About Kari Patterson

Kari Patterson and her family live out in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. As a 2nd-generation homeschooler she espouses the same philosophy her own mom did in the 80s: Cultivate a love for learning and one's education will never end. She bakes bread, brews kombucha, speaks at conferences & writes at Sacred Mundane. Her new book Sacred Mundane is available for pre-order now.

How to recover your lost love for learning

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

And then I tore the math workbook into pieces while my stricken son watched, and I knew something had to change.

I closed my eyes. What’s gone wrong here?? 

I’m ashamed to even share it here, but I’m guessing if any of you mamas is schooling a special needs kid, you have had a day when you JUST. CAN’T. TAKE. another school-lesson sidelined by endless interruptions and dropped pencils and blank stares and suddenly forgetting everything taught up to this point.

Chances are this day happens to fall when you’re most hormonal and have approximately 87 other things to do before noon. Chances are you woke up with a headache, gained three more mysterious pounds, are agitated about another issue altogether, and this all creates the perfect storm for that mommy-fail moment you wish you could forget.

This was mine. It was a little math workbook–something I’d picked up for him “for fun.” (Oh the irony!)

We were so not having fun.

Thankfully, my son and I snuggled and prayed, I apologized and he forgave, I recycled the shredded pages, and we talked about how things had gotten off track.

Reflecting, I could see how the tension had mounted for weeks — we’d had a hard few months and as the end of the year approached I became the drill sergeant, pushing to complete the pages, eager to cross the whole year off and be done.

I was so deeply saddened by this. I just kept thinking, “This is not me! This is not the home education I’ve longed for and aspired to and envisioned for my kids. What’s happened?”

I took a few weeks to contemplate this. I prayed, talked to close confidants, read articles here, and processed my feelings with my husband Jeff. Two key things rose to the surface: [Read more…]

Teaching kids to take initiative

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

When he showed up with our dinner, I could barely believe my eyes — this was a kid! What kind of kid does this??

Let me explain. My husband frequents a local coffee shop, and gets to know the baristas. He had often chatted with one in particular, a guy named Christian. Turns out one day Jeff had shared with him about a difficult season we were in. In response, (after asking Jeff’s permission), Christian took the initiative to coordinate—and personally deliver—dinners out to our house the following week.

Now, I was already floored that someone I had never met was willing to bring us meals (we live a long way out of town).

I was further floored that this person was a guy (sorry, but usually it’s the moms who think of things like meal-delivery!).

But I was completely floored when this guy showed up and looked barely old enough to drive.

He was 21. With a wide, bright smile, he was respectful and kind, talking at length with our kids, admiring our home, and hand-delivering a nutritious meal made by his mom. He was clearly a go-getter, working part-time while also going to school and pursuing his passion in a creative career while also serving in his church.

I soon discovered he was one of 7 brothers … all homeschooled.

Ah. As soon as he left, I looked at Jeff and said, That’s why we homeschool. I want to raise kids like that.

[Read more…]

How to host a Nature Day

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

“Now I don’t have to die to go to heaven,” my son grinned. “It’s right here.”

We were walking along the trails zig-zagging through the wild countryside of the property we would soon call home. Towering trees, low-hanging limbs laden with moss, a pond and trickling creek, old-growth stumps — it was all so lush and green and vast — as far as the eye could see.

But even as spectacular as the scenery was, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Seeing his wonder–rapture really–as he explored and discovered, head tilted back, gazing straight up, pointing here and there, “Mom, red-tailed hawks!”

I couldn’t believe this was where, Lord willing, our kids would grow up.

I grew up out in the country, and took for granted the gold-mine that was my backyard. I grew up hiking through the woods, forging the river to a friends’ house, building forts from limbs and twigs, climbing trees, planting gardens, holding still and silent watching the deer creep by.

These days, though, it seemed you had to choose between a roof over your children’s heads OR a piece of land, so I had long ago given up the idea of raising my own kids out in the woods.

So, when we fell into this gift of a place, that had a roof and land, I knew it was meant for more than just our own personal pleasure — I wanted the gift of nature to bless others as well.

[Read more…]

Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 7- and 10-year-old)

Written by Kari Patterson

Sometime around 7 they shuffle out, sleepy-eyed, their pajama-pants falling mid-shin, reminding me how fast they’re growing up. But we still snuggle.

They find me in my favorite chair, the big one with room for a little beside me and another on my lap. I slide my Bible to the side, set my coffee down, and gather them up, pushing back the blanket so they can crawl beneath. I kiss their cheeks, right next to their mouths so I can breathe in their morning breath. I’m weird like that, I love their smells.

Thus begins our day.

After snuggling, we read the Bible together, pray, and move toward (maybe) getting dressed. I admit sometimes when it’s cold, we might linger longer in our jammies, or upgrade only slightly, to sweatpants.

We have our bells, to keep us moving, because otherwise we’d likely stay in that chair ‘til noon! These “bells” are just alarms set on my phone, with pleasant sounds the kids picked out for each activity. There’s Bible/pray, then get dressed, then breakfast, then brush teeth.  Though I love lingering, the bells remind me there’s a good, full day ahead, so let’s begin.

[Read more…]

How habits can help homeschooling this season

How habits can help homeschooling during the holidays
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

There’s a one-word banner I’m waving these days: Habits

The word probably doesn’t kindle a fire of passion or enthusiasm in your soul.

Yet.

Though you may not come alive when you hear the word habits, I will tell you this one-word anthem is revolutionizing our homeschool like nothing else has in a long time. [Read more…]