I have always enjoyed a cup of hot tea. My favorite tea is Earl Grey with two squares of sugar. It makes me feel warm and old fashioned. I use real tea cups that my mom gave to me with the saucers and tiny tea spoons to stir in the sugar. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but having an afternoon tea time is a way to unwind and get back to the basics of life.
I implement an afternoon tea time in my homeschool each day at 2pm. I bring my boys to the dining room table. I have it all set with a teapot filled with tea, tea cups at each place setting, and a small snack with napkins for all of us. As I serve the tea to my children we practice our manners and smiling.
While we sip our tea, I read from one of our read-aloud books while classical music plays softly in the background. It sounds so delightful, doesn’t it? Well, the reality is, I have ALL boys and they need lots of practice and patience when it comes to proper tea time etiquette. They speak while I am reading, sometimes complain about the snack provided, have meltdowns (my three year old mostly) because it is close to nap time, and can be a little rowdy at times.
That is why we “practice” this activity. I want them to be able to appreciate sitting and slowing down from the fastness of life. It is also a way to keep them occupied while I read to them. Their hands are busy with tea cups and snacks. Their minds are busy listening to me read.
One of my most favorite resources for read-alouds is Read For The Heart: Whole Books For Wholehearted Families by Sarah Clarkson. This is an incredible book with lists of many types of books for many different genres. I trust this resource since the books have been filtered by another homeschool family (the Clarksons). It also guides the reader into developing a love for reading. It is a true gem in my homeschool book collection.
One other reliable resource for outstanding and family friendly books is Honey For A Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. When I first heard of this book I just had to have it. The book lists are organized by age and maturity level. I am currently working my way through the books listed for our reading program.
I encourage every family to read aloud in some form during the day. Even if it is just 10 minutes a day, that would be over an hour of reading each week. Most families do not get that much reading done in a month.
You don’t have to incorporate a tea time but gathering your family together for a few minutes a day to enjoy a captivating book is worth more than anything in the world. It is giving your children much more than you think. They are using their imaginations and gaining so much wisdom from each word spoken. Listening uses a different part of the brain than actually reading a book. The moments spent as a family reading is time well spent.