The Tea Time School


This is our school. A pile of books related to our current interests. However, getting my rambunctious kiddos to settle down enough to purposefully listen has always been a struggle.

This is our school room. Our kitchen table is our center of gravity. Everything starts here. Even their imaginary adventures usually start with a discussion over a meal.

But if I want any kind of quiet or listening to occur, there needs to be full mouths involved. Sure, the kids know how to listen and enjoy story time, but getting them to actively listen with the intent to learn is so very much easier if they are eating!

So whether it’s snack time or lunch time, our readings take place over tea! It’s a chance to practice manners and listening while filling bellies, and it’s a great way use my special dishes that would otherwise just gather dust! We read poetry, look at art, read through a story or two based on our current interests and we debate! Yes they are small, but debating and challenging their logic at this stage has really helped then to critically think about things they hear. Whether it’s the silly story my 3 year old makes up or the historical fiction on pirates we are reading. They actually start asking questions based on content!

Still, it’s only part of how we do school. Sure it’s the most schoolish looking part of our day but we also grow plants from food…

Discuss life cycles, natural patterns we find in the world around us, how bright it is at night when the ground is covered in snow regardless of the moon…

Talk about safety: fire safety, knife safety, stranger danger, crossing the streets and buckling up. The beauty of fire and how we can use symbolism, alliteration, and vocabulary to describe it in writing…Or how to use primary colors to create a mixture of colors that look like fire…Or the science behind fire looking at fuel, oxygen and catalysts!

The weather is irrelevant! We still spend ample amounts of time outdoors learning from nature. We take our math from our daily lives, it’s in everything we do.

Finding patterns, testing hypotheses, challenging ideas, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing regardless of what grade they are in, we challenge their understanding of the world and help them broaden their horizons: without it feeling like school.

If you ask them how long they spend doing school, the 20 minutes around the table may be all they respond. Yet that is just the start of our school day, learning is happening consistently, even while watching tv!



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