Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Philosophy’ Category

The Method is not the Goal

The Method is not the Goal

The method is not the goal. The goal is the goal.

In other words: your allegiance to a method that doesn’t get you to your goal means you’ve made the method the goal and lost sight of your true goal—whatever that may be!

  • Love of learning
  • Mastery of phonics
  • Steady effort in a challenging subject
  • Reading…

You are free to scrap any method that doesn’t work to experiment with methods that you shunned, even when your friends disapprove.

The method is not in charge.
The goal is.

If you make the goal the goal, you will adopt any strategy that gets you closer to the goal. But if you make the method the goal, even inadvertently, you may wander in a wilderness of wondering why you never get where you thought you were going.

Liberation comes when you give yourself permission to have a journey in education that is unique to your family (not the one you have been told you must follow or it doesn’t count and won’t work).


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

Two Important Ideas

Brave Writer: Two Important Ideas

I’ve noticed two strains of homeschooling advice that I want to bust as worthless.

  1. That learning is hard. It requires a systematic approach. Because the subjects are hard, buckle down with a program and get it done.
  2. That learning is natural. Stop all systems. Go with the currents of a child’s interests and let those teach a child everything he or she needs to know. Get out of the way.

It took me about 20 years to admit two important ideas.

  1. It takes effort to get good at anything.
  2. You only put in effort if you see a benefit to yourself.

The first concept is why some parents get exasperated and focus on “getting done.” The second concept is why other parents cross their fingers that Tinker Toys will teach trigonometry.

I want to change the conversation around learning. We should be discussing ideas for how to provoke interest in a topic that seems dull. We should talk about how to build stamina to keep trying when a child loses heart.

We should be free from proving our membership in a particular philosophy of education (where we prioritize how we appear to adults rather than how our children experience learning).

Want to learn more? Dive into all the free content available on the Brave Writer website.

And for individual hand-holding, join me in the Homeschool Alliance where we address these kinds of issues each month in our Brave Learner Book Club.

The Homeschool Alliance

Support During the Struggle

Support

“Your best bet is to be gentle with yourself & to surround your homeschool life with people who are advocates for you more than your philosophy of education or parenting.” (A Gracious Space, Julie Bogart)

There are two kinds of support during struggle. First, when you face a challenge in your marriage or health or philosophy of education, many people will back the institution. They’ll tell you how to stay married or what kind of treatment you must follow or which educational philosophy is the rightest. They’ll rally around their beliefs and urge you to hold the line—to persevere in struggle, to not give up on your marriage or doctor or homeschooling.

The second kind of support is for you. No matter what you choose, this person understands that you are more important than institutions or philosophies. The support is unwavering for the person you are. Your success as a wife or patient or home educator is not propping up marriage or medical protocols (or holistic nutrition) or homeschooling.

Support

Rather: support feels like being seen, being reminded of your own ability to choose, to make the call for yourself.

Support is believing more in a person’s well being
than any institution’s preservation.

Get friends like that. They are priceless. They aren’t passive-aggressive, or controlling, or manipulative. They are friends.


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

Catching up with Peter Elbow

Catching up with Peter Elbow

Peter Elbow is one of our favorite people here at Brave Writer! His ideas and published works about writing have greatly influenced our philosophy and practices.

Although he does not take credit for creating the idea of freewriting, Dr. Elbow has helped to popularize the practice and bring it further into the public consciousness, for which we are very grateful. Freewriting is an essential component of the Brave Writer Lifestyle (check out our writing prompts every Friday!).

Dr. Elbow has a helpful website, which hosts a vast amount of information and resources including:

Take a look around the site and hopefully you’ll end up as big a fan of Dr. Elbow as we are. And while you’re at it, watch our interview with Dr. Elbow from 2016!


Learn more about Freewriting

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