Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Teaching Writing: Out of Ideas

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Moving into the role of being a guide and supporter
A Brave Writer mom asked what to do when her 12 year old daughter still doesn’t like writing after doing poetry teatime, art journaling, freewriting, and other fun, low stress activities.

Here are some suggestions:

She’s at the age where you can talk to her about her education. I would take her out for milkshakes and spend some time looking ahead to college, to adulthood. Ask her about her aspirations. Ask her how she envisions her future (she may not know, and that’s okay too!).

Let her know you want to move into the role of guide and strong supporter and not be the person who is going to “hold her feet to the fire.” Then discuss what it takes to get where she may want to go: college or some other type of schooling or trade preparation. Look at how writing may or may not fit into that. Ask her how she envisions getting the writing skills she needs to get where she wants to go. Then pause and wait to hear what she says.

Sometimes preteens and teens are so sure their parents will push them into what they don’t want to do, they keep resisting secure in the notion that they don’t have to ever engage their own wills. But you can “drop the rope” of this tug of war and gently, kindly put the pressure back on her. You want to let her know that you love her and will help her reach HER goals, but you aren’t going to fight about stuff.

You might ask her to do some of her own research about how writing fits into her future and find out how she may want to go about learning it. Tell her all options are on the table. And mean it.

Brave Writer's Help for High SchoolHelp for High School is a self-directed writing program for teens that both teaches rhetorical thinking in writing, as well as the academic essay formats for high school and college. Teens work independently of their parents, however models of completed assignments and rubrics for feedback are included, as well.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend -Not Before 7

Enjoy this fabulous guest post by Mary Wilson!

Laughter, Learning, and Lots of Notes

Good friends. Good food. Lots of tea, coffee, and chocolate.

And plenty of felt tip colored markers for the 15 pages of notes in my bullet journal!

All of the perfect ingredients for a weekend with Julie Bogart, learning about the Brave Writer Lifestyle via the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s.


A weekend with Julie Bogart. Being inspired in your pursuit of the Brave Writer lifestyle. Getting help for high school. Learning the key ingredients to create your fantasy homeschool. Discussing the elements of a language rich environment. And doing all of this without having to leave your own house or local area.

That’s exactly what six friends and I did this weekend!

After receiving digital access to the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s a few months ago, I immediately watched all five sessions. At that time, I wrote a detailed review of the DVD’s. The sessions were full of such great information that I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I watched them. In fact, an idea began brewing in my mind…

I decided to plan a Brave Writer weekend to share the sessions with friends.

Using Facebook, I created an event: Brave Writer Retreat DVD weekend and I invited a few local friends and one out of town childhood friend. The basic plan for the weekend was as follows:

Hosting a Brave Writer WeekendFriday night
7 PM: Introductions
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Help for High School
8:30 – 9:15 PM Discuss
*Then head home for evening and return the next day

arrive 8:30 AM
8:45 – 10:15 AM: Nurturing Brave Writers
10:15-10:45: Discuss
10:45-12:00: Ally, Coach, Partner
12:00- 12:45: POTLUCK LUNCH and discussion
12:45-1:45: Creating a Language Rich Environment
1:45-2:15 Discuss
2:15-3:45 Your Fantasy Homeschool
Then discuss and head home by 4:30.

(I am happy to say that our final ending time was 5 PM, which was pretty darn close to the original plan. Impressive for a group of 7 women!)

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night with Help for High School which is actually the fourth video in the series. It made more sense to start with it on Friday night so that anyone who wasn’t quite ready for the high school discussion could opt out. This allowed moms of little ones to stay home that night and only set aside Saturday. Of course, everyone was welcome to attend all of the sessions.

A hot tea, iced tea, and coffee bar were set up in the basement, scattered with some yummy chocolates. We planned a pot luck lunch including soup, salad, bread, fruit and veggies. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy lunch on the deck.

After a packed morning of information, lunch outside was a welcome break to digest information and talk through ideas. Then we were ready for our last two sessions.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

I have to warn you that you will receive a lot of information in one weekend. A LOT.

Be prepared with a ton of colorful felt markers, gel pens, or whatever your note taking medium of choice happens to be. I filled 15 pages, front and back, in my moleskin bullet journal.

We found that pausing the video was necessary because all of the discussion notes were shown on a power point presentation. The screens were shown briefly in the video, but not long enough to write down the information. Pausing was effective, but here is a pro-tip for you: snap a quick picture of the screen with your phone or tablet!

Having the “slide” on your phone allows you to look at it as Julie was talks, so you can copy down each of the bullet points as she explains them rather than having to copy them all at once and then squeeze in your notes.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

It’s safe to say that we all filled pages upon pages with notes whether the Brave Writer Lifestyle was new to us or something we were quite familiar with.

When Saturday came to a close and the last session was over, our final discussion was brief. Most of us felt ready to go home and process the information, including myself.

Truly, it had been a fantastic twenty-four hours that we set aside for ourselves. We laughed and learned. We we were energized and challenged. The time spent this weekend was good for ourselves, our homeschools and even our parenting.

And it made me even more excited about the Brave Writer retreat in July!

Not Before 7


Mary is a homeschooling mom of four kids, ages 13, 11, 9 and 6. She loves to travel, read, teach, and blog. Her families adventures in travel, homeschooling and life are recorded at her blog, Not Before 7.


The split between structured and unstructured learning

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Structured or Unstructured Learning in Your Homeschool
Heart to heart: the split between structured and unstructured learning.

Shall you unschool?
Use curriculum?
Structure the learning or unstructure it?

Watch the scope below where I offer insight and answer questions.

Follow Julie on Periscope

What Enchanted Education is NOT

Monday, March 28th, 2016

What Enchanted Education is NOT

We’ve talked about what an Enchanted Education is.

Let’s look at what it is not.

Enchantment is not about Pinterest-worthy projects or crafts. The point is this: Academics are better received by children when the properties of surprise, mystery, risk, and adventure attend them. They are better mastered with some level of routine and measurable progress. The nexus of these elements is what creates and sustains momentum in the homeschool.

You can’t be all parties and you can’t be all workbooks. There needs to be some kind of mixture where the routine provides the sustained practice of academic growth, but the surprises and adventures lead to enthusiastic bursts and deeper dives.

Remember: enchantment can be eye contact, time alone with one child, adding a cookie to a math lesson, taking time to do the science experiment rather than just reading about it, reordering the day to accommodate a morning dress up time, laying on your bed to do copywork, sitting outside to read alone, playing with alphabet magnets on the refrigerator, watching a movie about history rather than reading about it, reading historical fiction, triangling in an expert, reading any book aloud, poetry with tea, staying up late to discuss politics on the bed of your teen, changing the tools to new ones (gel pens, iPad, writing on Post it Notes)…

The aim isn’t to create an arts and crafts homeschool, or even an elaborate series of spectacular events! (Remember: I’ve said I could only pull off one or two “parties” in a year, if that!)

The goal is to remember that for kids and teens, rote learning using pen and paper (abstraction) and receptive learning through reading text books is rarely enough to keep the enthusiasm high and the learning applied. Anyone can “enchant” learning because you have heart, connection to resources, and a home filled with space for exploration and coziness.

Take advantage of home (and for teens, take advantage of outside the home)! That’s your best way to think about enchantment.

Shared on BraveScopes

The Homeschool Alliance

Resistance in Writing: Drop the Rope

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Do Your Kids Resist Writing? Drop the Rope!

Do your kids offer big resistance to handwriting, freewriting, or copywork? What do you do when your assurances that “This will be fun” are met with suspicion? Drop the rope!

Here’s how

Stop asking for writing of any kind

Use writing around them—catch them in the act of thinking (when they aren’t expecting it) and jot down what they say to you (when they are really excited about what they are saying, not when you ask them to tell you something). It will be inconvenient. Just know that. Grab a scratch sheet of paper and jot it down. If met with suspicion, say, “No worries. I just want to save this to share with Dad later—it’s so good!”

Then do just that—share it with Dad at dinner, say, and do it in front of them.

Talk with them about their resistance

What’s it about? Get curious in an interested way (not a “once I figure it out, I can get you to write” way). Let them know you are interested in whatever the block is. Then when you do know (if it’s boring or their hand hurts or they think they have nothing to say or copywork is not interesting), you can start there.

Ask for their input

One suggestion from Charlotte Mason is to let students determine how many words (or letters!) they can attempt with full concentration and the habit of excellence. Then that’s all they have to do for that day. They get to say: “My attention is flagging” or “I lost interest” and stop right there. Tell them that if all they can sustain is a single well drawn letter, that will be enough for you. Then the next day they pick up where they left off. They may find that they will naturally increase when they are in charge of how much they write. The key, though, is to remind them of the importance of doing their prettiest work for that letter or word.

Get creative

You might try doing your own copywork at the same time so that it is a group experience. Put on some wordless music.

Finally, if the passages are boring to them, you might look for jokes or puns where they get the next word each day without seeing the whole at once.

Shared on BraveScopes

The Homeschool Alliance