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.
I need truth, daily, that sets me free.
I need to see things for what they really are, not warped by my own skewed perspective.
I need to be set free from listening to lies, to the comparisons and accusations and onslaught of shoulds that settle heavy on my shoulders.
I need to enter in to what’s right in front of me today, instead of escaping into the easy-out.
I need to make contact, get close, and engage the gears of each day so we can move forward and not just spin our wheels in the air.
I need to embrace the real, actual, human children God has given me instead of holding them to some impossible ideal and letting the cloud of disappointment darken our days.
I need to trust that these messy, imperfect days will string together into something beautiful, in the end.
I need to trust that wisdom will come when I lack it, strength will come when I need it, and that tomorrow will worry about itself so I don’t need to go there quite yet.
And, above all, I need to thank God. I need to fill our home and hearts with gratefulness, giving thanks for each day and life and breath, modeling humble gratitude for my kids and teaching them to do the same.
If I could live that, it wouldn’t matter much what workbooks we had.
I think just about any homeschool method would work, if this homeschool mama cared and tended her own soul with the same fervor and zeal with which I pore over curriculum catalogs.
The truth is: Our mundane is sacred.
The truth is, every ordinary day, with all its regular routines and tedious tasks, is teeming with opportunity to turn us into women of freedom, purpose, and joy.
Especially as homeschool parents, we spend the vast majority of our day devoted to mundane tasks, and it’s all too easy to lose sight of our holy calling, of our purpose. We get bound in unhelpful habits, we lose focus, we lack joy.
I hope you will do this one simple thing this year: Take seriously the task of homeschooling your own heart.
Feed your soul. Challenge your mindsets. Cultivate your inner person. Pay attention to your emotional health.
Tend your heart.
For 17 years, I have been pursuing the Sacred Mundane. I have been learning, living, loving the life-changing truth that it is in the everyday, commonplace stuff of life where we are transformed from the inside out. Where we find freedom, purpose, and joy.
Our ordinary days transform our lives.
And after all these years, I finally get to share this message with you! In the pages of my new book Sacred Mundane, we learn how to let our days transform our lives.
We learn to look, listen, engage, embrace, trust, and thank. We learn how to see the extraordinary in the midst of our ordinary. We learn to be changed from the inside out.
A note from Jamie: If you’ve enjoyed Kari’s writing here on Simple Homeschool and on her blog, I know you’ll love her book Sacred Mundane. As I wrote in my endorsement,
“Kari’s words, full of grace, humor, and practical application, invite us to transform the lens through which we see the world, through which we see God–through which we see everything!”
If your heart needs a little transformation at the start of this homeschool year, I encourage you to pick up your copy right here–enjoy!
What character quality would you most like to grow in this year? Patience? Joy? Freedom? Discipline? Gratitude? Something else?
This post contains affiliate links.
Definitely joy-no matter the circumstance of the day
I am working on finding the joy in my circumstances right now.
Love this post- excellent words. And so, so true. I would like to cultivate many. But at the top of my list is a correct perspective… an overriding peace in every circumstance.
Yes, joy . . . although patience would be a close second!
Anne’s latest post: A Week, Briefly (Eclipse week)
Self-control for us this year.
For me, gratitude (and a better attitude!). Next up would be joy. (I refuse to ask for patience-)
Self-control and gratitude are at the top of my list.
ann-Marie’s latest post: Seven Quick Takes (Vol 297)
Mindful. I’m trying to be more mindful of how I spend my day and time and service.
This post was SO helpful and encouraging! I definitely need to work on peace this year!
joy and consistency
Peace and Joy
I need joy and patience!
Patience, joy, and more compassion for my children’s challenges.
Thanks for the give away.
Love. It conquers all.
Patience. Need more patience. ❤️
My God! This post came at the most perfect timing for me! It wasn’t on the list, but I want to work on being more gentle.
Love that! I just did a study on gentleness, in the Bible. Such a great attribute we overlook so often!
Kari Patterson’s latest post: The spiritual one-two punch
I was going to say patience, since just yesterday I was so DONE with the constant loop of work and need that called my name until I dropped into bed, but then I thought that maybe it’s joy I need the most, for I find that when I am a joyful wife, mother & homeschooler, that other things- like patience- fall into place, too!
And thanks for this post- it was just what I needed…and I would love to read the book!!!
Peace (which, for me, encompasses patience, gratitude, self-control,…)
Patience. Always patience. Every morning I ask God to pour patience into me. A sprinkling of joy would help, too.
It’s definitely self-control. If I could stop wasting so many precious hours of the day and stupid stuff, imagine the possibilities! We could read books together! Go on bike rides! Sew a quilt! Play games! (And maybe even clean the house and get rid of literal tons of unneeded clutter!) Time to get a move-on!
Patience for sure. I get too easily frustrated with my young children. And then end up hating myself for it. This post helped me more then you know. So glad to feel I’m not alone in the struggle with homeschooling. There is so much joy but the struggle at times is real.
With 3 graduated and 3 still at home, I need to find the JOY I had when I started homeschooling 20 years ago.
My plea to the Lord each day is for more patience with the children He has gifted to me through adoption.
Trust–trust that God will carry my son who just fledged, and that He will continue to lead and guide me as I homeschool our daughter. Also joy, so that I will not lament that our time raising our son is over, but instead rejoice that God has brought us this far.
Patience and Joy, but I think if I had one, the other would follow. If I have Joy, I tend to have more Patience. Looks like a great book!
Wow – what a beautiful post! My goal this school year is to work on self-discipline.
I am learning to grow in DISCIPLINE!
I hope i win!!!
I need to grow in joy and to learn how to be in the moment with my kids. I’m always thinking about what’s coming next.
Listening with the heart of Christ
I was just fighting this mental battle yesterday! The thing I feel like I lack in homeschcool is joy. I can’t even tell you how much this post touched my heart and the struggles I’m in right now. Thank you!!!!
Joy and patience – I tend to get so focused on the schedule and time it takes to do things that I cannot enjoy the days, always feeling behind and anxious.
All of the above! Patience? Definitely need some of that. Joy? Please! Gratitude even in difficult situations? Have to. Discipline?Mhmm. The habit of being present in my children’s lives, not just in the same room or house, but actually being super intentional with all of their little hearts? I must. It seems so overwhelming though… thank you for your post! Good reminders this morning!
Beautiful timely words! Thank you!
It’s a hard question, but I definitely need more focus and joy. I feel like I’ve lost my funness when it comes to my kids. We used to dance around the house and laugh and sing and just be silly. that hasn’t happened in a long time.
I would like to grow in joy and contentment. To be happy with what is in front of me and not what others have or what I think I hould have.
Your article was part of my devotional this morning and it was such a blessing. I’m a new homeschool mom 🙂 I want to learn how to walk in peace and joy even in the frustrating moments. This experience is a gift and I don’t want to lose sight of that.
Letting Go! Release attachment to it turning out a certain way. Have faith that it will be the way it’s supposed to be. I will/do have the competence to face any challenges that arise.
Definitely joy and gratitude–could use an shot of those on the hard days!
Sarah M’s latest post: August Titles // 2017
Focus, patience, and discipline are 3 attributes desperately needed by this Mama. With 5 kids ranging in age from 13 down to 4 months, my day is pulled in so many directions! My lack of focus, being pulled in so many directions at ALL hours of the day, quickly leads to my lack of patience, and what little discipline I had going for me flutters out the door.
Patience with myself, and my path; joy in each day, each child, each experience.
Understanding… and finding peace.
Joyful & gracious submission to God’s order, ways and will for my days and life
Joy, and the lightness and delight it brings into it lives!
Joy and patience. I thought I was alone in not feeling joy but as I can see here, it’s a daily struggle for many mamas. Sounds like a book I really need to read!
Joy and patience would come right after 🙂
Freedom and patience!
Oh my! All of the them but probably mostly patience!
Joy! But really all of them. 🙂
I need to trust. Trust that it is enough. Trust that I am where I am supposed to be, my path.
I would say joy. If I can feel joy in all circumstances then I think I could tackle my other character flaws!
I would like to be able to keep my focus on the eternal values in the midst of the daily tasks.
Patience and inner peace 🙂
Patience! Great post!
Patience and joy! Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Discipline and joy.
Gratitude and joy ❤️
I need to grow in joy and in gratitude for sure! I really needed this reminder today to feed my own soul! Thank you!
Patience and Joy!!
Definitely Joy! My children are a gift, being able to be home with them is a gift, to teach them is a gift, to make our home cozy and comforting is a gift. Cultivating joy will remind me of these gifts on the days we struggle, and on the days we sail smoothly.
It was as if your words were directed right at me this morning. I have struggled with a poor mindset lately and really need to cultivate more joy, for myself and my family.
Enjoying my children. I love them, but I frequently just see them as another task to be done.
I so need joy in our homeschool right now. In my heart.
Rest. In body & spirit. A slowed pace. Less doing & more being. Enjoying. Relishing.
Joy! I choose to pursue JOY! Thank you for such a wonderful blog post!
I would love to grow in joy and discipline!
Brett Elizabeth Spore
My answer in the past would always have been patience but after reading some Christine Caine books, I’ve decided what I really need is freedom. Freedom from bondage. Freedom from a lifetime of lies. Freedom to parent how I believe God wants me to parent. Freedom to speak out on what I feel led to speak out about. Freedom from shame. Freedom… in so many ways and areas of my life.
PS – I love this blog post and I am definitely sharing it with others via FB!
Patience, joy, gratitude, I can’t pick just one. 🙂
Gentleness and Joy.
Hope and joy for the future! I can too easily get bogged down in fear!
Discipline and patience!
I definitely need patience especially when my extremely bright, insightful granddaughter sees something in the lesson that I don’t — and sometimes don’t understand — and I need to allow her to go her way with the lesson, with less limits and structure, to learn more than I could ever hope to teach her, instead of trying to rein her in just to get the lesson done.
May the three people who need this book the most win!
Patience and self-control
Purpose and peace in God.
I wanted it to be Joy, because I’ve been dealing with so much anxiety lately. But then I really thought about it and it’s definitely patience. It’s my lack of patience that’s stealing my joy.
I would love to grow in gratitude and joy. Those are blaring in my face right now of things that I need to really grab onto.
I would like to grow in joy and peace.
I am definitely working on having more joy and contentment this year.
I’d like to pursue more joy!
Freedom from being tied to the curriculum and being able to follow my heart and educating my children.
Acceptance. I want to be free of the comparison trap, and love, my family, homeschool, and self just the way it all is.
I think I need joy–the last few years homeschooling has been a struggle. I miss the dewy-eyed old me full of excitement for a new year. Lately it has just been hard.
This is a hard one, I need a lot of help:)
Probably joy, finding contentment in my life as it is, rather than constantly comparing or planning, analyzing..
I am working on valuing myself & finding my voice.
Thank you for writing this, beautiful way to express our brokenness but God’s ability to help us overcome. It’s hard to just choose one quality, I feel like they all go hand and hand, discipline and gratitude seem to lead us to peace and joy. Praying I allow God to lead me closer to each one!
I would like to enter into His Rest!
After a roller coaster year, definitely discipline and joy.
Gratitude. I see ungratefulness so clearly in my kiddos and yet feel justified in my own complaining. I have been given so much, but it often just slips right by.
I’m working on cultivating hospitality towards those I come into contact with. Family, friends and those in need.
God is calling me to trust Him and let Him guide and direct every day. Our newborn (#6) has a rare malformation in the vascular structure of her brain. We just returned from spending six weeks in Houston before she was born and will return in six weeks. Eventually she will need several surgeries. In the meantime, our other five children are dealing with being left at home with relatives and our “homeschool helper” is no longer able to come tutor the kids. So, I’m dealing with a lot of change all at once. I so needed this post today. I’m terrified but also encouraged to rethink things and let God move. Thank you for the exhortation!
Mary’s latest post: Baby Beth – Blessed
More patience and in the moment
Rosemarie’s latest post: jay fest
I’m striving to grow in intentionality this year!
For me it’s a toss up. The easy answer is patience, because I could always use more of that. The trickier answer is not getting so stuck in the planning and idea spot that I don’t actually do anything.
Katherine’s latest post: WIC Friendly Meal Ideas
That’s tough…I think discipline would bring improvement in other areas so I’ll go with that. ????
Confidence (in God’s providence)
I am one-third of the way through this journey. 7 years in, 14 to go before the last graduates. All the new has worn off, and the mundane is all I see. But I admit I completely lost the beauty of this path in the challenges of the last year. I am looking for the holy in the mess of my life. I desire contentment in the neverending piles of books, laundry, dishes.
All of them!!! Really! But most of all Joy- it is my personal prayer for this year!
Self-control. It’s funny how I seem to be able to allow that particular fruit to flourish in some aspects of my life more than others!
Joy! I think so much goodness would flow from a place of joy.
Discipline! I’m so tired from a wakeful baby that it’s easy to let things slide.
I have two that have been on my heart these past couple of years – the first would be joy. As I’ve battled depression as well as many other trials, especially the medical ones, I feel joy was taken away or lost but I know I can find joy even in those tough times and I need that reminder. The other would be discipline or consistency. I know for my families health and my own when my joy is gone I have to keep moving forward, disciplining myself to do so and staying consistent with my children.
Great article – Thank you! I want to develop Discipline in all areas of my life.
Joy and grace!
I would like to be less anxious, less afraid.
Patience, without a doubt!
This year, I would love to see my heart more joyful. All summer long, as I plan the coming school year, I am elated. I jump up and down when our new books come. I lovingly organize and place everything in its beautiful spot. I read ahead and gather supplies. People ask me how things are and I always answer enthusiastically, “Great! I love homeschooling!”. And then we start. And then the kids bicker. And squirm. And grumble. And whine. And make noise ALL day long. And although we do have some laughs here and there, I can actually feel my joy being sucked out of me as the day wears on. I just hope my kids don’t notice, but I have this sneaking suspicion that they do, and that in fact, it affects them too.
Diligence! Discipline! Grit. Joy. Patience. Thanks. It looks like an awesome book!
Patience. All day. Every day, sigh…
Joy. Specifically, finding joy in the simple things, being at peace in my life, which will ultimately bring me joy.
Honesty. Meaning to more quickly & fully look for, see & really live what is true.
D.D.’s latest post: TSG Conference 2017
My hope is to grow in the disciple of rest. Less “doing” and more “being”. Being a mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter versus just trying to frantically do the tasks associated with those roles. More sitting at Jesus’ feet and less doing what I’ve deceived myself into thinking I must do to be a good mom, wife, teacher, etc.
This is our first year at homeschooling, so… freedom. To get it wrong but to keep trying!
Patience and faith.
Self discipline. I’m finding more and more that as I work on having good habits and routines in my life I truly do find more freedom in my days. It’s just laying down those good habits one at a time while maintaining an attitude of grace with myself.
patience and self discipline. These two seem to go hand in hand for me. One without the other just falls flat.
I want to grow in patience and gentleness ????
Joy and self-control are at the top of my list.
Simple quiet Joy
Calm. Joy. Consistency.
I want to be fearless in learning, speaking, and living truth.
Joy is what I long to cultivate this year.
I would love to cultivate more joy!
Perspective – looking at everything through the lens of eternity. This book looks amazing.
I have been forced to cultivate patience due to a transition not of my own choice. I need the discipline to take the next difficult steps necessary to get on with my life. And, if it weren’t for gratitude expressed on a daily basis, I doubt I’d have gotten this far!
Thank you for the encouraging post! Your new book sounds like a needed addition to any homeschool mom’s library. I pray for all of the fruits of the Spirit to be born into my life, but finding more joy in each day is a good start.
I don’t think I can choose just one of those to improve upon. I need to grow in them all!
We are working on joy in the everyday
Kindness to the people I love most.
Gentleness. I keep reminding my children that they can say the same thing in a kinder way, and yet I so often forget that myself.
I need a slower pace, more patience, and more joy. Excellent post! I look forward to learning more about the book.
Freedom, I’m sensing that it’s my own attitude, people pleasing tendencies and fear that keep me from fully experiencing who God created me to be.
I love this post. Patience is my number one. I often feel like I’m very patient, doing very well…. and next thing I know I loose all of that and start being angry and anxious.
Self-control! I think if I developed this it would help me in so many areas. Love this post!
Grace is the word that keeps coming into my mind right now: receiving it and giving it.
I definitely need to work on freedom of all kinds.
Gentleness and acceptance. For sure.
Speaking life – giving words to encourage and build up my family.
Tough to pick one, but I will go with freedom.
Discipline and Joy. Thank you for this post!
Joy would definitely be mine to work on. The enemy is constantly trying to steal our joy every moment of the day. Our joy is in the Lord! Without Christ I am nothing and I need keep my eyes on Him. It’s so easy in this homeschool journey alongside to wife and momma to be sidetracked with the mundane things. Joy in Jesus and to stay steadfast in Him! Love the title of your blog Kari as there is so much sacred in the mundane of life.
Allison Wilson Lee
Although I need to grow in all areas, choosing from the list you provided, I’d pick joy. Also? Hope. Lots and lots of hope.
I would to say freedom to trust God with our homeschooling days and no worry about failing or needing to provide and appear to extended family members that homeschooling works and we enjoy it.
JOY!!! I need God’s help in so many areas of my life (patience, self-control, grace… to name a few), but I think joy in every area of life would be an amazing gift. In some areas it is so easy to have joy, but I ddefinitely need help in other areas. ❤
Peace and contentment. And joy in the little moments. I have two littles under 5 and have just “discovered” homeschooling. Devouring all I can get. And I can’t wait for the awesome journey ahead!
Definitely joy.. I have robbed myself of precious moments lately because I lose sight of my calling. I get overwhelmed in my everyday load that I feel like I can’t possibly take one more step without collapsing. I am excited to read the book. Thanks for your generosity!
I’m working on entering into the freedom that the Lord has for me, and sharing that freedom with my children. That means not tying to control everything about our day or how they are learning. It also means not trying to control their actions but instead teaching them self control. And with that freedom comes joy and peace!
Oh my, this book sounds like something I need! I have actually already had the Holy Spirit highlight the word patience for me this semester. He usually does that each semester. So right now, I am learning to grow in patience.
Definitely patience! We just added our 4th baby and I babysit a 3yr old. Praying for lots of patience and grace this homeschooling year!
I am really wanting to work on patience and joy for myself.
True Joy, where I am joyful in all circumstances, has been quite elusive to me in the last couple of year.
Discipline for me. I love planning and I’m really good at it, but I also love lazy mornings, and lazy afternoons, and lazy evenings after dinner. We are strong in the relationship department of homeschooling but need to start bumping up our actual schooling department as my son is now kindergarten age. And, oh all the other things related to keeping a home. We live on a sailboat, so it’s a small home to keep, but it’s still a lot of upkeep.
My time of voice.
Joy and contentment!
Finding the balance between rest and discipline.
Oh my! My oldest is 16, and yet, every year I still feel that I have come two steps forward, one step back. I pray for contentment. I would love to be more aware and appreciate my many blessings regardless of circumstances.
Gratitude and self-control
It would be a combination for me. This is our first “official” year homeschooling, though it seems lile this has been ongoing for years now. Our son is in kindergarten and our daughter is in preschool. I am a teacher by profession, but being the teacher and mom is very different. I quit my full time job as a teacher to stay at home once our son would be kindergarten age. I knew it would be difficult to be in charge of educating our kids, but many days it can be quite overwhelming. It surprises me since I did so well teaching a special ed inclusion classroom in elementary for several years. How can this be so hard with 2 kids? I stumbled across this post on a good day. I needed to read this today and connected with it very much. I hope to be able to find the joy in homeschooling and these days of uncertainty “string together into something beautiful.” I see the freedom in homeschooling but I want to see the freedom as far as educating the child in what they need and not what is expected for their age. Thank you for an inspiring post.
I was a teacher too and found that very natural. Yet our first year homeschooling was so hard. It gets much easier 🙂 The initial adjustment for the kids but also for the teacher-turned-homeschooler is a challenge– but you will hit your stride. Part of it is needing to find the right path for you as far as style/curriculum… And I think sometimes that is complicated bc you had a style/path in the classroom that felt right there. Hang in there!
I am trying to find joy as I begin my second year of homeschooling my children. My mom passed away very suddenly in April, and being joyful has been a challenge since then.
Discipline for sure! My mantra this year is to work the plan. I have sections or pillars to our day that help us move along in life. They are those mundane things that help us all feel peace in our home. When we actually hit those pillars in our day…pick up the house after lunch and before bed, clear the table immediately after dinner, hold our family home evening every Monday, family movie night on Fridays, etc…we all breathe a little easier and exist in joy. This means there needs to be discipline. Discipline to write in my calendar and actually follow it and use it. To commit to self care, and to simply…work the plan.
Patience. Oh my, I need some more of that!
Freedom from fear, doubts, and anxiety. I guess that would be peace.
Self discipline – I want my children to see me searching God’s word for answers to the hard questions. I want them to see me leaning hard on faith when life seems overwhelming. I can try to teach them that but I need to model it as well … and that is my prayer this school year.
Discipline! trying to find a flexible routine that works for our family
JOY!!! <3 <3
Finding joy, and releasing the negativity!
I really need to concentrate more on self-discipline this year for myself and my children!!
After a short prayer, discipline is what I hope grow in this homeschool season.
Patience in every aspect of life!!
Patience mostly, although joy and self-discipline would also be good!
Praying for more gratitude in my everyday as I enter our 18th year of homeschooling!!
I would love to see more peace, patience, and joy cultivated in my heart this year. That seems like a tall order but definitely needed. Thank you for the giveaway and post. This spoke to my heart, as we begin this school year.
Peace. Between my kids, between my kids and I, peace…
I desire contentment. Contentment would cultivate peace, patience, joy…
I’d say probably patience and self discipline, though it all sounds good! I bet this is a lovely book!
Janet’s latest post: It’s Garden Time Again.
Probably discipline. And patience. And joy…
JOY…definitely joy. Despite my circumstances. I can’t control what others think, say or do, but I can control my response. I can choose JOY.