Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Lifestyle’ Category

Blog Roundup Special Edition: Movies!

Brave Writer Lifestyle February Roundup

Welcome to the latest blog roundup! See how other homeschooling families practice the Brave Writer Lifestyle!

This roundup in particular is special because February is Movies and TV month here at Brave Writer.

The Brave Writer Lifestyle and Movies

Family Movie Night: Hidden Figures by Kara

36 of the Best Childrens + Young Adult Books Made into Movies by Alicia

25 Movies You Can Pair with Books by Erin

The Secret Garden Book Club and Movie Time by Dachelle

Our Brave Writer Lifestyle February: Books, Movies, and the 2018 Winter Games by Cait

We hope to share more roundups in the future! If you write about an aspect of the Brave Writer Lifestyle, let us know! Email your post’s url to


2018 Brave Writer Lifestyle

Brave Writer Lifestyle Monthly Tips and Resources

Receive Brave Writer Lifestyle tips in your inbox for each theme below
PLUS a free hand-lettered PDF download by Julie! 

Brave Writer Lifestyle: TV and Film

Brave Writer Lifestyle: TV and Film

We’re focusing on TV and Film in February!

This month is all about movies and TV. Good thing because I’ll be holed up in front of my television, eating out of a box for the two weeks of the Olympics! Won’t you?

We’ll be discussing this month’s theme on Instagram and in the Homeschool Alliance, and I’ll likely share on Facebook Live too.

For regular encouragement as you implement the elements in your home this year, sign up for our monthly BWL email (sent on the 1st of every month in 2018). This month’s newsletter includes these FREE downloadable resources:

  • Hand-lettered Tips
  • Brave Writer Goes to the Movies
  • Brave Writer Guide to the 2018 Winter Olympics

Also if you need family movie night suggestions, complete with discussion questions and helpful resources, check out our Master List of Movie Wednesday posts here on the Brave Writer blog!

For more information about the Brave Writer Lifestyle, check out this part of our website

2018 Themes

January: Read Aloud
February: TV & Film
March: Big, Juicy Conversations
April: Poetry Teatime
May: Art Appreciation
June: Nature Journaling
July: One on One Time
August: Language Games
September: Copywork
October: Freewriting
November: Shakespeare
December: Celebrate!

Brave Writer Calendar

It’s also not too late to grab our lovely 2018 Brave Writer Lifestyle Calendar. It will give you a place to record your activities, which child did what, and to make plans for field trips, and more!

Share, share, share!

We’d love it if you shared your Brave Writer Lifestyle adventures on Instagram, the BraveSchoolers Facebook Group, in the Homeschool Alliance, or wherever you hang out online.


Partnering with Your Child in Writing

How to be your child's partner in writing

In school, a teacher usually has somewhere between 20-30 children whose writing she has to evaluate. She’s not partnering with the child. She is expecting that child to show his or her level of competence so she can evaluate the child and only the child. She worries that if the parent gets involved in that writing process, somehow she won’t be evaluating a child; she’ll be evaluating an adult showing up in the child’s writing.

Now, I get that. She doesn’t have conversations, one-on-one, all day long with 20 or 30 kids. She isn’t sitting next to the child while he’s struggling with his pen to write at home. All she sees is the final result of effort.

I want to share with you a story from my own childhood, because I think it’s illustrative of the failure of this system of requiring children to write without help.

My mother is a freelance author, she has written 85 books, she has been in professional publishing her entire adult life, and she has taught writing to professionals for her whole adult life.

So, when I was coming up through the ranks as a child, my mom was very interested in my writing. She provided me with all kinds of tools. I have an All About Me book and I wrote my very first story, in cursive, in that book. She bought me little journals; she jotted down things I said. My mom loved literature. We went to the library every single week. She read aloud to us and I read to myself.

This was the early rich language life.

She took us to plays, to movies; she was very interested in us having a great literature and language experience.

Partnering with Your Child in Writing

As I got into school over the years, I was assigned writing projects. I remember distinctly, in 4th grade, being told that I needed to produce this report with no help. Now, I had this massive resource in my mother, but I took what the teacher said seriously and I told my mother, “You can’t help me with this report.”

I wrote a report on Queen Elizabeth. I had a red file folder. I decided to make it beautiful, so I used a blank sheet of white paper, no lines. I wrote it in very light pencil first, I went through and corrected all my mistakes, and then I traced over it in better pen so that it would be perfect. I used our World Book Encyclopedias for my research. And I finished it without any help from my mother.

I can’t tell you how proud I was of this paper. I turned in my report with all the other 4th graders. Do you know what’s coming?

I got a C on my independently produced report. Do you know what I saw in the stack of reports? Reports written by students who had help from their parents. There were typewritten reports. There were reports that were clearly handwritten perfectly and that had lots of detail.

I just sat down with all the information I knew and I just wrote it out. I didn’t know how to structure it. I didn’t even really know how to paragraph yet. I was in 4th grade! And that C crushed me, and my mom was not pleased. I put in all this heart and effort. She saw me do the research, she saw me be painstaking in my handwriting, but I got a C because other kids had help and the teacher couldn’t tell the difference.

Here’s what you have at home that my 4th grade teacher didn’t have:

A front row seat to your children’s development. You can tell what they’re doing. You can see when you add a sentence or help them think of a vocabulary word. You know what was their effort and what was your combined efforts.

Not only that, when you combine efforts your are mentoring your children into the writing experience.

Want to learn more about partnering with your kids?
Watch the full video on YouTube!

Partnership Writing

Willing Participants

Willing Participants

by Brave Writer mom, Karen

Hi, Brave Writer community. To encourage you all, here’s a sweaty picture of me (above) being “enough” playing with my son on the squash courts at our local YMCA. Please allow me to explain why I would think to share it here.

I was the girl in high school who was picked second to last for high school games in P.E. every week, for four years. Four long, humiliating, years. It fed right into my insecurities about my body and athleticism. These past few months my son’s enthusiasm for sports has grown insatiable and I have been forced to reckon with my old high school self; apologetically practicing warm ups, basketball shoots & tricks, attending practice and games—taking him to the squash courts whenever our schedule permits, practicing pickle ball with the “silver sneaker” crowd, and taking him to Zumba classes.

Julie’s [broadcast] today echoed in my heart as my son & I hit the racquetball courts this morning—a follow through on yesterday’s promise. I missed the ball dozens of times and hit it in directions I never aimed for. Honestly, I must have been comical to watch. The ball would bounce between my legs, under my arms and fly across the tip of my racket with almost every lunge and swift swing I made. While we were having fun early on, I sensed frustration and feelings of incompetency building inside of me, threatening to end the fun we were having.

At one point I began to seriously doubt my competency in supporting my son’s interests. What stopped me was Julie’s words of not waiting for or wanting a future better self but loving the best version of ourselves today—a message echoed in readings I happen to have been doing this past year, too. It was at this point I remembered my son and I were free to practice according to our own rules. It didn’t matter if I was using the court correctly or not, or if the ball bounced more than once before it was returned. It didn’t matter if the ball ricocheted from floor to wall, wall to ceiling.

It didn’t matter how we played.
It just mattered that we were playing.

Our strategy became, “Don’t let the ball roll—keep it moving, keep it bouncing. Keep it moving.” And with new rules in place, fear yielded to fun and more learning took place. I could tell that with each “error” we were making we were learning how to adjust our aim and our step. And then I began to see learning that reached beyond any attempt of actually playing a game too—I was betting that we were both also learning about the principles of physics and geometry too. What mattered was not how good I was at sports, or how fast the gains my son was making, but that we were willing participants.

With this tenet in mind, it became clear that my son would progress at his own rate regardless of my skill; not slower because of me. And that idea is very freeing for me. It’s easy to view our feelings of incompetency as barriers to learning and teaching, but if we can find a way of viewing things from the act of participating rather than abstaining, I think it helps us give way to discomfort and allows for learning to take hold.

The Brave Writer Philosophy

Brave Writer Book Club Party School

Brave Writer Book Club Party School

Introduction by Mary Wilson

Helping my kids make meaningful connections to literature has always been an important part of my homeschool. I have used the Brave Writer Arrow and Boomerang guides for several years to support my efforts.

The Boomerang guides have always included Think Piece questions to facilitate discussion and the recent Arrow guides (those published since 2015) include Big, Juicy questions. These questions inspired me to organize book clubs for my children and their friends in order to facilitate a big, juicy conversation about good books.

Of course, I combined the questions from the guides with the idea of a Brave Writer party school and the Brave Writer book club party school was born. Our family had so much fun at our book club parties that I began to share ideas on my blog. Other homeschooling parents jumped on board and a Brave Writer book club community formed.

In order to encourage and support parents who want to implement creative party school ideas, the Arrow and Boomerang book guides published this year (2017-2018) include a Book Club Party School guide. You’ll find fun ideas for food, activities, games, and more in each guide so that your family can celebrate books together.

As a complement to their annual Arrow or Boomerang subscription, subscribers are invited to a private Facebook group where they can share ideas and inspiration from the book clubs with their own children. Many participants also share their ideas on Instagram using the hashtag: #bwbookclub.

Below are just a few of the wonderful ideas from our Brave Writer book club community this year: