Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Poetry Tea Time: Easter and Daffodils

I want to be more intentional about including fine arts in our homeschool.  It's easy to let those things slide when the schedule gets busy.  But I've been working on integrating more famous composers, paintings and sculptures, and of course, poetry into our school week.

Poetry is so beautiful.  It speaks to the soul and can touch us in a way that regular prose and literature just can not do. 


We have started having Poetry Tea Time and so far the kids are loving it.  The idea is to have a special time each week to enjoy "the finer things".  We play some soft classical music in the background and have a nice snack with some hot herbal tea (or maybe lemonade).  We take turns reading poetry aloud or reciting poetry that we've memorized.  If there is a painting or art piece that corresponds with our poetry selection then we will talk about that as well.

Today we had an Easter and Daffodils themed tea setting. 


Rachel loves tea parties and snacks so she was giddy to get started!


Part of the reason for having a formal tea party setting is that it is also a good way to sneak in some lessons on manners and etiquette to my children.  I was proud to see Nicholas pouring Rachel's tea for her.  He's growing up to be a fine young gentleman. 


This tea was delicious!  It's called Honeybush tea from Mountain Rose Herbs.  It's organic and it contains berries, roses, and honey.  Yum!

We had our tea party close to lunch time so I made it a little heartier than usual.  Deviled eggs...because you must have eggs if you want an Easter-themed snack.  I also had some tortillas rolled up with ham or roast beef. The deli section at the grocery made this quick and easy for me but sometimes the kids like to take the time to bake cookies or get creative with their own snacks. 


Of course, hot cross buns are perfect for an Easter-themed tea party.


We enjoyed a few chocolate eggs for our dessert.


I usually don't add anything to my hot tea but I showed the kids how to add cream and sugar to theirs. 


To make it a little more fancy than usual I put cute little sugar cubes in the sugar bowl.  I took this random picture of the kids and then realized that Nicholas was sneaking a plain sugar cube!  Oh my!


I watched Nicholas drink his tea.  He picked it up just a little bit and then leaned his body over to drink it.  THIS is part of the etiquette training that my kids need!


I showed him how to drink tea while sitting up straight and bringing the cup to his mouth!  You can tell from his eyes that he appreciated this training....


Easter is just a few days away and one of the poems I wanted to read to the children was about daffodils so I found some beautiful daffodils for the table.  They bright color and soft petals just make me happy!


I read my poem aloud and I had them take turns narrating back to me what it was about.  We talked about some vocabulary words as well as rhyme, rhythm, and personification.


Then I talked about the author, William Wordsworth, and read a few more of his poems.


Then the kids picked out some poems to read aloud.  One of the poems Nicholas read was Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.


We ended our Poetry Tea Time with some recitation.  Nicholas learned Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost many years ago after his grandmother read it to him.  I asked him if I could make this video so she could see that he still knows the poem even after all these years.


We don't usually have such a formal tea time and we don't usually have a particular theme but this one was a little more formal because of Easter.  I think we all enjoyed the fancier setting so we just might continue to do it this way.  It's just a small way to make appreciating poetry a little more fun.

If you have talked to me much about homeschool and language arts, you know that I enjoy learning from Andrew Pudewa so I thought I'd share his most recent podcast which just happens to be all about poetry -


Maybe grab a cup of tea to enjoy while you listen and learn.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Oh Hail!

A little before midnight, Stuart and I were just settling into bed for the night.  We knew some bad weather was coming but didn't think much of it.  Then the weather radio alerted us that we were under a Severe Thunderstorm warning with high winds and potential for hail.  We pulled up the weather  radar on our phones.  We could see the bad weather and it was tracking right for us with an extra bright pink area forming directly in our path.  Note: bright pink = extra bad. There was nothing we could do but pray.

A short time later, the wind and light hail came but it quickly turned to big hail.  We were on the second floor and it sounded like the roof and west side of the house were being pelted with baseballs.  It was the loudest hail storm I've ever been through.  Nicholas woke up rather quickly but amazingly Rachel slept through the whole thing!

Stuart ventured out and picked up a piece of the hail to show me.


Suddenly it seemed to shift and was now hitting the house from the north.  It was pelting the windows on the back of the house.  I recorded this video because I just knew one of the windows was about to break (fortunately they didn't).


Once the hail stopped, we looked out the front door.  It looks like it had snowed out there!


Stuart scooped up this handful from the hail patch in front of the potted plant.  The pile of hail on the ground was at least an inch or two thick there.


Amazingly, we don't have any major damage.  Both vehicles have some light dents on them and no windows were broken on the vehicles or the house.  We recently had our roof checked and it was in good condition before the storm.  We don't see any obvious damage but we will have it checked out and see if we need to look into getting it replaced.  We'll probably wait until the storm season passes though.  This is always a rough time of year for houses and vehicles in this area.