My aim in Brave Writer is to liberate parents from their anxieties around home education—to help them foster, nurture, and support the beautiful originality of their children, and to get some of that personhood to paper (or screen). I have compiled in our materials, on the blog, and through Facebook, an extensive collection of tips, tricks, personal experiences, theories, analogies, insights, processes, practices, images, and ideas to help make homeschooling alive, powerful, and satisfying.
My focus—the angle through which I express my homeschooling ideas—is writing (that’s my strength and expertise). Writing is fed by a vibrant cognitive life and rich lived experiences. Homeschooling is THE context in which both of these can occur easily, with great achievement and satisfaction. Quality writing will follow. I promise.
The context is everything…for everything. Truly. The materials are like intermittent signs on the path that are meant to urge you to “keep going” and to trust your instincts, hunches, and inspiration—to allow writing to be more than academic check boxes, but the vehicle through which you preserve the various voices of your children through their childhoods, just as photographs preserve their growing bodies.
Far be it from me to overly script how you live or how you instruct! I want your homeschool to look like your family!
So it pains me (if I’m honest) when I read a description online somewhere of BW materials that talks about them as though they are not rigorous enough or scheduled enough or leave parents now knowing what to do. Part of me wants to jump out of my chair and say: “Read, imbibe, ponder, consider, take a small action, see what happens, then allow your inspiration to be re-catalyzed before you take the next action.”
Home education is not all that amenable to hard-and-fast schedule. I’ve spoken with hundreds (?) or thousands (?) of parents in 14 years (I can’t count). No two want the same schedule. Truly!
I don’t want to be the one to tell you what the mark is that you won’t hit.
Yes, it’s useful to get a lay of the land (the Brave Writer Lifestyle is all about how to establish a routine that is soothing, adaptable, and predictable). But to tell you how many pages to read a day? To explain which day to read the words in the chapter and which day to do the writing project? That’s just destined to undermine you.
I want to be the one who tells you: You are hitting the mark you care about already—by being who you are. Now, if you need catalysts for your imagination, for your aspirations, and for academic achievement—try this, and this, and maybe this too.
I’ll put those ideas into carefully selected words, with maximum space for you to interpret them according to the quirky personalities of your particular family. There just isn’t enough homeschool curricula that thinks about YOU and your uniqueness. Most are focused on subject matter and “getting through” material.
There is no magic bullet here. No “wave the wand” and you will have academic achievement and happy learners.
Those feelings come from the attentive, slow study of your children. Materials aid you in acting on your best intentions so that you follow through (and so that you have ideas in the middle of pregnancy induced memory-loss hormones, breast-feeding let down, small child mind-distraction, and teenage child worry).
This is what I propose in every product—I’m offering aid, help, possibilities, giving you a new way to think to trigger your own creativity and thoughtfulness.
I am producing the next level (Faltering Ownership) for our writing products right now. I look forward to releasing it. My main worry in producing these “writing project” books is that parents won’t have made the paradigm shift around writing first—the ideas expressed in The Writer’s Jungle. Instead, they will bring the same set of suppositions and assumptions to writing that they’ve always brought, producing the same resistance they’ve always got, or they will feel that the schedule isn’t “clear enough.”
No schedule can be clear enough. As soon as it is, you wind up in guilt for not living up to it!
I won’t ever give you that “schedule.” But I also hope I will never give you that guilt.
Paradigm shifts are slow…slow…slow…until Ping! You get it. It takes reading and rereading, trying, testing, tasting, and waiting. It takes courage and a willingness to live with the discomfort of trust.
For those of you on the journey, I salute you! Keep going.
Thanks for letting me share.
If you have comments or thoughts, I’d love to hear them. I learn a lot from our BW families, and I hope that this little freewrite might let you better understand me and my aims for Brave Writer.
Cross-posted on facebook.