Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Philosophy’ Category

Collaborate with Compassion


When your child hates candles, parties, cookies, or hugs—ask yourself—Were they offered to ‘get’ your kid to do something that mattered to you, more than it mattered to your child? If I hate running, simply promising me a candy bar at the end of 6 miles is not reward enough for me to cooperate with your agenda that I should be a runner.

When your child pitches a fit, or seems bored, or shows anxiety, the step to take is to receive it. To recognize the emotion as valid in that moment.

Collaborate with compassion—discover what stands in the way first. Then match the strategy to the need.

  • Does she need me to sit by her?
  • Can I ask a tired child how many problems or lines or paragraphs he can do today without wearing out?
  • Would it help to have quiet or a snack?
  • Does he need a break?
  • Does she need competition to test herself?
  • Have I failed to make this subject meaningful in its own right?

Collaborating with compassion means offering the corresponding support to the presenting need. (Jot that down.)

Here’s a helpful slide deck:

When the pixie dust fails, it may be your child senses a trick—a tactic aimed at meeting your goals rather than supporting a child in growing.

Pay attention and be patient. Experiment. Trust the process. ♥️

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

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Preparing Your Child for Academic Writing: What about Structure?

Brave Writer sometimes gets accused of being a “creative writing” program, which is code for “Brave Writer doesn’t teach writing formats or structure.” Which, to be honest, is absurd. All writing is creative—even a Ph.D. dissertation!

To write means to draw on our insights and ideas to create (craft) a piece of writing that takes the appropriate shape for the intended audience. Sometimes that shape looks like freewriting or journaling or writing a tall tale. Other times that shape is a report or expository essay or a research paper.

Structure in writing is not confined to academic papers either. Graphic novels and comic strips have a kind of structure that is unique to those formats yet no less clear and defining than the structure of a Master’s thesis.

To have a better sense of how a child goes from freely expressing self in writing to the well-defined structure of academic writing later in life, take a look at this brief video, “What about Structure?”

Because Brave Writer aims to support writing at every stage of development, we begin with writing that appeals to a “pre-reader.” That means, the writing the youngest of our children do will be expressive of self and appealing to a child’s interests. Yet the process they engage is similar to what they will do when they are old enough and skilled enough to write long form essays for college.

Our writing project programs follow this path that leads to a natural aptitude for academic writing by the time your child is in high school and leaves for college.

Need more help? Check out writing projects my kids did at different stages:

Structure in Writing: Examples

If you’d like a downloadable PDF copy of the “What about Structure” slide deck to refer to again and again, grab yours here.

“Love given is never wasted.”

Love given is never wasted.

My beautiful friend Debbie and I homeschooled together. Last week we went to the pool and shared about our lives now. Debbie works with opioid addicted women and some men here in Cincinnati. We got to talking about what it felt like to see someone give up the addiction, and make progress in their lives, and then revert to drug use. Debbie made a wise observation that I felt was critical for us to think about.

She said when she joined the organization to do this work, she believed her task was to help rescue people so that they would have improved lives. Naturally, not everyone can achieve the improvement. There are lots of stories of progress, not finished work, with growth and back tracks. She said she discovered she had to change her criteria for success in order to keep going and to not lose heart.

What Debbie believes now is that any time she gives love, she is offering her highest act of service, no matter the outcome.

As Debbie says, “Love given is never wasted.”

That phrase keeps echoing in my mind. How often is our goal to push for an outcome as opposed to creating a sacred space of love?

Perhaps a good question to ask ourselves when working with our kids is, “Is this the loving thing or the pushing them to my agenda thing?”

I want to remember: any love I give is never wasted—no matter how it looks today.

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

3 Keys to a Complete Writing Program

3 Keys to a Complete Writing Program

Scroll down for “The 3 Keys to a Complete Writing Program” webinar replay!

I’ve been asked countless times: Is Brave Writer a complete writing curriculum?

The short answer: Yes!

A complete writing curriculum is made of three parts.

  1. Writing mechanics and literature.
  2. Original thought.
  3. Writing projects.

Let’s take a look at how the three pieces of Brave Writer fit together! 

Writing Mechanics and Literature

1. Writing Mechanics and Literature.

Writers can hire someone to physically transcribe for them, but the process goes much faster when writers are competent in 

  • handwriting,
  • spelling,
  • punctuation, and
  • grammar

With these skills, they can skip right to giving their attention to all the ideas they want to express.

How can young writers become competent in writing mechanics? Through regular copywork and dictation using quality writing.

The Brave Writer mechanics and literature guides (Quiver of ArrowsArrowsPouch of Boomerangs, and Boomerangs) provide that instruction and practice. 

Original Thought

2. Original Thought.

When was the last time you finished a book and said, “Wow! The comma usage in that book was phenomenal!” 

Um, never? That’s because punctuation supports communication. It’s not a replacement for it.

While writing mechanics are important for the ease and pleasure of reading, it’s the author’s original thoughts that stick with us!

  • The new insight.
  • The tantalizing argument.
  • The immersive storytelling.

These are the aspects of writing that connect the writer with the reader

Your children are already natural storytellers—they freely share about 

  • the games they play,
  • the bug they saw scurry onto a leaf,
  • the time they saw their friend fall and skin her knee. Ouch! 

The key is to get those stories (original thoughts) onto the page—without the constraints of proper grammar, punctuation, or spelling. 

Those thoughts need the freedom to spill out just as they appear—skinned knees, muddy shoes, and all. 

The Writer’s Jungle provides parents with the tools they need to facilitate getting those words to the page and preserving the original thoughts (and voice) of the child. 

3. Writing Projects.

Now it’s time to bring it all together! 

Writing projects blend writing mechanics and original thought to create a finished piece of writing to publish and share. 

Jot It Down!Partnership WritingFaltering Ownership, and Help for High School all provide projects to hone writing skills and original thought.

Brave Writer Bundles

We pull all three pieces together for you in our Brave Writer Bundles. Each bundle is designed for a targeted stage in writing development

Want to learn more? Watch this FREE webinar!

Run Into a Brick Wall with Writing?

The Brick Wall of Writing Resistance

If you’ve run into a brick wall of resistance for writing, ask yourself these questions.⠀

  • How do I react to errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar?
  • When I’m disappointed in the content, what do I say to my child?
  • Do I see writing as a requirement or a revelation?

If your answers reveal expectations that are felt by your child as pressure, it could be that you’ve made the space unsafe for writing risks.

To ensure freedom for risks, shift focus to:⠀

  • Curiosity (what does the writing reveal?)
  • Care (how can I validate what was offered?)
  • Collaboration (what help can I give to grow the writing?)

To write is to risk exposure. Be gentle, kind, and supportive.

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

The Writer's Jungle Online