Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Dinner - A Time to Discuss

I checked to see if anyone had written about mealtime before I added my two cents, since in two hours it'll be time for a new topic! Alas, there are weeks that require time away from the computer - this was one of mine.

I wanted to share how much I love mealtimes where we are all present and we have fun/meaningful discussions. I add the fun in there because there is no discussion that my husband is involved in that isn't fun! He just has that knack.

We once had a friend come over to dinner (a single, male friend, mind you). We like to invite friends over because they bring to the "table" new and fresh ideas. Before we even started with the prayer, the kids had already had three light discussions and one serious one with him. I sat down to eat, and David says to me, "The energy in this room is electrifying. They're all highly intelligent."

Wasn't that a sweet thing for him to say? I know he was being earnest with me too, because I've been told the same thing by others. I not only allow my children to discuss topics at dinner, but encourage it. I want them to grow up being not only able to articulate themselves, but comfortable in doing so. What better way to learn this than in a loving environment, with the comfort of good food setting the mood?

Just today at lunch my oldest (14) and I were discussing what "running in different circles" means. She had mentioned that she never sees the son of a friend of ours at church because he's older, and they don't hang out with the same people. So I said, "Oh - you run in different circles, huh?" She stated that not only did she not know what that meant, but half the time she had a hard time understanding my vocabulary. With my 11 & 7 yr olds listening and chiming in here and there, we discussed how reading classics could increase one's vocabulary, and how maybe Clive Cussler, great author though he is, might not cut the mustard for one's education.

I admit, it was lost on the boys, but the twins are still learning the core lesson of not conducting a food fight, so I'm okay with that. :)

Family dinner - great time for family/group discussions. A good source for discussion starters (if you're lacking some ideas), is The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy by ED Hirsch. Good stuff.

What we're reading THIS week (with notes about last week's reading):

Dad - The Road to Serfdom (to be completed by Thurs for colloquia)
BOM (I forgot to add our core books on the list the last few posts!)

Mom - The Road to Serfdom (yep - done by Thurs)
Making of America
The Constitution of the United States
(Jane Austen got put on the back burner)

Scholar - Brisingr
Intelligro Math
BOM (In English AND Italian)

Practice Scholar - Caddie Woodlawn
(note - last week she read the entire book of The Red Scarf Girl! She has never read a whole book in a week - she surprised herself and I'm so very proud of her! Talk about material for great discussions!)
She's picked up a core book of American Nursery Rhymes and is educating herself of some of the rhymes and songs that it contains that she somehow missed earlier.
BOM (In English AND Italian)

Love of Learner - We just finished tonight Pheobe the Spy!
Great Expectations (almost done!)
Has BOM read to her.

Core - They LOVE those "Values" books. The ones that are biographies about different famous people, but they throw in an imaginary friend so the story is explained without it being too dry for little ears. My LOL loves these too. We have several and sometimes I'll pick up others from the library that we don't have. My 5 yr old has picked these up again, so we're reading these along with Mother Goose Rhymes. I also read the BOM to them.

Family - New Testament, King James Bible
So You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? (we took a break last week)

1 comment:

Dawn S. said...

My mom used to say this was how she knew her kids was because of sitting down to meals together. I feel the same. I shouldn't be, but I'm always shocked when I find out families don't eat together. This is definitely one way to keep our families closer. Great post!