Tea with Julie

Tea with Julie

Julie here. I miss you. I miss connecting with you via email.

With a brand as rocking as Brave Writer with endless tools, classes, and resources to promote, it feels a little nervy to tell you about another email you could receive from me.

Yet what I want to do is write to you, not just market our amazing offerings.

I thought it over with my team and realized that I wanted to share with you my favorite stuff—the writings I’ve done over the years that have made the biggest impact on our community. These writings will come once per week as essays to your inbox to make it easy to digest them.

Sound good?

And so: we’re launching a brand new email list (it requires your consent, so be sure to sign up if it appeals to you).

I’m calling it “Tea with Julie.” 

Each email will come on Saturday morning and will be a letter to you about a variety of topics (usually in a series of 4-5 emails over 4-5 weeks). These emails are free (no fee to join).

Topics include:

  • Writing, in general
  • Revision, more specifically
  • Self care
  • Parenting
  • Being an awesome adult
  • Forces of enchantment
  • Brave Writer Lifestyle

…and so on.

My goal is to give you the benefit of the thousands of pages of material I’ve written over the last twenty years in an essay length format, personalized for 2020. You are free to read them, save them, share them, file them, or discard them.

The “Tea with Julie” emails are not primarily marketing driven (we may occasionally let you know about something important on the calendar, but you can expect them to be mostly marketing-free). 

To sign up, you must “opt in” using this landing page.

Sign Up for Tea with Julie

You can opt out at any time by using the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any email. Feel free to manage your email preferences with us using that button at any time.

Brave Writer is 20 years old, and I’ve got lots to share with you. I’m excited to talk to you personally via email this year.

Emails will be sent every Saturday.

Can’t wait to curl up with my favorite tea (PG Tips) and a pair of shortbread cookies while writing to you. I recommend similar for reading the emails.


Friday Freewrite: Sincerity

Friday Freewrite

Imagine a close friend hurts your feelings. When you tell her, she apologizes but doesn’t seem sincere. How would you respond? Would you forgive her or would you need to believe she was truly sorry first? And how might it change your relationship in the future? Explain.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.


Passion and Partnership

Isabelle and Caitlyn

Writers come in many different shapes and forms. Whether writing fiction, nonfiction or legalese, there’s a place for you at Brave Writer! 

Here’s the story of one family who found the perfect niche in our classroom.

Meet Isabelle and Caitlyn! 

Talk about multitasking! Homeschooling parent of 5 kids, Caitlyn is an attorney in bright and beautiful California. In the evenings she works as a legal writer and copywriter. In her free time, Caitlyn reads a lot of nonfiction and runs in preparation for her first marathon. Go, Caitlyn! 

(Her other main “hobby” is driving her kids all over the Bay Area, doing drop-offs at activities and coops. We hear you, Caitlyn! The chauffeur gig is intense!)

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! 

Daughter Isabelle follows closely in mom’s footsteps, being an avid reader and new runner. She dabbles in learning Russian, Mandarin, and coding. 

Cool fact: she’s practically started college already—

She was born during winter break, our second year of law school. In utero she attended lectures by Justice Scalia, and when she was a few months old she attended 1 Art Law lecture.

How awesome is that!

Isabelle has been homeschooled since kindergarten, but they came across a stumbling block: writing. Caitlyn knew they needed some different tools.

I think she had it in her, but it seemed intimidating. I didn’t know how to bridge getting it out of her without it seeming inauthentic.

Caitlyn enrolled Isabelle in Middle School Writing Projects where she got to embrace her love for facts and direct her own research. Isabelle wrote to our coach,

Things I know about myself as a writer are 1. sometimes when I’m given an interesting assignment, I want to finish it before it’s due, and include lots of interesting facts and pictures. And 2. I really enjoy researching for facts on the topic I have picked or been assigned.

A match made in heaven!

Middle School Writing Projects is designed to help transform children’s nonfiction knowledge and personal experiences into meaningful writing projects.

Isabelle’s final project centered around the golden jellyfish native to Palau.

Caitlyn tells us—

It was exactly what I was looking for. There was a high level of engagement, tons of feedback from the teacher to my daughter, social interaction with other kids through the forum, tons of scaffolding in teaching structure, and an open line of communication between the teacher and the parent. 

That’s what we’ve found too: early writing discomfort can often be helped by adding passion and partnership! Isabelle seems to agree—

I think this writing class has made writing more fun for me. I used to think writing was boring, now I find it fun.

Caitlyn plans on signing Isabelle’s little sister for the same class in 2020. I wonder what she’ll choose to write about! 


Middle School Writing Prompts

Creative Ways to Use Brave Writer’s Arrow & Boomerang Year-Long Programs

Brave Writer Arrow and Boomerang

When you purchase either the Arrow (3rd – 6th grades) or the Boomerang (8th – 10th grades) mechanics and literature guides you are automatically invited to the Brave Writer coaching + training community on Facebook. I give webinars there every other month to members to help you gain confidence and skill.

But what if you aren’t using the year-long program and still want the training?

Our community members have suggested clever ways to take part in the Arrow and Boomerang Facebook group—even if they’re not using all ten issues right now.

Let’s take a look at different scenarios and possibilities!

Situation #1

My kids are at different stages.

Solution

Purchase the Arrow and the Boomerang year-long programs (might pair one of them instead with our Quiver of Arrows or Pouch of Boomerangs) and save half the guides for next year.

Situation #2

My child is between levels.

Solution

Purchase the Arrow or the Boomerang year-long program closest to your child’s current level then start with appropriate single issues and move into (or feather in) the Arrow or Boomerang titles.

Situation #3

There is no way we’ll get through ten issues in one year. 

Solution

Purchase the Arrow or the Boomerang year-long program and use it over two years (five guides a year instead of ten). Take advantage of the training now and extend the learning possibilities with deeper dives into fewer guides.

So join the nearly 1000 families who are in our Facebook group! Watch the training videos, read the helpful discussion, and apply what you learn to your homeschool lessons.


Sidle Up

Sidle Up

Sidle up. Be a sidler. When you see engagement or devotion to problem solving or free play or a moment of curiosity:

  • wordlessly join,
  • stand by,
  • observe out of the corner of your eye,
  • see the learning, before you name it,
  • and allow it to expand.

If you want your child to learn something, try the thing in your child’s presence. Work the math problem or copy the passage or diagram the sentence during breakfast in full view. Don’t announce it. Simply do it. Maybe on the white board. Maybe you talk to yourself out loud as you do it. Be an object of curiosity rather than a teacher.

You want a reader? Create a cozy nook, stack books next to it, aim a lamp just so. Then see what happens. Give it a couple days.

Wish someone would pitch in with chores without complaining? Do it together, listen to a good audiobook, toss some change in the dishwater, rub shoulders, do clean up sprints of five minutes. Make space for growth (don’t expect high standards from novice cleaners). Be kind.

Learning happens because of receptivity, not insistence. Insistence teaches kids to learn other stuff: like how to resist, or how to think of something else while appearing to pay attention, or how to comply. These subtract power from concentration and retention.

To learn? That means there’s an openness stirred by a desire to know that is born inside. Play with it. Tease it out. Exploring learning. Sidle up!


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner