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Tea Time


Back in 2002 I wrote an article for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine about tea time for homeschoolers and easy lunch ideas.   Tea Time has become a regular feature of our day, and I would love to share it with you so that perhaps it can give you some good ideas for your own home.


In America we have lunch and dinner sometimes supper, but in England, they have Tea. Well, semantics aside, my family has Tea every afternoon at 4:30 pm. Why the exact time? We always have a 20 minute Tidy at 4:00! That 20 Minute Tidy has been part of our daily routine for over 20 years, longer than my children at home have been alive 🙂 I established the 20 Minute Tidy when my oldest children were 8 and 11 years old. We work fast and hard for 20 minutes to get the house in order after our school work has messed it up a bit. Its mainly to get the house ready for Daddy to get home and to get ready to start dinner.

So, after the 20 Minute Tidy we rest by having tea. We have a small morsel to eat, usually. Sometimes I make tea cakes, sometimes I make candy, but usually we have scones or biscuits with butter and homemade strawberry jam.

We read out loud during tea time, sometimes we discuss things that are on our minds, but we keep the talk light and happy. I try to encourage an atmosphere of rest and peace. Often, in the warmer months, we take our tea outside. But as pleasing as Tea Time can be to the senses, it is mostly about connecting with each other and enjoying the company, resting and refreshing the soul after a long hard day.

Through the years I have collected cups and saucers, plates, silver forks and spoons and white napkins that we use for our tea. I know that tea can be just as plain as can be and still be inviting, but I do like to dress it up a bit. Its a special occasion when I bring out the tea tray with the china and silver all sparkling and beautiful.  It is a special time of day that we all look forward to. And the sound that silver on china makes just pleases me.

At 4:30 everything just slows down at my house. Time almost stands still while the kettle boils and the silver clinks on the china. Little voices are soft and quiet. Candles are lit. Music wafts in from the other room and we settle in for an hour of peace and tea.


  1. Laurie

    How lovely! I could almost hear the clink silver on china and beautiful music!

  2. Lecia


    What a great idea. I think I may try that here. I may have to name it something else, I don’t think Ryan will take to the idea of tea time, but I know he will love the time each day just to connect and talk. I don’t think you ever outgrow that!

  3. Morgen

    Tea is a standard meal in Ireland, too! I’m American, but come from Irish immigrants, and my family, both mother’s and father’s side, brought this tradition with them. Naturally, I also serve tea every afternoon – I think we need to incorporate that tidy-up session, too, though!
    I’d love to see tea become a “given” in this country. The slow-down is really needed!

  4. Robin

    WOW, this is a really great idea! It would be a sweet time with my children. Thank you!