Archive for the ‘Young Writers’ Category

Partnership Writing Primer

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Partnership Writing Primer

What is Partnership Writing?

Partnership Writing is the most overlooked stage of writing development. It is a writing-revising-editing partnership between a young writer and a writing coach (YOU!). It’s the stage where parent and child write together, with the parent providing the much-needed support to get those precious, quirky insights to the page.

How do I know if my child is in the Partnership Writing stage?

Your child:

  • can write a sentence or a few words at a time but tires easily.
  • needs help with spelling, punctuation, and getting rich vocabulary to the page.
  • shows interest in using a pencil or keyboard but is not ready to “go it alone.”
  • needs modeling for how to take thoughts and put them in writing.

In other words, your child wants to share thoughts and ideas through writing but original writing does not reflect the mind-life or verbal fluency. This is often seen in nine and ten year olds but don’t be governed by age range. Focus instead on the description and match it to your child.

I think my child is in the Partnership Writing stage. Now what?

1) Read the blog post, “The misunderstood ‘child-led learning’ model”

2) Listen to the Partnership Writing Podcast

3) See Partnership Writing in action

Who, what, where, when, and why project
Crossword writing activity
Cinderella lap book

4) Check out Brave Writer products and online classes for additional help such as our Partnership Writing Home Study Course:

Partnership Writing productA Year-Long Language Arts Plan!
9-10 year olds (age range is approximate)

Developmentally appropriate projects.
Step-by-step instructions.
A weekly and monthly plan.

The Writer’s Jungle provides you with the essential tools that enable you to be an effective writing coach. Partnership Writing is the product that gives you a practical routine (think, schedule ala Brave Writer).

Download a FREE SAMPLE on our product page.

If your child isn’t in the Partnership Writing stage, here’s a helpful guide for all the stages.

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Learning through play

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Play is their work.

A Brave Writer parent asked this question on the BraveScopes group:

I get that “play is their work” but how and when do we
start to transition to at least some “schooling?”

Ask yourself what it is you hope “schooling” accomplishes that is not currently being accomplished by play? Is it possible to teach reading through play? Writing through play? Math through play?

And when I say “play,” I mean the spirit of curiosity, engagement, and excitement that play gives children. Everything they are doing touches on the very subject areas you care about. You can get there through what they are already doing, and you can entice participation in the areas you think require more structure through a spirit of play with those materials!

Entice participation in the areas you think require
more structure through a spirit of play.

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What if you played with the handwriting book under the table, using a flashlight? What if you doodled pictures for her to find as she completed math problems? I know you don’t want to do these all the time—but if you come from a spirit of discovery rather than requirement, you may find yourself seeing learning opportunities right now that you are missing.

Don’t look for openness. Focus instead on parallel play. In other words, make observations in his presence. Talk about what is fascinating about language, or try out the pencils and pages in the book, or leave some math manipulatives out to be discovered. It’s tempting to “play school” because that’s what we remember.

Foster a spirit of discovery rather than requirement

For example, in her presence in the morning, simply get up from the floor where the two of you were playing, and silently begin writing at the table with a big variety of utensils. You might even start by writing her name on the windows with window markers, or making cookies that look like the alphabet and then playing with the letters and putting them into arrangements that are words.

Perhaps while she is playing, you sit nearby and simply begin reading aloud in her presence and see if she is enchanted or interested or simply absorbing what you read.

You don’t need to teach. You want to simply include in your day conversation and activity that points to the tools he will need for his life, a little at a time.

Party School!

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Writing Workshop Wednesday is TOMORROW!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Writing Workshop Wednesday

Periscope is off the chains! We have 2000 followers already.

As a thank you for all that love, I’m giving a FREE Writing Workshop for your kids. We’ll tackle the tricky processes of revision. I promise to stand the whole notion of revision on its head so that it stops being a cranky process and turns into play.

You’ll need writing (by your kids) already written to revise so I’ve prepared a FREE guide for you to use with your kids. The preparatory writing will take about 5-10 minutes. Promise! Then you will type it up in a special way and you’ll all be ready to rock ‘n roll.

Tell your friends! This workshop is a great introduction to how Brave Writer sees writing and teaches it!

Download the Guide
so your kids can prepare!

The LIVE Writing Workshop is via
Periscope on Wednesday December 2, at 4:00 PM EST.

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NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program 2015

Friday, October 30th, 2015

NaNoWriMo Young Writers ProgramFrom NaNoWriMo website:

National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

In 2013, over 300,000 adults participated through our main site, and nearly 90,000 young writers participated through the YWP.

Click here for more information about the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.

Sign up today!

 

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In defense of the writing process

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

A little love for the old Battle Axe

In Defense of the Writer's Jungle

When I began Brave Writer (Jan 2000), I had one goal—help parents help their kids to write without fear. My initial scribbled outlines of possible directions for The Writer’s Jungle had notes about paragraphing, descriptive writing, narrative versus expository writing and more.

One morning, I got up to read my notes and wilted. I knew that wasn’t what was needed and I certainly didn’t want to write it. Kids weren’t struggling with writing because parents had yet to read the definitive explanation of what constitutes a paragraph.

Parents weren’t frustrated by their children’s childish errors in spelling, punctuation, handwriting, and grammar because they didn’t know how to correct the mistakes.

Rather, parents were frustrated because all those explanations in the programs they already owned weren’t resulting in lively, enthusiastic writing from their kids, with visibly improving mechanics. Tears, anger, boredom—a lack of confidence about what the results meant (were their kids writing well enough?).

Meanwhile all the books I read about writing for my adult writing life had helped me become a much better writing coach to my own children.

I realized: The murky process of generating writing had not yet been adequately addressed for parents at home working with their own children.

The manuals I read showed “sample paragraphs” that weren’t even well written (organized, yes; but dull, lifeless). They taught methods like “Here’s a sentence in three words. Now add an adjective to make it longer.” Some of them gave such a long script of instructions, any chance for the child’s natural voice to show in the writing was gone before the pen hit the page.

As I wrote more and more about writing and parenting, it struck me that this new writing resource ought to enhance the empathetic connection between parent and child (creating emotional safety for writing risks) while giving the parent-child team tools to help them excavate the inner life of the child and get that to paper.

The Writer’s Jungle is my earliest attempt to express all that information—those goals. I wrote it in my late 30s at a point in my writing career where I was working with non-writers every day—growing and expanding their writing for publication. I spent a lot of energy helping adults find their writing voices. I never once explained what constitutes a paragraph to them.

I didn’t envision The Writer’s Jungle being a “curriculum” in the traditional sense. I assumed parents had scads of writing prompts in their various homeschool curricula for English and history, or school assignments they needed to supervise and support at home.

These parents needed a set of tools (like a corkscrew or can opener) to access the language living inside their kids, without prompting tears, resistance, and pain. I imagined a parent reading The Writer’s Jungle a chapter at a time, even moving around it like a reference book, if they wanted to, using it to help them help their kids write their assignments!

This piece needs revision; I’ll flip open the chapter on revision and work through the suggestions with Charley.

Mary’s vocabulary seems to be evaporating when she goes to writing. Maybe the chapter on word games will help us free some words for writing.

I know the revolutionary war period is too big for writing. We can use the Topic Funnel to scale it down.

It never occurred to me that anyone would find it a challenge to use The Writer’s Jungle!

It was designed so simply!

  • Read, do; read, do.
  • No required time frame.
  • No expected pace.
  • Processes to be used again and again, morphing and changing to support any kind of writing you might explore with your kids, or that might be assigned to them!
  • Chapters that could be used in a variety of sequences.
  • Injunctions to grow as a homeschooling parent by reading for pleasure, too, so that everyone in the family became more and more aware of quality prose and language use.
  • A detailed guide to the developmental stages of growth in writing instead of scope and sequence.
  • Sample schedules of writing projects for 10 months a year, all ages and stages.

When anyone suggests that the “program” is not “organized,” it startles me a bit.

Teaching writing is not a program.

It doesn’t follow a specific set of steps. Programmatic writing instruction is the reason so many kids don’t like writing, and so many adults still lack confidence as writers!

Imagine teaching kids to speak via “program” or “schedule.” Imagine helping a child learn to walk with a curriculum, or learn to sew by tackling a pattern and working through each skill without having ever used a sewing machine!

Writing grows organically first, as would-be writers are introduced to processes that help them learn to express themselves.

Play with the processes; grow as a writer.

Once a writer is freely self-expressing, applying those skills to writing projects is as natural as giving an oral report once a child is a fluent speaker.

It’s been 16 years since I wrote the first draft of The Writer’s Jungle. It deserves a revision (fingers crossed: within the next 2 years) if only to add all the amazing writing and experiences our families have shared with us!

Ultimately Brave Writer has widened and deepened over the years—our offerings are vast and there is so much GOOD FREE information on the website and blog, you can get really far with us without spending a penny!

I felt a need to write a little apologetic for our old battle axe: The Writer’s Jungle. Even though there are passages in it that I’d rewrite in a hot minute (clunkers and overstatements, humor that was funnier in 2000 than 2015), my message hasn’t changed.

Writing is not a linear process of step by step instructions.

It is first and foremost an interior look—pairing language with thought. Writing is about becoming able and facile in this process—with greater and greater linguistic dexterity. It’s exploring the murky, non-linear process of committing ideas to language and language to paper.

Writing benefits from partnerships—with parents or teachers or friends or editors who give content-centered feedback with the heart and goal of enhancing, enriching, and expanding what is there.

There are pain-free processes that support that partnership. These are in The Writer’s Jungle, all of our products and classes, and 100 other writing books written by other writers, not specifically written for homeschoolers.

It’s my hope that you will spend your money and time wisely—taking advantage of all we offer through Brave Writer for free—purchasing what helps you feel brave and competent to facilitate this non-linear process with your kids.

If we can help you in any way, let me know! I still love the heart, message, and methods of The Writer’s Jungle. I stand by them.

Cathy Duffy’s review is one of my favorites. She influenced my homeschool when my children were coming up. I’m honored to be in her list of recommended resources.

To all of you who advocate for Brave Writer and The Writer’s Jungle out there in homeschool discussion board land, thanks for helping to get the real message out. You humble me and move me with your stories.

To sum up—The Writer’s Jungle is a compendium of processes and wisdom to help parents partner with kids and to help kids find their writing voices. That’s it!

I appreciate you. Happy planning! Happy writing!

Julie