Archive for the ‘Online Classes’ Category

Why we don’t use video in Brave Writer online classes

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Why we don't use video in Brave Writer online classes

Some people ask why our classes don’t make use of video. It’s a pedagogical choice: reading produces better writers than listening. Not only that, reading requires depth of concentration and attention that enable the reader to internalize what is being read. Listening allows for greater distraction. For instance, have you ever noticed how you can be looking at your child and rearranging the cabinets in your mind at the same time? You appear to be listening, but you’ve “checked out.”

Listening to lectures creates a similar result. You may have an affective moment of “Wow that was wonderful!” but the retention of the particulars is not nearly as complete as if you had read the same material.

“In fact, studies have shown that reading uninterrupted text results in faster completion and better understanding, recall, and learning than those who read text filled with hyperlinks and ads. Those who read a text-only version of a presentation, as compared to one that included video, found the presentation to be more engaging, informative, and entertaining, a finding contrary to conventional wisdom, to be sure. Additionally, contrary to conventional educational wisdom, students who were allowed Internet access during class didn’t recall the lecture nor did they perform as well on a test of the material as those who weren’t ‘wired’ during class. Finally, reading develops reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and vocabulary better than visual media.” ~Jim Taylor Ph.D., Psychology Today

Some thoughts about technology and learning.

Image by Brave Writer mom Anne


Check out Brave Writer's NEW online class pageCheck out our NEW online class page!

It’s magical! Click on the choices by age or semester or type of student (Family Classes, Parent is Student, Child is Student, and High School) and the page transforms for you!

Brave Writer online classes are uniquely designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from three to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take one or more over the course of a school year. We keep the class sessions short so that you may work around your family’s schedule.


For Email Marketing you can trust

I’m so proud of home educators

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Power of story- Jen

From a recent e-newsletter:

We read aloud to our children each day, fulfilling this basic “requirement” that our kids get an education from quality literature often not aware of how deep that education goes just from reading Redwall (again) or The Wind in the Willows. I don’t know if we (as a group) have plumbed the depths of how powerful all that reading is. In fact, I daresay that we mostly have not!

How many of us have associated the pleasure of Trumpet of the Swan with furnishing academic brilliance?

Yet this is precisely what is happening in living rooms strewn with Legos across the country (and globe). Home educators are doing a greater service for their children and the aims of education through the simple practice of immersing themselves in story each day than any other single practice.

You’re providing the education academics DREAM of providing.

Did you know that STORY is the foundation of a quality liberal arts education?

Rudyard Kipling says:

“If history were taught in the form of stories,
it would never be forgotten.”

Story as Education

Narratives, tales, myths, legends, fictions–the ability to see the story
in any subject area is the heart of a sophisticated, multi-faceted education.

Here’s why.

Academics like to talk a lot about the “imagination”–the capacity to imagine oneself into other times and places, cultures and worldviews, value sets and moral dilemmas.

Your child’s academic imagination grows
in direct relation to immersion in story.

Reading aloud, reading fiction, reading poetry, reading biographies, reading non-fiction, reading religious texts: Reading leads to a robust exploration of what it means to be human, sharing a planet.

Story also comes from other sources: film, video games, plays, documentaries, lectures, sermons, artwork, music, and television.

What homeschoolers do better than any other educational tool is plunge their children into the heart of STORY, every day:

moral dilemmas,
enriching cultural detail,
other times, other places, other worlds!

You’re great at it!

As we give our children this gift of STORY from the rocking chair or cuddled on a couch, we create connections in our children’s minds that resurface again and again. Charlotte Mason calls these connections: “The Science of Relations.” In Brave Writer, we call them: “Powerful Associations.”

Modern day stories that make use of ancient mythology are resonant for active readers (Percy Jackson books, Harry Potter, Hunger Games). Historical fiction shows us the world before we arrived and gives us context for our every day experiences (Johnny Tremain, The Master Puppeteer, The Bronze Bow).

Cross-cultural exploration through story shrinks the globe
and creates empathic ties to people who are different from us.

One of my favorite professors (40+ years as a professor, Harvard Ph.D.) said to me last week that what’s missing in too many of today’s in-coming college freshmen is the capacity to imagine richly–with texture, openness, and connection between subjects. Reading and writing in the humanities, in particular, depend on a complex intuitive understanding of the narrative arc:

what creates surprise,
the nature of viewpoint,
power dynamics,
moral right and wrong as they are funneled through lived experiences and confronted by characters/actors through dilemmas,
the underlying mythology of the narrative.

Moral Imagination

One of the core curriculum classes at Xavier University is called “Literature and the Moral Imagination.” The goal of that class is not dissimilar to what you all do every day you read aloud to your children. You are shaping your children’s understanding of morality, intuitively, without lecture. Your kids are forming their values through confronting the moral dilemmas faced by beloved characters!

As I spoke with Professor Dewey, I shared about what we do in Brave Writer. We offer classes that are designed to plunge our children into the juicy soul of STORY.

We not only read Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, we ask our students to write them!

We not only enjoy Greek Myths, we explore them for their structure and ask students to produce their own fictional accounts of Gods and Goddesses they create!

Dr. Dewey was thrilled, saying that he wished all schools did this for children.

We’re not just “creative writing” here at Brave Writer.

Our story writing classes offer your students a pathway to
intellectual excellence and moral development.

Hope you’ll take advantage of them!

Just So Stories ClassJust so stories

Every child wonders how our array of extraordinary animals came to be! Why did the rhino get a big horn on his nose? How did the kangaroo wind up with a built-in pouch for babies? Whose idea were those flamboyant feathers in the peacock’s tail?

Rudyard Kipling playfully recounts tales he told his children when they were small about the origins of many animal peculiarities. He makes use of his own literary style to do it (musical language, rhyme, nonsense words, and magical powers). After reading four of these tales together, students in our Just So Stories class get to write their own.

You know what else? One Tuition pays for ALL your kids class! Imagine working with everyone on one writing project for one price! We enroll you, the parent, along with your kids.

By the end of the month, you’ll have conquered a complete writing project for all the writers in your family, and September will barely be over!

Image of child reading by Brave Writer mom Jen

For Email Marketing you can trust

Fall class registration is OPEN!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

2015 fall online class registration is open!

Registration is open for Brave Writer’s fall classes!

Trust your instincts. You know best for your homeschool. If a little outside support, gentle accountability, and hand-holding will ease your mind this fall, join us for a fall writing class.

We look forward to making writing a little less daunting for you and your family.


And hurry! Classes fill quickly!

For Email Marketing you can trust

Double your pleasure!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015



Movie club Animals

The Summer Movie Club
Start your school year in August with
movies about ANIMALS!

August 3 – August 28
The WHOLE family
ONE tuition:

Break into writing this year the easy way:
popcorn and chatting about movies.

FINDING NEMO (2003, G), directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich. A tiny clownfish sets out on a big journey to find his son.

CHICKEN RUN (2000, G), directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. An escape adventure set on a chicken farm in 1950s England.

A CAT IN PARIS (2010, PG), directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol. A Parisian cat with a nocturnal life as a cat burglar’s aide is called to heroism when the girl he lives with is endangered.

FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009, PG), directed by Wes Anderson. Mr. Fox really is fantastic, but he can’t help raiding the local farmers’ larders, which leads to a high-spirited adventure.

Starts Monday!

Register now!


Partnership Writing 1

MONDAY August 3, 2015 (Noon EDT)
Registration OPENS
for Fall Online Writing Classes

Mark your calendar!

Image of kids by Patty

For Email Marketing you can trust

Adult Literature Class: A Room with a View

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Room with view blog

Do you sometimes think to yourself: “I wish I could be in a literature discussion club with Brave Writer”? Problem solved!

Our first ever online literature discussion club for parents starts July 6th. We’ll discuss A Room with a View (EM Forster) and watch the Merchant and Ivory film as well (optional).

The purpose of the class is to not only sate your appetites for meaty lit discussion, but to also train you to have these kinds of robust conversations about literature with your budding teens! This class can be seen as an “in-service training” for your home education program—a way to grow in your lit discussing skills.

Plus, it will be a blast! Johannah is teaching it, but I’ll be lurking since this is my ALL TIME FAVORITE NOVEL.

Guided Literature Discussion: A Room with a View
July 6 – July 31, 2015
(4 weeks)


For Email Marketing you can trust