Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Table etiquette for homeschoolers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Table etiquette for homeschoolers

My parents tell me that public schools used to teach etiquette and manners as part of a student's elementary education. They say that teachers used to sit with students at lunch time and instruct them on proper table manners, correcting them as needed, so the children grew up at least knowing the basics of table etiquette.

But that wasn't my experience in school, and it definitely wasn't my children's experience when they entered public school a few years ago. With the uproarious clamor of an overcrowded cafeteria, and just minutes to spend at the table, my children's lunch period was overwhelming. The staff on duty had all they could handle just ushering kids in an out the doors and making sure no one was throwing food.

Thankfully homeschooling allows us to enjoy a much more relaxed and calm midday meal, where the kids have plenty of time to eat their lunch and it's relatively peaceful and quiet. But the table manners I try to instill in my children are, admittedly, short of the etiquette that may be expected at a formal dinner or an important business luncheon when they get older.



As much as I love the look of a formal table setting, our meals are decidedly informal. We don't set out more plates or silverware than we need, we usually eat our salad with the same fork as the rest of our dinner, and no one ever gets more than one glass or cup. Like many families in today's busy world, we often eat on the go, or even on TV trays while we watch a movie together.

Honestly, I'm concerned that my kids have had few opportunities to learn the higher level table etiquette they may need to make a good impression on future employers.

But I'm a homeschooler, and that means I can teach my kids anything I want as part of their basic education. I know there are resources that we, as homeschooling parents, can use to instruct our kids, and perhaps even ourselves, in the best of proper table etiquette before our youngsters grow up and leave the nest.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/42954113@N00/5207503753

I'm fortunate to be friends with etiquette expert and fellow writer, Rebecca Black, who has written many books and articles. She knows all about proper manners for every situation, and writes in such a helpful way that she makes it a pleasure to learn. I'm excited to see that she has published a new book, "Dining Etiquette: Essential Guide for Table Manners, Business Meals, Sushi, Wine and Tea Etiquette," which would be a perfect resource for teaching homeschooled teens and pre-teens everything they need to know about table etiquette before they go to college or begin careers.

I'm looking forward to checking out this book, and perhaps staging practice dinners with my own kids, so that they are better acquainted with all the rules of etiquette they will need to flourish in any dining experience.