Have you ever dreamed of sitting with your children while reading verse, their eyes rapt with attention, silently hanging on every line, books open patiently waiting for their turn to share?
It sounds too good to be true. But it isn’t! It is the weekly celebration of poetry tea time. I have often wondered if there is some magic in the combination of lighting candles, spreading out the old stained tablecloth, carefully sipping fine tea from chipped mugs and poetry. It almost feels like alchemy the way that frazzled worried days turn around at even the whisper of Poetry Tea Time!
So What is it?
Poetry Tea Time is the brain child of Julie Bogart from Brave Writer. It is the practice of baking a snack together and brewing a pot of tea then sitting together and enjoying poetry. She has a beautiful website that will get you started and provide a template into her formula for Poetry Tea Time you can click here to learn all about it.
How do we do it?
There are 4 basic components to Poetry Tea Time
- The Tablescape: This is a chance to get creative. We always have candles but the other decorations vary with the seasons. One of my favorite things to do is to go out into the yard with my kids and let them pick things and then create the centerpiece together.
- The Snack: I use this opportunity to get one on one with my kids and we bake something together generally while the other two take care of the table preparations. It is a great way to introduce math concepts and teach a practical skill and also get some one on one time with mom! Wins all the way around!
- The tea: We always brew a pot of hot tea. My kids didn’t even know they liked hot tea until we started this. In fact if you offered it you would probably get the Mr. Yuck sticker face from them. But now they each have their favorite! We know we are ready to start reading poetry when each of my kids have fixed their tea just the way they like it.
- Poetry: I always borrow at least one poetry book from the library and then I have amassed a collection of poetry books and my children each pick a poem (or 2, 3 or 5) and my kids choose whether to read it aloud or have me read it aloud. Sometimes they choose to recite a poem they have been working on.
Yep it is that simple! And yes this is all of my children’s favorite part of school ages 5-8! Even my three year old nephew loves to partake in Poetry Tea Time!
- Make it too serious find some funny poems. There are so many! Jack Prelutsky poems are a huge hit around here. You can also use famous song lyrics from your favorite artists (I think this would be a great way to engage older students)
- Teach the point of Poetry Tea Time is to spend some time enjoying poetry. It isn’t the time to lecture on iambic pentameter or at least not in the beginning. Poetry Tea Time will open doors to so many questions and so many opportunities to learn but allow it to just be fun! Resist the urge to over teach it!
- Stress If baking is too stressful buy your favorite snack at the store and enjoy it. If your family doesn’t enjoy tea. Choose a beverage you do enjoy. There is no Poetry Tea Time police. The magic lies in the connection. Don’t stress on the minors. On the other side, yes this does take some effort. It isn’t open and go. It requires some planning and organization (even if it is minimal) I have found that we reap rewards that go far above and beyond the effort I put into it.
- Underestimate It seems so simple. And it is. This isn’t rocket science but it has been the practice that has changed my understanding of homeschooling the most. Learning can be this easy! It can be this fun! It can be this full of family connection. And this is only the beginning!
Want to learn more about our weekly Poetry Tea Time? Check out some of our favorite online resources here!