Friday Freewrite: Speaking to Animals

Friday Freewrite Speaking to Animals

One morning you discover you can speak to any animal of your choice. Which animal do you choose and what do you think you might talk about?

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DEEP DIVE into Jane Austen’s World

Deep Dive into Jane Austen

DEEP DIVE into the world of Jane Austen!

If your kids are already avid Austen fans or are reluctant to take the plunge into her literary works, these additional resources (including film adaptions, biopics, and books inspired by her work) will enhance the experience of the avid fan as well as offer a more accessible “in” for those who are unsure.

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Jane Austen’s novels were originally published anonymously (several with the byline “By a Lady”) and brought her little fame in her lifetime. Two of her works were in fact only published after her death (Northanger Abby and Persuasion). Though she might not have been a household name in her time, she certainly is now. People of all ages and walks of life have enjoyed her stories across generations, as attested by the fact that her novels have been continuously in print since 1833.

Austen’s novels deal with concerns of marriage, social standing, etiquette, financial (in)stability, the importance of reputation, and the roles of women in society. The particulars of life in the 1800s may no longer be strictly relevant in the 21st Century, but Austen’s themes still resonate with readers to this day.

There is a wealth of material exploring Austen’s writing, her life, and her impact on her readership. So, let’s dive in!

Pride and Prejudice Quote


Pride and Prejudice begins when two rich, eligible bachelors, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, move into the previously quiet countryside, stirring up a buzz of excitement as the ambitious Mrs. Bennett sees an opportunity to make advantageous marriages for her older daughters, Lizzie and Jane. Jane and Mr. Bingley immediately gravitate towards each other, but Lizzie overhears Mr. Darcy making snide comments about her family and determines that she will never like him. But fate has other plans as the unlikely pair are continuously thrown together and begin developing feelings which surprise them both.

First published in 1813, Jane Austen’s seminal comedy of manners has delighted readers and viewers alike and has been adapted to screen numerous times. This has the happy result of providing many choices for television and movie viewing. Some of the most notable are the 1995 BBC miniseries and the more recent 2005 film.

In addition, if you will be reading Pride and Prejudice, our Boomerang for the book provides a month’s worth of copywork/dictation, notes on grammar and literary style, as well as “think piece questions” to aid your children with literary analysis of the text.

Sense and Sensibility is the story of the Dashwood sisters, whose father passes away and leaves everything to their half-brother forcing them to move out of their own home and live meagerly with a distant relative. There the young women encounter love and heartache as they navigate their new social status.

Published in 1811, Sense and Sensibility was adapted into a film in 1995 directed by Ang Lee and starring Emma Thompson. This film is partially credited with a boom in interest around Austen’s work. There is also a Boomerang for Sense and Sensibility, which comes from the earlier years of Brave Writer and isn’t as robust as later issues (hence the lower price). It’s an oldie but still a goodie!

Becoming Jane is less of a biopic (the actual details of the authoress’s life are murky) than it is an ode to Austen’s published works. The film is partially based on the book Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Hunter Spence but plays fast and loose with historical fact. Still, have fun picking out the many references to Austen’s stories, particularly Pride and Prejudice.


Enjoy Jane Austen’s novels, of course.

Also in Polly Shulman’s Enthusiasm, Julie’s best friend, Ashleigh, is a Jane Austen enthusiast. Though Julie might not be as enthusiastic, both girls love Pride and Prejudice leading them to dress up in period clothes and sneak into a dance at an all-boys school looking for true love.

You can also use the Boomerang for Enthusiasm to further help teach language arts and delve more deeply into the book.


  • Write the proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice from the rejected Mr. Collins’s point of view.
  • If you could be Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility for a day, what would you do?
  • Write about the scene in which Lizzie and Mr. Darcy dance together for the first time from the point of view of the dance floor.


YouTube videos:

Regency Era Hairstyle Tutorial

What a Jane Austen Junk Journal might look like (How to Make a Junk Journal Tutorial)

The Life of Jane Austen


Jane Austen’s World – all about Jane Austen

Deep Investigation Led by Fascination!

When You Doubt Yourself

When You Doubt Yourself

The next time you ask yourself: “Are my kids learning anything? Am I failing them?” read these words of wisdom by Homeschool Alliance coach, Stephanie Elms:

Learning and growing is a process that happens over the long term. And by design, it looks messy and uncertain when you are in the middle of it. Because we can’t see the future to understand where the present fits into the bigger arc of our child’s life.

The truth is that you are going to get worried and frustrated because you can’t know for sure that things are working. You will become convinced that you have truly screwed things up.

But this is all a natural part of the process and is actually where the magic happens. Because this is when you start noticing what you and your kids need. As long as you resist the urge for the “quick fix” and instead sit with those feelings, they can provide the valuable insight you need going forward.

The problem is that most of us see that worry and frustration as a sign that we are “doing it wrong.” This leads us to putting too much pressure on ourselves and then, of course, our kids.

So yes, be conscious of those niggling worries. But don’t act on them right away. Examine where they are coming from:

  • A place of fear that you are screwing up?
  • Or a sense that it is something that your kids would benefit from?

Observe your kids. Doing so might provide reassurance that they are, in fact, doing just fine. Or it might validate your feeling that something additional is needed.

In that case, resist the urge to immediately jump in and create “lessons” to fix what you are worried about. Instead, simply set the intention that you want to bring more of that into your lives and see what shows up. You have time. As a friend of mine likes to say:

“There are no educational emergencies.”

And here is a secret. You will miss things. Things will be dropped. There will be gaps. You will have regrets. And you will wish you had done “more” or done things differently. And that is okay. Honest.

The beauty is that the process, as messy and uncertain as it is, does work out the way that it needs to and in ways that we can’t predict. Our main challenge is to trust the process and hang on for the ride. And what a wonderful ride it is!

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.

The Homeschool Alliance

Summer Camp Recap + Prize Winners

Brave Writer Summer Camp Recap

Wow! What a magical two days. We had so much fun with you during our online Summer Camp: Brave Writer Style.

We are so thrilled with the incredible energy you put into your summer camps. I got tickled seeing so many versions of tents, s’mores, face paints, creating indoor picnics, splashing in pools, and hiking through forests.

You know what happened this week? You enchanted the learning atmosphere in your homes both for your kids and for yourselves! Learning was nearly effortless as a result and memories were made. I loved watching all of it unfold.

We had fun giving away prizes too! So without further ado, here are our winners of all the prizes. Thanks for playing!

Here are the winners:

Our GRAND PRIZE winner won the Charlotte Mason Original Homeschool Series republished by Simply Charlotte Mason:

Charlotte Mason Original Homeschool Series

Nicole Hixon!

We’re also tossing in an autographed copy of our Poetry Teatime Companion as well as the DVD set of my best convention talks: Nurturing Brave Writers. So happy for Nicole!

Next, we asked you to post photos to the Instagram #bwcamp hashtag and hundreds of you did!

It was so hard to pick a favorite, but we couldn’t resist this fabulous act of selfcare posing as camping:

2017 Brave Writer Summer Camp Hashtag Winner

Brave Writer training while soaking in a hot tub.

Lindsay Wyllie (lwyllie23)!

Lindsay will receive a set of A Gracious Space books. A Gracious Space is a collection of 50 non-sectarian essays for daily reading intended to help you sustain your brave homeschooling commitment.

And check out more camp photos below.

We also rewarded our live attendees who braved Kirsten Merryman’s Online Class Q&A. Our winner gets to pick an online writing class to try for free!

Brave Writer Students

Congratulations Carisa Zglobicki!

Carisa will have a huge variety of online classes to choose from: everything from Story Switcheroo to Advanced Comp! Brave Writer classes are for kids ages 8 to 18, they require no special software or books, and all our instructors are homeschoolers as well as published authors, as you’ll see in the next prize!

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Two campers won the book Whatever the Weather by Annie Riechmann and our very own Dawn Suzette Smith.

Whatever the Weather

Jen Dobridge
Audra Lewis

Whatever the Weather includes science experiments and art activities that explore the wonders of weather.

“Let the weather take the lead and never be bored again! Paint in the rain, send kites soaring in the wind, build ice orbs, and become a snowflake scientist—let the wonders of nature inspire your next adventure.” —Amazon

Laying a Path: Annotating literary Elements

Rita Cevasco and Tracy Molitors (Rooted in Language) led our summer camp session that addressed learning challenges, and two attendees won the Annotating Literary Elements Curriculum.

Congrats to Heather Schott and Kendra Rousseau!

“Annotation is a broad concept that can be confusing: What should the reader notice within a story? Which details of a story are worth annotating? How will making notes lead to deeper understanding? This curriculum is full of strategies, taught within multiple lessons. It provides literature for practice, but the strategies can be practiced again and again with other texts throughout the school year and for years to come!”

Plus five ladies won our Brave Camper T-Shirt!

Brave Camper Shirt

Angie Zarzana
Amanda Hohnstreiter
Rebekah Byson
Christy Kafka
Jubilee Carr

Congratulations to all and a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended the sessions!

Camp may be over but don’t be a stranger. We love hearing from you and seeing how you implement Brave Writer principles into your homeschools. We’ve got more fun up our sleeves for fall. For instance…well, I can’t tell you yet. It’s a doozy though! Another free romp that is sure to turbo boost the writing life in your house.

Stay tuned for September!

Until then, join me on Facebook Live on Monday at 11:30 AM Eastern and enjoy more summer camp pics below.

2017 Brave Writer Summer Camp Instagram Images
ellarinalindette, mywindycitylife, chantelle_grubbs / marcharme, hsadventuresofawallflower, caffeinated_homeschooler / buttercup2001, saintritagirl, alexson.heather

Friday Freewrite: Past or Future?

You have one trip you can make in a time machine. Do you travel to a point in the past or the future? Explain your choice.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.