Archive for the ‘BW products’ Category

Faltering Ownership is here and ON SALE!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Faltering_Ownership_Blog_ShadowYou’ve waited patiently.
Your 11-12 year olds are ready.
And now, it’s here!

Watch your emerging writers take more and more responsibility for their writing with our 12 month-long writing projects found in this amazing program! You’ll guide and coach your middlers in writing forms that facilitate growth in skills like summary, reporting, citing sources, letter writing, book reviewing, and interviewing.

At the same time, you’ll help your kids emotionally invest in their work by appealing to their creativity, personal passions, and expanding curiosity!

The Faltering Ownership program product:

  • Four color, 150+ page PDF file suited to all screens or can be printed
  • Includes 12 month-long writing projects
  • A month-long, week-by-week plan for each project integrating all aspects of your language arts lifestyle
  • A semester-long guide to writing a report (and throwing a party!)
  • Brand new Brave Writer Lifestyle Tips for each subject area and a few new ones

Promote happy writing in your home with our latest in the series of writing programs: Faltering Ownership.

For our Brave Writer friends and fans:

We’re taking a whopping $20.00 off the retail price!

Thank you for your enthusiasm, your business, and your friendship.

Faltering Ownership is on sale until April 30, 2015.

Regular Price: $79.00
With Discount: $59.00

Use this code at check out:


Get Faltering Ownership NOW!

Congratulations to all of you who are finding joy and progress in writing! We produce the products, but you create the learning opportunities for your children. Well done!

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Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Laura Ingalls Wilder blog

Beloved author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born February 7, 1867, and to celebrate we’re offering the Arrow based on her book, Little House in the Big Woods:

Half price through Monday at Midnight! ($3.95) OFFER HAS EXPIRED

Laura Ingalls Wilder was encouraged by her daughter, Rose (an author in her own right), to chronicle the pioneer stories of Laura’s childhood which were filled with both hardship and love. Editors rejected her first manuscript. It was reworked and expanded into its present form and published as Little House in the Big Woods.

An excerpt from the book:

Little-House-in-the-Big-WoodsWhen the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”

“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, “This is now.”

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

―Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

So, take advantage of this special Arrow offer!

P.S. This issue comes from the early years of Brave Writer’s Arrows so it isn’t as robust as more current titles (that’s why the lower price). It’s an oldie but still a goodie!

Also, if you’d like to buy a copy of the novel, it’s available through Amazon: Little House in the Big Woods (affiliate link).

The Arrow is a monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Little House on the Prairie Museum image by David Hepworth (cc cropped, darkened, text added)

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A Gracious Space: Winter is now available!

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Gracious Space WinterThese daily readings are designed to support you in your homeschool journey. If you are in that mid-year slump or in need of fresh inspiration to keep going, this could be the ideal daily reading for you.

Each of the 50 essays can be read in a few minutes. They include a “sustaining thought” to take with you, to help you focus on one key idea per day.

More than curriculum or a homeschool “how-to” book, this volume offers you perspectives that will help you establish and rhyme and rhythm in your homeschool-a pace and style all your own, as you create a gracious space for learning and living.


This book of daily readings comes in three formats: PDF, iBooks, and Kindle. A print version will be available by the end of January.

Use our January Anniversary Thank You code for 15% off: HAPPY15


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Happy Anniversary to Brave Writer!!

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Happy 15th Anniversary to Brave Writer!


(Discount does not apply to online classes)

Plus here’s a little history of Brave Writer! This was posted New Year’s Eve on Facebook:

I’m feeling sentimental this afternoon.

It’s the last day of 2014. 15 years ago today, I completed the working draft of The Writer’s Jungle and was set to launch a little company I called “The Writing Compass” in January 2000. I never liked the name of the company but I was determined to start and couldn’t keep sitting around waiting for the “right name” to reveal itself. I have notebook pages filled with possibilities. None right. I gave in. The Writing Compass it would be.

My first “Kidswrite Basic” class began the first Monday of January with full enrollment (25 moms), the last one registering at midnight before class began (that enrollment happened to be the extraordinary Rachel Boyer, who went on to become a Brave Writer instructor for 5 years!). How fortuitous that she found me! We bonded and she learned to teach the way I taught (not much of a stretch for her).

That first class in January 2000 lasted 8 weeks (phew!) and was run exclusively through an email list. (You think forums can be confusing!) Tuition? $25.00 per family! Ha ha. I think my hourly might have been about $2.00 an hour by the time it was over. I was a happy, exhausted dishrag at the end of that first class, burning the candle at both ends, learning as much as my families. I still have most of the emails.

A few notable students came through the first session:

  • Anne Somanas (whose essays are the models in Help for High School)
  • Gabrielle Linnell (whose “Adventuring Maid” story in The Writer’s Jungle is the first time she was published–age 8; she’s gone on to be quite the writer, starting her own online magazine for teens, featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Extraordinary Teens, and interviewed by Writer’s Digest as a promising up and coming young writer!)
  • Logan, famous for his hilarious and honest freewrites that I share at every convention and included in The Writer’s Jungle.
  • Bennett Horton, my 16 year old student who *would not write* and started from scratch (Jot It Down!) and went on to get As in freshman composition in college just two years later (I have his thank you note still!). Today he is married, a father of two girls, and is making his way up the corporate ladder quite successfully. So reassuring to see!

I had a blast with these families, and loved my work! Suddenly speaking engagements popped up! The attached photo is of me at the CHEO convention in Columbus Ohio, June 2000—my first big speaking gig, where we rolled out The Writer’s Jungle, my only product. Cindy Clark, who works for Brave Writer today, helped me assemble the first volumes in my living room along with Bennett’s mother, Paula Horton (who also works intermittently for Brave Writer now). Sold every one I brought with me! Blew me away. Apparently it was something I said.

Mid-workshop while speaking, I heard myself saying these words, “We want free writers! We want brave writers!” and as the words escaped my lips, my brain thought, “Crap! That’s it! That’s the name of my company: Brave Writer!”

Naturally “” was emblazoned across the vinyl cover of The Writer’s Jungle. Such a dilemma! My first exposure to the world of homeschoolers and I was already going to make a huge change in identity. I went straight home and bought the URL: Jon set up a redirect on the original site and I never looked back.

15 years in Internet time is an eternity. When I go to my entrepreneurial social media gatherings, I am always the oldest business by several years, built on social media long before it was called by that name. Brave Writer has grown by word of mouth. I didn’t want it to grow too quickly. I wanted to homeschool my kids and not miss soccer matches and lacrosse games.

In those years of slow growth, I learned a lot about writing, home education, parenting, and business. I went to graduate school. I got a divorce. I went on college visits. I became an adjunct professor. I value it all, even the life-shattering, life-rearranging moments.

Today, Brave Writer is strong and growing by leaps and bounds. My family is well—including Jon, without whom I could never have launched a company in 2000. He designed my first website and laid out The Writer’s Jungle and Help for High School. His freshman composition teaching career in college gave me countless resources that helped form what I teach and write. I’m grateful to him. We have a good relationship today.

Thank you for being a part of the Brave Writer community and journey:

for all your good ideas
for finding typos in my products that I miss
for sharing your amazing children with me and my staff
for your patience when my product roll outs get delayed
for your passion for your children
for learning how to be coaches and allies to your children (not everyone wants that job—but I’m so glad you do!)
for observing copyright (homeschool parents are the most ethical consumers and I don’t take that for granted!)
for helping each other and showing one another kindness and consideration
and for sending me uplifting emails that help me keep going.

I love this community and opportunity to put all of my skills and heart into a venture that I believe in. Without you, Brave Writer quite literally wouldn’t exist.

Much much love to you all and your dear families on this, the last day of 2014. Tomorrow, we start 2015 and January offers you a special deal for Brave Writer as my thank you for your years of loyalty! (Sneak peek on the home page of the site, if you want to see it.)

May you each reflect on the past year(s) and see how far you’ve come, and trust you will get where you need to go.

Happy New Year! /blows horn!/ /tosses confetti/

xoxo Julie

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Simple Homeschool Gift Guide PLUS 15% discount on BW products!

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Image by Dana -blog

Check out Simple Homeschool’s

Holiday Gift Guide!

Also, take advantage of Brave Writer’s December discount:

From now until December 20, 2014
15% percent off Brave Writer products*
on orders of $50.00 or more

*Online classes do not apply

Image by Brave Writer mom, Dana (cc)

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Happy Birthday C.S. Lewis!

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Lion witch wardrobeC.S. Lewis was born November 29, 1898, and to celebrate his birthday we’re offering the Arrow based on his book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:

Half price through midnight Monday ($3.95) THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first book (according to the original publication order) in Lewis’ acclaimed fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. In the essay, ‘It All Began with a Picture,’ Lewis shared how the story originated:

The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.’

That illustrates one of C.S. Lewis’ rules of writing. A student once asked Lewis for advice, and he encouraged young writers to “save odds and ends” for possible future use. Here are the rules in their entirety:

8 Writing Tips by C.S. Lewis

  1. Turn off the radio. [And if written today he might have added "television"]
  2. Read good books and avoid most magazines.
  3. Write with the ear, not the eye. Make every sentence sound good.
  4. Write only about things that interest you. If you have no interests, you won’t ever be a writer.
  5. Be clear. Remember that readers can’t know your mind. Don’t forget to tell them exactly what they need to know to understand you.
  6. Save odds and ends of writing attempts, because you may be able to use them later.
  7. You need a well-trained sense of word-rhythm, and the noise of a typewriter will interfere.
  8. Know the meaning of every word you use.

So, celebrate C.S. Lewis’ birthday plus take advantage of this special Arrow offer!

Also, if you’d like to buy a copy of the novel, it’s available through Amazon: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Full-Color Collector’s Edition (affiliate link).

The Arrow is a monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

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October’s Arrow and Boomerang selections!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The Arrow

HomesickHomesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz

This fictionalized autobiography tells the heartwarming story of a little girl growing up in an unfamiliar place.

The Arrow is a monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Purchase the Homesick Arrow here.

Buy the novel on Amazon here (referral link).

The Boomerang

What the Moon SawWhat the Moon Saw by Laura Resau

Out of the blue, 14-year-old Clara Luna receives a letter from her grandparents inviting her to spend the summer with them in Mexico. She has never met her fathers parents and he has not seen them since he left his homeland more than 20 years ago. Wary of visiting people she doesn’t know and yet frustrated and restless with her life at home, Clara embarks on the two-day journey to the remote village of Yucuyoo.

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork, dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel, and a number of think piece questions. It is geared toward 7th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15).

Purchase the What the Moon Saw Boomerang here.

Buy the novel on Amazon here (referral link).

PLUS our online Boomerang Book Club (geared toward students in 8th grade and up) discussion of What the Moon Saw starts today!

Images @

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Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Day 192: PoirotScreenshot from an adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express”

In celebration of Agatha Christie’s birthday (born September 15, 1890), we’re making a special offer! The Boomerang for her novel, Murder on the Orient Express, is:

HALF PRICE for one day only! ($4.95) OFFER HAS EXPIRED

Agatha Christie is known as the queen of mystery novels. In the course of her lifetime, she penned sixty-six detective novels, twenty-two collections of short stories, eighteen plays, and multiple non-fiction works. Her beloved characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been honored with many television and film adaptations.

Here are some fascinating tidbits about Agatha Christie:

Until age twelve, Agatha Christie was homeschooled by her mother and a succession of governesses.

Christie’s first book, A Mysterious Affair at Styles, was rejected by six publishers over the course of five years before it was finally accepted for publication.

Her favorite writers were Elizabeth Bowen and Graham Greene.

Agatha Christie’s plays have been performed continuously for the last 53 years in London’s West End theaters.

Christie’s books rank immediately behind the Bible and Shakespeare for the highest number of copies sold worldwide. Her works have also been translated into more languages than any other literary work in history.

So, celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday and take advantage of this special offer today!

Also, if you’d like to buy a copy of the novel, it’s available through Amazon: Murder on the Orient Express (affiliate link).

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 7th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Image by crimsong19 (cc)

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If your child is in the Jot It Down stage

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Jotting down what your kids tell you isn’t a short cut to writing. It IS writing.
~from The Writer’s Jungle

Does your child excitedly share stories and experiences but is blocked when she tries to write them down? Does his writing not reflect his sophisticated vocabulary? Does she refuse to pen more than a word or two? Does he struggle with handwriting or spelling?

If you answered yes to any of these then your child may be in the Jot It Down stage.

Kids in that stage are often between the ages of five and eight, but age doesn’t matter so much. What matters is where they are in the Natural Stages of Growth.

If your child is in the Jot It Down stage then:

Forget all the scopes and sequences.

Focus on love, joy, and self-expression.

Read books together.

Watch movies together.

Have big, juicy conversations.

Play with words.

Catch your child in the act of thinking or storytelling and write down what he says.

Let her dictate with you acting as secretary.

With your child’s permission, share some of his thoughts and stories with family and friends.

This is how you slowly help your child see the value of putting thoughts into writing.

So, each time something happy happens, jot it down. Pay attention to your kids—as in, pay attention to their happiness quota. Play games, have tea, laugh at jokes, record the clever things your child says, have her write one beautiful word a day instead of a whole passage, use gel pens and brightly colored paper sprayed with perfume!

Continue to learn handwriting and spelling but do that through copywork not your child’s original thoughts.

For more information about this stage, listen to the free Jot It Down! podcast.

You might also consider our Jot It Down! product. It gives you ten original writing projects you can do with your children. These are activities (one per month) that enable you to focus the original writing impulse in a specific direction (fairly tales or writing letters or issuing party invitations). They are delight-driven writing activities and cover a range of writing skills. And your child never has to lift a pencil!

Or check out our Jot It Down! bundle and save. Includes:

Image © Photographerlondon |

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A Quiver of Arrows–on sale now!

Friday, August 8th, 2014

The Quiver of Arrows -blog

We are so excited to offer this product! If you feel like the Arrow is a bit too much (too mature, too difficult) for your kids then the Quiver is just for you because it’s geared to the younger crowd.

From our store page:

A Quiver of Arrows is a set of 10 Arrows especially designed for 1st and 2nd grades. The Arrow is a literature guide that teaches the mechanics of writing through copywork and dictation.

This particular set of ten uses shorter literature passages than our regular Arrows, and includes a French-style dictation passage each week. French-style dictation is a modified dictation practice that isolates individual words for spelling in context (full explanation of French-style dictation in the product itself).

The Quiver includes the following ten titles:

  • Sarah, Plain and Tall
  • The Trumpet of the Swan
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Secret of the Andes
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • The Wheel on the School
  • Cricket in Times Square
  • House at Pooh Corner

Buy them as a set and save or purchase individual titles.

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