4 ways to encourage less complaining & more thanksgiving

complaining
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

I can tell we’ve gotten off course when, as I tell my kids to do something, I am already inwardly preparing for their protest. I so wish it didn’t happen, but I have a hunch we all face this at times, that inner irritation that comes from just a few too many complaints.

It usually starts with a subtle, not-quite-right attitude, a less-than-cheerful obedience, a tone of voice that leaves much to be desired. It’s usually not outright defiance, but we know too well that a little bit of complaining, compounded day after day after day, can wear the best of us down to a weary nub. Or, conversely, rile us up and make us sharp, sarcastic, harsh.

Either way, it can leave us wondering, “What happened to our joy?!”

I’d like to share a few thoughts in this place as a way to simply begin the conversation on this topic. Truthfully, I’m tackling it because I’d love to hear your wisdom on how you maintain a complaint-free home. Let’s begin here: [Read more…]

5 things that are finally working

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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

chaosmain
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:
[Read more…]