Archive for the ‘Boomerang’ Category

The Preciousness of Life

The Preciousness of Life

This August we’re reading Station Eleven in our Boomerang Book Club (the book club for teens). Written by a Canadian homeschooler (Emily St. John Mandel), it was a national book award finalist.

The story is about a post-pandemic world where not enough people survive to sustain life as we currently know it—no one to ship our goods across oceans, no one to run the power grid, no one to drill for oil and turn it into petroleum, no more harvesting of crops, no running water, and so on… The modern world grinds to a halt. The remnant population is forced to hunt and scavenge in the ruins of the 21st century.

I read this book last August, in fact. It so moved me, I wept openly on a plane, amazed at the miracle of flight—that I had been born in a time and place where transcontinental travel was taken for granted, that even my tray and cupholder were perfectly designed and formed: a delight to use. A miracle!

All year, I’ve lived with that feeling—that we have lost touch with just how incredible it is to be alive now, in this moment aware of all the moments that came before and able to take full advantage of all that we offer each other now.

It’s taken all ten thousand years and billions of human beings to create every single taken-for-granted item and service we live with daily—to be at a point where travel, telecommunications, and agriculture make life on our planet comfortable, productive, and stupendously amazing!

The overnight news of rising tensions between the US and North Korea (I’ll admit) freaked me out. I’m amped on adrenaline and the old 1970s fear of nuclear holocaust (only so much more aware of what that really means) has returned with a vicious vengeance. I found myself wishing I were already dead—I don’t want to be alive when nuclear holocaust comes. Honestly.

It struck me as prescient really that we are reading this book about a kind of post-apocalyptic world as a community this month.

It’s an illusion to think that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will be here waiting to be enjoyed or faced.

The luxury of the illusion of time allows us to be cranky, to be careless with our attitudes and words, to assume that an opulence of time allows us to mistreat one another knowing we can make up for it whenever we want to—some other day we can be kind, understanding, gentle, tender. Today, we’ll be moody, irritable, annoyed.

Yet today is a miracle—that you and I are still here, still sipping coffee, listening to music written by someone we’ll never meet, piped to us by machines the size of a pocket in a pair of jeans fueled by energy whose source is every bit as mysterious as a witch doctor’s incantation.

I’m typing my thoughts and they will instantly transmit to every corner of the globe through no effort of mine.

All of this astonishing achievement can be snatched from us in a moment—a careless, angry, ego-laden move by a national leader designed to protect one set of interests against another.

The real danger of our interconnected, startlingly brilliant 21st century world IS our interdependence—the collective need to collaborate rather than compete. Our nationality, our ethnicity, our geography hold us hostage. “Survival of the fittest” no longer works. To make it, we must partner and care about each other’s welfare as we do our own.

It starts at home. Today.

No more going nuclear on our kids, on our spouses.

No more permitting them to go nuclear on us.

It feels like we don’t have time to be cruel. I remember a friend saying years ago when faced with awfulness, to respond in the opposite spirit. It occurred to me tonight that in light of the international tension, we can flip the script at home.

It’s time to take time in hand and hold it gently, with reverence, sharing love with those we love, being kind and considerate. There’s no time to waste. This is it.

Be Good to You: Self Care Practices for the Homeschooling Parent

2017 Fall Class Registration is OPEN

Registration is OPEN for Brave Writer Online Classes

Brave Writer Online Classes provide a safe space for writing risks.

Fall Class Registration is OPEN

Today is our biggest online class registration event of the year. Our Arrow and Boomerang Book Clubs are open for registration as well. Spots fill quickly so don’t wait to sign up!

New to our online class registration day? I’ve got tips for you!

You will receive two email confirmations (one of payment and one showing your classes)

Charter School payments are collected later. Select “charter school” at the payment window to complete your registration. You will receive ONE receipt.

We’ve created an FAQ you can read too.

If you get stuck, contact us:

  • Use the live chat box on the website
  • Or email us at help@bravewriter.com (Put a clear subject line: “Payment didn’t go through” or “I can’t get past the ‘add a child’ page”)
  • We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible!

Register for Fall Writing Classes HERE

The Winners of our Big Book Giveaway!

2017-18 Big Book Winners

We wanted you to have the books to go with your Arrow or Boomerang purchase so we held a BIG BOOK GIVEAWAY for the 2017-18 book collections!

Here are the 5 lucky winners:

  • Betsy Frodermann
  • Deanna Niles McConnell
  • Emily Anderson
  • Sandy Foutz
  • Vincent Casey Lee

Congratulations! You’ll be contacted soon and your set of Arrow or Boomerang titles (your pick!) will be on its way (international winners will receive a $100 Amazon gift card to buy the books).

2017-18 Arrow and Boomerang Books

The Arrow (3rd-6th) and the Boomerang (7th-10th) are Brave Writer’s language arts tools (digital magazines) that teach

  • grammar,
  • spelling,
  • punctuation,
  • and literary elements using living literature (a la Charlotte Mason)

They include

  • four passages for copywork and dictation,
  • parent-friendly notes to help you teach the mechanics of writing,
  • nine discussion questions,
  • and a sheet of themed-party suggestions.

Each issue publishes on the 1st of the month and will be available for download from a private folder on our Brave Writer Website.

One caveat: We are offering Arrow and Boomerang book clubs for ALL 20 titles (registration opens in July). If you decide you want your kids to be in our book discussion clubs, know that the issues of the Arrow and Boomerang are included for the price of the club.

Science-Themed Language Arts

Science-Themed Language Arts

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It’s designed for children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.


A mom on Braveschoolers asked about Science-Themed Arrows and here are ones that were recommended:

Blood and Guts

This is a book to help you explore the amazing territory that is inside the bag you live in that you call your skin. It will show you experiments to try, tests to take, and the tools to make that will help you see and feel and hear what is going on inside. You’ll amaze yourself.—From the back cover

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Readers today are still fascinated by “Nat,” an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor’s world—Salem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn’t promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by “log, lead, and lookout.”—Amazon

Galen and the History of Medicine

When Endemus recovered, suddenly people all over Rome wanted Galen to be their doctor…Galen gave lectures to explain his ideas…In one demonstration, Galen wanted to prove that speech came from the brain, not the heart, even though sound seems to come from the chest.—From the book

Nim’s Island

A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before.—Amazon

Science Verse

What if a boring lesson about the food chain becomes a sing-aloud celebration about predators and prey? A twinkle-twinkle little star transforms into a twinkle-less, sunshine-eating-and rhyming Black Hole? What if amoebas, combustion, metamorphosis, viruses, the creation of the universe are all irresistible, laugh-out-loud poetry? Well, you’re thinking in science verse, that’s what. And if you can’t stop the rhymes . . . the atomic joke is on you. Only the amazing talents of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, the team who created Math Curse, could make science so much fun.—Amazon

Nature Study

Charlotte’s Web (FREE!)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Poppy
The Big Wave
Trumpet of the Swan


Brave Writer Online Class: Skip into Science

How We Select Boomerang Books

How We Select Boomerang Books

The Boomerang is Brave Writer’s monthly digital product that features a classic work of fiction each month. These novels are used to teach the mechanics of writing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and literary elements) to students, usually 8th grade and above.

Sometimes Boomerang book selections contain mature language or themes, and parents have asked why we chose them. We share below how we select all the books on our list.


[This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. When you click on the link to make a purchase,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


We pick books because we love them.

For instance, I’ve read The Thing About Jellyfish (and sobbed my little heart out at the end – such a tearjerker of mother’s love!). The novel is the story of a middle school aged girl struggling to process her grief at the loss of her best friend from childhood (death by possible drowning). The writing is gorgeous and the attention to detail, astonishing.

The books also represent the following criteria:

Quality literature (good writing).

For example, the 2017-18 books include Newbery Medal winners and National Book Award finalists.

Diverse authorship.

  • male/female
  • various viewpoints
  • diverse ethnicity
  • diverse time period
  • classics and modern

Both male and female protagonists.

Variety of genres.

  • poetry
  • prose
  • first person narrative
  • third person narrative
  • fantasy
  • historical fiction, etc.

That’s how books make it to our list.

What I often say to parents is this: select books that both feel right for your family (your values) and those that stretch you to include viewpoints you aren’t familiar with. Even when you disagree with something, it is worth it to read and discover how others see the world and to appreciate how their point of view feels to them. Reading a book is not the same as agreeing with a viewpoint.

That said, we encourage parents to make their own judgments. The Boomerang will address the writing. That’s our focus.


Brave Writer Boomerang Book ClubBoomerang Book Club

Teens are invited to join our virtual book club! Rather than reading in isolation, without the benefit of examining the writing and the layers of meaning novelists intend, The Boomerang Book Club provides a forum for that opportunity.