Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Lifestyle’ Category

Get Outside

Get Outside

“Let them once get in touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” —Charlotte Mason Vol 1, pg 61.

I read these words for the first time in a condo in Orange County CA and felt depressed. Oh, we could identify pill bugs and sparrows, but drought resistant plants and asphalt in every direction under the endless sunny skies did not a naturalist make (in me). Charlotte said to get outside no matter what weather—and all I wanted was one gray day as a reason to stay in—with a fire!

Her challenge stayed with me, though. We began walking in a dry creek bed, we visited horses that lived up the hill from us (discovered accidentally on a stroller outing). We drove in nightmarish LA traffic to the beach and tide pools. We named the trees, the shrubs, and the American crow.

Then we moved to Ohio. Oh. My. Now we had a creek, and more types of birds than we could name or count, trees taller than our house, and the ever-changing weather.

Good thing Charlotte’s words hung in my mind:

Get outside in every temperature,
with appropriate clothing.

So we did. And I still do. Changes how I see the day. Grounds me. Keeps me connected to an older wiser story—that was going on long before I got here and will continue long after I’m gone.

A day gone wrong can be rebooted with gloves, a hat, and a brisk walk.

Bundle ‘em up! Head outside!


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


Brave Writer Lifestyle

The Best Investment

A Total Win

The best investment we made when we moved to Ohio was to purchase a trampoline. Sure, people die on trampolines. I know. We fretted about that. But since I was already the mom who said “no” to a backyard swimming pool (I’m definitely not a good enough mother to always remember to lock the sliding door so no toddler drowns), it seemed sane to risk broken arms with a trampoline.

It’s the one piece of backyard play equipment that was as attractive to my little kids as my teens. We played a family game where the kids would jump and Jon and I would hurl balls at them; Yeah—good times!

The trampoline was a great place for a one on one chat. I’d climb on top and lay on my back next to a kid who needed to talk—sky and tree branches above offered a place to look without eye contact. Fresh air expands the conversation.

Kids did math and copywork on the trampoline. They jumped together and alone. They made up their own games. They exhausted themselves on days of agitation and too little activity.

Teens in love sat on the tramp talking or laid side by side for privacy yet in public—the perfect combination.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


Brave Writer Lifestyle

Time to Get Outside

Time to get outside

Boots have been tossed in favor of sneakers. Bikes are ready to be pulled out of storage. Warm sun is streaming in the windows. Tulips are blooming.

But how do I know spring has arrived? The kids are kicking the table legs. Drumming their fingers. Dropping their erasers—a hundred times. And the squirming! It’s like there’s an itch over their whole bodies.

Spring fever is HERE! And I say, don’t fight ‘em, join ‘em!

Here’s an enchanting opportunity to let your kids have what they crave at this time of year AND let you finish your homeschool year strong. (That’s right, you don’t have to pick just one!) Join our Nature Journaling online whole-family class! (One tuition, the entire family!)

Nature journaling inspires kids to uncover countless mysteries and surprises as they interact with the wondrous world around them!

The best part? While your kids are grabbing their notebooks and sun hats, they’re interacting with earth science, art, math, and getting the benefits of physical education.

But here’s something maybe you didn’t know. This class plants the seeds of their academic skills too. The kind they’ll grow and nurture through middle school and high school—until they bloom in college one day! 

Yep, we’re doing that, right now! 

Those ‘seeds’ include 

  • Acting as questioners and observers — the basis of academic exploration!
  • Harnessing the power and authority of scientific language
  • Doing research as they look up technical terms and explanations for what they observe
  • Choosing which details are relevant to share in class and what is unimportant
  • Practicing being an expert! They get to be the authoritative source on their local park or pond. 

How great is that?


What parents had to say about the Nature Journaling class:

When I asked [my daughter] to reflect on this month of journaling, her response was, “Can we keep doing this after the class?” 🙂  -Elizabeth S. 

This month of nature journaling has helped me to get a better idea of what it consists of and the various ways to do it. -Carolyn D. 

I used this activity in my Science enrichment class and my students loved it!!. -Leif E.


It’s our little secret—surprise your kids and let them think you’re letting them off the hook for homeschooling this month. We both know you are finishing your school year strong with Nature Journaling!

Nature Journaling

Blog Roundup: April 2019 Edition

Brave Writer Blog Roundup

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

How to Create Writing Topics That Excite Your Kids Using a Topic Funnel – Dachelle (Hide the Chocolate)

Choosing a writing topic is more than just picking something your child is interested in writing. It involves narrowing the topic to something that your child can handle. Read More

How to Actually Love to Teach Writing – Alicia (Learning Well)

Brave Writer’s writing programs are not based on grade level–not by a long shot. The programs are based on skill level. They meet your child right where they are, developmentally. Read More

How to Bring the Element of Surprise into Your Homeschool – The Brave Homeschooling Mama

Writing Lessons with The Three Little Pigs (Creative Writing for Multiple Ages) – Kay (Heart-to-Heart Homeschooling)

Yes, your students need writing instruction and assignments according to their grade levels, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least do some activities together. The key: expect students to produce work at the appropriate level for their ages. Read More

What if Elizabeth Bennet Had a Blog? (A Creative Writing & Literature Study for Teens) – Kay (Heart-to-Heart Homeschooling)

Time is limited. So how can a homeschool mom cover all of these different components of language arts study—the essay, literary analysis, and creativity? The answer is simple: combine them. Read More

Brave Writer Partnership Writing Review – April The (Simple Rugged Path)

How to Homeschool in the Midst of Family Hurt – Dachelle (Hide the Chocolate)

Homeschooling thrives when we shift from power over our kids to power with them—building empathetic relationships where the parent and child are partners in learning. Read More

Shakespeare in Spring: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Shakespeare in Elementary and Middle School – Dachelle (Hide the Chocolate)

Are you a Fen-sucked Dull-Eyed Canker-blossom? Do you know how many sonnets the Bard wrote, or which phrases we use that he coined? Have you any idea what an oxlip looks like? If you’re curious about answering any of these questions, then this Ultimate Guide to Teaching Shakespeare might be for you! Read More

Brave Writer Lifestyle

Help Kids SEE Differently

Help Kids See Differently

In chapter 4 of The Brave Learner, I write about the 4 Forces of Enchantment and how they catalyze learning. The second force is “mystery.”

Mystery provokes:

  • depth,
  • awe,
  • closer scrutiny,
  • a shift in perspective.

It’s the force of “unknowing”—the heart of any deep dive in learning.

One of the ways I suggest promoting mystery is to help kids SEE differently using all kinds of tools:

  • microscope,
  • binoculars,
  • magnifying glasses.

When I visited the Getty Center a while ago, I noticed these BIG magnifying glasses hanging on the wall. They were provided to examine Da vinci sketches. Adults flocked to them. You had to wait for one to come free and then they were immediately snapped up again.

Holding the glass, looking carefully through it meant every person spent more time examining the artwork in that room than any other room I had been in. I noticed as I looked that the drawing had been composed of deft hashmarks, layered—sometimes close together, sometimes far apart. Made me wish I had a magnifying glass for every painting, too!

A shift in how you SEE leads to an awareness that my habits of seeing are limited. There is always more to see/know when we shift perception, when we find aids to help us move away from the familiar to discover more.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner