I like the new Tea Time posts, but there never seem to be enough hours in the day to incorporate these “extras.” What are some easy peasy ways that I can sneak some in?
I do encourage you, as Charlotte Mason did, to have quality poetry, art, and music as a part of the life and atmosphere surrounding your children. They aren’t something to sneak in, but rather treasures to delight in. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Start off by choosing one poet/artist/composer per month. You can alternate them as you see fit. You may also want each of your children to have a notebook just for their Tea Time studies.
Before the beginning of each month, get all of your materials ready. This step will take the most time, maybe about 45 minutes. Print out anything you may want to use from the Homeschool Share Tea Time post, and put these with any books, audios, videos, jackdaws*, print-outs, examples of the works, art supplies, etc. into a basket that is easily accessible to all family members. In the basket you may also want to stick some special flavored teas, a recipe or two for your tea time treats, and maybe even some fancy tea cups and saucers.
On the first Monday of each month, introduce the famous person to your children. Read the mini biography included in the Tea Time post. Put a picture of the famous person on the fridge or as the background on your computer, along with a sample work. Discuss with your children the contents of the basket and encourage them to peruse the materials throughout the month.
Make an effort every few days to start up a discussion about the famous person or his work. If you are studying a composer, play the music in the background during math lessons. If you are covering a poet, recite a poem and ask your children’s opinion. If you are learning about an artist, ask your child what emotions the work on your computer screen evokes. This can simply be done in passing, over lunch, or even while you’re folding laundry.
Each week rotate out the picture and/or work for a new one.
Throughout the month, encourage your children to prepare their recitations, artwork, lapbooks, notebook pages, copywork, or other activities. Older children can do this on their own, with a given deadline, while younger children will need a little more hand holding. Let them know they will be sharing their work with the family at the end of the month.
On the last Friday of the month, do a wrap-up Tea Time. Have your children help prepare your Tea Time treats. Finish up your school day early to clear and set the table, as fancy as you like. Invite a friend or two over for tea and homemade goodies. Encourage each child to present their work. Have a round table discussion about the famous person. Here are some conversation starters:
What was the most interesting thing you learned about this famous person?
What surprised you most about this famous person?
Which of _______________’s (paintings/poems/compositions) did you like best? Why?
What do all of ________________’s works tell you about the kind of person he was?
How do _______________’s works compare to ______________’s works?
Do you think the Lord was pleased with this famous person’s work? Why or why not?
While it may seem like there are never enough hours in the day for extras, a few hours over a month’s time to make long lasting memories is definitely time well spent. 🙂
*Jackdaws, named after the gathering and hording birds, are collections of items related to a specific topic. For instance, Jackdaws for Tea Time with Basho could include a bunch of bananas, a calligraphy set, grass sandals, chopsticks, Japanese doll, bag of rice, bonsai tree, toy animals like a monkey, frog, crab, etc. (You’ll just have to read Grass Sandals to see why! 😉 )