Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Poet-Teas

            Tuesday again at Evergreen Academy – do you know what that means? On Tuesdays, snack time is Poet-Tea time. It means one boy chooses a special snack to help prepare, and we’ll get to eat something tasty off of Grandmother’s transfer ware dishes, while we gather around the table or on a blanket outside. We’ll share poems that catch our fancy, and we’ll giggle and pass the anthology and listen while someone else reads another. Perhaps big brother will use his best British accent, and we will all be very impressed, and Littlest will be reminded of a poem he likes, and will want to read just one more. If a guest joins us, we'll ask her to bring a poem, please, and perhaps we'll recognize the author's name. If you've written one yourself, do share, if you've come to tea. The children have been very kind when I've shared my own, and they've shared some fantastic ones they've penned.

Through our years of home schooling, there have been so many special things I’ve wanted to add into the school day, but it sometimes seemed the special things came at the expense of the regulars, or the specials just didn’t happen at all. Little by little, we’ve worked our way into a schedule that gives predictability to a small one who craves stability, and offers something different to look forward to every day. Some of our favorite special activities now include Poet-Teas on Tuesdays, and Picture Study on Wednesdays – both super-easy ways to add a bit of Charlotte Mason inspired fun and learning to our week.

            Poet-teas are simple, and require little preparation save for owning (or borrowing from the library) a volume or two of poetry. We choose a poem (or a few) shortly before we gather together during either our morning or afternoon snack time, and one boy gets to have the fun of baking or assembling a special snack with me. We’ve enjoyed homemade brownies, boxed cookies, fresh fruit, trail mix, and this afternoon, coffee ice cream and coffee-flavored frozen coconut-milk treat (we were out of most everything else, how lucky for them!). We have fun setting the treats on my Grandmother’s dishes and using a special teapot and cups, or a thrifted collection of small glasses, when it’s too hot for tea.

            We begin simply, usually with prayer, and then one or another boy will excitedly start us off with the poem he’s chosen to share that day. Then the book is passed, and another of us reads. I enjoy using the seasonal poems listed in Favorite Poems Old and New, and The Rower likes to look for poems by favorite authors. The Wrestler likes the random open-and-read method, and The Musician loves poems with long words. Littlest usually chooses from his volume of A Child’s Garden of Verses, and today wowed us all as he read his poems with expression– a new development for him.

            We don’t critique the poems, though we will discuss words and things that may be unclear. We relish the poems, repeat lines that are lovely or funny, and we laugh or appreciate. Conversations flow naturally as a child recognizes a similarity between a poem they’ve just heard and one read earlier, or an author’s name or style becomes familiar. In about 10 or 15 minutes, we have read our poems, we clear our dishes, and we carry on with the next item on our to-do lists. That’s it! It’s easy, lovely, and it is so much fun to see these boys genuinely appreciating poetry.

Must-haves on our poetry shelf:

Favorite Poems Old and New
Stories and Poems forExtremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
A Child’s Garden of Verses
When We Were VeryYoung

Going to sleep thankful for the gift of this day, and
Trusting in Him,

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