This is our first year implementing the Brave Writer Lifestyle. Today was our first day, and the Poetry Tea was a huge hit with my son. We did our baking the night before so that we could easily transition to other activities. Elliot helped by boiling water for tea, setting the table, choosing the linens and picking several poems to read aloud. He enjoyed adding milk and sugar to his tea and stirring it with a spoon– I think he drank at least four cups between bites of banana bread and ginger snaps.
We took our time and savored the experience. It felt like a rare occasion to share this time together, which was different than our normal routine. Less utilitarian. Less objective driven. His reading of Longfellow’s Day is Done melted my heart, especially the line:
Then read from the treasured volume
the poem of thy choice
and lend to the rhyme of the poet
the beauty of thy voice.
I once began our school time by reading a poem, but this experience was better. Pairing poetry with tea calls for a slowing down, like a mindfulness practice to center us. It also gives the learner more responsibility to select a work, to create an atmosphere and to actively participate in a simple yet timeless tradition. I didn’t feel like I was presenting information to be absorbed, hoping that he would finally understand the value or the meaning behind the words. The meaning came from the sharing.
Thank you for the direction that the Brave Writer Lifestyle offers. For the first time in four years, I’m no longer anxious or stressed about teaching writing. Even if we struggle sometimes, we’ll look forward to our tea.
Banana Bread Recipe
The banana bread recipe was adapted from our Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I reduced the sugar by 1/3. It is also lactose free.
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine (we use lactose free Smart Balance with flaxseed oil, but coconut oil would add a tender texture!)
2 large eggs
3 ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup almond milk or water
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (could substitute with gluten free flour and xanthan gum)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of mini loaf pans (this recipe makes four mini loaves).
Combine sugar with all the wet ingredients. Gently mix. Stir in dry ingredients but do not over blend. Too much stirring makes the result tough. (less is better, keep it lumpy!)
Bake mini loaves 30-35 min until golden brown and almost split on the top. Cool completely before slicing so that the bread does not get crumbly. Store in a ziplock for up to four days…as if they would last that long!
Serve with your favorite tea and poems.