Eternal Memories with Tea and Poetry: Cultivating Moments to Last

Eternal Memories with Tea and Poetry: Cultivating Moments to Last

I'm a firm believer in the power of fun when it comes to learning. Experience has taught me that if my kids and I aren't enjoying ourselves, chances are we won't absorb much. Poetry analysis and memorization can feel overwhelming in homeschooling, particularly with reluctant readers in the mix. It's easy to relegate poetry to the backburner when there's a mountain of work to cover. That's why I appreciate curriculums like BookShark, which include poetry into their pacing guide. The flexibility to customize the curriculum adds an extra layer of appeal—weekly poems too much for your family? No worries, pick one to focus on each month! So, how can we make poetry analysis enticing for both us and the kids?

Tea parties!  Don't dismiss this idea just yet. I know you might be thinking it's not sustainable for a busy homeschool mom. What if I told you we only did it twice a month, and it made such an impact that our now-graduated kids still remember some of these poems? In fact, not long ago, our high school teens begged us to make time for a tea party during one of their days off to share the poems they had recently learned! Amazing, right? (Homeschool mom payday right there).

Before diving into practical tips, let me share some of the benefits of analyzing poetry:

 Improves verbal skills and memory:

Your kids will learn new words and expressions and refined articulation. Not to mention memorization and recitation skills!

Enhances reading, writing and comprehension skills:

Breaking down the poem and guiding them through the process shows them what to look for, how to interpret text and punctuation. This can be transferred to different literary forms.

Promotes cultural understanding:

Many poems are rooted in cultural and historical contexts. We enjoyed teas and poems from different parts of the world. It's a fantastic way to develop empathy and gain insight into various perspectives. Drinking tea is in itself a culture! We learned about proper tea etiquette and gained a whole new appreciation for it.

Stimulates imagination: 

Poetry is a beautiful way to stir up their creativity and discover connections between words and ideas. It’s also a fun way to discover how our children see the world!

Fosters emotional expression:

Understanding how people express themselves through poetry opens our children's worlds and minds. It also provides an artistic and healthy outlet for expression, potentially sparking an interest in other art forms like music and visual arts.

Now that you know its value, let's explore how you can intentionally incorporate poetry into your regular routine. 

  1. Just start! If teaching poetry feels intimidating, begin by simply reading and reciting.
  2. Find a partner. The truth is, we weren't consistent with poetry until we incorporated it into our co-op. Having other people involved adds motivation. The kids are more eager to memorize their poem and participate if they know there will be other people listening.
  3. Make it a regular thing. Set a reasonable schedule that you can consistently stick to. We used to meet twice a month—analyze one day and recite another. It was just the right amount for us. Paired with intentional teas, these sessions became something we would all look forward to.
  4. Make your tea parties thematic. We had everything from "Mad Tea Party" when we read Alice in Wonderland to a "Proper Tea Party" when we read Mary Poppins. We drank tea with butter and millet while we analyzed a poem from Mongolia and learned about their culture. We had Christmas tea parties, fall-themed tea parties, an Anne of Green Gables themed tea party, and a Medieval tea party! We would also have normal tea parties, with just plain ole' tea and a biscuit. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Learn a little about the poet. It's a great way to break the ice and spark interest in your child. Biographies are always fun.
  6. Start with simple literary terms. Don't get overwhelmed. Start simple, with rhyming patterns, maybe metaphors, similes, and personification. As they grow, start incorporating more advanced literary terms such as alliteration, assonance, imagery, couplet, etc. (Google is there to refresh your memory on what these are!)

Don't give up. You WILL see the fruit of your labor. Our children went from not caring at all about poetry to writing songs in order to memorize their poems and even writing their own poems. Remember how I mentioned they still ask for tea parties as grown teens?

Tea and poetry are worth the effort. I've learned that the joy of homeschooling comes in creating special moments that will impact them for the rest of their lives. And let's be honest, we will also forever treasure these precious memories in our hearts.