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 now.

3 ways to maximize summer learning without doing school

Written by Kari Patterson.

“Note to self: By mid-May you are just so done.”

This is a memo I left to myself, last year around this time, when I was army-crawling across the finish-line of school, joylessly trudging through the final obligatory lessons.

See, when the sun comes out and the natural world awakes, there are a thousand outdoor adventures to be had, and quite frankly no one wants to stay inside to study. Most of all me.

So while I respect the year-round homeschooling mentality, I’ve found for our family, we need summer. And this year, by a little better planning ahead, we were able to indeed finish our formal lessons by mid-May, and can I just tell you: It has been glorious!

But a summer break doesn’t mean we do nothing for three months.

Remember, a change is as good as a rest. Summer is one of the best times for learning, but not in the traditional sit-down-and-study sort of way. I’m finding that the best way for us to maximize summer learning isn’t by trudging through or quitting altogether, it’s through taking advantage of the unique opportunities summer affords and capitalizing on those. There are lots of ways, but here are three of my favorites: [Read more…]

The mess of real learning and how to survive

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

It was Nature Day, and the kids were happily scattered across the property, smeared with mud, rosy-cheeked from the fresh air, happily lost in the world of all things wild.

I came through the back door and into the kitchen to get some water. As I stood at the sink I was vaguely away of some cereal bowls on the counter, but paid little attention. (A few dirty dishes aren’t exactly out-of-the-ordinary around here.) Suddenly, something flopped out of a bowl and splashed water all over the counter.

Gah! Finally focusing on the bowls, I realized one held a large newt, and the other bowls contained jelly-blobs of newt eggs. The newt continued thrashing about in the cereal bowl, splashing water right where I meal-prep. *sigh* You might think my boy was to blame, but I knew better. I called out the door,



[Read more…]

Kari’s day in the life (with a 9- and 11-year-old)

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

I mentioned before that this is our “Experiment Year,” but little did I know then that I’d be trying something else I’ve never done before: Homeschooling while pregnant!

Though I’m feeling great now, I spent three months wiped out with morning sickness. Thankfully, we were able to keep chugging along with our school routine, which tells me that our routine works for us, because our days went fairly smoothly even when I was couch-ridden. So grateful!

I’ve already shared about our Experiment Year, and the five key lessons I’ve learned so far. So what does this experiment look like? Nowadays it looks a little bit like this:

[Read more…]

3 ways Christmas can inspire our homeschool

Photo by Jeswin Thomas

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

By now most of us have put the textbooks aside to rest for a bit, in favor of more festive activities.

I must admit we started our winter break rather spontaneously last Thursday, mid-day, after math and before language arts. I needed to get the house cleaned and decorated for a Christmas party, so as soon as math was finished I announced, “Surprise! It’s Christmas break! Now start cleaning!”

But while this season can certainly become busy – a frenzy of parties and lights and shopping and baking – it can also be a time of precious reflection, when we consider how the message of Christmas informs and inspires our homeschool.

And while there are several holidays celebrated around this time of year, and we warmly welcome every one of you whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let’s consider three ways Christmas can inspire our homeschool: [Read more…]

Our experiment year: 5 discoveries so far

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

This year I ditched most of what we’d done before, and decided to take an Experiment Year. That is, a year to try new things, refuse to stress, return to JOY, and recover our lost love of learning.

By the end of last year I found myself frustrated by our workbook-driven, scope-and-sequence-bound educational existence. I just kept thinking, “This is not the life-giving, freedom-filled educational environment I had always envisioned for our family.”

Something had to change.

Turns out, almost everything did, and it’s been great! I am actually ENJOYING myself, my kids are enjoying themselves, and we’ve had ZERO TEARS over educational issues. Hooray!

These are not prescriptions, as every family is different. But I wanted to share five of my discoveries so far. My hope is that one of these might be an “Aha!” moment for you as well.

[Read more…]

Never miss a blog post,
PLUS get Jamie’s FREE ebook: