Remember Self-Care – with Amy Milcic

Brave Writer Podcast with Amy Milcic

Join us for Episode 7 of our Brave Writer’s Life in Brief podcast!

Amy Milcic is a former mental health therapist and a homeschooling parent of five active, busy boys. She has a great blog, Rock Your Homeschool, that will add sparkle to your family’s learning fun.

I first ran into Amy on Periscope, where she starts her day by pumping up other homeschool moms (I think coffee is one of her secrets!). Today, she is going to help pump you up in your homeschool efforts, too.

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Brave Writer Podcast Show Notes
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Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!

Friday Freewrite: Spring Freeze

Friday Freewrite: Spring Freeze

You’re a spring flower that’s recently bloomed but then are hit by an unexpected freeze. Write your reaction as a monologue.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Reframe Their Resistance

Reframe their resistance

by Stephanie Hoffman Elms

The age old dilemma. Should we or should we not “give in” when we get a lot of resistance from our kids, especially in regards to school work? After all, if we don’t “make” them continue when they start complaining, then won’t we be rewarding them for that behavior? And if we “reward” the behavior, then won’t it just encourage it? Plus, don’t they have to learn that sometimes you just need to do things even if they don’t want to?

I will admit that when my kids were that age, I definitely erred on the side of “giving in” and now that they are 17 and 20, I am happy to say that the leap of faith paid off.

Here is what I found. Giving in did not mean throwing up my hands and giving up and letting them decide everything. What it did mean was that I recognized that resistance was their way of communicating that something was not working for them and that it was up to me, as the adult in the relationship, to try to better understand what that was. Yes, whining and complaining is a very immature form of communicating, but then again, kids are by definition immature!

Sometimes “giving in” took the form of just recognizing that an 8-year-old’s priorities and my priorities were naturally going to be different. Is it really that strange that an 8-year-old might not want to do all the school work that I deem is important? 😉

Reframing their resistance from them being stubborn or difficult or lazy to them being a typical 8-year-old little boy can open up lots of options that I might not have seen before…

  • can I shift around when we do things,
  • can I let something that is causing a lot of head butting go for right now (for both our sakes),
  • can I “add brownies” and find a way to make it more acceptable,
  • can I troubleshoot with him and see if he has any suggestions for making it work better?

The tricky thing with this approach is that it is one that takes a long-term view and does not always produce quick results. By focusing on our relationship, it turns things into an ongoing conversation and a series of experiments which might take awhile to hit on a workable solution. But it also makes life with my kids easier on the whole and more enjoyable (I just don’t have it in me to be the enforcer all the time!)

Contrary to worries that I had about reinforcing the resistance, the more that I demonstrated that I was willing to work with them, the more they became willing to work with me. I often shared that I really was not sure of what was the best thing to do…that I could understand where they were coming from, but still had my own concerns (which I shared with them) and we would go from there…sometimes giving what they wanted to do a try, sometimes me realizing that nope, I felt strongly enough about this to not want to give in this time.

Where this paid off was in the teen years. I joke that Jason listened to me way more as a teen than he ever did at 8 years old and that is the truth! Because I did my best to “give in” when I could when was younger, he did not get into the habit of pushing back against me. So as he got older and more mature, he started wanting and valuing my advice…he had learned to trust that I truly wanted to let him do what he wanted to do, so when I had concerns, he was more willing to listen.

It can feel like a huge leap of faith, though! Hoping my experience helps. I really worried about “creating a monster” (especially with Jason, my more intense, head strong kid) and there seems to be little support in much of the parenting advice out there in our society at large, so this is a topic I like talking about. I also wrote about this more on my blog: On Giving in to Our Children.

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.

Implementing Brave Writer in Your Homeschool

Implementing Brave Writer in Your Homeschool

The goal of The Writer’s Jungle:

  • Read a chapter.
  • Do what’s in it.

Allow yourself to actually take the time to do the processes. Don’t hurry ahead. Trust that the process IS teaching. You want your kids to slowly build the ability to tune in to themselves and hook up the hand with the brain.

Each chapter in The Writer’s Jungle gives you something to do. Don’t run ahead. Focus on one chapter at a time. Skip the Preface (it is meant to be additional material that we added in 2005). Save it for later. Start with the core chapters (and Chapter 14 provides a nice overview).

For the Arrow—the process goes like this:

  • Read the book aloud.
  • Go at any pace that works for you.

Then each week, look at the passage for the week. Read it together. You can read it from The Arrow or in the book itself. You can read the notes I give you ahead of time and discuss them with your child in your own voice, or you can read them aloud. Whatever feels right to you. You don’t HAVE to cover every item in the notes. They are meant to slowly train YOU to see literary devices, grammar and spelling opportunities, punctuation and more.

You can zero in on one or two or all of them depending on your child. Discuss a little. Look at the passage and say (for instance): “Who sees periods?” They will point them out. Then ask, “Any other end marks?” They point to an exclamation point and a question mark. Ask: “How do they change how you read the sentences?” Then have them try reading the sentences in a row each one with a slightly different emphasis. Then use the notes to help you explain. Like that.

Next, your child will handwrite (copy) the passage—it might take all week, it might take a day. You can choose to then use the same passage for dictation or one of the other two methods on a day of your choosing. Read the Guidelines to get some insight into how to do that.

The WHOLE goal in the Arrow is to give you tools to help you bring the passage to life and to see it for its mechanics and literary value—while using copywork and dictation practices.

The Literary Element each month can be read and discussed and then experienced with the Writing Activity of the month (which should take about half a day). You aren’t going for some kind of mastery as much as conversational exposure and repetition until your kids SEE them themselves in writing and then eventually TRY them in their own writing.

Try not to overthink this. It is meant to be easy for you!

Think of it more like this: we are giving you notes (things to consider as you read). You don’t even have to master them yourself. Just consider. For instance, in The Green Ember we talk about affixes. You certainly don’t even need to use the name “affix” unless you want to. But what it you simply go back to the Week One passage and find any word that seems to have a little extra bit on it? The “un,” the “ly,” the “in” are all given to you to find. Look at the words. Think about them. Discuss how words are “built” like Lego. Like that.

Our goal is to give you things to look at, to talk about, to consider. Try to move away from “mastery” and “getting things done.” Allow the notes to give you pause and create moments of inquiry. Yes, you may not actually know these terms or categories! It’s like when I realized I didn’t understand multiplication or couldn’t remember how to divide fractions.

Take the time to think about the concepts so that YOU have a moment of transformation. If it feels like too much, just do that for one passage in a month. Let THAT be enough depth and simply copy the other passages. Like that.

Grow over time, allow the tools to be your guide, not your task-master.

Curious about Brave Writer?

Partnership & Adventure in Home Education – with Mary Wilson

Brave Writer Podcast with Mary Wilson
Join us for Episode 6 of our Brave Writer’s Life in Brief podcast!

Today we have Mary Wilson with us. Mary is a popular Brave Writer blogger and the only person I know who may love tea more than I do. In her blog, Not Before 7, she writes about homeschooling, parenting, and adventure.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download show notes.

Brave Writer Podcast Show Notes
Download Show Notes

Want to be notified when a new podcast is released?
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Tune in to the Brave Writer podcast on iTunes, Stitcher (or your app of choice), and here on the Brave Writer blog.

Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!