Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Team’ Category

The Writer’s Jungle Online: Meet Our Veteran Coach!

The Writer's Jungle Online: Meet Our Veteran Coach!

Ever find the ghost of public school past lurking on your left shoulder? It whispers to you, “Hey the local schooled kids are writing academic essays in third grade. What are you doing?”

Many of us are haunted by papers with red ink scrawling across hard-won sentences and paragraphs, circling mistakes and crossing out awkward phrases. We don’t want to treat our kids’ writing the same way, but we don’t know any other approach!

Here at Brave Writer, we’re ready to help you navigate an entirely new approach to giving support and feedback to your child’s writing.

Our writing coaches bring their personalities and positivity to the classroom while they form their own rapport with each child—and with you! Our instructors are professional writers who teach your kids by coming alongside your children and talking to them like fellow writers.

Best part: We’ll show you how to do that too! No red pens needed!

One of our most popular writing coaches is Deb Bell. She’s a veteran here at Brave Writer. Her training in theatre arts, multi-sensory learning, and learning challenges (like dyslexia and ADD) give her a versatility that wins her students over. We hear over and over again that those reluctant writers are racing to the computer to see what Deb has to say in response to their work.

You can see why.

She talks to our kids about their obsessions, connecting with them and modeling vivid and dynamic language. Her feedback here about Minecraft does a lot to establish her credibility as a writing partner:

When we bring a story to life, our readers get to experience it as if it is their experience. Through the writers in this class I’ve built a shelter, but failed to get the door “on” before mobs attacked, I’ve helped battle an Ender dragon for his egg, found diamonds, built a custom home of lapis lazuli, and I’ve ridden a roller coaster mine cart on a rickety track!

Concrete writing instruction is woven into reassuring responses, to help the writing grow while honoring your child’s voice. Even simple details are noted and drawn out:

Student: The last time we had steak as a whole family Robert still had his old grill and we still had our old white plates. Andrew and Celia still lived at home.

Lovely. You are showing us that it’s been a while; we assume that now you have new plates, and that Robert has a new grill. As well, my mental image of the family around the table is now populated with white plates. Every detail adds to the three-dimensionality of the scene for me. Good.

Can you imagine the RELIEF in having a partner like this to help you work on your child’s writing? It can happen right now.

Join Deb for an injection of joy and progress in writing with your kids!

Register Here for Deb’s Classes

Learn more about Deb Bell

Writing Coach Interview: Susanne Barrett

Brave Writer Coach: Susanne Barrett

Continuing our series of interviews with our marvelous writing instructors, here’s the latest installment: an interview with Susanne Barrett!

In the wee small hours, Susanne scribbles away, writing blog posts, poems, journal entries, story ideas, to-do lists, academic studies, etc. A former bookseller, she delights in collecting quirky quotations, dip pens and ink bottles, empty journals to fill, antiquarian books, and just about anything related to Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and jolly ol’ England. The most intriguing classes she taught at university include World Lit I (Epic of Gilgamesh through Canterbury Tales) and guest lectures on Medieval Women Writers and Shakespeare’s Henry V. In her 21st and final year of home educating her four “kids” from K-12, Susanne hopes to have more time for writing by candlelight and for reading many, many books.

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What kind of a writer were you in high school?
In high school, I mostly wrote poetry. I discovered the joys of reading and writing poetry due to my tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Sebastian. My favorite poems remain the ones he recited from memory for us: “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” by Poe, “Birches” by Frost, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot (and yes, he recited the whole thing!), “in Just—“ by e. e. cummings, and too many Emily Dickinson poems to count. Mr. Sebastian also taught an elective class in creative writing, and there I learned to write poetry—mostly free verse heavily influenced by Dickinson—no surprise there! In fact, many of the poetry forms I teach in the Playing with Poetry Workshop I first learned in Mr. Sebastian’s class.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Hmmm. Sapphire, I think. Midnight Blue was my favorite color in the old 64-Crayola box, but it was a wee bit too dark. Sapphire makes me happy—such a deep, rich, mysterious color.


Happy Holidays from Brave Writer

The Brave Writer Staff is taking time to be with family over the holiday! There won’t be any email correspondence from us between now and the 26th.

Have a wonderful end of the year celebration with your family!

Writing Coach Interview: Kate Foran

Blog Writing Coach Interview with Kate Foran

Continuing our series of interviews with our writing instructors, here’s the latest installment: an interview with Kate Foran!

Kate Foran has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College. Since then, her interest has been in exploring the spiritual roots of social change work and figuring out how to live out her commitment to racial and economic justice. She currently sits on the board of Two Coyotes Wilderness School where her older daughter is getting ready to graduate from a Wild Seed to a Black Fox in their homeschool program. In addition to teaching with Brave Writer, Kate’s funky job history includes freelance writing projects, living in an intentional community on an organic farm, gardening at a 250-acre park, museum education, historical interpretation, running programs for urban youth, and nonprofit communications.

What kind of a writer were you in high school?
I was a prolific journaler and an aspiring poet.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
A deep purple. Porphyrogene. It means “born to the purple,” as in “of royal blood.” But I like to take it literally.


Writing Coach Interview: Sarah Holden

Writing Coach Interview Sarah Holden

Continuing our series of interviews with our marvelous writing instructors, here’s the latest installment: an interview with Sarah Holden!

Sarah had a magical childhood in Vermont, the fairy dust of which still informs much of her life. Now she lives in a home full of books with a view of the Rocky Mountains. She spent a year at Smith College and then transferred to The Juilliard School where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Oboe Performance. While in New York, she took poetry classes at Columbia and wrote and wrote and wrote amidst all the practicing and performing. She has been teaching in one form or another since she can remember: playing “school” as a child, private oboe lessons, Parent and Child music and art classes, elementary and middle schools in inner-NYC, classes to help public school teachers add the arts to their classrooms, Meet-the-Instrument assemblies, a decade of homeschooling her own children, homeschool co-op classes, and now online for Brave Writer.

What kind of a writer were you in high school?
I’ve always loved words. They feel like magic to me and I’ve enjoyed them from a place of reading, writing, and informal debating for as long as I can remember. Writing is a creative and emotional outlet in my life. I started journaling avidly at age 8 (yes, I still have those journals…and, no, you may not peek at them until I’m in my grave). I am very grateful that words and writing have always allowed me to process the good and bad parts of my days. I find that my thoughts are more free and forthcoming when I write them down and that the act of writing gives my oft-cluttered mind a means of organization. Of note, writing was especially helpful in the turbulent teen years when I felt lots of angst and overwhelm. When my mom and I had tense moments, I poured out my anger and confusion to her in letters. I’m sure these were difficult to read, but the act of writing those feelings down and getting them out of me was cathartic and lightening. I think they were helpful to my mom in finding a way to understand where I was coming from, too.