Last year, we started using the Brave Writer program and one of their suggestions is to do a weekly poetry tea time. The girls all loved it and it was good practice for reading aloud, seeing different writing styles and discussing what made a "good" poem.
Part of what makes tea time so appealing is that it's fancy. We get out my grandmother's tea pot and an assortment of hot chocolate and apple cider mixes and real china plates. There is also a constantly rotating assortment of books to explore (thanks to the library). It turns out when you provide this fancy set-up, the kids automatically act older. They feel grown-up and do their best to act grown-up.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't keep up with setting it up weekly. I would end up skipping it several weeks in a row and then they would bug me about when we were going to do it. I would get annoyed because if one kid can ask you about something five times, three kids will ask you fifteen million times (roughly) until you never ever want to do it again in the hopes that they'll forget about it completely and just drop it already.
When discussing expectations for the school year, everyone really wanted to be sure tea time was included, so we made a deal. We will do it every other week. I think I can more easily stick to this schedule and they will end up getting tea time more often than they did last year.
We haven't officially started school yet, but we had our first tea time of the new year today. Well, lemonade time because the heat index is 100 degrees (so far) and who wants hot drinks?
S: This is a story about a mannequin
Me: A mannequin? Where was this mannequin?
S: On a boat
M: Wow! A sailboat, or a motorboat?
S: A motorboat. AND there was a rabbit.
M: A rabbit too?! Was the rabbit on the boat, or skiing behind the boat?
S: Skiing behind the boat!
M: Did he have really long ears?
M: Did they fly behind him like this?! [insert mom acting like a fool pretending to be a bunny rabbit water skiing with his ears flapping in the wind and lots of giggling from the "audience"]
S: YES! They did!
M: Did he use water skis, or could he ski on his big ol' feet?
S: He skied on his big rabbit feet!!
M: So you've got a mannequin driving a motorboat so a rabbit can ski on his big feet with his big ears flapping along behind him like this?
[more impressions of water skiing bunny from mom, more giggling from children...]