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.

5 things that are finally working


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

“How’s school going?”

This seems to be a common question among homeschool circles this time of year. We’re about a month or so in, time enough to have a rough idea what’s working and what’s not. Our plans look so perfect on paper, but it takes a few weeks to get a feel for how it really works.

Only now do I feel like we’ve finally found our homeschool groove. Yes, it’s taken us five years!  I’m fairly certain most of you work out the kinks a lot quicker than that!

I recently revisited this Power of the Beginner article and it took me back to those early days, trying so many options, reading every homeschool book I could find, researching different philosophies and always feeling completely in over my head.

Sure, there are days I still feel like that, but at five years in I can confidently say I know what’s finally working for us. Of course, these won’t work for everyone, but just in case you’re also in the “trying-on” stage or exploring different ideas and options, perhaps one of these will be just the ticket for you.

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Test results: What really matters most

Test results_
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

I didn’t need to wait for any test results: The findings were clear.

I wrote here about the day I thrust a practice test at my son with no preparation, and a hummingbird saved the day and reminded me that education is more than standardized tests.

I was reminded that nature and care for living things will teach us more than a million worksheet pages

But even with that gained perspective, I was still surprised by the results of the “real” test day. Thankfully, this time there were no tears. We had prepared. We worked hard finishing all my son’s curriculum for the year.

We had completed several practice tests. We reviewed the concepts from the year. Since we’d never done testing, I really had no idea how he’d do.

Mostly, I just wanted this test-experience to identify where we needed to focus our efforts for the next year.

It definitely did that.

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On state testing and holding hummingbirds

On state testing and holding hummingbirds
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

Sometimes it’s like I sabotage myself. Have you ever been there? It’s like,

“Oh let’s see: I’m super tired and grumpy today, we’ve had a full week and we’re all a bit on edge this morning. Why don’t we go ahead and set the day on fire by doing our state achievement practice tests today?!

Even though I’ve never given you a bubble test before, I think I’ll just throw it at you with zero preparation and expect you to do well, even though you have Asperger’s and are incredibly intolerant to change or surprises or new situations. Sure, great idea!”

What in the name of all that is good made me think this was a reasonable idea?

With unfounded optimism I glanced over the test and smiled — it was all stuff he knew, so I figured he was more than prepared.

What he wasn’t prepared for is test-taking [Read more…]

3 questions to carry you through chaotic seasons

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

always think “normal life” is just around the corner. I tell myself, “As soon as we get through the holiday months, or this sickness, or the busy season, or …”

But it seems there’s always something.  I keep waiting for normal, in vain.

We’re coming out of one particularly crazy time. In about 6 weeks’ time I had four speaking events, we bought a house, I got sick for three weeks, then we packed up to move, then I finished writing a book, then our house was delayed so we moved in with my parents for a week, then we went on an already-scheduled family vacation to a remote hot-spot where we all got sick again and I spent the first few days taking care of a particularly ill little one.

In fact, I’m typing these words while perched precariously on a balcony, the only place I can get our internet hot-spot to function. I’m occasionally interrupted and respond in broken-Spanish phrases to those around me. Let’s just say this isn’t my typical writing routine!

Through this chaotic season, I’ve found myself returning to three simple questions. They’ve proven a steadying anchor for us through boxes and moves and sickness and travel. When our food, company, location, feelings, and surroundings have been in constant flux, these questions have helped me return to what really matters.

What I love is, these goals are attainable no matter how hectic a day or season may be. 

So if you also find yourself in a chaotic season where normalcy is a distant-dream, perhaps these simple questions can anchor your homeschooling efforts and encourage your soul as well. They are:
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Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 7- and 9-year-old)

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

The title of this post should be Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with Dutch)By this I simply mean that the age of my children isn’t primarily what influences our days. It is Dutch who influences our days.

I say this with love and with all the proud-mama vigor you can imagine. I adore my boy. He has Asperger’s syndrome, a character trait (as we call it) that gives him a certain set of strengths and weaknesses.

Every child, of course, has strengths and weaknesses, but Dutch’s are extreme. My daughter Heidi, on the other hand, is typical. She is predictable. She potty-trained herself and could probably raise herself. I could homeschool her in my sleep.  I often joke that if I had had her first, I would’ve written a parenting book. *smile*

But I didn’t. I had my precious son first, and spent the first three years of his life crying, convinced I was the worst mother in the world and how on earth did everyone else have this mothering thing nailed while I was at my wit’s end?

A homeschool day in the life 2016

He’s just unique. Glorious and gifted and destined for greatness, but often our days are difficult.

Please don’t read that I don’t enjoy homeschooling. I do. Please don’t read that I’m disappointed by Dutch. I’m not.

I’m simply attempting to share with you an honest glimpse of homeschooling a challenging child, and I trust that ten or twenty years from now he and I will both be reaping the benefits of persevering through these hard days.

So, what are these days like?

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