Our Humble Dining Table, the Centerpiece of our Home
Written by Lusi Austin of That Homeschool Life
Long before we introduced a no-tech-at-the-table non-negotiable policy in our home, we had a vision for table time.
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First, we wanted a table that would be big enough to welcome many. We envisioned it to be a place around which we could gather and celebrate.
Second, we had hoped it would be something around which learning would take place. How this was all going to happen over the years, I couldn’t imagine back in 2008 when we first purchased our table.
But all those things, and so much more, have taken place around our humble, dining table.
Our robust table is one of the only things we purchased brand new. We are big on upcycling and love vintage items. We saw the table in a showroom around the time that we made the decision to homeschool our kiddos.
I’d wanted something that would stand the test of time. At that time, I remember saying to my hubby, “I can see this as our family table for the next 25 years!” The strong legs and sheer width of the table had me sold.
I loved it so much I blogged about it. I wrote this about it, “So much life happens at our table; sharing, praying, learning, weeping, consoling, laughing, eating of course and just celebrating!”
This table has been at the centre of our family life and interactions for almost 15 years. Here are four ways we’ve made this simple table the centerpiece of our home.
Our Humble Dining Table, The Centerpiece Of Our Home
1. Conversation Starters
We laminated some conversation starters that lived on our table for years. I think they helped avoid the ‘so how was your day’ question that often falls flat. The kids loved pulling those conversation starter strips out when visitors came and it naturally broke the ice with others and got us all talking regularly too.
We laminated the cards. I’ve redesigned some for you too so you can just print, laminate and cut and place them on your table. Click here to access them.
2. Cultivate Beauty
Most often, it has laundry baskets covering it, a bowl of fruit and some odds and ends cluttering it because this is REAL life!
But I have tried to make our table something lovely by placing our long table runner on top and a vase of flowers. This is one of the little ways I bring beauty into my homeschooling day.
3. Gathering Place
This is the central gathering place in our home. We have had music jam sessions around our table where I’ve written songs and from which I’ve written and published a book.
We’ve slurped soups and copious amounts of coffee at it. We have enjoyed pizza nights for teen birthdays, monthly family thankfulness dessert nights and plenty of other random celebrations. So much learning has taken place around it!
We’ve dissected organs for science (and thoroughly cleaned the table afterwards LOL), played endless amounts of board games and enjoyed books read together around it.
4. Vulnerable Discussions
And lest I paint you a Little House on the Prairie kind of picture, I can assure you that our table has also seen its fair share of fights, fears exposed and an openness to our human fragility.
When I got the news that my beloved Nau (Grandmother in Fijian) had passed away, I was sitting at our table surrounded by my children. We have lost it at each other, stormed away from the table and come back and reconciled at it too.
There’s something about creating a space for people to first feel welcome and then to be safe enough to get vulnerable that really is unique. We’ve comforted and prayed with broken-hearted friends. Tissues have lived close-by to our table.
What if you don’t have a big table? What if you have a breakfast bar with a stool or a tiny kiddies table or you sit eating around your coffee table?
No matter. Whatever kind of table you have, may it be a place for connection, for healing, for learning and for love.
It’s never the table that provides that, it’s the people that gather together around it. So when you can, encourage conversation. Model vulnerability and gratitude.
Encourage learning from life around your lifegiving space. Show your children and then your visitors that all are welcome to come as they are to your table.
And may the memories you create around it be rich and long-lasting for you and all who gather there.
Tell us one of your favorite memories from around your humble table as a homeschool family!
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