Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

Brave Writer Podcast: Integrating Cultural & Language Learning in Your Homeschool with Anne Guarnera

Brave Writer Podcast interview with Anne Guarnera
Anne Guarnera has always been passionate about learning, languages in particular. She shares her passion for language learning with her husband, Daniel, and they are now introducing that love of language to their two young sons – and to the rest of the homeschooling community through Language Learning at Home.

In this episode, Anne shares how (and why) cultural learning can be integrated into any homeschool curriculum, even if you don’t speak a second language yourself.

Language Learning

Often, the strategies for learning languages that we use in U.S. high schools are really poor at delivering… well, language learning. You might learn to appreciate the language, but relatively few people graduate their high school French or Spanish classes with a firm grasp of the language.

Anne thinks there are two things missing from traditional language education in the United States:

  1. The bigger context of why language learning is important.
  2. The explicit instruction of how to learn a language.

“The point of language learning is to learn how to relate well to other people because we want to be able to understand the world from their perspective, and potentially be changed.” It’s about being able to communicate with those who are different from you, whose lives may vary wildly from your own, and opening yourself up to learning from them and from their cultures. Language learning is uniquely powerful in that it is really about other people and learning to love them.

That human element, that greater context, is frequently lacking – too often, these courses are treated as a competitive academic exercise, or just a requirement on a high school or college transcript.

This is also why it’s important that we make language learning more than memorization and rules. At Brave Writer, we’re always big fans of weaving enchantment into your education, and it’s so easy to do with language learning: make food from the target culture, do Poetry Teatime in the target language, or read picture books about countries where the language is spoken.

If you make connections between the language and the people who speak it, your child will have a “big picture” view of how and why they might actually use the foreign language.


Brave Writer Podcast: Back to Homeschool

BW Podcast Back to Homeschool

Let’s talk about hominess in homeschool, and how you can you help your kids stay on task, while still experience the peace and comfort that home provides all of us.

Today’s podcast shares ways to move from the playfulness of summer to fall, when home educators sometimes feel more pressure to make their children learn. Even if it’s not summer where you are (April is Autumn for those down under) these practices can be applied at any time of the year!

At Brave Writer, we steadfastly resist images of yellow #2 pencils, school buses, and apples because we are not bringing school into our families. We want to reinforce the properties of home, as opposed to reinforcing the qualities of a faux school.

Home is about relaxing; letting go of obligation and pressure. It’s the place you get to show up as yourself – and when we mix in the properties of school, we’re actually violating that sense of hominess.


Think about the things that bring comfort into your life, and your children’s life – a snack, a foot rub, someone holding your hand – and invite them into your home. Here are just a few of our ideas:

  • A small, decorative teapot for each of your children (which also lets them choose their preferred beverage at Poetry Teatime)
  • All kinds of candles. Kids love candles, and they can really change the mood in a room.
  • Make your workspace pretty and invite a little bit of enchantment by adding something new and unexpected: colored pens, different colored paper, or even a family shoulder rub train. You have jurisdiction over your space!

Triangle in Help

If you have two or three children, it’s possible to offer each one a fair amount of devotion and energy throughout the day. However, if you have five, seven, nine, or even more children, it’s just not possible to provide that same level of devotion and energy.

You will need to triangle in on some help. You will need online classes, co-ops, part-time enrollment, or maybe even some children in school. Your children deserve a rich academic life, and you may not be able to offer that, alone, to 11 children at 11 different levels. Having children was our choice, so we need to take responsibility for that by helping them get what they need.

Don’t feel robbed if your children learn without you – you are creating an environment for learning to take place. You don’t have to be the person who makes the spark happen! You can put out the firewood and kindling, and they might get their own flint going.

Would you post a review on iTunes for us please (here’s a handy guide)?
Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!

Adding Adventure, Community, & Collaboration to Your Homeschool with Dachelle McVey

Brave Writer Podcast interview with Dachelle McVey

Dachelle McVey owns and operates Hide the Chocolate, a blog about homeschooling adventures, parenting, and–occasionally–hiding the chocolate! She currently homeschools her daughters, ages 10 and 12, and homeschooled her son, who is in his first year of college.

Homeschooling had never been on Dachelle’s radar, but then she started noticing her oldest becoming complacent. He lost the desire to seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and it made her sad to see a curious boy who had always loved learning and reading become bored with school.

Then something clicked in her, and she realized that she could just channel all that teaching and motivating to her children (with the added benefit of having a flexible schedule).

Next Level Poetry Teatime

Dachelle has taken Poetry Teatime and expanded it to include their local homeschool group. They meet once a month (on a Tuesday, of course) at the library, and this year their theme is “Around the World Poetry Teatime,” concentrating on a different country each month.

There are decorations and snacks to go with the theme, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone in the community!

But the best part of these events is that kids who would normally never stand up in front of a group actually will stand up and read their poem to the group. It is one of the most amazing experiences that Poetry Teatime has to offer.

The group also does a writing exercise every month, and although no one is forced to participate, Dachelle says not one kid has ever opted out of writing a poem.

We have noticed that, when you make a class experience group oriented, everyone’s desire to participate increases–and that’s an important thing we should be thinking about when creating assignments!

So we urge you to consider inviting another family to join you for your own Poetry Teatimes, or for any other activities, to create a more collaborative learning environment for everyone.

Dachelle McVey and family

Hide the Chocolate

Dachelle likes to joke with her family that “chocolate is a whole lot cheaper than therapy,” so when things get stressful, she’s been known to lock herself in a room and eat some chocolate.

She started Hide the Chocolate because she wanted other homeschoolers out there to know that they are not alone–sometimes there are days when we just want to hide and eat our chocolate.

As she continued writing the blog and sharing her creative ideas for family learning, she realized that there were a lot of parents out there struggling to add some adventure into their homeschools.

So Dachelle started creating Online Book Clubs, or literary adventures for kids, and encouraging other families to spice up their lessons with Party School.

Dachelle has a ton of great tips for adding adventure into your home in this blog post about the Brave Writer Lifestyle, including instructions for setting up your own book club or Party School event. You can also join one of Dachelle’s online book clubs here and take an extra 25% off by using the code BRAVEWRITER.

“Any way we can add a little fun and excitement to the day to get kids to be inspired by learning – that’s what my goal is.”

Would you post a review on iTunes for us please (here’s a handy guide)?
Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!

Brave Writer Podcast: The Scourge of Perfectionism

BW Podcast The Scourge of Perfectionism

Today we’re going to look at the habit of perfectionism. We all know, deep down, that we have to let go of this compulsion to do things right on the first try, if we want to get better at living a satisfying life. So if we all know that, why do so many of us have this bad habit?

To figure that out, we’re going to explore the different dynamics of perfectionism, look at the topic through a new lens, and come up with some more tools for letting go of the things that just don’t work for us.

When is perfectionism actually appropriate?

Surgery, decontamination, war, banking, construction – these are all situations where perfectionism is not only appropriate, but desired.

But in these situations where perfection is appropriate, it’s usually about protecting life or ensuring safety. If somebody’s life is in your hands, you better do it right – and that is the only time we want you to pursue perfection!


Podcast: Read with You Presents

Julie on Read With You Presents

Did you miss the Read With You Presents interview last month? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

We appreciate Chanelle for featuring Brave Writer on the show. In the two-part podcast interview, we discuss our beginnings and how we differ from other approaches to writing.

“In professional writing, we want readers! So, the goal is to write in a powerful enough way that a reader is engaged, and so our focus is completely different. It’s not on writing formats, it’s on the alive writing voice that lives in all of us.”

Tune in here:

Part 1: Getting Your Inner Voice Out Through Writing

Part 2: Helping Kids Become Writers


Listen to the Brave Writer Podcast