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.

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…]

How to homeschool your own heart this year

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

I‘ve been there more times than I care to admit — looking ahead at the new school year and searching for just the right change: a new book, a new method, a new schedule. If I just change up this or that, maybe it’ll be that magic bullet?

Certainly, sometimes a tweak here and there truly helps. But more often than not, you know the one thing that most needs to change?


Nine times out of ten, the issue isn’t the workbook, it’s my mindset.

It isn’t the program, it’s the problems that lurk in my own heart: the impatience, anger, perfectionism, discouragement, lack of discipline. More often than not, it’s me stuck in the same cycle of negativity, it’s me forgetting my purpose, it’s me losing sight of the goal, it’s me letting life overwhelm, it’s me losing my joy.

More than anything else, what I really need is to better homeschool my own heart.

[Read more…]

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…]

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