Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

You Deserve Respect

You Deserve Respect

What’s the difference between empathy and accepting mistreatment?

Empathy is the capacity to imagine someone else’s perspective—how that person sees the world. It’s an important skill to foster peace-giving relationships. We use it every day with our kids. We imagine crankiness is hunger in disguise. We imagine a tantrum is a cry for one-on-one time. These are good solutions to childishness in most cases. Sometimes we are off target. The child has pinworms. Our empathetic imagined reason was wrong.

Empathy gets trickier as human beings age. We guess an angry smart-mouthed teen is masking a failure on the soccer field so we offer cheerleading and reminders about how the next game will be different. We get back biting rebukes and a surly look, only to find out much later it was a broken heart (first love rejection by text-invisible to us).
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In our compassion, we misdiagnose…frequently. Where empathy goes south is when your projection of what must be happening turns out to be a thinly veiled excuse for someone else’s mistreatment of you. If you’re a peace-keeper and peace-maker, the tool called empathy can be used to diminish your needs—for kind treatment, for respect, for communication. The focus becomes how to understand why they are being cruel or abusive or angry, using you as an emotional punching bag. You may think “My husband had a rough childhood” or “My friend had an alcoholic mother”—this is why they are going nuclear on me. I can empathize.

That capacity to see the source of pain is not, however, an excuse for their out of order behavior.

Instead of empathy, in that moment, show up for your own needs. Name them. “I can’t be yelled at right now. I need you to master this emotion before we talk about it.”
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You might say: “I told you what I need. I’m happy to discuss it. I will not be punished.”
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It’s respectful to not guess why someone is misbehaving as well. Empathy is not a diagnosis. It’s the willingness to not know why and to accept that how it is for them is not how it is for you. You still deserve to be handled with love and care, not their out of order cruelty.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


Brave Writer Lifestyle

Tea with Julie

Tea with Julie

Julie here. I miss you. I miss connecting with you via email.

With a brand as rocking as Brave Writer with endless tools, classes, and resources to promote, it feels a little nervy to tell you about another email you could receive from me.

Yet what I want to do is write to you, not just market our amazing offerings.

I thought it over with my team and realized that I wanted to share with you my favorite stuff—the writings I’ve done over the years that have made the biggest impact on our community. These writings will come once per week as essays to your inbox to make it easy to digest them.

Sound good?

And so: we’re launching a brand new email list (it requires your consent, so be sure to sign up if it appeals to you).

I’m calling it “Tea with Julie.” 

Each email will come on Saturday morning and will be a letter to you about a variety of topics (usually in a series of 4-5 emails over 4-5 weeks). These emails are free (no fee to join).

Topics include:

  • Writing, in general
  • Revision, more specifically
  • Self care
  • Parenting
  • Being an awesome adult
  • Forces of enchantment
  • Brave Writer Lifestyle

…and so on.

My goal is to give you the benefit of the thousands of pages of material I’ve written over the last twenty years in an essay length format, personalized for 2020. You are free to read them, save them, share them, file them, or discard them.

The “Tea with Julie” emails are not primarily marketing driven (we may occasionally let you know about something important on the calendar, but you can expect them to be mostly marketing-free). 

To sign up, you must “opt in” using this landing page.

Sign Up for Tea with Julie

You can opt out at any time by using the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any email. Feel free to manage your email preferences with us using that button at any time.

Brave Writer is 20 years old, and I’ve got lots to share with you. I’m excited to talk to you personally via email this year.

Emails will be sent every Saturday.

Can’t wait to curl up with my favorite tea (PG Tips) and a pair of shortbread cookies while writing to you. I recommend similar for reading the emails.

Sidle Up

Sidle Up

Sidle up. Be a sidler. When you see engagement or devotion to problem solving or free play or a moment of curiosity:

  • wordlessly join,
  • stand by,
  • observe out of the corner of your eye,
  • see the learning, before you name it,
  • and allow it to expand.

If you want your child to learn something, try the thing in your child’s presence. Work the math problem or copy the passage or diagram the sentence during breakfast in full view. Don’t announce it. Simply do it. Maybe on the white board. Maybe you talk to yourself out loud as you do it. Be an object of curiosity rather than a teacher.

You want a reader? Create a cozy nook, stack books next to it, aim a lamp just so. Then see what happens. Give it a couple days.

Wish someone would pitch in with chores without complaining? Do it together, listen to a good audiobook, toss some change in the dishwater, rub shoulders, do clean up sprints of five minutes. Make space for growth (don’t expect high standards from novice cleaners). Be kind.

Learning happens because of receptivity, not insistence. Insistence teaches kids to learn other stuff: like how to resist, or how to think of something else while appearing to pay attention, or how to comply. These subtract power from concentration and retention.

To learn? That means there’s an openness stirred by a desire to know that is born inside. Play with it. Tease it out. Exploring learning. Sidle up!


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner

Cozy Up with a Book

We’re barreling forward to the end of 2019 to enter a whole new decade.

JANUARY 2020! 

Want to kick it off strong in literature and writing without stress? We’ve got you covered! 

We recommend starting the New Year with BOOKS! 

Here’s why.

  • Reading is an educational activity your family can ease into.
  • Right now your kids have plenty of time to read a book.
  • Hands off while you put ‘real life’ back together again after the holidays.

Need Support?

We’ve got early-January offerings ready for you so you have a PLAN come January 1.

Book/Movie Duo: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

Don’t miss the opportunity to introduce your kids to this beloved British sci-fi romp through the universe as told by the hilarious (and at times irreverent) Douglas Adams. Seriously—a hip choice for teens!

Arrow Book Club: PIE by Sarah Weeks 

What’s more fitting for post-holidays than a book called PIE? Alice loves her Aunt Polly, and she connects with her beloved aunt through one of Polly’s favorite things: making pies! When her aunt unexpectedly passes away, Alice is left with Aunt Polly’s cat, Lardo, and a mystery!

The good news? This book features many pie recipes!

Boomerang Book Club: A Separate Peace by John Knowles 

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. This book is a well loved classic and worth a read for you, too, if you’ve never read it.

Brave Writer Online Classes

Be a Student of Your Student

Be a Student of Your Student

Number one job: learn your kids.

Get to know their:

  • habits,
  • preferences,
  • natural inclinations,
  • what they love,
  • what they hate,
  • what lights them up,
  • what dims their shine.

When you are frustrated by a child’s lack of enthusiasm or energy or commitment, step back and observe. See what’s standing in the way. Being a detective is part of homeschooling so count it. It’s not off task or adjacent. It IS the task.

The better you know your REAL child (the one in front of you), the better the education you can offer that child.

It’s okay to take notes, to consult with your kid.

  • How was that for you?
  • More of this?
  • Less of that?
  • What else do you need to feel successful?

Give yourself time and permission to understand your child’s needs rather than feeling invalidated by them.

You can do it! I believe in you.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner