Poetry Tea Time :: Our Favorite Weekly Ritual
One of my favorite weekly rituals is poetry tea time. I started this lovely tradition with my daughters a few years ago when I was homeschooling my youngest for kindergarten. The description is really in the title: we gather together to drink tea and read poetry. Julie Bogart, an author and seasoned homeschool mother, is who I first learned about this tradition from and it’s been a sweet part of our weekly rhythms for several years.
Why poetry? I grew up reading poetry with my mom and memorizing it at school. I even went on to take a poetry writing class in college and love writing poems, especially to help me process harder parts of life. So poetry is definitely a personal passion of mine. Beyond that, there are arguments to be made that reading poetry enhances children’s imagination, reading, and writing abilities. Not all children may be naturally drawn to poetry, which is where tea and treats come in! I don’t know a kid who doesn’t want to gather in a cozy spot with a warm drink and snacks. Add in a few poems and you’ve created poetry tea time.
For the tea and treat aspect, my girls enjoy peppermint tea with milk and honey. They love to take turns pouring their cups and carefully making it sweet and creamy. We’ve inevitably navigated many spills, but I’ve noticed as we’ve done this over and over, they’ve gotten the hang of it. They love to help set up the table with tea cups, napkins, and plates and a candle lit in the middle. We also like chamomile tea, cinnamon tea, and the various seasonally teas from Trader Joes like pumpkin spice and harvest blend. I love to bake bread, so often a slice of bread is our snack. We’ve also enjoyed both store-bought and homemade scones and cookies of all kinds.
After setting up and pouring our tea, we begin reading. Depending on the girl’s attention span that day, I’ll read two to five poems. I don’t want to overwhelm them and I want to keep this time something we all enjoy. I don’t try to analyze the poems or even understand every detail about them, we read and enjoy them for beauty’s sake without much extra commentary. I’ll often add in a rhyming picture book or read from our current read aloud selection.
We own several poetry collections but in addition to those, I love gathering books from the library. My favorite is called Sing Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. We also love the poetry of Shel Silverstein, Fred Rogers, and classics like Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. I look for collections that have beautiful illustrations to keep my kids engaged. For other suggestions, I enjoy finding recommendations on the blogs and Instagram accounts of author and homeschool mom Sally Clarkson, Sarah MacKenzie at Read Aloud Revival, and Treehouse Schoolhouse.
In a world that is increasingly fast paced and screen oriented, I love taking time with my kids to enjoy this lovely weekly ritual. I find that it sets the tone for our family to be people who slow down and appreciate beauty.