Tea in New Zealand

Over the summer break (December-January here in New Zealand) I was looking for new ideas to fine tune our home schooling in the coming academic year. I came across Brave Writer and decided to implement a few of the ideas. Tuesday Teatime has become a family favourite, even though our version doesn’t happen on Tuesday and it doesn’t involve tea!

Every Friday morning we all gather to share poetry, hot chocolate and some home baking. It is a nice relaxing way to end our academic week and I’m pleased to have found something that everyone can enjoy together. With four children, ranging in age from five to thirteen, and all with very different learning styles and abilities, having the whole family learn together doesn’t happen very often. I will admit that the teenage male was a little reluctant initially, but the lure of food soon proved too much! Now we all look forward to sharing and discussing poems . Whenever new poetry books ocme home, the children are eager to read through them to find the perfect poem to share on Friday morning.

One of my favourite teatimes happened in early February. Febrary 6 was Waitangi Day, a commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by the British government and some Maori chiefs, whereby New Zealand became a British colony. In honour of this I opted for a New Zealand theme for that week’s tea time. I selected some New Zeland poetry books from the library, made Anzac biscuits (made from coconut, rolled oats, butter and boiling water they were sent to the troops – after whom they are named – in World War I, and thus had to survive at least two months at sea before reaching the recipient) and bought chocolate fish (a fish shaped, chocolate covered, marshmallow confectionary, often used to say thank-you or to reward good behaviour). We enjoyed some great new (to us at least) poetry which was often humourous or presented a new way of looking at things. This poem by Peter Hawes drew spontaneous giggles.

The Sheep
The sheep’s a thing that’s made of hide
With lots of mutton chops inside.
They run around in things called flocks
With fleeces made of unknit socks.

Another that we really enjoyed was Down the Back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy, which has been requested and recited so many times since that all the children have virtually memorised it word for word, with no real effort.

Thanks for the wonderful idea. Friday teatime is a wonderful addition to our homeschooling experience.

Sandra in New Zealand

(Margaret Mahy’s book can be found online here)

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