Imagine a group of homeschooled teens sipping hot tea and eating Oreos in British Tea-party style. Our homeschool group class was studying Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- so of course, that’s what we did.
Sense and Sensibility is a novel of manners. The precious British characters were required to solve all their problems within the bounds of the manners and social norms of their social class. These manners included basic etiquette for teas, meals, and parties. It told them who to talk to and when. Manners gave them parameters on what they could do in order to solve financial and family problems.
So, we trained the kids on how to comport themselves at a tea party:
– We divided up in groups and appointed a hostess for each group
– As each “guest” arrived, the hostess and other guests would rise from their seats in greeting
– The “hostess” introduced each guest and poured out tea for each
– She also gave each an Oreo on a plate
– The guests had to nibble at the Oreo, sip tea, and make small talk
It was all stiff and formal and gave the kids a small taste of British society (at tea anyway). It was a precious way to introduce a great novel of manners.
Jane Austen’s books are a great way to give your homeschoolers a glimpse of British life in the early 1800s. You can work through the same study guide we used with our kids: Study Guide for Sense and Sensibility. It includes valuable background information, vocabulary, and useful questions but NO busywork.
Here’s Sabrina’s advice on time management: