Heather Hall

> <<Do the rest of you guys feel a formal mealtime is important?>>
I grew up with an iron rule about being at the table by 6 pm and eating
whatever was on my plate with a smile or my chair got taken away - yuck!

I do still like the idea of a shared meal. When my husband and I got
together I always nagged him to slow down and eat with me. He thought I was
nuts. Now that we have kids he really wants us all to eat together and goes
great lengths to accomplish that even on nights when I teach or have to
leave. He grew up eating in front of the TV.

My kids aren't always interested in sitting as long as it takes for us to
eat, they need to get down and wander around, and then come back for more.
I'm ok with this but dh goes freakin' ballistic every time. *sigh* I've
created a monster ;)

I have only recently found patience with my children, where I had none
before. I think it's just his turn to vent since he had to be the patient
one while I went nuts for awhile. I am just trying to not get upset with
him and flame the fires. Instead I guess I have just been trying to kind of
narrate when the kids are doing something that I know will bother him. 'Oh,
do you need a break for a minute? Well, you can come back for more if you
want to' that kind of stuff. Seems like if I speak up before he starts
huffing and puffing, he can deal with it better.

He is so concerned about Harriet starting to read soon because he and his
sister both read at about 4. This list has been an amazing help for me
because I can just throw out little tidbits whenever he says 'we really have
to get you reading FOR REAL'. This morning he said something like that
Because the kids were sitting together in our recliner and Harriet was
reading to Crispin. She knows the story by heart and was saying the
appropriate phrases with the right pictures. To me, that is reading,
especially for a 4 year old. I just said, 'well I've read several times
that fine motor skills are really the first step in reading, maybe you guys
can do a project'
I'm not sure if it's ideal, but he is so curriculum focused. I am trying to
ease him into some more unschooling ideas without shoving it down his
throat. That won't work with him.
Although he would never used anyone else's published curriculum, I can see
him going to great lengths to put together a very detailed plan of his own.
I really want to do more natural learning. I have a ways to go myself
before I can truly foster natural learning in my kids. Thanks for the help.
Heather, mom to
Harriet 12.15.99
Crispin 01.25.02

Holly Selden

When I was a kid, we always had formal mealtime. Everyone sat down together and ate dinner and talked. It was a very pleasant time (up until I was a teenager and even now a grown woman). As I got older and my relationship with my mother deteriorated, mealtime got to be a stressful time. My food couldn't digest.

Since I've had kids, we haven't had a formal mealtime. Not because I don't want to...but because of lack of ability. We do all eat at the same time, but there is no place for all 5 of us to sit down and eat together. It's always been a combination of financial reasons and lack of space to put a table big enough to sit us all.

The kids have a "kid's" table that doubles as an art space. (I spraypainted it a few years ago with slate so they could do chalk on it on rainy days). DH and I usually sit on the couch or on the floor and eat.

I have hopes and dreams of one day being able to sit down as a family and eat, but while we can't, we still try to interact during that time frame.


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Inna Manni

I grew up in a family of bookworms so while we did eat at the table,
often even all together, we usually all brought our books to the
table and all ate while reading ;)

I still love to do that, but I realize that a lot of people find it
rude. My husband has talked about eating as a family but in truth he
prefers to eat in front of the TV. Nothing wrong with that! The only
person who wants to eat as a family (and often tells both him and me
to 'sit' at the table) is our 2 yr old daughter! But big part of her
wanting us at the table is that there are still a lot of foods she
eats messily and is therefore told she can only have them at the
table. As she learns to keep her soup off the couch, things will


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