How to Include Poetry Teatime in Your Family

My name is Julie Bogart. I work with Brave Writer. It’s my company that I started in January
of 2000. The original intention was to help families
find better relationships while they were working on writing at the same time. You know, I was asked recently about how Brave
Writer differs from some of the other writing programs out there. I would say that the biggest difference is
that I initially saw the writing process as a relationship between trusted allies. The child and the parent. One of the ways to grow a writer isn’t simply
to work on writing. It’s to establish bonds of affection and joy
around language. One of the ways that that can happen so naturally
that we call it the crack, you know, addition, the gateway drug to Brave Writer is through
poetry teatimes. Poetry is one of those subjects that every
parent feels good if they know their child loves it or likes it or knows how to read
it. Sort of like chess. Like you have this sort of, you know, ambiguous
relationship with online games, but if your kids spent as much time playing chess you
wouldn’t mind ’cause chess you revere. You see it a showing that your child has a
good brain. Well, poetry is sort of in that category. If our kids obsessively listen to a favorite
band sometimes we say to ourselves, “Oh, my gosh, I wish they wouldn’t listen to so much
music.” But if you saw your child devouring a book
of poetry, I think you would be kind of proud. You might even brag about it to your friends. So, today we’re going to look at poetry, we’re
going to enjoy tea, and if this is something you think your homeschooling or other schooled
friends might enjoy you can share right now. What you want to do is swipe to the right
if you’re on an iPhone or swipe up on an Android and then hit the share button. And you can share it to Twitter, Facebook
or your other Periscope followers. Let’s see. Yes, so many people love poetry tea because
they are just shocked to discover that their children really buy in. So, that’s wonderful. Also, if you enjoy this broadcast, can you
tap the screen and give me hearts? That’s a way of creating social proof for
all of our other homeschool friends out there who might enjoy being a part of this community. Oh, you’re all sharing. You guys are awesome. I wish I could see. I can’t read your names, but I appreciate
it so much. And the hearts are so pretty, aren’t they? You can assign toddlers to this task. They might enjoy it. I think you can give like, 500 hearts in two
minutes, so, you know, if somebody really wants to, knock yourself out. Alright, so let’s get started, shall we? So, what is the origin of poetry teatime and
why did I come into this practice? Well, I’ll let you know. Back when I was sort of a young homeschooler,
I had a passel of children just like you. You know, anywhere from three to five, right? That’s… I started homeschooling when I had three kids
and then I had five by the time I was done. And I wanted them to care about learning. I know that’s what you all want. Even people who use textbooks in homeschool,
they want their kids to care about learning. I didn’t know how to make that happen. I was doing a reasonably good job. We had a lot of parties. And we did a lot of hands on, kinesthetic
activities. But my passion is language arts. I love poetry. I love writing. I love everything about language. I like acting. I like watching movies. I love reading books. And I wanted my kids to feel that way about
language, this most sacred part of my personhood. So, I was on one of these Charlotte Mason
homeschool lists and a woman shared about a time that she was doing geography terms
with her kids, and they did it while they had tea. It was a fairly casual thing, but she just
happened to mention that they always liked to have tea when they did like, morning time
or something. And this got an idea in my head. I thought, “Well, I love poetry. I love Shakespeare. Maybe that’s how I introduce this to my kids.” So, Johannah at the time was like, seven or
eight, and she had three very busy brothers and was sort of sandwiched between and sort
of a baby sister. And I realized she needed some special time
with her mom. So, I cleared the boys out. This is my very first one. Later they came back, believe me. But we cleared the boys out. And Johannah and I decided to have a teatime. We set the table and decorated it. We made little treats. I guess the thing she remembers is I gave
her her own cup of vanilla, or lemon yogurt, I think she said. And you know, in a family of seven, no one
ever got their own anything. It was always, you know, the big Cosco bin
that you dumped things out of onto plates, right? But for this teatime I made sure she had her
own little lemon yogurt cup, which to this day is still her favorite memory. And we didn’t read poetry; we actually read
Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories. I read her A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I can still remember her; she’s my very
fastidious child. She was so careful sipping the tea, sitting
ladylike, listening to my every word. And you know? It birthed a lifelong love of Shakespeare. Well, once I saw the success with Shakespeare,
I knew I couldn’t keep the boys out. So, I decided to pair poetry with teatime. And to my surprise they were as into it as
Johannah was. In fact, they were more into it. They wanted to make the centerpieces, they
liked making the scones or the muffins or the brownies, you know, or even like, when
we had no time, cinnamon toast. We all took turns reading poems. So, what we would do is, we would create like,
a table full of poetry books, and everyone would simply open the book and page through,
looking for a poem to read to the group, even the nonreaders. In fact, the nonreaders loved picking poems. Sometimes they’d pick them for the illustrations,
sometimes they picked them just because of the shape of the poem on the page. But in all cases everyone loves being in charge
of deciding who has to hear what. And for your nonreaders, you can certainly
stick them in your lap, and read the poem right in front of them. Or you can receive the book and read it in
their honor; make sure you acknowledge that they are the ones who chose it. But the goal is simply to celebrate poetry. It’s not to create some kind of, you know,
abstract analysis of the poem. We’re going to talk about that in a minute. But I wanted to just give you a flavor. So, before we start, my teacup’s empty. Is yours? I’m going to pour some tea. I invite you to join me. Ready? In fact, this might be a good time to take
a screenshot. And then you can share the poetry teatime
with your Twitter followers. Ready? Here we go. Going to pour tea. Screenshot. Click, click, click. You got it? I almost went over the top. Okay, now I’m going to drink it. Ready? Here’s my big tea sip. Oh, my god, it’s still so hot. That’s the beauty of the tea cozy. I should get paid for these. These are incredible. Changed my life. Learned about it from my British friends. So, how did I first fall in love with tea? I want to tell you that story because I think
it’s funny. I was pregnant with Noah, living in Morocco. Some of you know that I spent the first years
of my adult life in Morocco. And I got pregnant. And I intended to have the baby in Morocco. John, my husband and I, lived in a town called
Meknes and an hour and a half away was a town called Rabat, which is the capital of Morocco. I had a British midwife, who lived in Rabat,
so once a month I had to take a trip from Meknes to Rabat to have my belly examined,
right? When I would go there, my husband would drop
me off and he would go to the English bookstore, he was an English professor so he always wanted
to be around good books. I would be dropped off with Anne and she would
measure my belly and listen with her little stethoscope and that was pretty much the whole
event. I mean, there was no waiting room. It was in her apartment. I was laying on her table. And when we were done, she–the very first
time, she invited me into her kitchen. She pulled out her tea, PG Tips, and she said,
“Would you like a cup of tea?” And I looked at her and I said, “Anne, I can’t
drink tea. It has caffeine. I’m pregnant.” And she looked at me and I will never forget,
she said, “Oh, Julie. Do you really think that British women give
up tea just because they’re pregnant?” And I immediately cracked up. And she poured me a cup of tea and I was instantly
hooked for the rest of my life. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, but I spend
a lot of money on tea. And PG Tips are my favorite. Apparently, they sell them at Walmart online. I get mine from a local grocery store that
has international foods. You can also buy them through Amazon. They’re very ordinary, daily black tea, but
the nice thing about it is that they’re better than our Lipton. So, if you want a more robust, traditional
British flavor, I’m all about PG Tips. When we were poor, I drank Lipton. And I’m okay with that. So, do whatever you like. So, that’s the origin of the idea of tea. But guess what? Poetry teatime doesn’t have to be tea. In the winter, we often had hot chocolate. Sometimes we had hot apple cider. Sometimes we had lemonade out on the deck. And in fact, many times I let my kids decide
what they wanted. We had a coffeemaker, we had tea, we could
have juice. The idea is to elevate the experience. Because here’s what’s going on, in case you
haven’t caught on already, when we imbue an experience with sophistication, a little intentionality,
some elegance, we instantly associate the context with the subject matter. Suddenly poetry goes from being just another
school subject to an opportunity for enchantment. And that’s what we’re all about, isn’t it,
in homeschool? We want to pair rich contextual experiences
with our learning objectives and then our kids will suddenly find that they have precious
associations for the rest of their lives. I wanted to read you a couple of quotes about
tea ’cause I like these. Samuel Johnson, who many of you know, he created
the first English dictionary, he says, “You cannot make tea so fast as I can gulp it down.” So, the British as you know see tea as the
panacea for all emotional struggle, for comfort, and for a sense of pleasure. And then the Chinese have a saying that’s–they
say, “A day without tea is a day without joy.” And I concur wholeheartedly. That might make a nice copywork piece. Someone says, “Did you do poetry teatime everyday
or once a week?” Oh, my gosh, there were seasons where we did
it everyday. Someone’s asking about my favorite poetry
books, we’re getting to that. But mostly it was about once a week. In fact, just so you know, my oldest–my middle
son, Jacob, who is now 24 and in law school, when he was in college at Ohio State his sophomore
year he was a resident assistant on a dorm floor of all boys. He took teapots with him and poetry books
and he used to have reunions in his dorm room, drinking tea, playing card games, and reading
poetry. Boys and girls. Yeah, he was a total chick magnet for sure,
but even boys. My daughter, Caitrin, she used to bring her
public school friends over, and they would make poetry teatimes in my kitchen. Any time my kids come home, from college or
from being out in the world because they’re all adults now, I have five kids, 19 through
28, the first thing they do is make tea. They always wanna sit down and talk, share
about what they’re learning. And, in fact, our love of language now is
so entrenched in our family culture, the kids all send text messages to each other with
vocabulary. They’ve traded poems. Three of my adult kids, this blows me away,
I only figured this out the other day. Three of my adult kids are on editorial boards
for self-generated literary magazines in their peer groups. One of them is Johannah with kids, you know,
20-somethings in New York. One is Liam at St. John’s College. And one is Caitrin at University of Pittsburgh. I want you to understand that when you cultivate
a language rich environment, you are creating a lifetime of passion for the word. And that is different than teaching the paragraph. We all speak in paragraphs. We all speak in sentences. It’s not that difficult to help people know
where to indent. That is not the goal of writing. The goal of writing is conveying the interior
life and having enough vocabulary to give it rich expression. Poetry teatimes help with that. And one of the benefits of poetry teatime
is that you’re so happy. You feel like you’re hitting all the bells,
right? The academic bell, the feeling good bell,
the eye contact and connection bell, the eating quality food bell. I mean, if you can hit all of those together
it’s like, home run, man. You’re just sure that it’s been a good day. One of my Brave Writer families always says
that you can reset the thermostat of the day gone wrong just by having a poetry teatime. If everybody’s cranky and they hate math and
they’re poking each other and pulling each other’s hair, just say, “Who wants to help
me make muffins? We’re having a poetry teatime.” I guarantee you, the whole mood changes in
your homeschool like that. You can do that for them. Alright. There is no right way to do poetry teatime. We have families who have made them, uh, out
on their back deck in the spring. There’s one family who has been with me since
the year, I think, 2001, and one of their early poetry teatimes, they live up north
like, in Minnesota, they made an igloo on their driveway and they filled thermoses full
of hot chocolate, and the kids sat out on little stools inside the igloo, reading poetry,
drinking hot chocolate. I’ve seen people use poetry teatime on vacations,
in hotel rooms, when they’re out, you know, going to Starbucks. You don’t have to be home. You don’t even have to have a centerpiece. But centerpieces are really fun. One of the things we liked to do is I like
to send the kids outside before teatime and ask them to collect things that would look
good in the center of the table. So, we end up with acorns or pine cones or
a little piece of bark with moss on it or, you know, like, right now, all these harvesty
items are so perfect. And it’s also so much fun to add candles if
you can handle it. Kids like to do this, they run their fingers
back and forth through the candle light. And they all fight for a turn to put out the
candle. So, here’s my brilliant take-it-from-me solution:
one candle per child. Give them a few minutes by the timer to run
their fingers through the flame if you can bear it. Let them play in the wax a little bit. And then tell them to leave it lit and they
each get to extinguish their own candle at the end of teatime. Okay? That’s my secret to handling candles. Or if that just drives you crazy to even think
about it, sshhh, don’t tell them about the candles. Do it without. Alright. Poetry makes space for imagery and metaphor,
for simile, for exploring themes and ideas without forcing your kids to sit down and
work through some work pages. It happens almost accidentally. So, one of the things that I want to do now
is share with you about poems. I want to read poems. Not just talk about it, because the power
and the beauty of this experience is in the reading of poetry. So, let’s start. Alright. I’m going to go find my favorites. One of the wa–one of the books that I absolutely
love that is totally out of print is this one. The Read-Aloud for Young People, Read-Aloud
Poems for Young People edited by Glorya Hale. G, L, O, R, Y, A. H, A, L, E. I guess I’m
dropping some knowledge on you, so you might need a pen and paper. Take a screen shot if you didn’t already. Ready, set, go. Click, click, click. This book is available used and I have seen
it on Amazon. It can also be found in the library. There is no–there are no illustrations in
this book and there are books with illustrations, which I’m about to show you. But I think this is one of the finest compendiums
of children’s poetry and partly because it’s deliberately intended to be read aloud. One of the ways to start with poetry is you
want to read funny poems. These are children. You’re not trying to get them to read Lord
Byron. We want them to be entertained and fortunately
children’s poetry is so fun. The name of this book again, Read-Aloud Poems
for Young People. And Glorya, G, L, O, R, Y, A, Hale is the
editor. So, I like starting with the Six Silly Rhymes
and you can find these just by Googling. Here’s an example of a silly rhyme: “Way down
south where bananas grow, a grasshopper stepped on an elephant’s toe, the elephant said with
tears in his eyes, ‘Hey, pick on somebody you’re own size.'” Here’s another one: “A horse and a flea and
three blind mice, sat on a curbstone shooting dice, the horse he slipped and fell on the
flea, the flea said, ‘Whoops, there’s a horse on me.'” You see? These are silly. Totally silly. But they rhyme and they have a nice beat and
they’re easy to memorize. And for kids who’ve never heard them, it’s
delicious fun. It’s as yummy as pop rocks. You know? I always think poetry reminds me of pop rocks. It’s like the words pop through your mouth. They’re like, crackling and clicking around
under your teeth and through your tongue. And that’s what makes reading poetry aloud
so important. Here’s a poem all written in lower case. I wonder if you can see it? Can you see it? It is called maggie and milly and molly and
may, and it is by the famous poet E.E. Cummings who just was not interested in capitalizing. It’s not that he never did, it’s that a lot
of times he didn’t. And one of the things that’s fun for children
to see is that punctuation serves the needs of the writer; it’s not about accuracy. It’s about communication. We want our children to understand that they
are the master of their punctuation choices. So, I’m going to read this one to you now:
“maggie and milly and molly and may, went down to the beach to play one day, and maggie
discovered a shell that sang, so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and milly
befriended a stranded star, who’s rays five languid fingers were, and molly was chased
by a horrible thing, which raced sideways while blowing bubbles, and may came home with
a smooth round stone, as small as a world and as large as alone, for whatever we lose
like a you or a me, it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” Isn’t that awesome? Johannah loved that poem as a child, she read
it many, many times. And she writes poetry as an adult. Liam’s favorite poem, that he memorized back
when he was in his “I refuse to hand write because of my dysgraphia” phase, he became
a master memorizer and poetry was his favorite. And here it is. The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennysen: “He clasps
the crab with crooked hands, close to the sun in lonely lands, ringed with the azure
world he stands, the wrinkled sea beneath him crawls, he watches from his mountain walls,
and like a thunderbolt he falls.” For years Liam would just suddenly belt out,
“And like a thunderbolt he falls!” You know, his little five-year-old voice. Little six-year-old voice. He loved this poem. And in fact, Liam kept a stack of poetry books
next to his bed, so that when he couldn’t fall asleep at night he had something to read. Another great book for children that does
have pictures and makes it easier for nonreaders to pick a poem is this one, it’s called Poems
to Learn by Heart and it is edited by Caroline Kennedy. Do some of you know this poetry book? Take a screenshot, there you go. If you don’t know how on the iPhone, I know
you hit the home and the off button simultaneously. I don’t know how to do it on Android. Yeah, this is a great book. I just want you to get a feel for how gorgeous
the illustrations are. Isn’t that lovely? You can see, like that, that it’s very easy
for children to select a poem because they can just look at the images if they can’t
read. So, this is a big time popular one. I’m going to find a poem from this one to
read. I like this one and kids get a huge kick out
of it. It’s by Ogden Nash and it’s very short. It’s called The Parent. “Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
and that’s what parents were created for.” Now see, here’s the thing, I love about poetry. It speaks little known truths, it sneaks in
and heals little breaches. Can you image if you’re having a tough day
with one of your kids and you spring this poem out for them to hear, to validate their
feelings, to let them know that this experience they’re having and that you’re having is universal. Because that’s what poems do, they put us
in touch with our humanity, and the universality of our cravings, our needs, our delights,
our yearnings, our aspirations. This is a great one. Poems to Learn by Heart, Caroline Kennedy. Someone says I look like I’m having fun. Are you kidding? This is my favorite thing ever. You are so right because I love poetry. I really, seriously do. Here’s my favorite book if you are an adult
noobie, maybe you don’t like poetry yet or you’re afraid of poetry. How many of you are in that category? Just put a little number 1 in the comments
real quick to make it easy. And show me that you grew up with a bad feeling
about poetry. Some, you know, ghost of public school past
made it horrible for you. Yeah, yeah. Yep. Yep. You know why? They ruined it in school. They treat poetry a little bit like it’s a
frog to be dissected in the biology class. Rather than what I like to say, a frog that
is mysterious and jumpy to play with. Poetry is for fun. Poetry is for reflection. Poetry is for meditation. I use poetry as often to help me become a
better person, to be perfectly honest. To connect with the souls and intentions of
brilliant writers, who’ve taken time to ponder the human condition and put it in sumptuous
language. That’s what poetry is and I invite you back
in. You’re allowed back in the ring with poetry. You don’t have to understand it, you don’t
have to master it or analyze it or dominate it or deconstruct it. You get to enjoy it. And you know how I know that you all already
like poetry? Ha, the lighting’s changing from outside. Sorry about that. Because you love music. And music has song lyrics that are poems. You already know scads of songs, scads of
poems. So, read some that don’t have music and allow
the music to be the language itself, the rhythm, the mood. You know what? You also get to not like poems. You can read one and say, “That’s a head-scratcher. I’m not interested. That one wasn’t for me.” And it could be the single greatest poem ever
written, like you know, The Wasteland. You know? You don’t have to like them. So, you get to read them and have a reaction
and allow yourself to be lead into poetry. I’m going to read you now my favorite poem
of all time and you’re not going to understand it necessarily and I’m okay with that. This poem is by a Polish poet, who lived through
World War II. Her name I have a hard time pronouncing but
I’m going to try. It is Wislawa Szymborska. And she wrote in Polish and this is a translation,
so if there was a rhyme scheme it’s gone. But here’s what I love about this poem, and
this is why I’m sharing it with you mothers. I’m going to full disclose before I read it,
so you’ll get it, okay? I don’t normally do this, but I want to make
sure you’re tuned in and you get it. And the name of this poem is Notes from a
Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition. Right? That sounds foreign. Notes from a Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition. This poem is all about the yearning to be
free of emotional pain and to live in the light of purity where nothing can cause you
harm. It’s all about not taking risk, it’s about
finding the method, the formula, that insures security and peace. Here’s what she does–and can you imagine
after World War II, who didn’t want that feeling? Who didn’t want to just leave the planet and
be somewhere else? Somewhere safe, somewhere pure. Okay, here’s what she wrote, seriously love
this poem: “So, these are the Himalayas, mountains racing to the moon, the moment of their start
recorded at the startling ripped canvas of the sky, holes punched in a desert of clouds,
thrust into nothing, echo, a white, mute, quiet. Yeti, down there we’ve got Wednesday, bread
and alphabets, two times two is four, roses are red there and violets are blue. Yeti, crime is not all we’re up to down there. Yeti, not every sentence there means death. We’ve inherited hope, the gift of forgetting. You’ll see how we give birth among the ruins. Yeti, we’ve got Shakespeare there. Yeti, we play solitaire and violin. At nightfall we turn lights on, Yeti. Up here it’s neither moon nor Earth, tears
freeze. Oh Yeti, semi-moonman, turn back, think again. I called this to the Yeti inside four walls
of avalanche, stomping my feet for warmth on the everlasting snow.” I love that poem. We’ve got Shakespeare, solitaire, crime is
not all we are up to down here, we have inherited hope the gift of forgetting. I invite you to let go of the illusion of
purity and high ideals and the anxiety and fear of the mistakes that you’ve made and
be delighted again that we can turn on the lights in the darkness, that we can have alphabets
and Wednesdays and bread. That’s what this poem meant to me in my homeschool. I used to just remind myself the meaning is
here now. The alphabet, the teatime, the Shakespeare
is here now. It’s not for the future, it’s not to fulfill
somebody else’s agenda; it’s for now. I get to feel this now. I don’t want frozen tears; I want the real
kind. Americans’ Favorite Poems edited by the fabulous
Robert Pinsky. Great book, easy to find on Amazon, at your
local library. Alright. What else do we wanna read? Who knows Jane Kenyon? I know you’re going to read a lot of poetry
with your kids, so we’re reading adult poetry because you’re adults and I love you. ‘Kay, this is an amazing poem. Jane Kenyon died of cancer and she knew she
was dying and she wrote–Oh, I’m trying. Let’s see what we can do. Somebody’s having–telling me to change the
glare. See if this works better. I’ll do this for you. You’ll see my messy table behind me. Is that any better? Okay, hopefully. I will try this. Alright. We’ll try this, thanks for telling me. So, Jane Kenyon is an American poet who died
’cause of horr–of cancer. And she knew it was coming, so she wrote some
of the the most powerful poetry. And what I love about her as a poet is that
she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the tension between those two. So, got ready ’cause this is a tearjerker. The name of this poem is Otherwise. “I got out of bed on two strong legs, it might
have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe flawless peach,
it might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood, all
morning I did the work I love, at noon I laid down with my mate, it might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver
candlesticks, it might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings
on the walls and planned another day just like this day, but one day I know it will
be otherwise.” Can you take that to heart as a homeschooler? You can. I’m already living in otherwise as relates
to homeschool. I’m eating scones with you, not with my kids. Enjoy your kids ’cause someday it’s gonna
be otherwise. Okay, let’s quit crying. Let’s go back to kids poetry. In 1967…’68, my grandfather bought me a
poetry book and I count this as the origin of my love for poetry. It’s called You Read to Me and I’ll Read to
You and honestly I love this book and it is a shred of a mess because I’ve used it so
much. The author is John Ciardi. C, I, A, R, D, I. His poem books still exist. Here’s what’s fun about it, it’s written in
two colors. So, one side is in blue and one side is in
black. And one reader can pick all the blue poems
and the other reader can pick all the black poems. My grandfather said to me, “Julie, try this
with Jim,” my brother. “Even with Mother and Daddy, also Aaron,”
who was very small child at the time. “Picked this up while in New York and thinking
about you. Love, Papa.” And this was June 7th, 1968. How treasured is that? So, here’s an example of a poem from this
book, and it’s called Wouldn’t You. “If I could go as high and low as the wind,
as the wind, as the wind can blow, I’d go.” Isn’t that sweet? Short, lovely poems. Who knows Sharon Creech? Anyone know her? She’s written two books, Love That Dog and
Hate That Cat. I was told about this book actually by Brave
Writer families who loved it so much. And I’m excited we get to do an Arrow for
it, I think in January. Anyway, she has a great poem in here. It’s all poems, every single page is a poem. And this one I love. This is Somebody Trying to Write a Poem. “I tried. Can’t do it. Brain’s empty.” Can you imagine if you just gave your kids
permission to write poems like that? Let’s write about how we can’t write a poem
and see what it sounds like. Isn’t that so fun? There’s a second poem in here, though, that
I want to read to you after I read the poem it’s reacting to. I get a hoot out of it every time. Let me see if I can find it in here real quick. It’s in my notes. Hold on, please. Okay, here it is. So, do you all know the poem the Red Wheelbarrow? “So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow, glazed
with rain water beside the white chickens.” And here’s what Sharon Creech in the character
of this book wrote about it: “I don’t understand the poem about the red wheelbarrow, and the
white chickens, and why so much depends upon them. If that is a poem about the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens, then any words can be a poem, you’ve just got to make short lines.” That’s one of my favorites. So, when we introduce our children to these
writers and their ways of examining and reacting to language, we give our kids permission,
don’t we? To play with words. To tell their truths. To not be afraid to use language for the ways
that make them feel connected to the world. We don’t want everything to be this like,
educational, pristine idea. We want them to play, we want them to find
poetry to be meaningful. I am unavoidably in these horrible glaring
lights. So, I’m just not gonna worry about it. But has anyone had tea lately? I need a sip. I also need a bite of scone. I invite you to take a bite of scone. Tell me who has kids watching? Say hello if you’re a kid watching. We’re just taking a tea break before I read
more poems. Yeay, hello to children. Put their names in and I’m going to say hi
to them. I definitely want to do that. Liam and Elijah, hey, thanks for coming. So fun having you. An eight-yr-old popped in. Hi, Ellie, great to have you. Hey, Violet, whoo-hoo. Hi, River, Jackson, Micheala. Hey, Matthew. What’s up, Alison and Shelby. Hey, Oliver. Monroe and Roosevelt, Kitty and Milly, Radley,
Izzy and Mara. Arjen, Brandon, Zack, and Arry. Whoo-hoo, raise the roof. I love having you all here, this is awesome. Hey, Maggie-ray. So, I’m Julie Bogart from Brave Writer. And I think about all of you every day. Hey, Toby, Sydney, and Grady, Mia and Eli. Wow, you guys. Thanks for coming and hanging out with me. I’m thrilled that you’re here. Hey, Ellie and Ian. Oh my goodness, that’s a huge number of you all. Very good. Well. Hi, Rian. Okay, I’m going to keep going because we’re
having fun. So, here’s what I want to talk to you about
now. We’ve discussed how to read poetry. Just a little bit. We’ve talked about the books that you can
use. You can get any at a library. In fact, go to the book section, right? And find it. Hey, Edden? Eden? Eden. Who’s six-yrs-old, yeay. Go to the library, go to the book section
that’s all about poetry, and just ransack the shelf. Every time you come home, bring home more
people. You might try, as a starter, Jack Prelutsky. I should write his name down, shouldn’t I? I’m going to see if I can…I don’t have a
pen. Jack Prelutsky. Someone put it in the comments who knows him. P, R, E, L, U, T, S, K, Y. Prelutsky. He is hilarious, kids love his poems. Um, Shel Silverstein, longtime popular one
as well. And then Young People’s Poems series is fabulous. It will take each poet, like Rudyard Kipling
or Robert Frost or Maya Angelou, and devote a whole book just to their poems but it is
written with beautiful illustrations for children. Okay? So, that’s another one that you can use. Let me just think if there’s any others. But there are so many, old and new poems. There’s like, the Random House anthology,
which is very popular. I found with my kids that giving them the
opportunity to select books is what made them the most interested in poetry. Yeah. It’s, I think it’s called Poems for Young
People is the name of that series, and you can find that in your library. A librarian will know for sure. But those are wonderful. And then knock knock jokes and riddles, also
count. It doesn’t have to be strict poems. If you’re trying to woo a damaged child back
into poetry, start with humor. That’s how we always begin. One of my favorite books for writing poetry,
for just thinking about poetry, is called Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge. And that’s a fun book, especially for adults
but–and teens. Let’s see. Yeah, I also really enjoy this book, but it’s
really for people who are all about poetry. It’s a little more sophisticated but the Singing
School is a fabulous book if you really get into poetry and you want to become like, hey,
this is my little self-education as a mother. This is a good book. So, let’s see. Awesome. Yeah, reading jokes and poems every morning
is a great way to help with the grumpies. So, here’s what I haven’t told you yet and
I should have told this at the beginning because we’re losing people now, but that’s okay. ‘Cause we got the replay viewers and all of
you who are still here. And I want you to know this. So, we’re doing a competition. On Instagram tomorrow if you have a poetry
teatime with your kids, take a picture. Post it to Instagram and include the hashtag:
#poetryteatime. Okay? Hashtag poetry teatime. If you put that on your picture tomorrow,
the next morning, Wednesday morning, my team and I are going to pick a winner and you will
get the mini-version of this teapot and the Arrow Poetry Guide that Brave Writer puts
out and we will send that to you for free. But the only way you can get it is if you
go on Instagram and post your picture, okay? So, we would love to see it. We would love to see your family. I’m going to move this again. Hoping it’s getting–oh, I’m really in the
worst lighting. I don’t know how it happened! Aahh! So, anyway, that’s what you want to do. And of course it doesn’t have to be fancy. That’s the beauty of this whole thing. You can have a poetry teatime in any way that
you want to. But at the end of the day, there will be this
long series of Instagram pictures under that hashtag and we can all get to know each other
and follow each other on Instagram and then inspire each other. Yes, exactly, that’s why I’m doing it. I just think I want to know who’s out there. And I want you to know who’s out there, who
shares this enthusiasm. And then just so you know, we’re working on
something very special as a brand new thing that’s gonna be a gift to the whole community
around poetry teatime. And we should have that ready to share in,
you know, the next month. What I’d like to do, because Periscope’s so
cool, is do a poetry teatime as a group, maybe once a month on Periscope. I’m also looking at Zoom. There might be a way to do it as a group,
where we all like, have a virtual tea party, which I think would be really fun. But mostly what I want to give you the opportunity to do
is to create teatimes tomorrow, tell your kids that they’re in on this little challenge,
and then post your photo, hashtag it poetry teatime, we will find you, and the winner
will get a teapot and our poetry guide from Brave Writer, okay? So, that’s it. So, now I want to do just a little bit of
housekeeping about Periscope and Brave Writer and then I’m going to read a final poem by
Seamus Heaney. One of my other favorites, another, I’m sorry,
tearjerker but it’s so beautiful, I have to read it. And then we’ll close, okay? So, Wednesday on Periscope I’m going to talk
about Brave Writer, just share with you products, answer any questions you have. Like somebody asked me, “How is Brave Writer
different or similar to IEW?” We’ll handle that on Wednesday. You wanna know how to use the Writer’s Jungle? We’ll handle that on Wednesday. You wonder what your kids should use who nine
and eleven? We’ll handle it Wednesday. So, tune in if you want like, the full coverage
on what Brave Writer is. On Friday, we have to do our Scope earlier. I’m going to do it at 12, noon, Eastern, instead
of 4. Here’s why, good reason. My daughter Caitrin at University of Pittsburgh
invited me up for the weekend to watch her play Rugby. She gets very muddy and very bruised. But her game is early on Saturday morning,
so I’ve got to scoot out of here in the late afternoon on Friday to get to Pittsburgh in
time to spend the night and get up early. So, Periscope has to happen at noon. We will make sure we announce it in all of
our usual spaces. But that Periscope will be about the Homeschool
Alliance, my coaching program. And that is this one, the Julie Bogart, I will show it to you. We’ll look at it on my computer, I’ll talk
about all its features, and you can see if that’s the kind of thing you want to be a
part of. And then lastly, the last piece of business
that I want to share, is that we’re discussing A Gracious Space and it’s going to be in November. We will start on November 2nd, I’m taking
November 1st off because I’ll be in Pittsburgh hanging with my daughter. I hope to Periscope from her Rugby game on
Halloween, wouldn’t that just be awesome? I’ll just like, catch her for a few minutes. So, we’ll do that on Saturday. But then on Monday, on November 2nd, we’re
going to start reading from this. And some people have sent me which essays
they want to make sure I cover. If you’re one of those people who loves to
tell people what to do, here’s your chance. Send me an e-mail, [email protected],
and tell me what to do and then I’ll do it, okay? You can buy this through or you
can get it on my website, it’s in the Brave Writer Lifestyle tools in our store. Okay? That was a lot. I’m exhausted. Any questions about poetry teatime before
I make you cry? Any? This was super-dooper fun for me. I really love just the relaxed nature of this,
no power points, just my favorite stuff. My favorite, favorite stuff. Alright, I don’t see any questions flying
in. I’m assuming you don’t have any. Okay. Alright. One last sip of tea. My tea is getting cold. You are so welcome. I love doing this. Oh, I’m so glad. Oh, it’s just, we’re all having a blast. Did you realize that the 55 Things I Did Wrong
in Homeschooling has 12,000 replay views in just a couple days? Like, wow, what I didn’t do, all the things
that make me cringe is popular. I didn’t see that coming. We are definitely going to do the 55 Things
I think I Did Right because it needs a balance. So, that’s coming, too. Oh, my goodness, maybe tomorrow in fact. Oh, I’m glad you think so. Okay, let’s find my other poem to read to
you. You guys, so here’s, in case you haven’t picked
up the thread of the poems I’ve shared with you today for the adults, for the adult members,
it’s to help you just remember the sacredness of this moment in your life. The here and now, the present, meaning for
today not meaning for the future, not fixing the past, but just for today. That’s what today is. Poetry teatimes can be any ages, all the way
from baby up through adulthood, absolutely. So, what we’re trying to do today is just
remind ourselves that this is a privilege; not everyone gets to do this homeschool thing. I mean, are you kidding? We wake up in our pajamas, we stay home, we
eat fun foods, our kids cuddle us and tell us they love us, they surprise us with all
their antics, and that’s what we call our work. I know some days it’s just ridiculously hard,
but you wouldn’t keep doing it if the rewards didn’t outweigh those challenges. And I know you know that. So, today’s just to remind you. We’re pretty danged lucky, right? We’re really lucky. Okay, this poem is by Seamus Heaney. Irish. The Irish have the gift of the gab. Hello,
I’m Irish, did you ever figure that out? Yeah, they write great songs and great poems. Alright, I hope to have inherited just, you
know, an ounce of that genetic predisposition. So, here we go. This poem is called Midterm Break, I’m warning
you I was crying. “I sat all morning in the college sickbay,
counting bells knelling classes to a close, at 2 o’clock our neighbors drove me home. In the porch I met my father crying, he had
always taken funerals in his stride, and big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow, the baby
cooed and laughed and rocked the pram when I came in, and I was embarrassed by old men
standing up to shake my hand, and tell me they were sorry for my trouble. Whispers informed
strangers I was the eldest away at school, as my mother held my hand in hers and coughed
out angry tearless sighs. At 10 o’clock the ambulance arrived with the
corpse, staunched and bandaged by the nurses. Next morning I went up into the room, snowdrops
and candles soothed the bedside, I saw him for the first time in six weeks, paler now
wearing a poppy cruise on his left temple, he lay in the four foot box as in his cot,
no gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear. A four foot box, a foot for every year.” Poetry. It’s sacred. Okay, so take on the challenge. Hashtag your poetry teatimes on Instagram. Jump in the pool, start swimming, and allow
yourself to be carried away. Love you guys. I will see you tomorrow. I’m Julie Bogart from Brave Writer. Live honestly, write bravely. Have a great evening, you guys.

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