A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief

Thoughts from my jungle to yours

Friday Freewrite: Cloned


What if you created clones of yourself? Show how you and your other you’s would interact while doing an activity together.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Image by Jeff Meyer (cc cropped)

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Amazing Globe Theatre model!


Globe detail

The fantastic Globe Theatre model above was created by the Yuasa family during a past Shakespeare Workshop. Such attention to detail! We’re blown away by the creativity of our Brave Writer families!

Susanne Barrett, instructor of the class, writes:

Also, another student in this class did his project very creatively…by building the interiors of the Globe on Minecraft!

My boys took a shortcut when they did their model several years ago…they brought me a heap of smoldering ashes from the fireplace and reminded me that the Globe burned down in 1613. [ha!]

We love Shakespeare here at Brave Writer! In fact, our Literary Analysis: Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) Class started Monday.  It runs for 4 weeks (May 18 – June 12, 2015) and is geared toward high school students. From the description page:

May is Shakespeare Month here at Brave Writer, and we continue to follow our tradition of offering the study of a different aspect of Shakespeare’s work each spring. In the past, we have studied Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Soliloquies as well as the plays Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, and Romeo & Juliet. This spring we will be delving into the world of the Shakespearean romantic comedy with an up-close-and-personal study of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Students who have previously taken our Literary Analysis courses of Shakespeare’s plays will find much new and interesting in this course centered on the hilarious romantic love triangle among Duke Orsino, Lady Olivia, and Viola (who is disguised as Orsino’s page, Cesario). Throw in a shipwreck, look-alike twins, a madcap trick on Olivia’s stodgy butler, and memorable characters, and we’ll have tons of fun this spring!

The Literary Analysis for Twelfth Night class is almost full, but Susanne says we could squeeze in one or two more. The first week is a look at Shakespeare’s life, times, and language, so it’s easy to catch up.

But, hurry! Register today.

Images © Yuasa family (used with permission)

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Your happiness is the key factor in your homeschool


Yes, you read that right. Not your children’s happiness, but yours. It is critical that you are happy in your life. You can’t fake it, hide it, pretend it into existence either. Happiness (joy, contentment) comes from within and is an involuntary experience. People will tell you to drum it up, to choose joy in spite of pain, to focus on your faith or hope or good fortune when you are disheartened to lift you up. Gratitude practices are often listed as necessary for a happy life.

The truth is, however, that we sometimes use gratitude or “joy” as a denial of reality—of what is actually happening in our worlds. When you are in pain or are feeling a chronic sense of joylessness, no list of blessings will overcome the truth of your emotional state. It is important to face it squarely and to find out what the source is (if you are not yet able to see or admit it).

Your happiness is critical to your homeschool because you set the emotional tone for the home. The stay-at-home parent is the sun, rain, wind, and snowfall. You rise in the morning and create the weather conditions of the day. Certainly a child can whip through the house like a tornado, or on a moody morning another child may cheer you up with a bright sunny smile and spontaneous cuddle.

But on the whole, your disposition sets the tone for everyone else’s experience. You can’t fake it.

This is why I recommend that you have a source of well being that is quite apart from whether or not you feel good about your home education choice (or choices). It matters that you are doing work of some sort that gives you purpose, a goal you can accomplish quite apart from your spouse or children, an outlet that puts you in touch with your best self.

If your happiness is contingent on how well your children approve of your day’s lesson, or the outing you planned, or the poetry teatime you took the trouble to set up, you are likely at some point to become resentful when they don’t supply you with accolades or approval.

If you can come from a lived-happiness that inhabits you, when the teatime fails or the children are cranky, you’ll know to where you can turn to remember that you are indeed a lovely, whole, competent person apart from their cranky evaluations.

In some cases, the blues are profound because of a relationship that is traumatizing you in a daily way. Could be a spouse, aging parent, child, teen. It is critical to admit this and to seek professional help if this is the case. No one person in the family constellation should have so much space that they wreck the experience of living at home—the place that should be the sanest, safest, emotionally sustaining space of anyone’s life.

Ask yourself today: Am I happy?

Then ask yourself what you can do to move in that direction one step at a time. This question and its resolution may be more important than any curriculum decision you make for next year. Don’t put it off, be honest, and get support. Happiness is real, matters, and you deserve it. So do your kids.

Smile quote

Image by Omarukai (cc cropped, text added)

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Tuesday Teatime: The Double P Curse

Tuesday Teatime Samantha_2

Most of my life I’ve been living under the power of the Double P curse. Anyone else crippled by the combined efforts of Perfectionism and Procrastination? Well over a year ago my best friend introduced me to the lovely Brave Writer. Being a long time fan of tea parties and gifts I was immediately intrigued by Tuesday Teatime (or rather Tisane Time in our home).

P & P kept this simple treat at a distance as I felt compelled to go all out but not the time or energy to make it happen. Thankfully the voice of Truth assured me that a simple mug, muffins from the freezer, a TV tray and random poetry books were more than enough. The kids loved it. Even my reluctant reader wanted to keep reading. Victory on so many levels.

Yet, my ego was still holding out for the China and linens so fast forward a few months and invite some friends.

Tuesday Teatime Samantha

Now don’t even ask me how much longer it’s taken me to actually compose and share this journey with you. lol

All the best in this journey,

Images © Brave Writer mom, Samantha

Want to start your own Poetry Teatime? Here’s how.

Would you like your family featured on Tuesday Teatime? Email us your teatime photos with a few lines about your experience (put “Teatime” in the subject line). If we share on our blog then you’ll receive a free Arrow or Boomerang title of your choice (once per family). Note: all submissions fall under Creative Commons licensing.

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2nd Where Brave Writers Write Giveaway!


Welcome to our 2nd Where Brave Writers Write Giveaway

This year the prize is a FREE copy of the brand new FALTERING OWNERSHIP!
(or a gift certificate for an equivalent amount)

$79 VALUE!

We want to see your kids writing–on the couch, at the table (under the table!), on the porch, in the car, at a desk, on the beach. Anywhere writing happens. Share your photo and enter to win!

STARTS May 18 and ENDS May 31, 2015  at midnight EDT.

ONE PHOTO per family, please.

EMAIL your photo to blog@bravewriter.com and include your first name. Also, put “2015 WBWW Giveaway” as the subject title.

Please note: All submissions fall under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, which gives Brave Writer the freedom to publish the images on our blog, other social media sites, and in BW materials. We may not be able to feature all photos if the volume is too high, but all entries will be eligible for the prize. Brave Writer employees may not enter.

A DRAWING will be held on June 1st and ONE entry will be randomly chosen and the winner will receive a digital copy of Faltering Ownership or a gift certificate for an equivalent amount (for Brave Writer digital products only):

Faltering_Ownership_Blog_ShadowWatch your emerging writers take more and more responsibility for their writing with our 12 month-long writing projects found in this amazing program! You’ll guide and coach your middlers in writing forms that facilitate growth in skills like summary, reporting, citing sources, letter writing, book reviewing, and interviewing. At the same time, you’ll help your kids emotionally invest in their work by appealing to their creativity, personal passions, and expanding curiosity!

Geared toward 11-12 year olds. Can be used for younger or older kids, depending on their stage of growth.


So, send us your photos and enter to win!

Want to increase your chances?

Share the giveaway on your blog or one of your social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. (#wbww), let us know by commenting here or mentioning it when you email your photo, and your one entry will count twice!

Image of girl writing by Brave Writer mom, Lucinda (text added)

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Friday Freewrite: Soundtrack


Pick a piece of instrumental music. While listening, imagine it’s a soundtrack to a scene you create. Write the scene then read it aloud to someone while playing the music in the background.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Image by Bob Mical (cc cropped)

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Don’t hate on TV—here’s why!

Books and tv blog

The following clip is from the “Brave Writer Lifestyle” talk given during our 2014 retreat. See why watching television is an important part of creating a language rich environment in your home.

Learn more about the Brave Writer Lifestyle!

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Hungry for encouragement

Violets in sunshine with text

Dear Julie,

Recently, I enjoyed listening to your Read Aloud Revival interview with Sarah MacKenzie. I confess, I listened more than once and took notes- if you can call typing out most statements verbatim “taking notes.” The Writer’s Jungle would call that “dictation,” I suppose! Encouraged, I started looking at your Writer’s Jungle sample online and planning up how I might fit that purchase into my budget sometime this year. To my great delight, within the week, I happened upon a discount. So, I’ve purchased, printed, and begun pouring through The Writer’s Jungle.

Comfort and inspiration is pumping through my blood as a result. I also downloaded A Gracious Space, which I realize wasn’t meant to be read in one sitting. I must’ve been hungry for all the encouragement! From some books, I glean a few drops of encouragement. Put the book down. Got that. Done. Reading your books has been like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! This thirsty mother will be gulping in your plethora of truth-filled ideas for years to come.

Thank you, Julie, for all your refreshing thoughts and shared experience. I am encouraged as a mother–to delight in my children more and edify them more. I am encouraged as a teacher–to resist the urge to take my security in creating a replica of “school” at home. I am encouraged as a thinker and a writer–to learn and grow and sharpen personally along with my children. Thank you profusely for caring about the homeschooling mother’s heart and mind, which, once flourishing, will bless the children all the more.



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Great summer opportunity!

Summer 2015 intern_blog

Would you like to be a summer intern for Brave Writer?

We’re looking for a former or current Brave Writer student who has graduated from college, is in college, or is going into his or her last year of high school.

Time commitment: 8-10 hours per week for about 2 months.

Responsibilities: Writing, light editing, searching for images, etc.

This is not a paid position, but you’ll gain a number of skills that will look awesome on a resume or transcript!

If interested, send us a non-fiction writing sample (300-400 words). Also, tell us a little about yourself and what it’s like being a Brave Writer student.

Email Jeannette at blog [at] bravewriter [dot] com and put “2015 Summer Intern” in the title.

Deadline for applications is May 31, 2015.


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Tuesday Teatime Quotes

Each cup of tea_blog

Chest of tea

Morning tea

Table, chair, and teapot image by Jean L. (cc cropped, text added)

Want to start your own Poetry Teatime? Here’s how.

Would you like your family featured on Tuesday Teatime? Email us your teatime photos with a few lines about your experience (put “Teatime” in the subject line). If we share on our blog then you’ll receive a free Arrow or Boomerang title of your choice (once per family). Note: all submissions fall under Creative Commons licensing.

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