Archive for the ‘Online Classes’ Category

Passion and Partnership

Isabelle and Caitlyn

Writers come in many different shapes and forms. Whether writing fiction, nonfiction or legalese, there’s a place for you at Brave Writer! 

Here’s the story of one family who found the perfect niche in our classroom.

Meet Isabelle and Caitlyn! 

Talk about multitasking! Homeschooling parent of 5 kids, Caitlyn is an attorney in bright and beautiful California. In the evenings she works as a legal writer and copywriter. In her free time, Caitlyn reads a lot of nonfiction and runs in preparation for her first marathon. Go, Caitlyn! 

(Her other main “hobby” is driving her kids all over the Bay Area, doing drop-offs at activities and coops. We hear you, Caitlyn! The chauffeur gig is intense!)

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! 

Daughter Isabelle follows closely in mom’s footsteps, being an avid reader and new runner. She dabbles in learning Russian, Mandarin, and coding. 

Cool fact: she’s practically started college already—

She was born during winter break, our second year of law school. In utero she attended lectures by Justice Scalia, and when she was a few months old she attended 1 Art Law lecture.

How awesome is that!

Isabelle has been homeschooled since kindergarten, but they came across a stumbling block: writing. Caitlyn knew they needed some different tools.

I think she had it in her, but it seemed intimidating. I didn’t know how to bridge getting it out of her without it seeming inauthentic.

Caitlyn enrolled Isabelle in Middle School Writing Projects where she got to embrace her love for facts and direct her own research. Isabelle wrote to our coach,

Things I know about myself as a writer are 1. sometimes when I’m given an interesting assignment, I want to finish it before it’s due, and include lots of interesting facts and pictures. And 2. I really enjoy researching for facts on the topic I have picked or been assigned.

A match made in heaven!

Middle School Writing Projects is designed to help transform children’s nonfiction knowledge and personal experiences into meaningful writing projects.

Isabelle’s final project centered around the golden jellyfish native to Palau.

Caitlyn tells us—

It was exactly what I was looking for. There was a high level of engagement, tons of feedback from the teacher to my daughter, social interaction with other kids through the forum, tons of scaffolding in teaching structure, and an open line of communication between the teacher and the parent. 

That’s what we’ve found too: early writing discomfort can often be helped by adding passion and partnership! Isabelle seems to agree—

I think this writing class has made writing more fun for me. I used to think writing was boring, now I find it fun.

Caitlyn plans on signing Isabelle’s little sister for the same class in 2020. I wonder what she’ll choose to write about! 


Middle School Writing Prompts

Cozy Up with a Book

We’re barreling forward to the end of 2019 to enter a whole new decade.

JANUARY 2020! 

Want to kick it off strong in literature and writing without stress? We’ve got you covered! 

We recommend starting the New Year with BOOKS! 

Here’s why.

  • Reading is an educational activity your family can ease into.
  • Right now your kids have plenty of time to read a book.
  • Hands off while you put ‘real life’ back together again after the holidays.

Need Support?

We’ve got early-January offerings ready for you so you have a PLAN come January 1.

Book/Movie Duo: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

Don’t miss the opportunity to introduce your kids to this beloved British sci-fi romp through the universe as told by the hilarious (and at times irreverent) Douglas Adams. Seriously—a hip choice for teens!

Arrow Book Club: PIE by Sarah Weeks 

What’s more fitting for post-holidays than a book called PIE? Alice loves her Aunt Polly, and she connects with her beloved aunt through one of Polly’s favorite things: making pies! When her aunt unexpectedly passes away, Alice is left with Aunt Polly’s cat, Lardo, and a mystery!

The good news? This book features many pie recipes!

Boomerang Book Club: A Separate Peace by John Knowles 

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. This book is a well loved classic and worth a read for you, too, if you’ve never read it.

Brave Writer Online Classes

“Now he wants to be a writer.”

Now he wants to be a writer.

Meet Lydia and her crew of four!

This Air Force family moves frequently, so homeschooling helps them to keep consistent with their learning. It keeps alive Lydia’s love of all things creative, too! She’s a self-professed eclectic, “flexible but routined” homeschooler who can’t resist a creative, artsy project! We love that!

We were honored to find out that we placed on Lydia’s homeschooling bucket list!

Ever since I had heard of Brave Writer, I wanted to try a class. I mostly tried it to “check off” a style of writing I was not confident in (poetry).

Lydia signed her family up for our Playing with Poetry: Discovery class last winter. (A great choice, since the whole family gets to participate for one fee!)

Isaac, then 8, was struggling to read and write. He hated to even try writing and often refused because it was too hard. 

Lydia offered Isaac a lot of support. (We share ways to do that in our video “How to Support your Child in an Online Class”—emailed to you when you register!) 

It was transformative.

I never forced him to write or complete anything, but invited him to come along for the ride as much as he wanted, and he chose to work through the fear…

I offered to jot things down. I asked questions to get him thinking and more questions to clarify. The first poem was based on a photograph so he just said words that popped into his mind while looking at his photo. 

Lydia helped Isaac gather all the materials needed to create his masterpiece then—

[W]hen he was ready, we read through his list of words and he very thoughtfully chose which words to use and created beautiful phrases that then took on a life of its own and became his very first poem. 

Aren’t you grinning ear to ear thinking about a reluctant writer who just cranked out a full POEM? I am! 

Writing coach, Susanne Barrett, swooped in to support Isaac’s newfound confidence

Susanne’s feedback to him completely changed his outlook on his ability. She told him she could tell that he cared about beautiful language and chose each word very carefully, a sign of a true writer. He beamed and took all that to heart and has been writing ever since and now wants to be a writer. 

Not only did they have a wonderful experience in that 4-week class (a perfect length, Lydia says, for a deep dive), but the effects of the class have been lasting.

I’m… confident that without partnering with Isaac, and jotting things down for him, he might not have realized he CAN be a writer even while struggling to read, spell, and write.

Since that first poem, Lydia’s kids have taken several of our classes

I appreciate how the classes have taken some of the pressure off of me to check the box of writing and it’s organized and totally doable! I love how much parents are encouraged to partner with their child in order to grow and succeed. 

Thank you, Lydia! And thank you, Isaac for sharing your poetry with us! (See Isaac’s work in the training tip below!)

Brave Writer has two Playing with Poetry classes. Take them in any order! Don’t miss the chance to partner with your kids in a relaxed writing environment.

You can learn more about our online classes here.

We also invite you to log in to a sample class. Click around, play with our text editor, and read real instructor responses to writing posted in class.

Playing with Poetry: Discovery

Boomerang Book Club: January 2020

Brave Writer Boomerang Book Club

Snow as far as the eye can see? Never fear—no bus, no boots, no winter coats needed! The Boomerang Book Club is open! Whatever the weather.

Whether you live in a rural location, are traveling abroad or homebound (under two feet of snow for the next 4 months), we’re only a click away, every day.


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


January’s Boomerang Book Club selection (for ages 13-18): A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Scribner, 2003. 204 pages.

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Purchase the novel here.


We’ve curated a gathering place where you and your kids can always find us and other like-minded homeschooling folk. We work hard to maintain a community that’s welcoming and warm. Join us and get a free copy of our language arts guide to go with the book.

Boomerang Book Club

Arrow Book Club: January 2020

Brave Writer Arrow Book Club

Let Brave Writer’s Arrow Book Club selections open worlds for your kids! 

In discussion with their peers, they

  • Create empathy and a broader perspective on a topic
  • Practice composing responses and figuring out their opinion
  • Imbue more sophistication in their writing long term

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


January’s Arrow Book Club title (for ages 9-12): PIE by Sarah Weeks. Scholastic Paperbacks Reprint Edition, 2013. 192 pages.

Alice loves her Aunt Polly, and she connects with her beloved aunt through one of Polly’s favorite things: making pies! When her aunt unexpectedly passes away, Alice is left with Aunt Polly’s cat, Lardo, and a mystery! What is the secret to her aunt’s world-famous pie-crust recipe? And why did she leave the recipe to Lardo? Small-town politics, pie-baking contests, and a few red herrings make this a delightful read. With a pie recipe at the beginning of each chapter, you and your kids will be running to the kitchen to make award-winning pies all month long!

Purchase the novel here.

A rich array of experience await! Join the Arrow Book Club and get a free copy of our language arts guide to go with the book.

Arrow Book Club