Archive for the ‘Boomerang’ Category

Boomerang Book Club’s September Selection

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

To Kill a MockingbirdThe second title in our Boomerang Book Club is the American classic about race and family, compassion and human dignity: To Kill a Mockingbird.

In this time of modern uneasy race relations in America, there could be no more timely book to read and examine.

The book discussion starts on Monday September 8, so don’t wait! Your students should begin reading the book now.

Each month of the Boomerang Book Club includes The Boomerang as part of your class fee. That means you will get the digital downloadable issue that gives you your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and literary device notes to help you ensure growth in the mechanics of writing as well.

Sign up HERE.

Purchase a copy of To Kill a Mocking Bird on Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Image @ Amazon.com

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Happy Birthday, George Orwell!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Animal Farm 1946 Jacket design by Art BrennerIn celebration of George Orwell’s birthday (111 years, born June 25, 1903), we’re making a special offer! The Boomerang for his novel, Animal Farm, is:

Half price for one day only: $4.95!

Orwell’s withering critiques of totalitarianism have become a cornerstone of modern Western thought. In Animal Farm, Orwell tells the story of a group of farm animals that revolt against human control. These animals begin with lofty ideals and 7 Commandments that slowly disintegrate to the famous phrase: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

George Orwell himself lived a fascinating life. He was one of the most influential political writers of the 20th Century, famous for such classics as 1984 and his satiric letter “A Modest Proposal.” He traveled widely—born in India, Orwell also worked in Burma, fought in Spain, and wrote as a war correspondent in WWII. Orwell’s real name was Eric Blair, but he chose his pen name for St. George, the patron saint of England, and the River Orwell.

As a writer, Orwell advocated using precise and clear language. In his essay “Politics and the English Language,” he lists six rules for writers:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

So, celebrate George Orwell’s “eleventy-first” birthday and take advantage of this special offer today!

Also, if you’d like to buy a copy of the novel, it’s available through Amazon: Animal Farm (affiliate link).

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 7th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Image of Art Brenner’s Animal Farm 1946 jacket design by Karen Horton (cc)

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Arrow and Boomerang book lists for 2014-15!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Arrows 2014-15 Original

Sneak Peek: 2014-2015 Arrow Book List! August is at the bottom and May at the top!

The top book (May) is the final in the series of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books (I don’t count The First Four Years as one of the series). It is the book for May to give you time to catch up, if you haven’t read enough of the books yet. It is my favorite! We’ll have created Arrows for the entire series by then. Enjoy (and share!).

And here’s the 2014-2015 Boomerang Book List! Mix of classics and modern. Diverse authorship too!

Boomerangs 2014-15

Get the news out! The year-long subscriptions for Arrow and Boomerang are NOW ON SALE through June (extra special deal!).

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Bard Day!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

449px-William_Shakespeare_1609We’re celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by offering the Boomerang based on Gary Blackwood’s book, Shakespeare’s Scribe:

Half price today through Friday: $4.95!

In Blackwood’s novel, we follow Widge, an actor in Shakespeare’s troupe. After the Globe Theatre is shut down due to the Black Plague, the company sets off to tour England, where Widge’s unique shorthand makes him a valuable member…until someone threatens to reveal a past secret.

The book is a sequel to The Shakespeare Stealer, but stands well on its own.

Also! Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett, posted ways to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday in the Shakespeare Family Workshop.

Here are her ideas:

• Have a Talk Like Shakespeare Day (or even just an hour, if that’s all you can handle).

• Perhaps gather around the table with scones and jam and some Earl Grey tea and read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud (you can find Shakespeare sonnet apps for your smart phone or check out this site).

• Read some of Shakespeare’s famous monologues aloud dramatically, perhaps even in costume. Here’s a list of some of the best single-person speeches, one list for men and one for women. Try performing them for family members and/or friends or at a co-op!

• Perform a Shakespeare scene as a puppet show or act out a scene in costume; either memorize parts or make copies of the scene for all the actors. Here are some scenes and scripts for kids from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

• Watch your favorite Shakespeare play on film (mine is Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing). Check your local library or Netflix for some excellent titles, and the International Movie DataBase includes some helpful parents guides with advisory content for you along with ratings and information on most film versions.

• For older kids, check out Michael Woods’ in-depth documentary In Search of Shakespeare which first aired on PBS in 2004. Both the DVD and the companion book should be readily available through most public libraries.

• Better yet, see a live Shakespeare play as soon as possible. Check out college/university performances near you as they’re usually much less expensive than professional productions.

So, celebrate one of the greatest playwrights of all time and take advantage of this special Boomerang offer!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Image above: The Flower portrait of William Shakespeare, c. 1820-40 (via Wikipedia).

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Happy Birthday, Jack London!

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Jack London

“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” ―Jack London, The Call of the Wild

“Fear urged him to go back, but growth drove him on.” ―Jack London, White Fang

 

Renowned author, Jack London, was born on January 12, 1876, and in celebration of his birthday we’re making a special offer! The Boomerang for The Call of the Wild and White Fang is:

Half price until January 14: $4.95! OFFER HAS EXPIRED

Both books are considered classic adventure novels, and both are set in Yukon Territory during the Gold Rush. The first story’s main character is a dog named Buck. From the publisher:

Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, [Buck] reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust and survive cruel treatments, fight to dominate other dogs, and survive in a harsh climate. (Sparrow Bell)

The second is about the wolfdog, White Fang, and his “journey to domestication”:

White Fang examines the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans. The book also explores complex themes including morality and redemption. (Pioneer Books)

So, celebrate Jack London’s birthday and take advantage of this special offer!

WolfImage by Caninest

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 7th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

For Email Marketing you can trust

Happy Birthday, William Goldman!

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Princess BrideWilliam Goldman turned 82 years old this month. On the 12th day to be precise. Brave Writer is celebrating this great author by offering the Boomerang based on his delightful book, The Princess Bride.

Half price for one day only: $4.95! OFFER HAS EXPIRED

The Princess Bride is an adventurous fiction within a fiction. It’s presented as an abridgment of fairytale purportedly written by a S. Morgenstern, with Goldman’s “commentary” sprinkled throughout. The book has a bit of everything: romance, comedy, pirates, giants, sword fights, poison, a princess. Plus “rodents of unusual size.”

Princess Bride fans are famed for their knowledge of the book and movie, and many can quote from both extensively. See if you can answer the trivia questions below. The answers are underneath each in white. Highlight with your cursor and you’ll see them.

 

What was the name of Buttercup’s beloved horse?
Horse. “Buttercup was never long on imagination.”

Which part of America was Westley’s ship near when captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts?
The Carolinas.

What were Vizzini’s instructions for when a plan went wrong?
Go back to the beginning. “Fool! Fool! Back to the beginning is the rule!”

In what country was Fezzik fired from the circus?
Greenland. “With one person for every twenty square miles of real estate.”

Inigo Montoya says to Vizzini: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” What word?
Inconceivable!

So, celebrate William Goldman and take advantage of this special Boomerang offer!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

For Email Marketing you can trust

Happy Birthday, Robert A. Heinlein!

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein“Happiness consists in getting enough sleep.”  ~Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Robert A. Heinlein, the “dean of science fiction writers,” was born July 7, 1907 (he passed away in 1988). Brave Writer is celebrating the work of this great author by offering the Boomerang based on his book, Starship Troopers:

Half price for one day only (July 15-16, 2013): $4.95! OFFER HAS EXPIRED

Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, Starship Troopers is thought by some to be one of Heinlein’s finest works. It’s a futuristic science fiction story, which contains interesting characters, thrilling action scenes, and an in depth portrayal of military life. Plus its thought-provoking political and social themes make for excellent discussion material!

 

MR. HEINLEIN’S RULES FOR WRITERS (paraphrased):

RULE ONE: Write! Seems a given, doesn’t it? But, sometimes we need the reminder!

RULE TWO: Finish what you started. Here at Brave Writer we don’t recommend finishing every piece of writing, but from time to time it is important to complete a project, especially if it’s something we’re passionate about.

RULE THREE: Don’t revise…too much. We tweaked this one a bit. After making major changes to a number of his books, Heinlein decided it was wasted effort and his motto became “don’t revise, except to edit.” We believe, though, that revising or “revisioning” one’s writing can be highly productive, and we definitely encourage it. Still, Heinlein has a point. Sometimes enough is enough, and it’s good to know when to move on.

RULE FOUR: Publish your work. For young writers this might simply be reading their story or essay to family and friends. They could also create a cover and illustrations then bind their work and share it that way. Or they might send it off for to a children’s magazine or other publications. There are lots of possibilities.

RULE FIVE: Never give up! When we do want to professionally publish our work then we mustn’t let a few (or a starship-load!) of rejections stop us. Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time, was turned down over thirty times before finally finding a publisher. And Heinlein’s own Starship Troopers was rejected by Scribner’s before being picked up by Putnam. Published authors keep trying.

So, celebrate Robert Heinlein’s birthday and take advantage of this special Boomerang offer!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Shakespeare-Party-Chandos portrait-edited by Baraboo Public Library

449 years ago, The Bard of All Bards was born!

To celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday, Brave Writer is offering the Boomerang based on Gary Blackwood’s book, Shakespeare’s Scribe:

Half price for one day only: $4.95! OFFER HAS EXPIRED

In Blackwood’s novel, we follow Widge, an actor in Shakespeare’s troupe. After the Globe Theatre is shut down due to the Black Plague, the company sets off to tour England, where Widge’s unique shorthand makes him a valuable member…until someone threatens to reveal a past secret.

The book is a sequel to The Shakespeare Stealer, but stands well on its own.

Oh, also! Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett, posted ways to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday in the Shakespeare Family Workshop she’s leading right now.

Here are her ideas:

• Have a Talk Like Shakespeare Day (or even just an hour, if that’s all you can handle).

• Perhaps gather around the table with scones and jam and some Earl Grey tea and read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud (you can find Shakespeare sonnet apps for your smart phone or check out this site).

• Read some of Shakespeare’s famous monologues aloud dramatically, perhaps even in costume. Here’s a list of some of the best single-person speeches, one list for men and one for women.  Try performing them for family members and/or friends or at a co-op!

• Perform a Shakespeare scene as a puppet show or act out a scene in costume; either memorize parts or make copies of the scene for all the actors. Here are some scenes and scripts for kids from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

• Watch your favorite Shakespeare play on film (mine is Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing). Check your local library or Netflix for some excellent titles, and the International Movie DataBase includes some helpful parents guides with advisory content for you along with ratings and information on most film versions.

• For older kids, check out Michael Woods’ in-depth documentary In Search of Shakespeare which first aired on PBS in 2004. Both the DVD and the companion book should be readily available through most public libraries.

• Better yet, see a live Shakespeare play as soon as possible. Check out college/university performances near you as they’re usually much less expensive than professional productions.

So, celebrate one of the greatest playwrights of all time and take advantage of this special Boomerang offer!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Image is from the Baraboo Public Library

Happy Birthday Howard Pyle

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

The_Merry_Adventures_of_Robin_Hood,_2_FrontispieceHappy Birthday, Howard Pyle!

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived. ~Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle was born 160 years ago, March 5, 1853. Brave Writer is celebrating by offering the Boomerang based on Howard Pyle’s book, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood:

Half price for one day only: $4.95! OFFER HAS EXPIRED

It’s said that Mark Twain admired Pyle’s tales of Robin Hood. And it’s no wonder. His book is a lively, colorful account of the outlaw and his band of Merry Men. On the one hand, it’s easily understood by children (of all ages!), while on the other, it brilliantly maintains an “Old English” feel to the language.

Some tidbits about Mr. Pyle:

He was born eight years before the Civil War.

Unlike almost all American artists before him, Pyle did not study overseas. His family couldn’t afford a stay in Europe, so off to Philadelphia he went.

He later founded The Brandywine School, which greatly influenced American art (some of his students: N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and Frank E. Schoonover).

As an illustrator, Pyle was especially known for his depiction of pirates.

He was a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Pyle lived in Florence, Italy for a year before he died. One of the most American of artists was buried in a foreign country.

He never received any formal awards for his work.

 

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

New to Brave Writer

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Brave Writer has three components to support your writing and language arts goals:

Home Study Courses

Online Classes

Language Arts Programs

The Home Study Courses are divided into two. The Writer’s Jungle teaches you, the parent, how to be the most effective writing coach in your children’s lives. The principles, exercises, and guidelines apply to every level of writing from beginner to pro. If you like to work at your own pace, need a manual to which you can refer when you get overwhelmed, if you benefit from having your entire philosophy of writing stood on its head and recreated for you, then start with The Writer’s Jungle. It will work for all your kids.

Help for High School is our home study course for teens. It’s written to your student and is intended to be self-teaching. The course is organized around specific modules and in each module, there is an exercise or writing assignment to complete. These can be done multiple times if you swap topics. They are writing processes, not specific assignments geared toward a period in history or a work of literature. Help for High School provides models of how to write expository essays (both open and closed forms) as well as the steps necessary to understand the structure of argument, thesis and points and particulars.

The Online Classes provide moms and kids with instructor support and accountability. They cover a wider range of choices in terms of specific writing genres. If you prefer to be in a classroom style setting with an instructor, other students and the gentle accountability of due dates, start with Kidswrite Basic. This online course transforms your understanding of how to best facilitate writing in your home. It gives you the tools to know how to encourage and foster good writing habits rather than merely editing poor writing for mechanical errors.

Kidswrite Intermediate is the course to consider if you want to make the transition from parent-led writing to student-led. It’s designed for kids just on the cusp of essay writing. The processes in KWI make up the first half of Help for High School. The benefit to taking it as a class is that the online class offers instructor feedback and the opportunity to read other student writing. KWI prepares students for all levels of essay classes, as well.

The other online classes round out writing experiences. We offer fiction, literary analysis, poetry, grammar, freewriting, SAT/ACT preparation, Shakespeare, literary discussion (Boomerang Complete) and more. The courses help you and your kids to widen their writing experiences while giving you the support and modeling that make you a more and more effective writing coach. The courses also prevent a feeling of isolation in the homeschool, putting you in touch with other parents and students from around the world who are embarking on a similar journey.

The language arts portion of Brave Writer supports and enhances the writing programs. The Arrow, the Boomerang and the retired Slingshot are designed to provide you with easy-to-use tools that teach mechanics, spelling, grammar, handwriting and literary elements in the context of great literature. The Arrow works best for kids 3rd – 6th grades. The Boomerang is designed for 7th-9th grades (though some high school students do quite well with the Boomerang). The Slingshot (already published issues) catered to 10th-12th grades. We now offer literary analysis classes for 10th-12th grades instead.

You can either subscribe to the current year’s lists of the Arrow or Boomerang (paying monthly on your credit card), or you can purchase already published issues ala carte and design your own year’s program around books you and your kids want to read. These tools are meant to supplement your writing program, not replace it. When the Arrow or Boomerang are used in tandem with The Writer’s Jungle or Help for High School, or along with Kidswrite Basic or Kidswrite Intermediate, you will be offering your children a complete language arts/writing package.

Jump in. Try not to figure it all out or become overwhelmed at the choices. Pick one thing that you find fascinating. Purchase it or sign up for it. Use it, do it. Experience and enjoy it. See how it goes. Then do the next thing. As you take it one thing at a time, you will build momentum. You’re not in a rush. You don’t have to solve writing and language arts this week, this semester or even this year. You only need to take the next logical step toward the goal of becoming the best writing coach you can be. In turn, your kids will grow into more and more effective writers.