Archive for the ‘Julie’s Life’ Category

The Best Investment

A Total Win

The best investment we made when we moved to Ohio was to purchase a trampoline. Sure, people die on trampolines. I know. We fretted about that. But since I was already the mom who said “no” to a backyard swimming pool (I’m definitely not a good enough mother to always remember to lock the sliding door so no toddler drowns), it seemed sane to risk broken arms with a trampoline.

It’s the one piece of backyard play equipment that was as attractive to my little kids as my teens. We played a family game where the kids would jump and Jon and I would hurl balls at them; Yeah—good times!

The trampoline was a great place for a one on one chat. I’d climb on top and lay on my back next to a kid who needed to talk—sky and tree branches above offered a place to look without eye contact. Fresh air expands the conversation.

Kids did math and copywork on the trampoline. They jumped together and alone. They made up their own games. They exhausted themselves on days of agitation and too little activity.

Teens in love sat on the tramp talking or laid side by side for privacy yet in public—the perfect combination.

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

Hello Old and New Friends!

Julie Bogart

Glad you’re here. I’m Julie Bogart—a homeschool veteran (5 kids, 17 years), a writer, and an entrepreneur.

Early in adulthood (when I was 22!), a friend of my then-fiance asked me on a hillside in Spain: “So Julie, are you going to homeschool your kids?” “Um, what’s that?” I replied in 1984 having never heard the term in my life. Willie launched into his speech about subverting the soon-to-be-communist-take-over of America through home education, and tossed in as a follow up: the family closeness and bonding homeschooling promised. I wanted that (the closeness, not the communism). So I signed on Willie’s dotted line and never looked back!

My five kids are now adults: daring to live life on their own terms all over the USA and globe. While they were growing up into who they would choose to be, I became a writer (people paid me to do it—which was fun!). I eventually launched Brave Writer (January 2000), as a response to the wooden, lifeless writing programs my friends were using and hated. I wanted my homeschool mom friends to love coaching writing, as much as I did.

Brave Writer is my playground and mission tied together by one core belief—when you prioritize *power* (energy, surprise, voice) in writing, you get to accuracy and academic achievement much more effectively and happily!

The secret side effect? Power and closeness in your relationship—between parent and child. The commitment to READ your child’s writing as a revelation rather than a requirement, changes everything.

In Brave Writer, every product, class, and contact with us (my crack team of over 50 staff members!) is meant to deliver that experience—power to grow writers, not grade them.

Fine print: I love being a woman, I love French, I love watching sports, I love steaming cups of British tea, and I live for sunshine.

Pictured above: Gruyères Switzerland

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

My Lifelong Love Affair with Libraries

My Lifelong Love Affair with Libraries

I loved writing this piece for Read It Forward. Enjoy!

My Lifelong Love Affair with Libraries

My first car accident occurred in the parking lot of a library. I had barely earned my driver’s license a few hours earlier. I hopped in my Mazda GLC that evening for a joyride—straight to the public library. So excited to visit the stacks inside, I hurriedly parked, misjudging the space and clipped the fender of the neighboring car. I got a tongue lashing from the owner, naturally—though the damage was insignificant.

But what stays with me more than that humiliation on what should have been a day of driving triumph is that my first choice destination when exercising my new-born 16 year old freedom, was to drive to a library. Libraries were a haven and a place of intellectual adventure in my childhood.

I remember the delicious sense of “shopping” that libraries provided. My mother took us weekly to pick books—and we were allowed to check out as many as we liked! I would examine the spines for provocative words like: “Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack” and colorful book covers like Garth Williams’ illustrations for the Little House books.

Read more

The Brave Learner

The Gift of Noticing

The Gift of Noticing

My house is now poised for action: waiting to spring open its doors for the clown car of kids about to arrive. The siblings and plus ones and best friends all want to come here for winter break. We’ll be busting at the seams with 10 young adults—who are tall and energetic and take up all the cushions on the couches and eat up all the food in a locust consumption style. There will be laughter and games and snap chats and music and loud discussions about politics and travel and technology and Netflix.

When my kids were young, I poured over toy catalogs and ordered all my gifts over the phone. I looked forward to the day they opened these presents I’d carefully chosen with their happiness in mind.

Today—my adults—I’ve felt the shift coming—it’s not about the presents under a tree. The event of the holiday is not what it once was. It’s a chance to all share square footage, it’s memory lane and brand new experiences and optimism for the future.

The best gift we give each other is noticing.

There are questions about what each person is up to, what aspirations, who they are with now, and comments on hair cuts and new games and someone’s changed fashion sense.

The new and revised opinions, the changes from vegetarian to meat eating and back again, the hobbies acquired, the shared big kid toys, the shows we’ve binge-watched in each other’s absence and the one movie (Coco!) we’re saving to watch together: this is the stuff of holiday time now.

It’s too easy for me to drop into yesterday or tomorrow and forget about today—noticing all that it represents now, in the lives of my ever-evolving people who don’t even hold a candle to what I wished for them—so far do they exceed my imagination. The rich, nuanced, full-bodied unique people they’ve become—they are the greatest gift to me and I want to open it, and notice all the contents—shake them out on the carpet and enjoy them one bit at a time, commenting, affirming, sympathizing, and enjoying.

Here’s to a season of noticing all the loveliness that is your family: even if there is a hem of pain or a backstitch of loss. Especially to those of you rearranging family this holiday—I know that challenge too and maybe you can notice a few new things like: space to feel, time to do something for yourself, peace, rebirth.

Rooting for everyone to have a holiday filled with awareness and grace.

How sweet it is…

How sweet it is...

I sit now alone in my house.

I look forward to having Liam here for the summer after his semester in France.

I’m happy that Noah popped by to say hello on his way to a technology convention this weekend in Detroit.

I’m warmed by the phone call from Mexico I had with Johannah today.

I laughed at the easy exchanges with Caitrin and Jacob through text and snapchat.

Each of my adult children—they are actively a part of my every day life (isn’t that awesome?), even when some of them live thousands of miles away. What a time to be alive! A technological miracle.

I got to thinking…

How sweet it is…

  • to have a relationship with each adult child that is new and old at the same time
  • to be included in my grown kids’ lives, even while they also make amazing independent choices that I get to witness and celebrate
  • to look back fondly at all the soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and ultimate frisbee matches I attended, cheering till I lost my voice
  • to feel good about all the weekends I stayed in town, not traveling to conventions for business, so I could be at recitals and marching band events, winter guard competitions and play rehearsals
  • to recall the read alouds when I’m on the phone with Brave Writer parents, knowing I really did read all those books from my rocker, knowing that my kids really did hear all those stories in my own voice
  • to have scraps of paper and print outs and notes of the clever things my children said, and the wonderful things they wrote, and the surprising skills they developed—all stored where I can return to them when I want to remember
  • to see my kids develop political and compassionate selves, to listen to their forming opinions and be challenged by their unique insights
  • to travel to see them in new places, watching them master foreign languages and life abroad
  • to remember their births—their innocent faces—and to know them now fully grown; to see that thread of personhood evolve to this new person I love in whole new ways
  • to have lived at a time when homeschooling was an option, to have discovered that option, to have taken that risk
  • to have grown up with my children, to have become a better version of me because of who they are and who we were together
  • to have found our way even when we felt lost, even when we flailed and doubted, and struggled
  • to rise, to change, to adapt

How sweet it is (truly)…

  • to miss them

I love our reunions and I love the partings because when they go, they take what we created together with them, and then they do the big bold beautiful things I couldn’t even imagine they’d do!

I knew this day at my kitchen counter alone would come. It is here. For all the challenges and uncertainties of homeschooling, I am deeply grateful for the closeness that lifestyle choice afforded us.

I wish you this moment in your future too. xoxo

For more blog posts about motherhood:

On Being a Mother