3 questions to carry you through chaotic seasons

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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)

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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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4 ways to encourage delight-directed learning

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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. 

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

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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

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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…]