Last week we talked about the things I was leaving behind in 2022, so it felt only proper to spend some time sharing the things I’m making sure to bring with me into 2023. While there are several things that I will be carrying over, I’m only going to share the absolutely non-negotiable things that I couldn’t even consider going forward into 2023 without.

  1. Opening our day together at the kitchen table with lessons over breakfast. Each morning after our boys have their quiet time studying the Bible alone, they make their own breakfast and we gather around the table to officially start our school day. While at the table, we talk about our weekly Bible verse and hymn before moving into talking about and practicing comprehension strategies over a picture book.
  2. Working on each subject for a specific amount of time instead of through one lesson. At the start of this year, we began working on every subject for 45 minutes. By doing this, no one feels the pressure to rush through a lesson just to move on to other subjects. Handwriting, clarity, and depth of thinking have increased immensely by doing it this way.
  3. Reading aloud just because. I love the time we spend reading a novel together. There are no comprehension questions and no expectation to share any thinking. There are no projects or activities. We’re reading to enjoy the journey. We’re reading to enjoy one another.
  4. Inquiry weeks. Every five to seven weeks, we take a break from all our normal school rhythms – except opening our day at the kitchen table – and each boy chooses a question to dig deep into. By the end of the week, everyone is ready to present what they have learned and share their process.
  5. Nightly prep. Each night right after the boys go to bed, I lay out our plan book, everything we will need for our morning table time and anything the youngest, who is a preschooler, is going to need for the day. This simple routine lets me be sure that there aren’t any surprises in the morning when it comes to missing supplies and it also ensures that I’m not scrambling for a book or other piece first thing in the morning, which allows us to have a smart and simple start to our day.

What do you do that you are definitely going to continue from 2022 to 2023?

Keep what is working. Keep it smart. Keep it simple.