Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Deep investigation led by fascination

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Deep investigation led by fascination

Shared on BraveScopes:

Turner Classic Movies did a marathon of Emma Thompson films last night. We caught the end of “Much Ado About Nothing” (always a family favorite!) and then watched in full “Sense and Sensibility.” S&S will always be special to me. It was a breakthrough in my homeschool—an epiphany moment! I watched it, then I watched it with the kids, then I read the book, then I read some of it aloud to my kids, then I read Emma Thompson’s book where she writes about making the film and writing the screenplay (fabulous~!), then I read parts of that to my kids, then I discovered that she and the actors wrote each other letters in character to help deepen their acting, so we did that in our family.

Then I checked out the soundtrack to the music and we used it for our copywork time. It became my most checked out CD from the library in all the years I took the kids there (I never bought it—no money for that!). That soundtrack led to listening to soundtracks. This became a “thing” in our homeschool and to this day, Jacob still shares soundtracks with us (and his love of classical music bloomed as a result).

Finally, I received the DVD as a Christmas stocking gift one year and the Jane Austen set of novels (several times…haha).

I found myself watching all the Emma Thompson films, I became acquainted with Ang Lee films (he’s the director of S&S and so I watched “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” –Chinese subtitles first, and then most of his films like “The Ice Storm,” “The Wedding Banquet,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Brokeback Mountain” [my favorite], and “Life of Pi”).

Because of S&S, I became familiar with amazing actors: Kate Winslet (before “Titanic”), Hugh Grant in a more serious role, Alan Rickman (RIP—Snape!), Hugh Laurie, Imelda Stauton, Greg Wise, and more. We found ourselves looking for more films that featured these actors, the director, and so on. I wound up reading “Emma” to Johannah at night before bed and she went on to write a novella set in the Civil War based on the story-line of Emma. Our Jane Austen love affair led to our Vintage Dance experience. Our enjoyment of Emma Thompson in “Much Ado About Nothing” fueled our Shakespeare habit.

I wanted to share this with you because as I was watching the film last night, this flood of memories came to me and I saw in a way I couldn’t while it was happening, the richness that came from one film, one deep investigation led by my fascination, my craving for romance and British accents, and great acting and writing.

This is what home education IS. Last night I missed it so much, it almost hurt. I beat back tears several times as the actors uttered lines that had become family favorites (Fannie is PRICELESS “I am the soul of discretion” and “I will be as silent as the grave” and so is Mrs. Jennings—”I’ll find something to tempt her. Does she like olives?”).

As you build your family lives, you are bringing a kind of education that DEFIES planning. Know what I mean? It’s the “way leads on to way” education.

Embrace it.

Here’s the scope that accompanied these thoughts:

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What are Brave Writer parents reading to their kids?

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

33 Read-Alouds for Kids

One of the moms on BraveScopes asked: “What’s in your current read aloud stack?”

Here are some of the replies:

Mr. Poppers Penguins
Adam of the Road
How to Train Your Dragon
The Bard of Avon
Medicine in the Medieval Ages
My Side of The Mountain
The Cricket in Times Square
The Penderwicks
Ginger Pye
Ella Enchanted
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Oliver Twist
Boom Town
Spirit of the Cedar People
The Adventures of Jayne, the Cat Who Was a Dog
The Way of Gnome
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
The School Mouse (Dick King Smith)
The Lightening Thief
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Railway Children
Love that Dog
Detectives in Togas
The Pushcart War
Anne of Green Gables
The Great Turkey Walk
The Story of Dr. Dolittle
The Cricket in Times Square
The Wheel in the School
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics
Minn of the Mississippi
Paddle to the Sea

So the next time you’re searching for a good read aloud you can refer to this list!

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You are the Blueprint PLUS special guest: Liam!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

You are the blueprint

Your kids will talk, walk, act, and think like you!

Which is great!

The scope (below) topic comes from my book, A Gracious Space: Winter (Day 38). We look at how your family creates the “blueprint” for how your kids turn out. I promise, it will encourage you!

ALSO: Special Guest Liam Bogart (my 21 year old) takes questions about stuff like video-gaming, his college experience at St. John’s, and more!

Periscope is the live broadcasting app that allows me to broadcast myself onto your phones so you can watch me webinar style (like FaceTime or Skype). It also allows you to participate through comments so that we can have a conversation!

We have 2400+ followers and so many great conversations about homeschooling and writing. If you are already following, would you please invite your friends? I’m excited about the reach of our community. Thank you for your enthusiastic participation!

If you want a taste of what I share on Periscope, watch our 80+ hours of:


Not all of the scopes will be available past this month so take advantage of them being on Katch now!

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Top 15 posts of 2015!

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

The top 15 Brave Writer blog posts of 2015

Here are 15 of the most popular blog posts of 2015. Did you miss any?

15. Homeschool Advice: Do the Math
14. The Hidden Side Effects of “Not Liking Writing”
13. 5 Magic Words to Improve Your Home Environment
12. Awesome Adulthood
11. Brain-Based Learning
10. Your House is Like Theirs: Imperfect!
9. In Defense of the Writing Process
8. A Little More Inspiration
7. Math-Brave Writer Style
6. Unschool Undefined
5. How to Deschool while Eating Donuts
4. Learning Through Play
3. The Enchanted Education
2. 61 Things I Did Right in My Homeschool

And by far THE most viewed post during the last year:

1. 55 Things I Didn’t Do as a Homeschooler


The Homeschool Alliance

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Learning through play

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Play is their work.

A Brave Writer parent asked this question on the BraveScopes group:

I get that “play is their work” but how and when do we
start to transition to at least some “schooling?”

Ask yourself what it is you hope “schooling” accomplishes that is not currently being accomplished by play? Is it possible to teach reading through play? Writing through play? Math through play?

And when I say “play,” I mean the spirit of curiosity, engagement, and excitement that play gives children. Everything they are doing touches on the very subject areas you care about. You can get there through what they are already doing, and you can entice participation in the areas you think require more structure through a spirit of play with those materials!

Entice participation in the areas you think require
more structure through a spirit of play.

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What if you played with the handwriting book under the table, using a flashlight? What if you doodled pictures for her to find as she completed math problems? I know you don’t want to do these all the time—but if you come from a spirit of discovery rather than requirement, you may find yourself seeing learning opportunities right now that you are missing.

Don’t look for openness. Focus instead on parallel play. In other words, make observations in his presence. Talk about what is fascinating about language, or try out the pencils and pages in the book, or leave some math manipulatives out to be discovered. It’s tempting to “play school” because that’s what we remember.

Foster a spirit of discovery rather than requirement

For example, in her presence in the morning, simply get up from the floor where the two of you were playing, and silently begin writing at the table with a big variety of utensils. You might even start by writing her name on the windows with window markers, or making cookies that look like the alphabet and then playing with the letters and putting them into arrangements that are words.

Perhaps while she is playing, you sit nearby and simply begin reading aloud in her presence and see if she is enchanted or interested or simply absorbing what you read.

You don’t need to teach. You want to simply include in your day conversation and activity that points to the tools he will need for his life, a little at a time.

Party School!

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