Morning Tea & Books

I was going to write a post about how one particular method of homeschooling has consistently failed my family, but upon reflection it seemed better to write instead about what has worked the best. Looking back over the past fifteen years, there has been one educational approach which clearly provided us with the greatest benefits - infact, with more than learning, but also beautiful memories.

Morning tea and conversation over books.




I don't know if I can explain this method much beyond its basic description, and I don't know that I would need to explain it to those who understand the special charm of morning (or afternoon) tea. There's a gentling, and a warm opening, of the spirit when one sits down at a quiet table with lovely tea cups, something delicious and freshly homemade to eat, and good books for reading and discussing.

There's also a coming together that I haven't found happening to the same degree in merely gathering at the lesson table. But maybe that is because we are girls and have a British heritage? Tea is more than a drink, it is an atmosphere. Learning around a teapot, and biscuits (cookies), and beautiful books, creates an ambience of soft sophistication, a striving to be better than we are in ordinary moments - to go more carefully, speak more intelligently, sit up straighter.




I remember learning about the Aztecs, and the history of salt, and Thomas More's Utopia, and the way sunlight on an empty plate dreams of home, and how there is a peaceful valley in my own heart after all, and so much more, over morning cups of tea and books with my daughter in our quiet homeschool room. No computer on the table for many years. No need to hurry or do anything in particular. It was gracious learning, good learning, and if I was ever to write a guide on homeschooling according to my own experience, it would be essentially thus :

* Gather flowers for a vase, or hang carboard roses in your window
* Open that window to fresh peaceful light and the voice of the old, wise breeze
* Bring a warm teapot, and your loveliest tea cups, to the table
* Bring also homebaked biscuits, or pikelets, or cupcakes, or tiny crustless sandwiches
* Ensure you are neat and tidy before you sit down
* Share a book, and conversation, and the wonderful blossoming of understanding
* When the teapot is empty, linger a while because you love the book so much
* Remember, the world is full of learning, and the young mind is eager and curious, but there's something very precious too in inviting them (with gentle loving wisdom about what they themselves don't know yet that they need) into the great conversation people have been having with each other through books and experiments over the millenia.


(Joining with Lavender Cottage & A Return to Loveliness & Roses of Inspiration)




23 comments:

  1. what a beautiful post...so soft and girly...:)
    TEA is the delicious answer to most of life's problems...and I believe it !! :)

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  2. Reading this brought back some wonderful memories of our own homeschool days. We had afternoon tea with books many times, and I loved it.

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  3. What a lovely post! My family's home learning days still center around tea, books, conversation, pencils and paper--these are things one never outgrows.♥

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  4. Oh, how lovely, Sarah! Your images are beautiful, and morning tea & books sounds just delightful.

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  5. Thank you :-) I myself like these pictures because they are authentic - they're snapshots of my real life (from a few years ago.)

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  6. Beautiful, Sarah. Gorgeous photos. We have tried different things Sarah, but this is the the method that we always return too. It works best with my daughter, and I think it is because of her sensitivities, sensibilities, and intellect. We are currently reading a Dickens book on the history of England, Candide, and a book on Jesuit prayer. We just finished up a book on the Dresden Manuscripts (a true musical mystery), The Metamorphosis, and re read the play The Enemy of the People.

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  7. Beautiful shots of your memories!

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  8. Beats any classroom I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot (my dad likes to move). Not that it matters, they all look the same-ish. Bleh.

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  9. Tea brings wisdom and healing :) This post was so soft, and so so beautiful. I wish I could have learned and studied in such a quiet, lovely way. I feel it would have been a lot better for my sensitive nature.

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  10. Beautiful photos as you discuss home schooling. I had never heard of this until some bloggers started sharing information on it. I imagine it is done in areas of Canada as well.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday.

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  11. I just love this post, Sara. What a beautiful way to enrich learning - with companionship, a good book and a touch of formality. You have a lovely blog!

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  12. I love the idea of tea and book discussions...

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  13. thank you everyone for your kind and lovely words.

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  14. A beautiful, eloquent post about taking the time to live well and thoughtfully.

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  15. What a beautiful post, my dear Sarah! Your images are so soft and refreshing. Thank you so much for sharing with Roses of Inspiration - you have certainly inspired me!

    Have a lovely day! Hugs and blessings!

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  16. I agree with you Sarah, it is about sharing the finer things in life too...
    time spent on the gentle art of morning or afternoon tea...
    a special time together
    while reading and discussing your chosen books
    a significant family memory is created which will stir feelings of love and learning.

    I loved your post - thank you!

    Shane

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  17. A lovely post. Love how you enjoy tea.

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  18. Last week, I really enjoyed this post. I love your rituals, they provide order and serenity.

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  19. I like your idea of starting the day gently, kinda like stretching before vigorous exercise starts. Thanks for suggestions. Gail

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  20. Oh yes, you've captured a lovely moment here, sarah.

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  21. Lovely! Lovely!
    This is our afternoons here with my two boys & little girl. :)

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