Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Lifestyle’ Category

*NEW* The Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan!

Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan

Introducing: The Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan

Many of you have asked me how to fit in all the good stuff I recommend in what I call Brave Writer Lifestyle. You wish I would magically put the routine into your calendars and then you could just follow along. I gotchu!

I teamed up with The Homeschool Planet which is a digital calendar program that enables you to include not just the Brave Writer Lifestyle, but also ALL of your appointments, lesson plans for each child and other programs, as well as the Brave Writer goodness. The Homeschool Planet Planner is a monthly subscription, but the first month is FREE! You can test drive the Planner while you use the Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan. If you wish to continue, cool! If not, not to worry. The Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan will continue to be useful to you. You will have a PDF version of the Planner for free with the BWL Plan on it.

So there’s no reason not to give it a whirl! You can now use the Homeschool Planet planner and accompanying Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan to give you the gentle reminders to stay with your best intentions!

Each week I’ve carefully put together the routine that includes

  • read alouds,
  • poetry teatime,
  • video encouragement from me,
  • nature journaling,
  • movie viewing,
  • copywork and dictation and more!

The planner includes Brave Writer Lifestyle lesson plans for Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer! You can purchase one plan per season or buy them for a discount all together.

No other purchase needed except a subscription to Homeschool Planet which is an easy-to-use homeschool planner that gives you everything you need to organize your home and your home school.

What You Get

  • With each lesson plan, you get 65 days of activities that will foster a loving, language-rich life style for you and your children.
  • One-click access to pop-up videos, blog posts, articles, practice tips, and more.
  • Check boxes for you to check off as you complete the activities, giving you a permanent record of your progress in the Brave Write Lifestyle.
  • Automatic rescheduling of activities when “life happens.”
  • Automatic lesson plan updates as needed, with enhancements, link updates, etc. Note: You decide whether to apply the updates.

Check out The Brave Writer Lifestyle Plan!

Blog Roundup: November 2016 Edition

November Blog Roundup 2016

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

When Less Is More – Cait, My Little Poppies

I have a confession to make…I’m addicted to the morning Brave Writer Facebook Lives. My kids actually think that Julie Bogart is skyping with me… and that’s okay. (They also think that Kenny Chesney comes to Boston every August for my birthday…. Don’t I wish!) Anyway, this week one of Julie’s FB live readings hit home more than usual. It was titled “Less is More” and that is something I truly believe…read more.

A Brave Writer Review – Erin, Nourishing My Scholar

What do you do when your child hates writing? How do you instill a love of writing when it is something that brings nothing but tears and heartache to your child? I must admit I was at a loss when it came to writing in our homeschool. Writing had become an almost painful requirement for both myself and our son. Basic writing prompts only prompted one or two word responses! That is, until a year ago when I discovered Julie Bogart and Brave Writer…read more.

Top Ten Brave Writer Arrow Guides – Mary, Not Before 7

I confess. I am a paper girl trapped in a world of PDF’s.  Despite these handy electronic files,  I continue to print out most everything. And this includes my homeschool curriculum guides. Open my file cabinet in the basement and preview the stacks and stacks of Brave Writer Arrow guides from three full years of subscriptions.  Thirty printed guides are sitting in my files in addition to their PDF counterparts sitting on my computer.  I am not really sure why I feel the need to save the printed copy, but I do…read more.

Love the Year You’re With – Mary, Not Before 7

Out of control. Disorganized. Fly by the seat of my pants.  Does the start of the school year always feel this way? I don’t think it does. I am pretty sure that our past school years have followed the plan a bit more closely.  But I can’t be sure. What I am sure of is that the kick-off for this 2016 school year was far from a touchdown. It feels more like life intercepted the ball and ran the other way with it and I am watching the ball leave my side of the field without a plan to get it back…read more.

Better Learning Through Board Gaming – Homeschooling Without Training Wheels

Of course, I may be biased, but in my opinion, there is no better “stealth education” than board gaming.  I’ve already shared my thoughts on “educational games” and why they may not be the best use of your time.  What I’m sharing today are all the things that your kids are naturally learning by playing excellent, well-balanced board games, designed, not to be “educational,” but to be enjoyable…read more.

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 Jeannette, our Social Media admin ( Thanks!

Learn more about Brave Writer products

The Homeschool Hand Grenade

The Homeschool Hand Grenade

You’ve got homeschool humming along. Pencils flying, kids laughing, toddlers misbehaving manageably, babies napping just long enough.

You look about your petite kingdom and for a moment, allow yourself pleasure—happiness. It’s this rush of well being that says, “I love my life! I love these kids, this work, that mess made by the 2 year old…” You sigh contentedly.

For two minutes.

Or two hours.

On rare occasion, two days.

And then: a triggering event dashes the momentary zen-filled peace.

Your friend raves about a new homeschool product.

Your mother asks why Sydney (age 7) isn’t reading yet.

Or worst of all, you simply feel uncomfortable sitting in that seat of happiness. It’s this comfy bean bag chair by a sunny window and you worry if you fall into it for too long, to sleep you’ll go—off duty, off the watch for the ever present danger threatening to ruin your children (what catastrophe would you wake to!?).

“Happiness is untrustworthy,” the restless mind whispers. Happiness is a sign that someone is not working hard, that something worthwhile is not occurring, that play has taken over where work should be.

Right as mastery is growing, contentment is blooming, the routine is taking root, what do we conscientious mothers do?

We toss a homemade hand grenade into the living room of happy homeschooling.

  • We buy a brand new text or work book that is unfamiliar and a change in the comfortable routine because the one being used is “too easy.”
  • We shift focus because the we’re worried that we aren’t being rigorous enough.
  • We require longer, more, and better results because ease means the child isn’t working at top capacity.
  • We decide that even though homeschool is going well, household chores are a nightmare and so create brand new pressures for everyone—ensuring that somewhere, someone is doing work that causes a little pain (learning IS suffering, isn’t it?).

This homemade hand grenade is designed to detonate with one purpose: to ensure that home education is challenging because we believe that true learning is associated with difficulty and hard work.

So right as you and your kids find your stride, right as your children show they love doing pages of fractions or happily write reams of silly stories about kittens or have watched 12 YouTube videos about WW2 tanks, you yank that comforting floor from beneath their feet and require them to do this most important other thing they are neglecting to prove to yourself and to them that they are actually learning something of value. Right? Right?

And then BAM!

You are back to homeschool h-e-double hockey sticks.

Let’s not do that. Let me help you keep the pin in the grenade (aka the new not-yet-purchased program in the online shopping cart).

Principles to pin to your wall:

1. Ease and joy indicate flow.
Flow is optimal for learning. When a child is happily working on a skill, that means that child is actually doing the very thing you most desire: learning. They are creating the neural pathways that will help the child retain the skill and information. Lean into it and let it roll!

2. Practice creates automaticity.
Understanding is not enough in any field. Repetition/practice that is stimulating and comfortable leads fluency. If a child loves ripping through pages of times tables after demonstrating mastery, let him! When you child learns to ride a bike, we don’t say, “Now you must learn to use a pogo stick or a unicycle.” We let them ride! That’s the privilege of understanding and fluency in a skill. Using it with joy is the reward for having mastered it.

3. When the stars align, do not wake the baby!
The baby, in this case, is YOUR HOMESCHOOL! Let it sprawl all over that bean bag chair of learning. Allow the apparent happiness to last as long as it will, because you and I both know someone will start teething or grow underarm hair and that serene moment in time will end abruptly. YOU don’t need to be the one to wreck the peace. Peace-wrecking is already on its way for you. Let it come.

4. Learning (the true kind) is not pleasure-less.
Banish the notion. Adopt our family policy for going to parties with kids: “Leave while everyone is happy.” Let your son stop working the math problems while he is alert and proud of his work. Let your daughter stop her copywork after a carefully handwritten sentence, before she gets sloppy for an entire paragraph. Pleasure is the fruit of challenge and success, not struggle and stress.

Don’t wreck the peace! Opt for happiness and allow it to run its course. You can keep the happy going by enjoying it when it appears.

Psst. You’re allowed to.

Read More: Make Peace with the Peace

The Brave Writer Lifestyle: How It Worked with My Kids

The Brave Writer Lifestyle: How It Worked with My Kids

Walk down memory lane with me and see how we practiced the Brave Writer Lifestyle in my home!

My best memories are from all the times I went off-script in home education. I followed the rabbit trails, I followed my children’s leads, and I stayed alert to great ideas from unconventional sources. I used Family Fun magazine, for instance, as a resource for educational ideas far more frequently than any traditional curriculum. Immersive experiences created the kind of education I always wanted my children to have.

In the broadcast below, I share how I did what I did with my kids and I even showcase some of their writing!

Practices Covered

  • Poetry Teatimes
  • Read Alouds
  • Copywork/Dictation
  • Art Appreciation
  • Shakespeare
  • Movies/TV
  • Nature Journaling
  • Language Games
  • Friday Freewrite
  • One on One Time
  • Writing Projects
  • Putting Your Child in the Driver’s Seat
  • Literary Elements

BONUS TIP: Party School!

Find out more about Party School here!

Blog Roundup: October 2016 Edition

Blog Round Up October 2016

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

Using the Brave Writer Arrow Guides – by Mary, Not Before 7

They are 3rd-6th grade book specific literature guides designed for parents to guide their students through four weeks of language arts activities. The Arrow Guide includes weekly copywork/dictations passages alongside notes about the passage incorporating grammar, spelling, punctuation and literary style. A specific literary element is focused on in each guides as well…read more.

When Imagination Drives the Homeschool Bus – Kristina, Blossom & Root

I recently read a post on Facebook, written by the infallibly-soothing Julie Bogart of Brave Writer, about how to reprogram type-A checklist tendencies by writing a new kind of checklist. This new checklist includes such things as “cuddled someone on the couch,” “affirmed a child for his or her self-expression,” and (my personal favorite) “ditched the plan, followed a great idea (bonus: without guilt!)” At the brand-new, sparkly beginning of the school year, this was exactly what I needed to read…read more.

Writing With Training Wheels – Angela, Nurtured Roots

Writing is like learning to ride a bike.  At first, the “rider” needs our full support to steady things.  After a while, all the rider needs is some gentle support as we keep our hand on the back of the seat, prepared and ready to help.  Once she gains more confidence and skill, we’re able to run alongside being the encourager, but still being there to bandage the skinned knee if she falls…read more.

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Poetry Teatime – Kara Stephenson Anderson

I’m a devoted homeschooling mama, who has spent the past couple of years learning that killing myself in an effort to “make memories,” isn’t actually in the best interests of my family. But I still really, really want to do cool stuff…read more.

Innovative Homeschooling: Let’s Talk Literature – Mary, Not Before 7

As we sift through our literature options, I’d like to offer a few thoughts to encourage homeschooling parents to embrace the role of an innovator when it comes to literature…read more.

The Brave Writer Lifestyle: One Family’s Approach – Caitlin, The Homeschool Sisters

You’ve probably heard the story by now, but I didn’t set out to homeschool. My husband and I are both products of the public education system. Before having children, I worked as a school psychologist in and around Boston and I loved it. I had every intention of returning to urban education once my children were in school…read more.

A Peek at The Writer’s Jungle – Cassandra, Unplug Your Family

When I got the okay to review The Writer’s Jungle, I was uncertain what Brave Writer was even all about.  I had only vaguely heard of it and, quite honestly, I was skeptical…read more.

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 Jeannette, our Social Media admin ( Thanks!

Learn more about Brave Writer productsPumpkin image by miriampastor (cc cropped, tinted, text added)