“Brave Writer works”


A Brave Writer mom writes:

I am near tears writing this. Ok – I AM in tears. My daughter has been taking your classes for the past year and all I can say is WOW! Last night she was anxiously watching her computer for her grade and was telling me how strongly she now feels about women in combat after doing the research for the Expository Essay Class. She dived into the class like I have never seen her do before. I read her essays and found them to be original and interesting. Brave Writer works. I have hated the formulaic approach my other kids were taught in public school. Brave Writer is transformational.

Also, on your recommendation, I have been doing Winston Grammar with my daughter and she has one lesson left. Her mechanics were at the mid elementary school level when she started last year and now they are – well I don’t know and I don’t care because I can see what she can now produce.

Her success with writing has extended to other areas of school as well. She is enjoying literature more than she ever had – we are reading aloud The Scarlet Letter and she is asking about vocabulary words and is very engaged in our discussions about the book, Hawthorne and the era.

To help my daughter engage in proofreading she has worked her way through Editor in Chief workbooks this year. She started back at their earliest level and has worked through up to high school. I now find only occasional errors. She will work through the high school book this coming year along with the advanced Winston Grammar. She is accomplishing things believed beyond her reach by her old special Ed teachers.

My daughter will be taking Advanced Composition and the MLA Essay Class coming up and she is looking forward to them. I am crying like a fountain as I never thought I would see her excited about school.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. From deeper than the bottom of my heart!

Brave Writer Mom

Image by Modhamed Malik (cc cropped, text added)

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Poetry Teatime: Showing hospitality

Poetry Teatime

This is our first teatime experience while reading poetry. I made the globe charger covers to surprise them with the special treats underneath. Our theme this year is countries and cultures.

We enjoyed an exotic flowering peach tea with European sweet bread and grapes. My children were amazed to see the tea seed turn into a beautiful peach flower. This was causing so much fun the kids wanted me to keep reading the poems.

I’m always looking for ideas to show hospitality to my children, and this definitely allowed me to go above and beyond while creating memories.

Poetry Teatime

As we wrapped up this teatime my daughter already choose the poetry book for next Tuesday.


Want to start your own Poetry Teatime? Here’s how.

Would you like your family featured on Tuesday Teatime? Email us your teatime photos with a few lines about your experience (put “Teatime” in the subject line). If we share on our blog then you’ll receive a free Arrow or Boomerang title of your choice (once per family). Note: all submissions fall under Creative Commons licensing.

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Milkshake Apologies!

Milkshake apologiesImage by Judge Pera (cc cropped, tinted, text added)

If your year is starting and you’re feeling sheepish—that nagging sense that you and your child are not on the same page—here’s a practice that can help to “reset” the dial between you.

Take your child out for a shake, or a slushie, or something yummy.

Once you are settled, own up to whatever contribution you’ve made to the icky feelings. One mom I spoke with shared how last year she made a list with her daughter of fun things to do in homeschool—and then never did them. She let “school” rob her of her confidence in pursuing things like baking and sewing. Understandably, the daughter’s attitude toward this year’s curricula is hostile.

Maybe you and your kids are at odds over a particular program, practice, or problem in your family. You can’t begin with the fresh feeling of a new school year if there is distance, edge, or irritation between you.

Children can’t put you in “time out,” they can’t take away your technology, they can’t give you a low grade. What they can do is pick at your bad habits, laugh derisively when you make mistakes, or roll their eyes when you express enthusiasm. This is how they hold you accountable—they resist.

Reestablishing connection has to come first—before algebra or study of the ancient Greeks.

Start with your part.

How have you contributed to the alienated feelings between you? Have you ignored your child’s unhappiness? Not followed through on a promise? Shouted or shamed your child into performance?

Maybe you are teaching a curriculum you don’t even like—yet you expect your child to “like” it. Perhaps there’s a level of admission there that needs to happen—”I don’t like this program, yet I’m requiring you to like it. I see the inconsistency in that. I’m sorry.”

Milkshake apologies

Image by Jim Larrison (cc)

Once you share how you see yourself contributing to the negative energy between you, ask your child what else is upsetting. Is there something else you should know?

Create space for them to add to the list of what is not going well. Apologize for that too—even if it feels unfair.

Sip. Take big slurps of your milkshake to help you hold back from being defensive. Listen. Your child can even be flat out wrong—your only task is to leave space for the child to share his or her perspective in that moment.

Next, talk about what will be different this year. Make it concrete, keep it short. Perhaps you are about to switch to one new program. Or maybe you will follow through on the promise to get your child piano lessons (and will do it that day, when you get home).

Go low. Be the one who apologizes first—who creates space for a renewed connection. Make eye contact. Be open.

If your child does the whole, “I don’t know” and “There’s nothing wrong,” that’s okay too. It could be that your child is still figuring out whether or not you will change—will actually do what you are now promising to do. So do it! Start the change cycle.

And see what happens next.

Your tasks? Pay for drinks, apologize, offer to listen, make one or two new plans, follow through.

You can do this!

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Why we don’t use video in Brave Writer online classes

Why we don't use video in Brave Writer online classes

Some people ask why our classes don’t make use of video. It’s a pedagogical choice: reading produces better writers than listening. Not only that, reading requires depth of concentration and attention that enable the reader to internalize what is being read. Listening allows for greater distraction. For instance, have you ever noticed how you can be looking at your child and rearranging the cabinets in your mind at the same time? You appear to be listening, but you’ve “checked out.”

Listening to lectures creates a similar result. You may have an affective moment of “Wow that was wonderful!” but the retention of the particulars is not nearly as complete as if you had read the same material.

“In fact, studies have shown that reading uninterrupted text results in faster completion and better understanding, recall, and learning than those who read text filled with hyperlinks and ads. Those who read a text-only version of a presentation, as compared to one that included video, found the presentation to be more engaging, informative, and entertaining, a finding contrary to conventional wisdom, to be sure. Additionally, contrary to conventional educational wisdom, students who were allowed Internet access during class didn’t recall the lecture nor did they perform as well on a test of the material as those who weren’t ‘wired’ during class. Finally, reading develops reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and vocabulary better than visual media.” ~Jim Taylor Ph.D., Psychology Today

Some thoughts about technology and learning.

Image by Brave Writer mom Anne


Check out Brave Writer's NEW online class pageCheck out our NEW online class page!

It’s magical! Click on the choices by age or semester or type of student (Family Classes, Parent is Student, Child is Student, and High School) and the page transforms for you!

Brave Writer online classes are uniquely designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from three to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take one or more over the course of a school year. We keep the class sessions short so that you may work around your family’s schedule.


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Friday Freewrite: Dress up

Friday Freewrite: Dress up

Should kids be made to dress up for an event if they’d rather wear jeans and a t-shirt? Why or why not.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Image by StarMama (cc cropped)

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