Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

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!

Brave Writer Online Classes

The BW Gazette

The BW Gazette

The Brave Writer Gazette!

This Brave Writer student publication showcases the work of the students from The Scoop: The Art of Journalism, our journalism online class for teens!

In the four-week course, students

  • learned about the elements of reporting and news writing as they evaluated the newsworthiness of stories,
  • interviewed sources, crafted “leads” and “nutgraphs,”
  • chose supporting quotes and so much more!

The Scoop online class is taught by Samantha Burtner, who is our first Brave Writer student to return as an instructor!

Samantha is an enthusiastic journalist, writer, and editor who appreciates the fine nuances of language, the demanding details of grammar, and the beauty of clear and concise prose.
BW Gazette From one of our students:

Dear Ms. Samantha,

Thank you so much for the greatest class ever, and getting everybody’s articles published in The BW Gazette. (Please get another journalism class going!)

So happy to see my article in print, and I’m currently working on getting it into another homeschool magazine. (Hopefully….)

Did I say I was so happy? I am ecstatic right now!!!!!!

Yay. Thank you.


We are proud of what our Brave Writer students have accomplished! Please feel free to check out their work!

Note: The views expressed in The BW Gazette articles are not necessarily those of Brave Writer.

The Scoop: The Art of Journalism

Student Spotlight: Rebagrace

Student Spotlight: Rebagrace

Morning Julie,

I wanted to send praise your way. 🙂

We’ve been working through The Arrow this school year. As Rebagrace has gained comfort and trust in the writing lessons, she’s produced great work, and I’ve been connecting our free write time to the “How to teach the passage.”

As we’ve moved through Poppy by Avi, we’ve both been thrilled with the results of connecting the two writing “lessons!” I wanted to share the results with you because I thought they’d make you smile.

Week 1: Adjectives – Rebagrace wrote a short story that I scribed for her with the goal of using all the words listed on page 4 of The Arrow, Poppy. Then, we went back together to find places to add adjectives. We set a timer for 25 minutes for the whole event so that she didn’t feel trapped. Her results were this passage:

There was a thin, crescent moon. It was faint and white. High in the sky, and it shed light all around. Two small, soft dogs laid under the sliced moon as it glowed. The cottonball-like clouds floated nearby the moon. As the calm dogs lay there, they knew that warm summer was near on this nice spring night. They knew that in summer there would be ripe food, and the ground would be veiled with shimmering, glistening dew. It was a cool night. It was a pretty night with the Eastern crickets chirping. The two fluffy dogs felt the damp grass under their little paws after a spring rain storm. Earlier that day the two happy and joyful dogs had gone out in the spring rainstorm. They had tasted the warm rain, and it tasted life bacon treats falling our of the sky. And now, as the two brown dogs lay there, they smelled the refreshing remains of the spring storm.”

Week 2: Consonance, Alliteration, Similes – Rebagrace wrote her own story in 11 minutes (her choice for time). On her own, without my prompting, she went back to add in adjectives as she wrote. Then, I copied her story, and we went back to add in the consonance, etc. in her chosen 14 minute time restraint. Here’s her passage:

Two little fluffy kittens were sleeping together on a matt with their mitten paws curled up. The two soft, grey kittens had been, all morning, laying with each other like skittish mice. They played with yarn as soft and thick as the furry roots of the poison ivy vine, with a bright-light, light-weight laser and with their cracky, crumbly, crunchy food. Everything was good like the happy sun. Then, the next morning their kind and generous owner went on a trip to Vermont. The two playful and lovable kittens were terrified that the caretaker wouldn’t play with them.

Hope you have a great day,
P. Renee

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Student Spotlight: Liam

Student Spotlight: Liam

Today’s Student Spotlight was inspired by a recent Food Fight Friday Freewrite:

Imagine that the different kinds of food on your plate are angry at each other. Write a scene with dialogue so we can hear them fight!

Here is how Brave Writer student, Liam, brilliantly played with that idea:

Food Fight

by Liam

The torches dimmed as the vikings left the grand hall, leaving half eaten food on the table. As the doors closed, the food stood up. They organized themselves into groups such as these: The Tomato Republic, allied with the United States of Bread and the Cheese Nation. On the other side, there was Red Meat allied with White Meat and Seasoning. On the third side of the battle, the Forests of Broccoli and the mazes of corn stood together, along with the Vegetable Empire. And so the battle commenced!

The cheese battled the white meat by shooting strings of cheesy webbing, but white meat flew away, too fast to be caught. Bread combated the Vegetable Empire’s Broth, and soaked it up with extreme prejudice. The Tomato Republic Sprayed seeds like a machine gun at the Vegetable Empire, for a tomato was a fruit!

Cheese was loosing his battle, so they stuck under the table and picked out a nice laser sword the viking had left (these were future vikings), and quickly regrouped themselves with Tomato and Bread. They made pizza! The great Pizza wielded the sword with ferocious ferocity and cooked a whole batch of brussel sprouts. This epic fight continued, with eggplants snaking around in the dark attempting a strike at the Pizza from behind.

Then a blazing light tore open the roof and a tornado of strands engulfed them. Bread recognized them! They were distant relatives of his, whole wheat noodles! And at the top of the tornado there floated a mysterious being with meatball knees, heels, hip joints, elbows, wrists, knuckles, shoulders, and neck. The places in between the meatballs were all spaghetti, and the only real human part of him were the eyes. They burned red with disgrace, at the idea that food could fight each other!

The Flying Spaghetti Monster ordered the tomato sauce and the vegetables together, making the kingdom of plants. The meats were ordered to aid the others when necessary, and trade with them. The cheese was ordered to show more respect to red meat, because cheese came mostly from cows. The bread would still be able to soak broth, but only with human’s permission. Then the Flying Spaghetti Monster lowered down himself and the others to the table. He congratulated them on making pizza and using eggplant as a ninja. He said it was very clever. He himself put the laser sword away, and then began to fly upwards, leaving this world.

Freewriting Prompts