Poetry Teatime Contest Deadline is Tomorrow!

Poetry Teatime Contest

It’s not too late to enter our Poetry Teatime Contest for our Big Prize Bundle which includes
Poetry Teatime Companion

  • a cool Peruvian tea set (purchased in Peru!)
  • a gorgeous custom made tea cozy
  • lovely poetry books
  • plus a signed copy of our upcoming poetry anthology

How to enter

Enjoy Poetry Teatime with your kids.

  • Photograph it.
  • Write about it.
  • Share write-up and upload photo(s) to this form
    (upload a zip file for multiple images).

BONUS: Share your teatime on your social media site(s) with the hashtag #PoetryTeatimeContest. Include the link(s) on the form. Every share is an additional contest entry!

How to win

Submit entries by April 27, 2016 (midnight EDT).
Grand Prize winner (selected randomly) announced May 1, 2016.

Poetry Teatime Contest

Contest Ends Tomorrow
April 27, 2016 at midnight EDT

Enter Today!


PLEASE NOTE: Submitting your Poetry Teatime gives Brave Writer the permission to publish your text and images on our blogs (Poetry Teatime, A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief), social media sites, and in Brave Writer and Poetry Teatime materials. Brave Writer employees and staff may not enter.

Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!

Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Hip HS 2016

The Hip Homeschool Moms
Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Giveaway
is this week!

From Tuesday, April 25th until Thursday, April 28th, Brave Writer will be giving away 10 FREE copies of Exploring Poetry with Children ($14.95 value), so be sure to enter.

Exploring Poetry with ChildrenExploring Poetry with Children contains 4 weeks of poetry lessons using popular poems for children. It’s now illustrated and includes a new section on reading poetry aloud!

This digital product does not contain exercises in futility, hunting for images so subtle, you go cross-eyed in the search.

Rather, your kids will

  • depict a poem’s meaning through acting,
  • copy a poetic form,
  • create a visual poem using collected images,
  • and write limericks to amuse and amaze you!

Click here to join in the fun!

Friday Freewrite: Under Construction

Friday Freewrite: Under Construction

Describe how you work toward a goal. Maybe it’s building a model airplane or finishing a challenging book or putting together a 1000 piece puzzle! Are you impatient, methodical, haphazard, meticulous? Share examples to demonstrate your process.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Shakespeare 400!

Shakespeare 400

William Shakespeare: 23 April 1564-23 April 1616

by Susanne Barrett

Celebration is going on in many places to mark William Shakespeare’s 452nd birthday this week, (he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and children at that time were usually baptized three days after birth) and the 400th anniversary of his death.

In fact, this Saturday, April 23, 2016 is World Shakespeare Day!

When I was in a Shakespeare class in high school, we had a HUGE birthday party for Shakespeare with British food and drink (rather like a high tea). A month beforehand, we had each drawn the name of a fellow student for which we were to make a handmade gift. I remember hemming handkerchiefs in pink embroidery thread with the initials “M.A.” for one student, and I still have the floral wreath strung with ribbons (meant to be worn on the head) hanging on my bedroom wall…although I don’t remember which young man made it for me (or more likely, his mother made it on his behalf, LOL).

So how is the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard being celebrated?

Celebrations in Great Britain

In the U.S.

So let’s celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday this week in our homes.

Some ideas

Talk Like Shakespeare! Have a Talk Like Shakespeare Day (or even just an hour, if that’s all you can handle): (This site also links to some hilarious Shakespeare Comic Relief with David Tennant and Catherine Tate of Doctor Who fame).

Shakespeare Teatime/Meal! Gather around the table with scones and jam and some Earl Grey tea (or, if you want to prepare authentic Elizabethan fare, check out this site and read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud. You can also find Shakespeare sonnet apps for your smart phone. (Parents may wish to pre-read the sonnet choices beforehand as some get a bit too, um, romantic….)

Shakespeare Character Party Game! Write the names of famous Shakespeare characters on 3X5 cards with a Sharpie (pick characters that the kids know) and without letting the person see, tape a card to each person’s back. Then each person asks “yes-no” type questions of other players to try to determine which character’s name is on his/her back. When someone guesses their character, tape a different character to his/her back. Several rounds may be played, depending on the number of players. (Sample questions: Am I male or female? Is my father dead? Is a play named after me?)

Shakespeare Copywork with Quills! Make quills from feathers (either dip feathers into ink or insert the innards of a ball point pen into the bottom of a feather and wrap with florist tape if needed; see this link: Instructables) and copy some favorite Shakespeare quotations or insults onto parchment (or regular) paper. (Barnes and Noble carries a good selection of quills and calligraphy ink.)

Shakespeare Trivia! Play some Shakespeare trivia games on Sporcle: Shakespeare Trivia Home Page such as “Shakespeare vs. Batman Quotes,” “Shakespeare Threats & Insults,” and “Complete the Shakespeare Quote.” (Note: these quizzes are *challenging*–I missed quite a few!)

Shakespeare Monologues! Read some of Shakespeare’s famous monologues aloud dramatically, perhaps even in costume. Here’s a site with a listing of some of the best single-person speeches, one list for men and one for women Try performing them for family members and/or friends or at a co-op!

Shakespeare Scenes! Perform a Shakespeare scene as a puppet show or act out a scene in costume; either memorize parts or make copies of the scene for all the actors. No Sweat Shakespeare has some modern-language scripts for your family to practice and perhaps even produce!

Shakespeare at the Movies! Watch your favorite Shakespeare play on film (mine is Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing). Check your local library or Netflix for some excellent titles, and the International Movie DataBase includes some helpful parents guides with advisory content for you along with ratings and information on most film versions.

Shakespeare Documentary! For older kids, check out Michael Woods’ in-depth documentary In Search of Shakespeare which first aired on PBS in 2004. Both the DVD and the companion book should be readily available through most public libraries.

Shakespeare Live!! Best yet, see a live Shakespeare play as soon as possible. Check out college/university performances near you as they’re usually much less expensive than professional productions.

So, Happy 452nd Birthday, William Shakespeare,

(and 400th Deathday)

from your friends at Brave Writer!

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.”

~Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Brave Writer Online Writing Class Shakespeare Family Workshop

April and May are Shakespeare Months here at Brave Writer. The Shakespeare Family Workshop provides a multi-sensory approach to the study of Shakespeare and his works. A few informal writing assignments will be provided for families to do together or separately. The workshop class is an ideal choice for families unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s life and works.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend -Not Before 7

Enjoy this fabulous guest post by Mary Wilson!

Laughter, Learning, and Lots of Notes

Good friends. Good food. Lots of tea, coffee, and chocolate.

And plenty of felt tip colored markers for the 15 pages of notes in my bullet journal!

All of the perfect ingredients for a weekend with Julie Bogart, learning about the Brave Writer Lifestyle via the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s.


A weekend with Julie Bogart. Being inspired in your pursuit of the Brave Writer lifestyle. Getting help for high school. Learning the key ingredients to create your fantasy homeschool. Discussing the elements of a language rich environment. And doing all of this without having to leave your own house or local area.

That’s exactly what six friends and I did this weekend!

After receiving digital access to the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s a few months ago, I immediately watched all five sessions. At that time, I wrote a detailed review of the DVD’s. The sessions were full of such great information that I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I watched them. In fact, an idea began brewing in my mind…

I decided to plan a Brave Writer weekend to share the sessions with friends.

Using Facebook, I created an event: Brave Writer Retreat DVD weekend and I invited a few local friends and one out of town childhood friend. The basic plan for the weekend was as follows:

Hosting a Brave Writer WeekendFriday night
7 PM: Introductions
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Help for High School
8:30 – 9:15 PM Discuss
*Then head home for evening and return the next day

arrive 8:30 AM
8:45 – 10:15 AM: Nurturing Brave Writers
10:15-10:45: Discuss
10:45-12:00: Ally, Coach, Partner
12:00- 12:45: POTLUCK LUNCH and discussion
12:45-1:45: Creating a Language Rich Environment
1:45-2:15 Discuss
2:15-3:45 Your Fantasy Homeschool
Then discuss and head home by 4:30.

(I am happy to say that our final ending time was 5 PM, which was pretty darn close to the original plan. Impressive for a group of 7 women!)

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night with Help for High School which is actually the fourth video in the series. It made more sense to start with it on Friday night so that anyone who wasn’t quite ready for the high school discussion could opt out. This allowed moms of little ones to stay home that night and only set aside Saturday. Of course, everyone was welcome to attend all of the sessions.

A hot tea, iced tea, and coffee bar were set up in the basement, scattered with some yummy chocolates. We planned a pot luck lunch including soup, salad, bread, fruit and veggies. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy lunch on the deck.

After a packed morning of information, lunch outside was a welcome break to digest information and talk through ideas. Then we were ready for our last two sessions.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

I have to warn you that you will receive a lot of information in one weekend. A LOT.

Be prepared with a ton of colorful felt markers, gel pens, or whatever your note taking medium of choice happens to be. I filled 15 pages, front and back, in my moleskin bullet journal.

We found that pausing the video was necessary because all of the discussion notes were shown on a power point presentation. The screens were shown briefly in the video, but not long enough to write down the information. Pausing was effective, but here is a pro-tip for you: snap a quick picture of the screen with your phone or tablet!

Having the “slide” on your phone allows you to look at it as Julie was talks, so you can copy down each of the bullet points as she explains them rather than having to copy them all at once and then squeeze in your notes.

Hosting a Brave Writer Weekend

It’s safe to say that we all filled pages upon pages with notes whether the Brave Writer Lifestyle was new to us or something we were quite familiar with.

When Saturday came to a close and the last session was over, our final discussion was brief. Most of us felt ready to go home and process the information, including myself.

Truly, it had been a fantastic twenty-four hours that we set aside for ourselves. We laughed and learned. We we were energized and challenged. The time spent this weekend was good for ourselves, our homeschools and even our parenting.

And it made me even more excited about the Brave Writer retreat in July!

Not Before 7


Mary is a homeschooling mom of four kids, ages 13, 11, 9 and 6. She loves to travel, read, teach, and blog. Her families adventures in travel, homeschooling and life are recorded at her blog, Not Before 7.