Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Team’ Category

2017 Spring Writing Class Schedule!

Brave Writer's 2017 Spring Class Schedule
2017 Spring Semester Online Classes
and a Special Announcement!

What a fall! Thank you for your enthusiasm for what we do. We SOLD OUT of all our fall semester online writing classes by November 1st! As a result, we’ve been scrambling to ensure we offer enough sessions in our spring semester (January – June 2017). We’ve got three brand new classes! And we’ve also ADDED sessions to our most popular classes.

2017 Spring Semester Writing Class Schedule!

Spring Semester begins in January and runs through June, 2017.

Check out our THREE brand new classes!

The Scoop: The Art of Journalism, taught by the lovely Samantha Burtner!

Penning the Past and Comic Strip Capers, coached by the fabulous Melissa Wiley!

Yes, you heard that right. Popular children’s author, Melissa Wiley, is joining the Brave Writer team!
Melissa Wiley
Melissa, children’s author of the prequels to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, The Prairie Thief, and Inchy and Rolly series, is offering her talents to the Brave Writer family. Her two classes are likely to fill swiftly (what an opportunity to learn from a seasoned pro who also homeschools her six kids!) so set your alarms and sign up as soon as we open registration.

We’ve got an incredible line-up of classes with outstanding writing coaches leading them. I am so proud of our team and what we offer to homeschooling families. Join the more than 20,000 students who’ve taken our online classes.

Transform the writing life in your home by joining one of our classes in 2017. You won’t regret it!

Learn how our writing class program works here.

If you have any questions about classes, please contact my team at One of us will get back to you with answers to help you make the decision that is right for your family and students.

Mark your calendars!

Registration for spring semester classes
opens Monday, December 5th! (at 12:00 PM EST)

Brave Writer 2017 Spring Class Schedule

A Conversation with Jean Hall

Brave Writer's SAT/ACT Online Essay class
by Nancy Graham, Brave Writer Minister of Magic

Hi everybody!

Our summer online writing classes are filling up but there are spots left in a choice few (classes start July 5th!)—

Jean and I hooked up for an online conversation about the SAT/ACT Essay class and what students get out of taking it.

Jean is a former newspaper reporter and literary magazine editor who homeschooled three children from birth—now they’re grown up, but Jean still has a house full of animals. We chatted via Zoom (which is like Skype), and I got to hear her dog, Dobby (who had a lot to say), and meet her lovely yellow cat, Fireball (the name Snowball had already been taken by her white cat).

After talking to Jean, I was convinced that no one should walk into a timed-essay test without the benefit of her experience. The SAT and ACT tests recently changed, and Jean redesigned the class to reflect those changes.

Find out more by listening to the podcast below. Summer is a great time to take this class—but I’ll let Jean tell you why.


Sign Up for the SAT/ACT Essay Class!

Still a winner!

Brave Writer Instructor Jean HallTen years ago Brave Writer held a Mom’s Writing Contest and the Grand Prize Winner was Jean Hall who went on to become one of our first writing instructors (she started in 2007)!

Jean is a veteran instructor of high school students and an expert at helping students become proficient in the SAT and ACT timed writing tests. Jean teaches: Advanced Composition 1, SAT/ACT Essay Class, Expository Essay Class , and Kidswrite Intermediate.

Here is Jean’s award winning essay:

Ugly Pants

Today, I bought my daughter ugly pants.

I didn’t plan to buy ugly pants. I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “You know, what we really need around here are uglier clothes for the children. Maybe some horrible pants!”

But my 10-year-old angel has a cute smile, and she is blessed with more persuasive skills than fashion sense.

It started with an innocent family trip through Target. While my husband and the boys looked at something distinctively manly, I stood browsing the swimsuits at the other edge of the aisle with my daughter and her best friend. Suddenly, their attention was drawn further into the clothing department by a rack of knit gauchos. A point. A squeal. Suddenly, the girls were no longer at my side. I shuddered and followed reluctantly.

I should explain that I have worn gauchos before. Somewhere along the fashion timeline that defines my place in history, gauchos were stylish, although I can’t pinpoint the exact date. It was definitely between the green double knit pantsuits I wore to start kindergarten in the mid-70’s and the purple velvet harem pants I wore to start college in the late 80’s. My childhood education is with conspicuous pants in fashion at both bookends.

Where did the gauchos fall in relation to the zipper-infested parachute pants? Were they before the yoke-front Lee jeans with legwarmers? After those goofy stirrup pants? Some of the fashions blur together. They were all cool at the time. Gauchos stand out in my mind because they were a style I hated even when I was wearing them. You see, I am a little sister. I grew up in hand-me-downs. Nothing unusual about that really. But gauchos came in to style at a time I was coming into self consciousness, and I wore them 2 years after most people had moved on. Gauchos made me conspicuous. I was different. I was snickered at and I knew it. An uncomfortable place to be.

Flash forward to 2006. I’m emotionally secure, and I sometimes choose to wear hand-me-downs. I outgrew the awkward stage of student trying to fit in with the other kids (somewhat after I outgrew the gauchos). But when my little girl pulled out a pair and begged to try them on, my instinctive reaction was to scream, “NO!” I wanted to tell her how truly dreadful those are. No daughter of mine is going to be seen in public in those.

But I didn’t. Because in that 10-year-old girl asking me for a pair of pants that I hated, I saw a quickly growing young lady with an overwhelming sea of decisions to make in her lifetime. In a few years, she could be choosing a wedding gown, not to mention a man to stand next to her in a tux. She will choose a college, a career, a church, a home, an identity. I want her to make those choices with the confidence and skill that comes from practice.

But there was more to it than just letting her learn to make choices. Within me, I have a strong moral code, a set of values, a standard I want to instill deeply in my children which will benefit them. I also have quirks, prejudices, and emotional hang-ups which will not. I want to teach my daughter, but not to force this matchless child into a me-shaped mold. My personal hang-ups are irrelevant to her. Why should she hate these pants because of my bad memories? That makes no more sense than teaching her to hate basketball because my coach benched me during a tournament, or to hate Jeeps because my ex-boyfriend drove one. These are not helpful guidelines for her.

My daughter adored the gauchos. And I told her she was beautiful in them, which she was. I chose not to burden her with my baggage; I’ll carry it myself. I separated her individuality from mine. It was the bravest thing I’ve done in awhile.

I will let her walk away from me as her own person. She will walk away with her own preferences and passions. Her own quirks. Her own hang-ups. Her own sense of style.

And her very own ugly pants.


Jean’s 2016 postscript to her essay: My daughter, now 20, still has a sense of personal style and a confident sense of who she is. She’s made most of the decisions I mention in the essay…except she walked away from the man she first wanted to marry because he insisted that she change to be more like him. And she said no. So I think that the goal I set out in the essay can be stamped successful.

Brave Writer Online Classes

Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016!

Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016

Deb Bell, Susanne Barrett, Lora Fanning, Jeannette Hall, Alicia Havens, Joy Sherfey
Sarah Holden, Jean Hall, Kirsten Merryman, Cindy Clark, Jen Holman, Lucy Olsen, Nicole Rae
Nancy Graham, Rita Cevasco, Julie Bogart, Karen O’Connor, Angela Harris

First Brave Writer Staff Face-to-Face

by Nancy Graham

California, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. (One day we may be as international as our students…)

Julie said, “I feel like I’m giving myself the biggest present!” Can you imagine building a company of more than 20 people over a period of 15 years and finally seeing everybody in one room all at once? What a party! There was a goody bag for each teacher with treats that included the highly recommended book Vernacular Eloquence by Peter Elbow (affiliate link) and a necklace that reads “live honestly write bravely.”

After Julie told us the story of how Brave Writer evolved from its beginnings as a workshop in 1997, we got down to the business of talking about what we do and how we can do it better. We also shared bits of writing we brought in from our classes. Of course that was a highlight—we laughed, we cried, and we clapped hands for all the Brave Writers that make this work so rich and inspiring for all of us.

Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016

One of our top priorities in the coming year is figuring out the best way to share more of this writing more widely. It’s too good to keep to ourselves! We also started a list of alternatives to the word “teacher” in hopes of arriving at a better name for our role in the life of the writers in our program. We’ll be sharing those, too.

A few things you would have learned about Brave Writer teachers if you’d been a butterfly outside the window: Susanne writes with a quill and a pot of ink, Alicia is one of three Brave Writer teachers to have lived in Morocco, Angela runs a family alfalfa business on the side, Lora mothers seven kids, Deb knows a hilarious trick for responding to someone who wants to know how you feel, Sarah plays the oboe, Jean can scope out the best pajamas, Lucy has a daughter in Madagascar, Kirsten Periscopes with her daughter Olivia, Jen’s smile could light a city, Joy’s hair could light another, Nikki loves life in Portland, Karen has written more than 80 books, and Nancy dances like a mighty goofball.

Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016

You should also know that our head of operations, Cindy Clark, never stops smiling or asking others what she can do for them, that our brand strategist Tia Levings is willing to get scratched up in the bushes for a good photo, and that our social media wonk, Jeannette Hall, wears kitty slippers and bunny ears when the mood strikes.

We did a whole lot of planning, too, putting our noggins to work on new courses and publications and—well, you’ll just have to wait!

You get the idea: three days of ideaphoria, celebration, bighearted conversation, silliness, poetry teatime, dishrag dancing, and chatty noshing.

Sounds like home, right?

Want to be a fly on the wall? Enjoy these recorded highlights!

Till next time!

Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016

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!).

Day 1 treasure icon

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