Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Connecting with Kids’ Authentic Voices

Brave Writer Connecting with Kids' Authentic Voices

Brave Writer Mom, Melissa, writes:

Hi, Julie! I just had to share our work from today.

This morning, we completed our first writing assignments using the Jot It Down method. (Kids just turned 7 and 5 this summer.) We are doing the BYL shark unit study, inspired by the fact I was bit by a (tiny) shark on our trip to Galveston last week. (Between that and having given birth in a car, I’ve got some humdingers ready for “2 Truths and a Lie.”)

I am blown away by the ideas and amazing writing that is inside of them! I’ve attached pics and hope you can read my chicken scratch. I swear on my homeschool planner that these words were 100% their own. I just transcribed.

Kids Authentic VoicesClick image to enlarge

The “edits” were even my 7yo’s own changes as she read aloud the finished story. She let her ear be her guide on verb tense agreement. No sentence diagramming needed!

I am eternally grateful you showed me such a simple and effective way to connect with their authentic voices.

THANK YOU for sharing your methods and insights. You are a homeschooling hero!

Much love,

Jot It Down

Don’t be a Perfectionist & Other Advice for Young Writers with Millie Florence

Meet Millie Florence

Millie Florence is an enthusiastic homeschooler and a published author – and she’s only 14-years-old! Her debut novel, Honey Butter, was published in August 2017, and she’s currently working on two more books: a collection of poems and a fantasy novel.

Participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, was a life-changing experience for Millie. It gave her permission to write the first draft of her novel without worrying about perfection, and that’s an incredibly freeing.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Millie’s Tips for Young Writers

  • The most important part of writing is getting the words out of your head and onto paper.
  • A lot (if not most) of what you write will get left on the cutting room floor.
  • Although revision isn’t always the most exciting part of writing, it’s necessary and it’s where a story comes together – and that can be really satisfying!
  • Feedback is critical. Millie solicits feedback from beta readers, who are other writers and friends willing to provide constructive criticism. She actually finds many of her beta readers online, and she says beta reading with people you don’t know as well “will change your life and will change your story.”
  • It took Millie a long time to find a supportive community of young writers, but she eventually stumbled onto, a small but strong community of diverse writers.
  • Homeschooling can give young writers unprecedented freedom to write when inspiration strikes and focus their education on other things that benefit their writing.
  • If you want to get better at writing, you just have to keep doing it – even if you don’t realize it, you’re always getting better.
  • Think about stories! Don’t be afraid to dream, wonder, or come up with wild ideas. “Your mind is more powerful than you can imagine. You can affect so much of the world around you just by thinking. Your own thoughts can teach you, without you even realizing!”

Millie Florence


Millie’s novel Honey Butter

Teen Authors Journal

We are hosting a free Brave Writer classroom for all of the young people who want to write as part of NaNoWriMo, and you can sign up your kids for FREE!

  1. Visit the Young Writers Program and sign up for an account.
  2. You will be prompted to join a classroom by entering a code. Our classroom code is: CKXQFLWR
  3. Our classroom name is NaNoWriMo for Brave Writers!

An Inspiring Young Author – Podcast with Mason Lawler

An Inspiring Young Author- Podcast with Mason Lawler

While you wait for Season Three of the Brave Writer Podcast, enjoy our interview with a special guest. Brave Writer student Mason Lawler recently self-published his first book and we’re happy to have him on the podcast.

2016 was a rough year – Mason went through surgeries and long recoveries – so his mother focused on a big project that would lead to a satisfying outcome. They decided to write a book, and here it is: How the Chameleon Got Its Colors!

How the Chameleon Got Its Colors

Mason took Brave Writer’s Just So Stories online class, which exposes students to the classic animal tales of Rudyard Kipling and tasks them with creating their own. Mason’s class was taught by April Hensley, and she was the first person to suggest collecting Mason’s stories into a book.

In the podcast we talk about:

  • self-teaching
  • the self-publishing process
  • commissioning illustrations
  • and why there is a grain of truth behind all good fiction.

Mason is an inspiration to to anyone writing stories in this modern day and age, young or old. There’s no excuse not to pursue publishing that book!

Listen to the Podcast



Stay tuned for the Brave Shift series on the podcast!

Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!

A College Essay that Works

A College Essay that Works

by Brave Writer student, Adrian
Written for our College Admissions Essay class

I sat on my bed with my laptop, watching my mouse hover over a bright orange checkout button. This virtual shopping cart was not simply holding a book or phone charger. My cart contained every cent I had in the form of computer parts. “I should just wait a little longer for a dell computer. They are more expensive, but there is no chance for me to break it.” Despite this reasoning, I would not let my nerves sway me, so I ignored the knots in my stomach and clicked.

I had wanted to build a desktop for over a year. At first, I planned on ordering a brand name desktop online, but while looking at reviews I saw an article titled “Building Your Desktop!” Building a desktop would cost less and perform better than name brand products. The one glaring issue however was that, if I messed up, I wouldn’t be able to call anyone to help. I was responsible for picking the right hardware and fixing any issues.

But I had decided to go through with it. I saved up my money, mowing lawns, working at a kennel, and collecting coins. Once I had enough I ordered the parts I needed. Waiting them to ship was like counting threads on a shirt, but I won’t forget the day they finally arrived. It was a late Thursday afternoon and it was pouring rain. My brother texted me at work to say, “IT’S HERE!!”

When I arrived home, I found two large boxes covered in a clear plastic sheet, speckled with rain. The first box contained my large and hefty case: a black tower with a glass side. The second box had everything else. Nothing was missing or damaged and my unease immediately lifted. I slept thinking about tomorrow’s exciting task.

The next morning I carried everything downstairs to my basement. It was cold and slightly damp from yesterday’s storm, but it was the perfect place to work. My father had not built a computer since people went to grab a coffee while they’re computer booted up, so he was as excited as I was. Once everything was out of its packaging and I had stripped to my boxers (more traditional than practical) I began. Everything was going smoothly. Although, there were two moments where everything seemed to have been ruined.

My first dilemma took place during the homestretch. Everything was put together and the days’ work was coming to a close. I was pushing my memory card into its slot, but it was being very difficult. I pushed as hard as I dared, watching the motherboard bend to a gut wrenching extent. I was just about to stop when I heard an ear-splitting crack. I looked up at my father who was staring at the computer wide eyed. “What…What was that?” he said. I knew it was the motherboard. An entire day’s effort ruined and several weeks of waiting seemed inevitable, but by the grace of the universe my motherboard was unharmed. A loose bolt had simply shot out of its hole. I had never felt so sick to my stomach before finding the bolt. The final hurdle occurred after everything had been put together. The operating system would not load. I spent an entire day uninstalling, reinstalling, repairing and troubleshooting. I finally tried returning my hard drive. Three days later I was sent a new one and my computer ran like a dream.

Even a year later my computer (The_Bull) runs like new. Since that day I have convinced several of my friends and my brother to build their own desktops and have helped them along the way. Everything from picking a case to putting into their rooms. I even helped a few friends back in India. I love working with computers and helping other people enjoy them. I want to help them click that bright orange button.

Brave Writer's College Admission Essay Online Class

Congrats to Our Graduating Seniors

Brave Writer 2017 Graduates

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.

Brave Writer 2017 GraduatesMy 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.

Brave Writer 2017 GraduatesBy 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!
Keep in touch!

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