Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Team’ Category

Happy Holidays from us to you!

Happy Holidays from Julie and the Brave Writer staff

The Brave Writer Staff is taking time to be with family over the holiday! Blog posts and answers to emails will resume on Monday, December 28th…with the exception of our 12 Days of Brave Writer Give Away (feel free to send those emails to tia [at] bravewriter [dot] com at any time!).

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Have a wonderful end of the year celebration with your family. See you then!

Great summer opportunity!

Summer 2015 intern_blog

Would you like to be a summer intern for Brave Writer?

We’re looking for a former or current Brave Writer student who has graduated from college, is in college, or is going into his or her last year of high school.

Time commitment: 8-10 hours per week for about 2 months.

Responsibilities: Writing, light editing, searching for images, etc.

This is not a paid position, but you’ll gain a number of skills that will look awesome on a resume or transcript!

If interested, send us a non-fiction writing sample (300-400 words). Also, tell us a little about yourself and what it’s like being a Brave Writer student.

Email Jeannette at blog [at] bravewriter [dot] com and put “2015 Summer Intern” in the title.

Deadline for applications is May 31, 2015.


UPDATED: This is not an in person position. Good access to the Internet, though, is required.

Dread turned into joy!

Little boy writing with pencil
Brave Writer mom, Aimee, writes:

“Wow! This class [Kidswrite Basic] took my dread for teaching writing into joy! My children and I relaxed and actually had fun with the exercises that Kirsten Merryman walked us through. She is an excellent coach. I don’t think of writing as a chore anymore now that I have some tools under my belt for getting the creative juices flowing.

“The first exercise we did on explaining how to draw something really clicked for my children and I. Following that up with the description of an object through the five senses solidified what it means to communicate with the reader for me, and I will always go back to that when helping my children with their writing.

“Freewriting was also a new experience for us, and I have to say…that is really ‘freeing’! The free write takes the edge off and allows writing to happen naturally. I loved that! Learning to go back and free write little sections that needed polishing was also great! So many little gems I will keep with me!

“Thank you so much! Oh, I also really liked Kirsten’s comments on how to tell the story without telling it. I’m not ever going to let my children write things like, “he is cute” again. They have to describe how he is cute so that the reader automatically knows he is cute! That is so great, and my children get it!”


Meet the teacher, Kirsten Merryman!

Kirsten-MerrymanKirsten holds a B.A. in foreign language education and an M.A. in French with a focus on developing writing and reading skills. She has taught French and Spanish at the middle school, high school, and college levels, and spent a year teaching English to students at the University of Caen in France.

She wrote her first novel as part of National Novel Writing Month and writes fan fiction with her daughter for fun. When she’s not thinking up new stories to tell, you can find her cooking, tinkering with robots, or dreaming about her next trip.

Learn more about Kirsten here.

You can still sign up for Kidswrite Basic for the winter quarter!

Image by Carissa Rogers (cc cropped)

The Old El Paso principle of homeschooling

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The following was written by Brave Writer instructor, Jean Hall:

This morning, my son was busy redesigning a Lego robot with a teammate for a 4-H contest. I melted into the background, unneeded but technically still the “adult supervision.” I heard them each suggesting a different idea for the same task, and then after a pause, one voice said, “Oooh! even better…let’s use both ideas!” I got muddled in the ensuing explanation since I don’t know the context of the design, but the principle was clear. They found a way to use both ideas rather than choose one, and together it made the robot better.

My mind flashed back to the Old El Paso commercial. You know the one where the family argues about whether to eat soft tacos or hard tacos, and the little girl shrugs, “Why not both?” And everyone celebrates.

How often this simple concept improves my homeschooling. Should I sign this kid up for art classes or for the robotics team? Should we use textbooks or unit studies? Should I set a schedule or should I allow for flexibility and impromptu activities suggested by my child? Should I use CLEP tests or dual enrollment for my high schooler?

Why not both? Homeschooling doesn’t have to be the same everyday or every year. It might be that my child can cross stereotypes and be talented in both art and science. It might be that a science textbook helps me through one season while hands-on unit studies, experiments and child-led exploration helps through the next. It might be that a regular schedule helps me be productive, but taking an afternoon off when my daughter says, “Can we have a picnic?” allows for needed laughter and rest. It might be that CLEP-ing out of one subject and dual enrolling for another gets my high school student what he needs.

Not every decision is an either-or.

I remember a conversation years ago (and my mind has fuzzed a few details but remembered the gist) where I explained to a mom that no matter what my elementary student wrote, I could find something to affirm in it, and that I didn’t make him revise everything…but sometimes let a writing stay as it was, and then revised the next thing he wrote. She didn’t think that would work for her, arguing the she had “high expectations.”

Why not both? Is it not possible to celebrate what my child has done, be supportive and encouraging in the first stages, and yet still have high expectations and work with him to eventually produce high quality results in the end?

Something to ponder as we wrestle with (and sometimes feel overwhelmed by) so many decisions in our homeschooling. We don’t always have to choose. Sometimes…we can have both.

And now I want to eat a taco!


Image’s background by webtreats

Grace and laughter for learners following was written by our very own, Jean Hall:

This morning, my youngest son drove me to IHOP for breakfast. He’s still got his learner’s permit, and his parking skills are…shaky.

He pulled our big SUV frightfully close to the small car that had just parked seconds before, trapping the man inside and flustering my son (and yes, making me grab the door handle tightly and say “stop!” emphatically). We didn’t even get fully into the parking spot. After taking a deep breath, my son was able to slowly and carefully back up, straighten the wheel and then pull in a more comfortable and safe distance.

As we finished parking, I was able to see the face of the man next to us at the same instance he saw us – and we recognized each other as friends. His annoyed expression instantly turned to laughter. He said, “I was thinking, what is this? do you need practice parking? And then I realized..yes, you are practicing parking!” While he would’ve been annoyed at an adult for needing two attempts to park, he understood that we give grace to those just learning. We laugh about goof-ups and move on.

I’m thinking this is a great lesson for me in all homeschooling. Rather than get frustrated at my kids for goofing up, I will work on laughing and giving grace. Whatever they’re doing in my home under my tutoring is practice and they WILL do it badly sometimes. Until one day…they won’t.

Have a beautiful day homeschooling.


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