Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

My Wish on a Star for Homeschool

My Wish on a Star for Homeschool

The first thing that I wish for the homeschooling movement is freedom.

Freedom to not know.

Freedom to explore.

Freedom to grow.

Do you know what I feel sometimes when I’m in the homeschool context? Shackles. There is this unwitting need to lock down our homeschool experience under some “rules,” some system that somebody else set up for us.

“Oh, everybody has a morning basket. I need to have a morning basket!” Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re the kind of person who sleeps in till 11 everyday and homeschool doesn’t really get off the ground until after you’ve had a good lunch. You get to decide.

If I had one gift I could give every home educator, it’s the freedom to simply be the homeschooler you are.

To grow, to learn, to revise.

To put a whole bunch of ideas together and see if they fit. To say “no” when you’re in a group and they make you feel bad for a choice you’ve made. I want you to feel freedom, first and foremost.

One of the reasons that you signed up to homeschool was so that you didn’t have to fit into the constraints of the local school system. For me, those constraints were:

  • waking up early,
  • making lunches every day,
  • putting my kids on a bus,
  • filling out all that horrible paperwork that school requires you to fill out,
  • supervising a plan that I didn’t create (like homework for things I didn’t understand),
  • showing up for all the PTA meetings I didn’t want to go to.

That’s not what I wanted. So, I liberated myself and I home educated.

I got into the world of homeschooling, but suddenly there’s a whole new set of shackles. People saying you had to have a schedule, maybe you should get up at 9 and make sure the kids start with chores, make sure your kids are learning all the classics before you let them read anything modern. Then there were people who were telling me, “You shouldn’t do any of that. Just let your kids do whatever they want. That’s what will lead to the best education.”

I felt bullied by homeschool philosophies that were every bit as pushy as the local school district. I don’t know about you, but when I envisioned my homeschool experience before I got going, I didn’t know that there would be these controllers out there telling me what it should feel like, look like, be like. What the content “should” be.

So, what’s my number one wish on a star for homeschooling? Freedom.

I wish to see people resisting the temptation to define what homeschool should be for another person. Freedom to change, grow, and learn. That’s number one.

Want to know what numbers two, three, and four are?
Watch the full video here on YouTube.

Top 10 Brave Writer Blog Posts of 2017

Top 10 brave Writer Blog Posts of 2017

Here are the ten most popular Brave Writer Life in Brief blog posts published in 2017.


  1. Are you New to Brave Writer?
  2. Podcast with Susan Wise Bauer
  3. Take Away Insistence as a Tool
  4. Implementing Brave Writer in Your Homeschool
  5. Which Brave Writer Products?
  6. Reframe Their Resistance
  7. Homeschooling Ebb and Flow with Melissa Wiley
  8. Tea with Julie: Foundations of Home Education
  9. Does Brave Writer Intimidate You?
  10. The Key to Academic Achievement: Talking with Your Kids

Brave Writer Blog Roundup

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.

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

Follow Brave Writer on YouTube!

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

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