When you pair poetry with tea, your children create a connection between contemplation and rest – Julie Bogart
Yes, we are a tea drinking nation so this was a pretty natural move for me (smile); our home education has been established over pots of tea around our dining room table but there’s something quite special about an intentional ‘stop’ to pretty up the table, plate up treats, brew a combination of Earl grey and English breakfast tea in our large white pot and sit around piles of poetry books, ready and waiting to be thumbed, flicked and read aloud.
After setting the table and gathering the children I quickly phoned my Mum and invited her over; she’s one of the main reasons why I’m passionate about literature and nature study so she downed tools (in the kitchen, wink), grabbed a favourite poetry compilation book and we set another place as she drove the 10 minutes from her house to mine!
As my children sipped tea and nibbled on cake they each in turn chose a poem to either read aloud or be read for them; the atmosphere was filled with Hardy, Dickinson, Cicely Mary Barker and Shakespeare to name a few. We lingered over the language and were wowed by the words passing over our dining room table, filling our hearts and quietly making connections we’ll draw from in days, weeks and years to come.
An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing. – Charlotte Mason
Just as it got to my turn there was another knock on the door and in came my friend Serena (who often pops by for coffee on a Thursday on her way home from work) who just happens to be the most creative, theatre and literary genius I know! She was delighted to push her way onto our pew, be poured a cup of tea and then be offered a pile of poetry books. She refused the books and said she’d recite a couple from memory (I know, right?!); she delighted us with Tennyson and Shakespeare all whilst having my 5-year-old climbed upon her knee!
We lingered over the language and were wowed by the words passing over our dining room table, filling our hearts and quietly making connections we’ll draw from in days, weeks and years to come.
We’ve wrapped up a wonderful half-term with this beautiful focused gathering, which I’m sure will become a regular part of our homeschool rhythm.
To create a language rich, literary environment in our homes, it often means pushing past the ‘formulaic study’ and making room for the flow and freedom of reading, doing life around piles of living books, celebrating the snuggling and gathering of children around a story and the delighting in the incredible gift of words.
Let them get at the books themselves, and do not let them be flooded with diluted talk from the lips of their teacher. The less the parents ‘talk-in’ and expound their rations of knowledge and thought to the children they are educating, the better for the children…Children must be allowed to ruminate, must be left alone with their own thoughts – Charlotte Mason
Read more at Leah's blog, Living Soul Deep