need:
- tea cups/mugs/cups
- art book or pictures of art
If you want Level 2
- tea cups
- treat (homemade or purchased)
- classical music of one artist
- art book or pictures of art
- table cloth
- center piece
- all of the above, but homemade treats that you made together.
Don’t say, I can’t do this without this this and this. I can’t do this without a special treat. I can’t do this without fill in the blank.
I said those same things too, I know how it is.
Just pick a composer, pick an artist, pick a poetry book. You don’t even have to do the read aloud if you don’t want to. That’s just what I added.
You could work on manners while you serve tea and treats.
You could just talk about what you’re learning, what you’ve been doing lately, or anything your kids want to talk about. It’s such a relaxing and safe way to connect. You’re taking time in your day to slow down, stop what you’re doing, and enjoy one another’s company.
I say make it your own. To heck with what I do.
You just need something to nibble on, sip on, and some great kiddos around the table. You’ve got that, haven’t you? Nibble on a slice of bread if that’s all you have. The most important part is you and your family.
Just make it happen and show it the reverence it deserves. When the kids feel how special it is, they’ll engage in it and show it equal reverence.
Go forth and drink tea!
(too cheesy? oh well)