Friday Freewrite: Library Books

Friday Freewrite

It’s after dark, the library is closed, and all the books come to life! Write what they might say to each other when no humans are listening.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Brave Writer Lifestyle IN ACTION

Guest post by Lora Fanning

By Brave Writer Ninja Lora Fanning

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Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Question: How do you practice the Brave Writer Lifestyle?

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare isn’t Brave Writer specific, but the addition of memorization and storytelling into our daily routine has definitely enhanced our Brave Writer experience. We march around the house quoting Shakespeare in our best British accents, giggling and memorizing at the same time. The language, the rhythms, and the stories are the “out loud” version of copywork. My kids are soaking up all of this – and learning the power of a well-placed Shakespearean insult at the same time!

My youngest son gets inspired to write most often while sitting in church. He just started sounding out words and I cheerfully hand him a pen and encourage him to write all he wants. Sometimes he asks me to spell things (in a quiet whisper) and sometimes he just draws pictures, but even at the age of 4, he’s learning the beauty of the act of creating words on paper. Just like my own mother saved my very first story about a chicken, I’ll save these scribblings like the museum-pieces they should be.

My co-op students write Just So Stories every year and the illustrations are just as delightful as the stories. Pictured above: The elephant whose ears grew when he got a sinus infection, how the giraffe got his long neck, how the squid got his ink, and other wildly creative stories!

I have several children who are dyslexic and dysgraphic. We do writing just like I do with my younger kids. They dictate their thoughts to me and I type them up like a good little secretary. Then we read it out loud together. They look over my shoulder and edit as they hear the words spoken. The final piece is all their own, written with the help of their trusty writing partner and typist (that’s me.)

My 6th grade co-op students do historical journals of famous people. One industrious student made sure his diary of George Washington had a fully “authentic” look. He did the wood-burning and wood cutting (supervised) himself! It practically counts as science, too! 😉

We don’t just use our words for school. When our kids have a birthday, we often “surprise” them with a creative display of balloons in their bedroom when they wake up. Since my twins are teenagers now, we decided to alter the tradition slightly. On the morning of their 13th birthday, they received one balloon (for old time’s sake) and a letter written for them by each of their parents. Our goal is to capture our hopes and prayers for them so they can see how they grow each year. Plus, we get to tell them all the mushy love stuff they don’t like for us to say out loud any more. I have a box of keepsake letters I’ve received over the years. I hope my children have one some day, too.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Julie, it’s that brightly colored ink makes everything better, even math work! #betterifitsparkles

Poetry books live in our living space. You can find them on the coffee table, in the school room, and in our hands as we sit around the table at lunch time. I can’t predict when my kids will crave verses and whimsy, but I can make them easy to get to on a moment’s notice.

I write with my kids, for my kids, and just for myself. I try to model the sort of behavior I want my kids to have, so that means leaving space for myself to be creative. When I’m writing my stories, I invite my youngers to draw the tiny bit of the plot I’m working on so they can be with me while I’m creating. And then when I’ve edited and cried and revised my own work til I’m blue in the face, I let them use old drafts for scrap paper. #cycleandrecycle

Even reluctant writers can get behind a lesson on rap music. For my co-op classes, we did a short unit on Hamilton and then learned how to write our own rap songs. #homeschoolerscanspitrhymes

Lora Fanning is a mom of seven kids. In addition to teaching her own children at home, she teaches in local co-ops and is a Brave Writer writing coach. She blogs at

Brave Writer Writing Conference!

Brave Writer Writing Conference 2017

Join Julie in Austin Texas
for a Brave Writer Writing Conference

September 8-9, 2017

Wells Branch Community Center
2106 Klattenhoff Dr. Austin Tx 78728

I’m pleased to announce that we will host an exclusive Brave Writer conference in Austin, Texas in time for the start of your homeschool year! The focus? Writing, of course! For an evening and a full day, we will explore all aspects of writing:

  • Creating a writing culture at home
  • Magical practices that entice kids to write and read
  • How to revise original writing without inducing howls of pain
  • The role of creativity in all kinds of writing (including essays and reports!)
  • How reading and writing work together—and poetry!
  • Being your child’s partner in writing from PreK through High School
  • And I’ll get you to do a little writing too!

Check out the details here!

We can take 100 registrations!*

EARLIEST BIRD DEAL for May 15 only

$89.00 (reg price is $109.00)

First person to register will win one of our Brave Writer Mugs!

Brave Writer Mug

There is space for 100 people to attend. I hope you are one of them. I’m can’t wait to meet you!

Register Today

*UPDATE: The Austin conference is already full! We are blown away. 9 minutes! To be included on the waiting list contact: (We may not get back to you, but know you are being added.)

Friday Freewrite: In One Place

Friday Freewrite

If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life which spot would you pick and why?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

How sweet it is…

How sweet it is...

I sit now alone in my house.

I look forward to having Liam here for the summer after his semester in France.

I’m happy that Noah popped by to say hello on his way to a technology convention this weekend in Detroit.

I’m warmed by the phone call from Mexico I had with Johannah today.

I laughed at the easy exchanges with Caitrin and Jacob through text and snapchat.

Each of my adult children—they are actively a part of my every day life (isn’t that awesome?), even when some of them live thousands of miles away. What a time to be alive! A technological miracle.

I got to thinking…

How sweet it is…

  • to have a relationship with each adult child that is new and old at the same time
  • to be included in my grown kids’ lives, even while they also make amazing independent choices that I get to witness and celebrate
  • to look back fondly at all the soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and ultimate frisbee matches I attended, cheering till I lost my voice
  • to feel good about all the weekends I stayed in town, not traveling to conventions for business, so I could be at recitals and marching band events, winter guard competitions and play rehearsals
  • to recall the read alouds when I’m on the phone with Brave Writer parents, knowing I really did read all those books from my rocker, knowing that my kids really did hear all those stories in my own voice
  • to have scraps of paper and print outs and notes of the clever things my children said, and the wonderful things they wrote, and the surprising skills they developed—all stored where I can return to them when I want to remember
  • to see my kids develop political and compassionate selves, to listen to their forming opinions and be challenged by their unique insights
  • to travel to see them in new places, watching them master foreign languages and life abroad
  • to remember their births—their innocent faces—and to know them now fully grown; to see that thread of personhood evolve to this new person I love in whole new ways
  • to have lived at a time when homeschooling was an option, to have discovered that option, to have taken that risk
  • to have grown up with my children, to have become a better version of me because of who they are and who we were together
  • to have found our way even when we felt lost, even when we flailed and doubted, and struggled
  • to rise, to change, to adapt

How sweet it is (truly)…

  • to miss them

I love our reunions and I love the partings because when they go, they take what we created together with them, and then they do the big bold beautiful things I couldn’t even imagine they’d do!

I knew this day at my kitchen counter alone would come. It is here. For all the challenges and uncertainties of homeschooling, I am deeply grateful for the closeness that lifestyle choice afforded us.

I wish you this moment in your future too. xoxo

For more blog posts about motherhood:

On Being a Mother