Brave Writer Lifestyle IN ACTION

Guest post by Lora Fanning

By Brave Writer Ninja Lora Fanning

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Question: How do you practice the Brave Writer Lifestyle?

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare isn’t Brave Writer specific, but the addition of memorization and storytelling into our daily routine has definitely enhanced our Brave Writer experience. We march around the house quoting Shakespeare in our best British accents, giggling and memorizing at the same time. The language, the rhythms, and the stories are the “out loud” version of copywork. My kids are soaking up all of this – and learning the power of a well-placed Shakespearean insult at the same time!

My youngest son gets inspired to write most often while sitting in church. He just started sounding out words and I cheerfully hand him a pen and encourage him to write all he wants. Sometimes he asks me to spell things (in a quiet whisper) and sometimes he just draws pictures, but even at the age of 4, he’s learning the beauty of the act of creating words on paper. Just like my own mother saved my very first story about a chicken, I’ll save these scribblings like the museum-pieces they should be.

My co-op students write Just So Stories every year and the illustrations are just as delightful as the stories. Pictured above: The elephant whose ears grew when he got a sinus infection, how the giraffe got his long neck, how the squid got his ink, and other wildly creative stories!

I have several children who are dyslexic and dysgraphic. We do writing just like I do with my younger kids. They dictate their thoughts to me and I type them up like a good little secretary. Then we read it out loud together. They look over my shoulder and edit as they hear the words spoken. The final piece is all their own, written with the help of their trusty writing partner and typist (that’s me.)

My 6th grade co-op students do historical journals of famous people. One industrious student made sure his diary of George Washington had a fully “authentic” look. He did the wood-burning and wood cutting (supervised) himself! It practically counts as science, too! 😉

We don’t just use our words for school. When our kids have a birthday, we often “surprise” them with a creative display of balloons in their bedroom when they wake up. Since my twins are teenagers now, we decided to alter the tradition slightly. On the morning of their 13th birthday, they received one balloon (for old time’s sake) and a letter written for them by each of their parents. Our goal is to capture our hopes and prayers for them so they can see how they grow each year. Plus, we get to tell them all the mushy love stuff they don’t like for us to say out loud any more. I have a box of keepsake letters I’ve received over the years. I hope my children have one some day, too.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Julie, it’s that brightly colored ink makes everything better, even math work! #betterifitsparkles

Poetry books live in our living space. You can find them on the coffee table, in the school room, and in our hands as we sit around the table at lunch time. I can’t predict when my kids will crave verses and whimsy, but I can make them easy to get to on a moment’s notice.

I write with my kids, for my kids, and just for myself. I try to model the sort of behavior I want my kids to have, so that means leaving space for myself to be creative. When I’m writing my stories, I invite my youngers to draw the tiny bit of the plot I’m working on so they can be with me while I’m creating. And then when I’ve edited and cried and revised my own work til I’m blue in the face, I let them use old drafts for scrap paper. #cycleandrecycle

Even reluctant writers can get behind a lesson on rap music. For my co-op classes, we did a short unit on Hamilton and then learned how to write our own rap songs. #homeschoolerscanspitrhymes


Lora Fanning is a mom of seven kids. In addition to teaching her own children at home, she teaches in local co-ops and is a Brave Writer writing coach. She blogs at LoraLynnFanning.com

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