Traditionally, I have had a Poetry Study time weekly where we read a bit of biography and a few poems by our chosen poet for the term. It is nice, but not always particularly memorable. I also tried to read a poem or two just for fun during the daily family studies. I felt that those poems were lacking – they were okay, but not necessarily full of living ideas that made me want to think about what we were reading.
I have been listening to a few CM podcasts that featured Cindy Rollins of Morning Time fame (she is also the hostess of The Mason Jar on Circe’s podcasts) where she described her family enjoying a poem in depth. They only read one poem at a time, repeating it daily until they were able to commit it to memory, but also giving the whole family time to linger over the rolling phrases and mental imagery the words created in their minds and hearts. This stoked my desires to have lovely poems that spoke of truth, goodness, and beauty in all its myriad forms.
Questions like ‘How? When? What? and even Who” were lurking in the quiet recesses of my mind as I tried to figure out where to start. And then, as always, the Lord provided a tender mercy as He provided the answers in the form of a wonderful discussion my Charlotte Mason reading group had in December about reading Poetry and having it be fun and an effective way of conveying living ideas to our children. My friend shared with us her experience with Poetry Tea Time in their home. It sounded like so much fun that I resolved to try it in our own home.
Our first week back to school for our second term, I wanted (needed) something different to do so that we would all look forward to it and decided to introduce Poetry Tea Time. I made a pitcher of lemonade and some chocolate chip cookies, handed each of my girls a poetry book and told them to find a poem to share, asked the older girls to be prepared to recite a memorized poem, and invited my mom to participate – that officially makes it a Noteworthy Event, especially when I use the special dishes my mother got as a wedding present.
At 2 pm, we sat down, had some refreshments on our fancy little glass dishes and cups, and we each shared a poem (or two). I introduced the poet we’re studying this term by sharing a few paragraphs of his biography and reading a couple of his poems. That was it. 25 minutes and a snack. It was fun. And school could be done for the day with this ritual of poetry sharing.
So I tried it the next week. Same time, place, and people – and it was a smashing success. We sat around the table for a whole hour reading poetry (Jack Prelutsky is so fun!) and laughing. They are already asking about getting ready this week. I felt the Spirit whispering that this is what my family needs… to slow down, to reconnect to each other as loved friends, to just be in the moment – not stressing so much about the next thing that has to be checked-off. What a blessing!
Next week I will share some of my favorite poetry resources, new and old!
For more ideas on Poetry Tea Time, click on these links:
7 Ways to an Easy and Fun Poetry Tea Time by Creekside Learning
Easy Tips for Poetry Tea Time by Pam Barnhill at EdSnapshots