Our school year routine is back in full swing!
It is a bit different for me this year because for the first time since 1998 I only have two home schoolers (6th grade and 2nd grade). Last week I was a bit melancholy about the whole situation as it seemed a bit small, quiet and lonely. But this week I have recovered and began to get excited about all the great things we have in store for us this year. I am a fairly eclectic homeschool Mom not really following one system or philosophy of schooling.
One of the things that we have recently decided to do together is reading biographies of great men and women of faith – George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, Jim Elliot, David Livingston – to name just a few. This week we began with Brother Andrew, reading his biography together aloud and stopping to review vocabulary words (grammar), looking at maps to see where his home in Holland was as well as how close they were to Germany (geography), going on the Internet for a picture of the Nazi Germany flag (history), and discussing how their own great-grandfather was killed in World War II. All of that while being inspired and challenged by God’s work in Andrew’s life and his amazing faith. Now that is my kind of school! (We also spent the late afternoon while the “littles” were napping watching Sound of Music because as we were reading the girls were reminded of things in the movie concerning the German invasion of Austria before the war….music, history & culture – bonus!)
We also started up our weekly – Tea Time Tuesday!
Tea Time Tuesday (yes it is on Tuesday because I love alliterations!) is something that we began years ago when I had four daughters being homeschooled together. I decided to set time aside every Tuesday afternoon during the school year to have a “formal” tea complete with the fancy china, delicious teas, homemade goodies, classical music and a decorated table. Besides it being enjoyable, relaxing and fun I wanted to use this time to be purposeful about training, teaching and mentoring my daughters in:
- proper manners, ladylike behavior and etiquette
- modesty in dress and action
- purity and godliness
- relationships and courtship
As we sat down today to have our first tea of the season I realized that these two girls were very young when we began Tea Time Tuesday events and that perhaps we needed to “begin again” in our training. So today we chatted over tea about the use of the words – please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me. We discussed that your napkin should be in your lap and used to dab your mouth clean (as opposed to wiping your mouth on your sleeve which is the norm for the 7-year-old right now). We also brought out one of our favorite books…”The Princess and the Kiss” and read it aloud. What a great message about saving your heart for the man you will marry! (complete with beautiful illustrations)
I have also decided that even though my high school girls lives are full to the brim with school work, sports, clubs, church, chores and jobs that I need to make time at least monthly to have a “Tea Time” with them during their final years of being in our home so that I can continue to influence them in these areas through reading books, telling stories and having discussions. I will simply have to put it on the calendar and “make it happen”!
Perhaps we’ll call it – Team Tea for Three?
We also solved the problem of “the boy” wanting to disturb our tea party by setting him and our neighbor boys up in the farthest back corner of the backyard and giving them PB&J sandwiches and apple sauce with some ice tea (with of course plastic plates & cups). That kept them distracted long enough for us to enjoy our tea time! (another lesson for the girls?? “Food – the way to a man’s heart.”)
I guess I have a few years to decide what type of similar idea that Dan can regularly do with “the boy” (and hopefully by then it will be “boys” should we get the desire of our hearts – adopting two young boys from Ethiopia) to instill these values, philosophies, paradigms and character qualities in him. (ideas anyone?) Although you can be sure any boys in our home will also occasionally attend our tea time so that he can learn to play the role of a proper gentleman as well as being wild at heart!
PS – If you want to read my other blog posts about past Tea Time Tuesdays you can find them here.