Since the King usually misses our daily tea time ritual at 10:30 am, we decided to invite him to a weekend version this past Saturday.
The ritual begins with the boiling of water, the selection of a tea, and then allowing the tea to steep in a pot as I read a story (usually a folk tale or legend) on the living room floor. On Saturday, I decided to rock the boat by reading a picture book (just to make sure the King didn’t get bored- you know how guys are such visual creatures and all that jazz).
So we read Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter. Based on a true story, the book introduces us to Nasreen who lives with her grandmother in Herat, Afghanistan. The story begins by describing how Nasreen’s world changed the day the soldiers came and took hold of the city. Nasreen’s grandmother narrates the story and tells about how “dark clouds now hang over the city” and people live in fear of the Taliban. Soon after the soldiers came to town, Nasreen’s father was taken away. Not long after her father’s abduction, Nasreen’s mother snuck away to find him, leaving Nasreen alone with her grandmother in a place where women were forbidden to go outside if unaccompanied by a man. School was now forbidden for Nasreen and she sunk into a state of despair. She no longer sang, drew or smiled, nor did she utter a single word. After a time her grandmother heard whispers about a secret school for girls that was hidden behind a green gate in her neighborhood. Nasreen attends the school and discovers her voice through friendships and books of faraway lands.
After I finished reading the story, we poured our tea and sat, Indian-style, in a circle to begin our discussion. Usually, I aim a question about the book or story at each tea circle participant. This time, even the King fielded a few questions.
I asked the Gnome why Nasreen had stopped speaking, and what turned all the vegetables, houses, and gardens in her homeland into dull gray death. The Gnome seemed unsure, so her sister dropped a hint by making loud airplane noises and bomb sounds.
The Prophet asked what kind of tea we were drinking- she noted that it was “sweet”. I explained that it was jasmine tea with a little honey. When I wandered through India, jasmine tea with honey seemed to greet me at every stop along the way- it’s rich fragrance is hard to mistake.
The Prophet also enjoyed it when the King asked me a question to which I fumbled the reply.
Milla used the pictures to answer a question about how Afghanistan and Herat looked different from our hometown. She noticed the snow-capped mountains, and how the girls there “wore pretty dresses”.
I think the King enjoyed tea time. It’s quickly become one of the kids’ favorite parts of the day. If you’ve never tried to make room for a daily tea time, there are many reasons and many wise people to give them….
Afternoon tea (Homeschool World)
Poetry tea time (Capture the Rowhouse)
Tea and poetry (Tinderbox)
Tea time studies (Homeschool Share)
Tuesday artist tea (Home Plate Fun)
The virtues of tea (Ambleside Online)
Afternoon tea and manners (Bramble Farms)
Preschool afternoon tea and snack (An Everyday Story)