Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Be There: A Brave Role Model for Parents with Karen O’Connor

Podcast S3E13 Karen O'Connor

It’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to the person who has had the single greatest impact on me as a mother, role model, and writer. Of course, I’m talking about my mother, Karen O’Connor! We had such a wonderful conversation on the season finale of the podcast—looking back at both my childhood and the way she shared the homeschooling task with me and my sister, and how she has grandparented our children. Truly: this is a “DON’T MISS IT” episode!

Stick around til the end. Her final bit of advice is GOLD!

Episode 13: Karen O’Connor

My mom is the author over over 85 books, an intrepid hiker of mountains and coastlines, and an avid line dancer. She has consistently modeled self-care and personal growth to me for my entire life. She’s a popular national speaker who has helped thousands of women, in particular, find the strength to be the best versions of themselves. I can’t wait to share her with you!

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Would you post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!

Friday Freewrite: Milky Way

Friday Freewrite Milky Way

If you had a spaceship that could travel at light speed, where in the Milky Way would you go and what might you do once you got there?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

NEW Essay Prep Online Writing Classes

Brave Writer's Essay Prep Classes

Check out our new class series: Essay Prep!

by Kirsten Merryman, our Conjurer of Classes

You’ve done it. Taken the plunge. Decided to homeschool your high schooler. Ack! Now what? How do you ensure your teen gains the skills necessary to do the kinds of academic writing necessary at the high school level and beyond?

Have we got the class series for you!

Kidswrite Intermediate was a class Julie designed years ago to help teens bridge the gap between free-form personal narrative writing and the more disciplined rhetorical thinking required in essay writing. This class has been one of our favorite course offerings because its main goal is to help kids discover they have something to say before they try to muscle those thoughts into the confines of format writing. It’s a unique class in the realm of writing instruction, and we’ve seen it transform the writing lives of many high school students.

Kidswrite Intermediate did a great job developing flexible thinking and vivid, evocative writing skills in your kids. In working with students and parents over the years, however, we discovered other areas where teen writers could benefit from extra support and engagement.

And the Essay Prep series was born! We have designed three new 4-week classes to replace the 6-week Kidswrite Intermediate class. Without further ado, we invite you to meet our new classes!


Essay Prep: Reading the Essay
You walk onto the expanse of trimmed green grass as the fans settle into the stands. Your lacrosse helmet grips your head as you fasten the chin strap. The piercing whistle of the referee calls the team to the field, and you shove two bulky white gloves onto trembling hands. A teammate hands you a lacrosse stick and shouts “Let’s go!” There’s only one problem. You’ve never played lacrosse before in your life.

That scene may remind you of a scary dream where you were unprepared for the task that lay ahead of you. And yet that is often how we approach essay writing with teenagers. When we ask kids to write essays without first immersing them in the genre, it feels a bit like learning how to play lacrosse by being thrust into the championship game.

Essay Prep: Reading the Essay develops the skills of literary analysis and use of literary strategies as teens read and write about well-crafted essays. Participants in this class will explore the writing of essayists to investigate what makes for a powerful essay. They’ll then take the techniques used by professional writers and practice those literary strategies in their own original writing.


Essay Prep: Dynamic Thinking
Robust thinking skills are the cornerstone of strong academic writing. While the format of the essay can be taught in a quick lesson, knowing what to say in an essay is more involved. This class uncovers the mind life of your young writers and gives them writing tools to express their ideas using vivid, compelling language.

Essay Prep: Dynamic Thinking develops the skills of flexible thinking and rhetorical imagination as students examine varied perspectives on a topic. Your teen will develop the mental agility to consider multiple viewpoints and ultimately argue his or her point of view more persuasively as a result.

The projects in this class include discovering the “true truth” in writing, powerful association, rhetorical thinking, and a final collage assignment where students apply their own lens to a topic of interest and show what the topic looks like from varied points of view. This class asks students to add their writer’s voice to the Big, Juicy Conversations happening all around them.


Essay Prep: Research and Citation
If you’ve ever watched your teen struggle to do research, you know how frustrating it can be. A simple internet search to find information on animal testing can take hours. And what happens once the precious research materials have been acquired? Reading articles, taking notes, organizing outlines, crafting correct citations—the thought of doing an entire research project is enough to make the most enthusiastic writer crumble.

Essay Prep: Research and Citation focuses on developing skill in finding, evaluating, paraphrasing, and citing the writing of expert sources. By focusing primarily on the process of research—crafting interesting questions, doing effective internet searches, exploring local sources, taking notes, observing different viewpoints, and more!—your student will be prepared to do more effective research in future essay classes.


While you can take these classes in any order, but we recommend:

  1. Essay Prep: Reading the Essay
  2. Essay Prep: Dynamic Thinking
  3. Essay Prep: Research and Citation

Here’s why.

Essay Prep: Reading the Essay is an ideal starting point as it introduces students to the milieu of essay reading and writing in which high school writers will spend so much time. They’ll see the experts at work showcasing the kind of thinking and writing students will practice in future classes. It’s akin to the novice golfer who observes a few of the pro’s swings before stepping onto the driving range himself to hit a few balls.

A new golfer now takes time to perfect his own swing, trying out a few different body positions and testing the range of his clubs before heading out to play a full round. Essay Prep: Dynamic Thinking prepares students for longer and more involved essay writing experiences by asking them to dig into their own thinking, examining it under new and varied light, and comparing it to what others with different backgrounds and life experiences think.

The Essay Prep: Research and Citation is like playing nine holes, an abbreviated game that requires application of skills acquired in previous practice sessions. This class brings learned skills in rhetorical thinking, analysis, and vivid writing to apply to the larger task of the research project. Your writer is now ready for the robust formatted writing assignments to come.

We hope you’re as excited by the new class series as we are! If you have any questions watch the video below for a more in depth look at our college prep classes, or we invite you to email us.

YouTube Thursday: Making Money as a Mom and a Homeschooler

YouTube Thursday Making Money as a Mom and a Homeschooler

For this YouTube Thursday, let’s talk about how to make money while still being a homeschool mother (or father!).

In this video:

  • How to pursue your dreams while still homeschooling
  • Sharing how to develop a work lifestyle as a parent and a home educator
  • Feeling okay with earning money while you educate
  • How to monetize your already existent skills
  • Awesome adulthood and parenthood
  • How to balance homeschool with money making ventures through creating structure
  • Why you should keep your toe in your career field

As well as the four keys to earning money while homeschooling.

Making Money as a Mom and a Homeschooler


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YouTube Recap August 2017

YouTube Recap August 2017

Did you miss any videos from the Brave Writer YouTube channel last month? We’ve got you covered. Check out these great videos about the benefits of online classes for your homeschool and how to put the “home” back in homeschool.

How Online Classes Can Benefit Your Homeschool

In this video you will find:

  • Why Brave Writer programs are unique
  • Why our classes are so “short”
  • How to use classes to bolster writing at home
  • How to support children with learning disabilities in a Brave Writer class
  • The advantages of text based classes
  • How remote communication prepares your child for college
  • Why shared learning dynamics and collective feedback are so important
  • How to encourage growth instead of “just correcting”
  • The Arrow and Bommerang Book Clubs
  • Why you should take the Writer’s Jungle Online as a class
  • Information about Fall registration.

Haven’t registered for Fall classes with Brave Writer yet? REGISTER HERE.

Back to Homeschool: Maximizing the Perks of Home!

In this video you will find:

  • How to find and implement the advantages of home into your “school” work
  • Not-Back-to-School Parties!
  • How to accommodate differences and needs without fear
  • “There’s no such thing as independence under supervision.”
  • How to partner with your children and why it matters
  • How to manage different age groups within your homeschool
  • Triangling in help
  • How to meet goals while still honoring the spirit of home
  • Getting good at the process
  • Where to start with Brave Writer
  • Finding practical ways to bring the thinking part of learning into your family life

Curious about Brave Writer?