Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

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?

Expectation vs. Reality

Expectation vs Reality

by Homeschool Alliance coach Stephanie Elms

Nothing feels more critical than picking a curriculum or choosing a homeschool approach—we homeschool parents put so much time and energy (and worry!) into the decision! The good news is that families can and do make all forms of education work and there is nothing inherently right or wrong with whatever choices we try.

That said, sometimes our expectations of what homeschooling “should” look like can affect whether or not what we choose works for us. We naturally go into the process with a variety of expectations, such as having happy, compliant kids, maintaining a certain level of organization or having peaceful days filled with productive learning.

And then our expectations run smack into the wall of our reality.

The kids are anything but happy and compliant. We can’t seem to stay on top of it all despite our best efforts. Our day feels anything but peaceful as we get pulled this way and that by life’s ups and downs.

Then the doubt sets in. We start second guessing ourselves and telling ourselves that we or our kids are just not cut out for doing this. We wonder why we are struggling when it seems like everyone else has this all figured out.

Sound familiar?

So what do we do when this doubt inevitably creeps in? As paradoxically as it might seem, the more that we can “accept what is” and let go of our expectations, the easier it is to figure out a path forward.

We can trust that uncertainty is not a sign that we are doing something wrong but rather a natural (and integral) part of how the homeschooling process works.

We can learn to make peace with that uncertainty recognizing that it comes with the territory.

We can use these moments of self-doubt as opportunities to work on letting go of our illusion of control and as a reminder that we can trust that things will be okay.

So take a deep breath and remember that everything is not solely dependent on you. It is okay if you don’t do everything perfectly. It is okay if you don’t know exactly how everything will turn out.

Because that is where the magic happens—in the process of:

  • getting to know your kids
  • getting to know yourself
  • growing and learning together

Lucky for us, homeschooling is not about having it all figured out but rather about the process of discovery along the way.

The Brave Writer Philosophy

When You Doubt Yourself

When You Doubt Yourself

The next time you ask yourself: “Are my kids learning anything? Am I failing them?” read these words of wisdom by Homeschool Alliance coach, Stephanie Elms:

Learning and growing is a process that happens over the long term. And by design, it looks messy and uncertain when you are in the middle of it. Because we can’t see the future to understand where the present fits into the bigger arc of our child’s life.

The truth is that you are going to get worried and frustrated because you can’t know for sure that things are working. You will become convinced that you have truly screwed things up.

But this is all a natural part of the process and is actually where the magic happens. Because this is when you start noticing what you and your kids need. As long as you resist the urge for the “quick fix” and instead sit with those feelings, they can provide the valuable insight you need going forward.

The problem is that most of us see that worry and frustration as a sign that we are “doing it wrong.” This leads us to putting too much pressure on ourselves and then, of course, our kids.

So yes, be conscious of those niggling worries. But don’t act on them right away. Examine where they are coming from:

  • A place of fear that you are screwing up?
  • Or a sense that it is something that your kids would benefit from?

Observe your kids. Doing so might provide reassurance that they are, in fact, doing just fine. Or it might validate your feeling that something additional is needed.

In that case, resist the urge to immediately jump in and create “lessons” to fix what you are worried about. Instead, simply set the intention that you want to bring more of that into your lives and see what shows up. You have time. As a friend of mine likes to say:

“There are no educational emergencies.”

And here is a secret. You will miss things. Things will be dropped. There will be gaps. You will have regrets. And you will wish you had done “more” or done things differently. And that is okay. Honest.

The beauty is that the process, as messy and uncertain as it is, does work out the way that it needs to and in ways that we can’t predict. Our main challenge is to trust the process and hang on for the ride. And what a wonderful ride it is!

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.

The Homeschool Alliance

Transitioning from Homeschool to Public High School

Transitioning from Homeschool to High School

We’ve decided to send our homeschooled teen to public high school. Help!

Enjoy the transition if you can. Buy football tickets and go to games this fall. Meet the teachers. Make sure you attend back to school night. Test the lockers and make sure your teen knows how to open and close them, lock and unlock them before school starts. Get new clothes or shoes. Focus on the adventure of school, not on what wasn’t learned at home.

Don’t feel you have to cram. Freshman English will teach the essay again to everyone. Let your child look forward to school and be confident that he or she has been well educated at home. If there are struggles, get help then.

My daughter struggled mightily with algebra at the local high school. I met with the instructor and he gave me a plan to help her and she implemented the plan and wound up catching up in a semester and sailed through math the rest of the year.

Jacob was behind in band (saxophone) and same thing: once he was in that environment, he caught up because he was in that environment and wanted to.

School exerts a kind of pressure that can be healthy when your kids aren’t burned out and have not been in the system.

On the flip side, I thought Jacob was not a strong writer like his sister and brother had been. I put him in regular English and was called into the school to move him into Honor’s English. I was floored. They told me he was advanced. I didn’t know.

So try not to pre-judge the experience.

Good luck and enjoy!

Memories from a Good Public School

The Next Time You Feel Overwhelmed


by Stephanie Elms

When we feel off kilter and have a lot of things going on that are out of our control, our natural instinct is to double down on things that we feel that we can control. For many of us, that often winds up being our kids. Of course, the idea that we truly control our kids is simply an illusion, although it feels very real.

Our kids can sense this. Both our disappointment in them and our expectation that their behavior is needed to fill a need we have. Some kids react by becoming more compliant. Some by becoming more resistant. Both are natural defense mechanisms.

When we are overwhelmed, we become fixated on “what needs to be fixed” regardless of whether it makes sense or not. We worry about things like our kids’ “work ethic” or “lack of motivation” when the reality is that their work ethic and motivation are developed over the long term and have crucial developmental components to it.

Kids naturally live more “in the moment” and just don’t have the bigger picture vantage that comes with maturity and experience. The good thing is that maturity and experience develop naturally. It is not dependent on us to “make” it happen. We can trust and allow it to unfold with our guidance.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed, trust that your worry about your kids may be less about how they are truly doing in that moment and more about your own state of mind.

In these times, it is okay to let go of what you feel you have to do to “fix” things and simply focus on the reality of who your kids are.

Connect with them.

Have fun with them.

Enjoy them.

The rest will sort itself out. Honest.

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.

The Homeschool Alliance