Monday, January 5, 2009

Buckling Down

Welcome to 2009. Astounding, is it not? I have so many hopes, plans, dreams. How to fit them into life? One day at a time. One moment at a time. They will come.

We are settling into a new school routine. Our year runs loosely from January to December, as Levi's birthday on January 1st creates a convenient starting point. I have so much I want to share, but for now my focus is keeping us on track. I might be fairly quiet this week. 377 posts last year, I'm due for a blogging rest.

While you're waiting (on pins and needles, I'm positive), a Mt. Hope reader recently emailed me with a few homeschooling questions that I would like to answer this month on my blog. I began to wonder if there might be questions that other readers might have. I'm in homeschooling mode, but other subjects are fine as well. I really will give it my best when it comes to answering. So, here goes:

What are your burning questions for Heidi at Mt. Hope? Serious or frivolous. It doesn't matter. Please don't be shy. I'm all ears.

Disclaimer: The only subjects I am an expert on are myself and my children. Expect honesty, but not brilliance. Grin.


Kelley said...

Hi Heidi-
We're considering homeschooling or participating in a partial home study through a private school. I have a 1 year old son and a 3 year old son. What advice can you give to someone just barely venturing down the homeschool road? Resources? Suggestions? Cautions? I just don't know where to begin! Thanks. I love your blog, very inspiring!

Shell in your Pocket said...

If someone told you they would send your kids to any private school of your choice or homeschool...what would you do?
-sandy toe

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi! I read your blog everyday and love the format and ideas. I have a 3.5 year old boy and 20 mo girl. My son has known his letters and their sounds for about a year. He's always asking me what words say and I'm wondering how your eldest learned to read. Were there specific things you did or did it naturally occur? I think Jack is capable of learning to read right now but I don't want to suck the fun out of it (I'm a voracious reader and hope the same for my kids). Nor do I want to push him too early. Suggestions?

Thanks so much, Jess

Christi said...

Heidi - can't wait to read your answers, and read more about your homeschooling. Thanks!

Ruth said...

We are considering homeschooling our kids aged 8, 6, 4 and 9 mos. Was it a hard adjustment socially when you went from a traditional school situation to homeschooling? My oldest is an extrovert and that has been my greatest concern about homeschooling, it's really the reason why we haven't yet.
Thanks, Ruth

Anonymous said...

I got one for ya! I pulled the boys (8 and 10) out of their schools last year and we have been doing Connections Academy this year. It is a public, online or virtual school. I like it a lot, because the lesson plans are provided along with the books and the boys have an actual teacher we can call or email if we have any questions. It was the right fit for them this year, as far as the structure goes, it made the transition from their last school to this nice. There is a ton of flexibility for us as far as getting the lessons done our own time. I really like the program, but it is a little fast in some areas, and isn't as in depth as I would like it to be here and there. I love reading to the kids and would love to actually homeschool them on my own...but am TERRIFIED of the record keeping and putting an entire curriculum together. I really like how you focus on one area with all the boys, and do extra stuff with your oldest as is needed. I know your boys aren't all actually in school yet, but being that you are in Oregon too, what is the record keeping like and what does it involve, how do you do it? I have tried to find out online and it I find it very overwhelming! Thank you Heidi!

Heidi said...

Great questions! Keep them coming! :)

Sarah O said...

I love looking at your decorations, and the way you set up your house. You seem to rotate things for seasons or just for variety. What do you do with things you aren't using or displaying?

Christina said...

I am curious as to how you "do it all"? I know that you will say that you don't do it all- but clearly you are able to blog, pursue photography, teach your boys and then also cook, clean, decorate the house, etc, etc. I have just one toddler- and I feel i can barely get the dishes done! :) I'd love to hear how you balance your days and how you prioritize. I enjoy your blog and look forward to your responses!

carole said...

That's my sister! :) (Sarah O)

I'm looking forward to all the "honest but non expertise" content to come! :)

Here's a question I might have asked you before: What do you do with the younger ones (in particular Leif) when you are having "school" time?

Also, do you do narration with any of your reading, and if so, how did you get started and do you have any suggestions for helping reluctant narrators? (I think you know what I mean when I say 'narration'?)

carole said...

:) Sorry about my weird profile name. Can you tell I've been playing around with it? Good thing I commented here, otherwise I wouldn't have known that my name was ... so interesting! :)

Heidi said...

Still great questions... but I'm surprised there aren't more curious people out there. :) Either you're too shy or my world is already an open book, LOL!

SuperMomto3 said...

HI!! I know I've asked you in the past about your homeschooling schedule, and I'm still curious!!

My biggest questions (I have lots):
1) How do you balance the different personalities of your children? I have a strong, bossy one boy(5) who tries to run the house, a more quiet little girl that I'm trying not to lose in the shuffle (almost 4, starting to get a voice with a lot of whining) and a little guy (22 mths) who is constantly trying to get the older ones to laugh at him...which leads to question...
2) How do you get them to FOCUS on their schoolwork and not to get distracted by each other?
3) When you have to be creative with their learning, how do you keep up the energy to do so? You are asking a lot of yourself by homeschooling (mom, teacher, cook, cleaner, artist, etc) do you keep going when they just absolutely beat you down (and you KNOW you have had days like that toO!) :)
I know you are working on implementing your daily schedule but I would love to get an idea of how your day goes. I'm struggling to get back into a schedule with my 3 and it has not been fun. Reading time has been a struggle lately, now that the baby is no longer a baby. What have you been doing with Leif to keep him interested?

Hope this is long enough for ya!! Can't wait for your answers!

Kara said...

Love your blog! It's a touch of beauty in my day:)
I'm going add to the voices asking for your time management tips. I love reading with and teaching my children and think you have some great ideas in that field, but making it all fit in and figuring out which ball to drop on which day is tricky.

Sarah said...

Love to hear your schedule & how you fit everything into your day. You seem to get a lot done for your boys & yourself.
More than I do anyway!
Please tell me there is something that always seems to not get done or pushed aside?????

How & where do you find all of the items you use for HS. You've been a great help to me so where do you go?

Anonymous said...

Hey Heidi, This is your "aunt". I am so enjoying reading your blog and the comments of others. What a joy that this type of communication is available to us today.

Keep up the communication. You are amazing and are encouraging many women.

I have started a blog but it is of a very different type. Will share it with you sometime!

Ridenour Family said...

Hi Heidi- I follow your blog silently! I am personally interested in your photography. I LOVE your pictures. I recently purchased a Nikon D60, and have read your tutorial that is archived. I still feel that your pictures are way above and beyond mine in quality. Any pointers on your photography is of interest to me! So, I guess my question would be, "How do you make your pictures so fabulous?!!"
By the way-I heart your blog! You are a very talented woman.

Heidi said...

Melody!! What fun to 'see' you here! Send me a link to your blog... I can't wait to see it. :)

Feel free to continue to add to the questions, everyone! Thanks for participating.

JESSICA said...

I just wanted to say that I also love your blog, Heidi! I've been reading and lurking for a while now and you've given me such great ideas and have been such an encouragement to me as a new homeschooler! : ) I tried posting earlier today, but for some reason it didn't work. I have just started blogging, so I am new to posting and all that goes with it!

Anyway, I also would love to know how you organize your days without going crazy? (I have three little ones about the same ages as yours). : ) It seems like when I focus on one thing, another area falls by the wayside. It can be frustrating.


Unknown said...

I love reading your blog! I enjoy your decorating and seeing your home and how you raise your boys (although it'd be fun to see you with a girl I think too ;) ).

I'm not too shy.
1- I'd love to know what your schedule is like.
2- How do you plan?
3- What do you do with your toddler when you school?
4- What have you really enjoyed about hsing?
5- What do you wish you could change?
6- What's your favorite, couldn't do without homeschooling product or curriculum?
Hmmm...I might even come up with more! LOL

jillian said...

Hi Heidi,
My friend Kiley from Always Come Home "introduced" you to me and i have come to think of you as a friend. You have been such an encouragement to me. i don't feel totally lost anymore. i even started a blog myself after seeing what you are able to do with yours. grin. A little background before i ask my question. i have 2 boys, 3 and almost 5. My 3 year old loves books and actually is starting to read. My 4 year old loves building things and legos but could care less about reading. He has the knowledge but not the desire. i know your boys love books and reading and i would love to instill that in my boys, but i don't want to force it either. Do you ever struggle with them and reading? I would like to use a classical based curriculum (similar to what you have chosen) but do you think it possible? It's hard for me to keep his attention during read alouds, any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi, I have three little guys as well (just turned 6 yo, 3 yo, 16mo) and I started following your blog when we began homeschooling this year. I have really enjoyed and been encouraged by the trail you are blazing with your boys!
I would love to know how you and Levi "handle" new words. Do you make spelling and vocab lists of the new words you encounter? Does he learn them through context?
I was also wondering about your organizational skills so I'll just second many of the questions above and ask specifically, how do you organize the thoughts, ideas, impulses, that come throughout the day?
Thanks for opening yourself up for questions!

Mab said...

You are inspiring to me so I wonder what inspires you?

A lovely sidebar or something of current homeschooling books/projects/ assignments weekly or bi-monthly would be great so I can ask specific questions as they arise.

What style do each of your boys learn and how does that work with your own style of learning and teaching?

Do you belong to a homeschooling [support] group? Why or why not?

I have to echo the "focus" question- how do you keep 3 boys balanced and focused on schoolwork as needed?

Ever feel like teaching a class about homeschooling- I am not terribly far from you... :)

Laurel said...

Heidi - Did you teach yourself photoshop or use a book, online tutorials etc? I'm intimidated (but excited) by this new thing on my computer.

And thanks for blogging. I always learn something, am encouraged or inspired!