About Kari Patterson

Kari Patterson and her family are unschooling, church-planting, smoothie-drinking, frugal-living weirdos from Oregon. As a 2nd generation homeschooler, Kari enthusiastically espouses the same delight-directed method her mother did in the 80s. She celebrates life's messy glory over at Sacred Mundane.

4 ways to encourage delight-directed learning

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

A stack of Sport Fishing from 1992?

When my mother-in-law handed over a pile of 23-year-old fishing magazines, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. We don’t fish. Have no interest in fishing. My house is already cluttered.

Did I mention the magazines were from 1992? Not exactly a cutting-edge homeschool curriculum.

But I’ve come to learn that anything can be the next spark for delight-directed learning, and wouldn’t you know: We now have a roaring fire of passionate learning blazing through our boy. 

photo 3 (5)

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Homeschooling a child with Asperger’s: The hardest part of Kari’s homeschool year


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

I held my breath as I looked at the list. Every single item. It described him to the T. How had I never known? Wordlessly, I slid the laptop over to my husband. His eyes widened as he scrolled down, just as amazed.

You mean, this is a thing? 

There’s a name for this? And it’s legit?

Relief and grief often go hand-in-hand. On the one hand, I was overwhelmed with relief, finally freed from the crippling belief that all my son’s challenges were the result of my own inadequacies.

Terrible handwriting? Clearly my fault. Can’t tie shoes? My failure. Strange social behavior? My mess-up.

Lack of eye-contact, emotional maturity, empathy and a dozen other “typical” behavioral benchmarks?

All mommy-fails.

The hardest part of my homeschool year

But now, here, with one word I was freed from this Mommy-guilt prison.

His challenges weren’t my fault. This … was a thing.

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Overcoming (your own) anger in your homeschool


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

“I‘m concerned about Luke,” she confessed. 

We leaned in to listen, and she shared her struggle honestly. Of course we could relate. The three of us have 12 kids among us, all homeschooled, and we each juggle other responsibilities as well. (I’m sure you can relate too!)

Her concern was about anger. She’d seen her 8-year-old son angry often, and also recognized her own tendency toward anger.

I assured her she wasn’t alone. In fact, in the past 4-5 conversations I’d had with homeschool moms, all recognized their struggle with anger in their own personal lives.

I’ve even heard moms say they quit homeschooling, because they found they became too angry and felt that they couldn’t enjoy their kids and educate them too.

What is it about homeschooling that makes us so mad?  [Read more…]

How to have the best finishing feeling


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

So this was the day math took three hours and twenty-three minutes. This was the day I thought to myself, “Today is NOT the day to write a homeschooling post.” This was the day I wondered, “Why exactly am I homeschooling? Why am I so enthusiastic about this education option?”

But then, turns out it was the day to write a post, and it reminded me all over again why we’re doing this thing called homeschooling and why, yes, I remain enthusiastic in spite of it all.

Because of that best finishing feeling.

[Read more…]

On free-range kids and letting go of labels


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

Spring’s come early to Oregon and the chickens are laying again. The picture below is the real-time view from my perch here on the back porch, as I watch the kids creating animal farms in the yard.

Yes, “animal farms” are as simple as they sound: tupperware containers filled with worms, spiders, centipedes, snails and slugs.

To the left are the chickens.

We joke that we only raise the finest “free-range” chickens. Of course they are free-range, we leave the gate open and let them roam around the yard during the day.

Achieving “free-range” is much easier than it sounds.

But “free-range” is a funny thing, right? It’s a label we attach that conjures up an image that’s probably far from reality.

More and more we are becoming label-obsessed and label-dependent, and while I’m certainly not here to take issue with the food industry (I’m just happy to have food on my table!), I’ve noticed that the label-happy mentality sticks itself to our homeschooling habits as well.

[Read more…]