Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tea Time & More on Loop Scheduling

After reflecting upon my new loop schedule for our Charlotte Mason curriculum, I decided to take "Tea Time" out of the Humanities loop and put it into its own category. (See previous post on loop schedules.) There were of couple of reasons for this. First, I realized that I had left out one of our books, The Care & Keeping of You, which we are using to cover health, a subject required by the state of Ohio. I don't want to have more than 5 items in a particular loop. My loops are all full!

The other reason is that I don't want to feel any pressure to work Tea Time in on a regular basis. I started thinking, anxiously, about how I would have to make sure we had some tasty baked goods to eat, and that I would need to ensure getting those subjects on that list accomplished. The last thing I want to associate with Tea Time is stress! Truth be told, we already have plenty in our current fall term. I recently came across this sage advice from Nancy Kelly: Keep cutting back until there is peace in your home. This was such a timely godsend! I realized that I could not fit poetry and Spanish into the current term, and that I should put those noble subjects off until winter.

Yet with Tea Time, I can perhaps include a little of those things that are well worth doing but that would overload our regular schedule, saving them for when I have time or when the mood strikes! It can be an occasional treat. Tea Time is a popular practice among CM home educators. It's a warm and leisurely event, imbued with culture. You can break out your fine China, have tea (or cocoa or whatever suits your fancy), arrange a pretty bouquet, and relax with your children. In addition to Spanish and poetry, I have music, correspondence, baking, and handicrafts on the list. You could read a delightful classic novel to your kids just for the pleasure of it, listen to an audio book, pray the Rosary together, write letters to Grandma, or work on your knitting. The possibilities are endless. The key is to enjoy spending time together doing something fun and enriching, but without the academic strings attached.

Tea time could be held at the traditional 4:00 p.m. of the English, or you could make it a special brunch with French toast or pancakes and call it "morning time". Some mothers like to have a "morning basket" in which to keep activities for such occasions. Some do Tea Time daily, making it the core of their homeschooling. Others have it once a week or only occasionally. You don't have to provide gourmet offerings, either. A simple plate of sliced apples, peanut butter, cheese, and crackers would do the trick. Do you have Tea Time in your home? How do you like to celebrate it? And that's exactly the perfect word for it--celebration. A celebration of family, of life, of learning, and of rest. Treat yourself and your children to Tea Time now and again, and discover its simply abundant treasures.

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