HSP 29 Heidi Scovel: Raising a Reading Family

Heidi Scovel is a classical homeschooler and book lover who blogs at Mt. Hope Chronicles. She joins us on this episode of the podcast to give us a peek into what school likes like at her house with four extroverted, book-loving kids and a relaxed classical approach to learning.

Heidi tells how she spreads a feast for her children by keeping copious numbers of rich books around the house, and she even shares some secrets for how she carves out time for her own reading. Enjoy!

HSP 029 Heidi Scoval: Raising a Reading Family

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Links and resources from today’s show:

 The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Fourth Edition) Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred) Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Classics)


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Feel free to leave a comment or question for either Heidi or me. We would both love to hear from you!



  • Susan says:

    I can’t seem to find the free download you mentioned was available in the Plan Your Year ad.


  • Great podcast Pam…thanks!


    I heard you mention ‘spreading a feast’ and ‘narration’. Have you studied Charlotte Mason’s philosophy or read any of her writings? If so, how has it impacted your philosophy or your homeschool?

    Pam mentioned you leading Parent Practicums, assuming it’s through CC, do you travel and speak or lead primarily in your area? I’m considering attending a PP in MN this spring and wondering more about what it may be like.

    Lastly, I’ve observed Challenge A and have contemplated for our rising 7th grader in the fall. I appreciated your blog posts regarding your son’s experience in the program. Do you have any further advice,tips, or tricks to offer for someone considering Challenge A?

    Thanks so much,

    • I meant to say, Pam mentioned that Heidi led the practicums. ;P

    • Heidi Scovel says:

      Great questions, Melissa! 🙂

      I haven’t studied Charlotte Mason very much, so I only know the very broad strokes. 🙂 “Spreading the feast” is probably my favorite part. Narration, less so. 😉 I first heard of narration through The Well-Trained Mind, however.

      I did speak at a few CC Parent Practicums in our area (not last year, but the previous two years) and I may again this coming season. I haven’t traveled longer distances to speak. The atmosphere and styles of practicums vary depending on the coordinator and speaker, but generally half the morning each day is spent discussing classical education (with time for discussion and practicing ideas) and the second half of the morning is spent applying the ideas of classical education to the year’s topic. This year, the theme is history. Tutors and directors have training in the afternoons, and each campus has some flexibility in what they offer in the afternoons for those not training. In my experience, practicums are wonderful opportunities to meet up with other homeschooling parents who are passionate about learning for themselves as well as for their kids.

      Hmmm. Challenge A. 🙂 I’ve seen such a wide variety of kids and also tutors. I’d suggest visiting a class if at all possible. Some kids are extremely diligent and have no problems completing all the work, independently and in a short amount of time. Others are diligent, but it takes them many hours each day to complete the work, and others are neither diligent nor independent and it’s an honest-to-goodness struggle. 😉

      Tips: Stay involved. It may be a “drop off” program, but it is not a “hands-off” program, especially the first couple years. Expect students to need quite a bit of hand-holding at least for the first few weeks of Challenge A. Help your student write out a weekly plan at the beginning of their week (the evening after class or the next morning). Even if they are working independently, be sure you are checking their work and they are not falling behind (daily, if possible, at least in the beginning). You continue to be the parent-teacher and you have authority to “scale” any work to make it more appropriate for your student. Scale back if they are struggling!! The Lost Tools of Writing is so rich if you work through the discussions together. It isn’t nearly so rich if the student is treating it like a worksheet program (and likely not doing the deep thinking). If Saxon works for your student, GREAT! If not, be open to switching programs. Sheppard Software online is a phenomenal way to practice their geography. I’d even start over the summer. My boys enjoy it, so it doesn’t feel too much like work. 😉 http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Geography.htm

      I don’t know how helpful those suggestions are. My middle son is registered for Challenge A next year (and my oldest will be trying out Challenge I). It’s sure to be a very challenging year. 😉 So stay tuned for more updates (or laments, ha!).

  • You are so awesome! I do not suppose I’ve truly read through anything like that before. So good to discover somebody with genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

    • I’m where I live now only because of necessity. As soon as can sell my properties, I’ll be moving to Charlotte which has a much nicer climate and where my only child is residing.Budget tips? Bargain down for anything and everything possible. Many people don’t think that it’s possible in modern societies, so don’t even try. My Peruvian wife bargains like crazy in the USA, and we save plenty in our expenses that way. Having lived in Peru for such a long time, you should be “a natural” by now.

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