Intro by Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett
I’ve been working at Brave Writer since 2002. Over the years, I’ve settled into a wonderful niche of facilitating several of the family workshop classes (poetry, grammar, and Shakespeare), and, as a former university instructor, I’ve also worked with high school students in literary analysis courses and the MLA Research Essay class.
This year marks the end of our youngest’s junior year of high school; our older three have graduated from our homeschool and are making their way in the workforce as adults. Next year will be my 21st and last year of homeschooling. The thought of homeschooling through high school can be daunting, yet high school can be an incredible opportunity for Enchanted Education, especially because high schoolers are such interesting people with whom to discuss everything from Macbeth to politics to the latest Marvel movie. Those big, juicy conversations often occur at midnight (or even later!), but they provide vital opportunities to truly get to know our high schoolers and appreciate them as bright young adults who have fascinating and perceptive ideas about almost everything.
In my fifteen years of teaching at Brave Writer, I’ve met some truly outstanding young people who have amazing opportunities before them as they graduate from high school and enter college and/or careers. When I recently started teaching the Literary Analysis: Macbeth class, I realized that two of the students are taking their final Brave Writer classes after taking several writing and literature courses with me during their high school years. I’m so proud of their growth as writers and of the incredible futures ahead of them that I wanted to share their thoughts about high school, Brave Writer, and their futures with you all.
My name is Aya Yuasa. I’m 18 years old and currently taking my last Brave Writer class, Literary Analysis: Macbeth, before I finish high-school. I would like to send a big Thank You to Brave Writer for making my English journey through high-school so smooth and enjoyable!
I started homeschooling in 6th grade. After following a fairly traditional curriculum for about one year, we started to piece my education together from different sources. For some subjects this was easy, and after a couple of years I had settled on certain textbooks, online classes, or courses at nearby schools. However, I never found an English course that suited me. My dislike of the subject was a factor, and though I tried several different methods, such as joining a couple of writing groups or doing some projects with my mom, they were either too easygoing, so that I never felt challenged or excited, or else they were too overwhelming.
My mom found Brave Writer when I was in 9th grade, and I agreed to try it out. One of the very first projects I did was the free-write, which was a real eye-opener for me. I had always struggled to put pen to paper, and had a habit of only starting to write once I had a concrete idea in my head of what I wanted to write about (which was often never). Each sentence was first carefully and time-consumingly thought out in my head before it was put into any sort of physical form. But Brave Writer helped me to break out of this pattern. Not only were the exercises very helpful, but the constant, encouraging, and thorough feedback from my teachers quickly improved my self-esteem. The Brave Writer classroom was fun, and I found myself looking forward to reading what my classmates and teachers posted every day. And the pace was just right for me: it was exciting, but not overwhelming.
Last fall, I took the SATs in order to complete the application requirements for the colleges I applied to. Because I did not take any English classes during high school other than the ones I took for Brave Writer, I give all the credit for my 750, or 99th percentile, evidence-based reading and writing score on my SAT to Brave Writer. Thank you!
This spring I was accepted at McGill Schulich School of Music, in Montreal, Canada, as well as Berklee College of Music In Boston. I decided to attend Berklee College of Music, and will be starting this fall to major in composition. The fact that Berklee is not a traditional liberal arts college makes me even more thankful to Brave Writer for having supplied me with the tools I need to continue to write confidently.
By Emma Abdallah
Brave Writer for me has impacted my education and life as well, in many incredible ways. Not only have I learned so much about the art that is writing itself, but also, by immersing myself in the art of writing, my life has changed completely.
When I first started taking Brave Writer classes I was in 9th grade and I believe I took the KidsWrite Intermediate class. At that time, to be quite honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of writing out there and it wasn’t something that I really found interest or pleasure in. However, I decided to go for it and give it a chance.
Right after I took that class, I honestly have to say that my mentality and perspective on writing completely shifted. It opened my eyes to the beautiful art of writing, and made the impact I never thought it would make. At that point I had caught a never-ending writing fever and began to grow a great passion for writing. Another class that also truly meant a lot to me was the Playing with Poetry Workshop. That class truly awoke the poet within me and sparked a fire that I’m 100% sure won’t be easy to put out. Not only was the class’s content amazing, but the instruction given by Mrs. Susanne was splendid. And for me, that’s what Brave Writer is all about, not only incredible instruction by a group of passionate teachers, but also a writing education worthy of remembrance. Brave Writer turned me into a passionate and courageous writer for sure, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Graduating from high school was a very big milestone for me, and little by little I’m carving the steps to start my college/life journey. Very shortly after graduating, I applied to two of my biggest college interests, Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida and the Academy of Art University in San Fransisco (I applied to the online Writing for TV and Media program), and fortunately I got accepted to both. Also, greatly due to the mentorship from Brave Writer, Ringling College of Art and Design granted me a $10,000 annual scholarship and I’m truly very grateful!
Regarding my future, I have two main plans. Either I’ll go to Ringling in Florida or the Academy, and start my writing career. Or I’ll take online credit bearing courses through the University of Oxford and start what I call the “Freelance Project”. In the Freelance project, while taking the online courses, I’ll also be attending the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico (where I’ll have the opportunity to earn a qualification in French and have the chance to later study in France), I’ll be working on new writings and publishing a book I have in progress (hopefully kickstarting my writing career!), and in addition, attend intensive writing/travel programs on the summers. These two options, with lots of dedication, will hopefully be the start of a future full of learning and adventures. And although I do expect changes, obstacles, and the occasional bump, I honestly can’t wait to start the journey ahead!
Congratulations to ALL 2017 Brave Writer seniors!
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