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I have read to my kids literally since they were in the womb, and still they HATED story time! Like legit, they would cry REAL tears and have a melt down when I would get the books out to read. I think they just didn’t want to sit still, or stop what they were doing, but nevertheless, it was terrible for this bookworm mama’s heart! I love to read! Always have. I remember going to the library and getting stacks of books, climbing a tree above the tractor shed, and reading for hours. When I started homeschooling, I envisioned these sweet quiet times, where I would get a stack of books out and we’d curl up on the couch and read for hours. Not so much. I was so frustrated and sad that I couldn’t make my day look like I wanted it to. I knew how important reading aloud can be, especially with a few struggling, late readers, but I just didn’t know what to do to make them enjoy it, sit still, and listen.
I was beside myself and questioning how I had screwed my kids up! All the studies say you have to:
read to your kids for 20 minutes a day to increase brain development,
that they learn everything they are going to know by age 10 (or something like that 😂),
and all the adults in prison weren’t read to as kids, etc, etc, etc.
I was sure I had messed up somewhere. I decided I needed another approach. The last straw came when I was so fed up with them not listening, that I threw the book across the room. Yes, I did that! 🤦♀️
Soooo, I started tea time. I’m not that creative, I stole the idea from some Pinterest mom, I’m sure. Doesn’t sound too earth shattering, does it? It’s not some super extravagant idea, but it totally changed reading time for us! My kids do like hot tea, but we also do cider and hot chocolate too. And I think I was needing a pick me up (coffee) about this time of afternoon too. Starting out, I tried to have some kind of special treat like cookies or muffins, but now we often just settle for the tea. I had only a couple of rules for tea time,
1.you had to find a “quiet activity” (coloring, legos, farm animals, watercolor painting for big kids) and
2.you had to stay in the same spot once you sat down. I made my kids do deep breathing and yoga before we started. 😂😂😂 Yes, I did! They thought I was a nut, but we did it and I think it helped calm them down.
I started reading just a few pages of a chapter book or a short elementary book, but now we have several books we read from during this time. And I have to say it is one of their favorite things to do! They will now sit for an hour or more and listen to me read and they beg me daily to do tea time!
Try these for your own tea!
Not only does it reset our day, with some slow time, but we get a lot of work done during this time too! We try and get the majority of our book work done in the morning, and then when the baby and the toddler are down for a nap, we have tea time. We rotate between geography, art, history reading, Bible memorization, our Classical Conversations (our curriculum) review, poetry, or just free reading on what book we are reading at the moment. The main reason we love homeschool is because of the freedom and flexibility of our time. So, if our day doesn’t look like this, or we have an appointment, or the toddler refuses to sleep, we just save it for after supper, before bedtime. It’s taken a long time to get to this point of enjoyment for me and the kids, with quite a bit of tweaking, but I feel like we may have finally found what works best for us.
So, take heart friend! If your day/homeschool/parenting doesn’t look like you thought it would or how you want it to be, don’t be afraid to change things up! Even simple things can make a difference! Don’t give up on what you want for your family/homeschool/life. Like me, it may take some time to get there, but it will get there. I mean, we did deep breathing 😂 And when in doubt, remember, it turns out kids will do just about anything for snacks!