A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief

Thoughts from my jungle to yours

2014 Fall Semester Class Update


We have a couple of classes starting on Monday August 25 that are not yet full:

Kidswrite Intermediate
(for 8th-11th grades). Preparation for academic writing and the development of the rhetorical imagination.

College Admissions Essay (11th-12th grades). Don’t miss the chance to get help with this most important of essays. Not limited to homeschoolers, either. We love helping kids write powerful essays.

Sign up while there is still time and space. Kidswrite Intermediate is a good class to take before the essay class so get it in early if you want to take the essay class in October.

Also, the Expository Essay Class that starts October 6 is FULL. We still have space in our second class which starts October 20. Both sessions are identical. If you have high schoolers who have yet to learn to write academic, research based essays, this is the class for them! We teach them how to cite sources, how to identify source credibility, and how to paraphrase, in addition to structuring the essay and writing surprise reversal thesis statements. A must for college bound students.

Register Today!

Image by Brave Writer mom, Sarah (cc)

For Email Marketing you can trust

NOT at a Desk Giveaway WINNERS!!

We’re happy to announce the three winners of our NOT at a Desk Back to School Giveaway! Their entries were selected using Random.org.

They are:

NaaD 7 Carmen-blog
There’s an animal encyclopedia in the ‘trunk’ and an ‘animal hospital’ in the bushes. We learned all about animals and animal care. ~Carmen

NaaD 37 Holly -blog
At the National Atomic Testing Museum. ~Holly

NaaD 36 Jennie -blog
This is my son at an educational farm. We spent the day learning about the newborn lambs. ~Jennie

Congratulations! The winners will receive a $50 gift certificate to be used toward any digital Brave Writer products!

A big THANK YOU to all who participated! The photos are amazing. Expect to see your children’s nontraditional learning experiences featured by us sometime in the future.

Also, if you’d like to enter another Brave Writer Giveaway that just started, hop over to Creekside Learning where you’ll have a chance to win a copy of A Gracious Space!

For Email Marketing you can trust

Student Spotlight: Following his own interests

Germanium_AppHi Julie,

I would just like to thank you for all the years of encouragement you have given us.

My 17 year old son has just released his first two games on the Apple App Store.

He was having trouble thinking what to write for his game blurb when my husband reminded him to do a Freewrite.

We’re really impressed with what he came up with and wanted to share it with you.

This is the blurb for his game “Germanium.”

100 seconds.

In this seemingly short time Germanium will utterly destroy every bit of gamer pride in you.

With an alarming record of only being cleared twice during beta testing, Germanium stands on the edge of impossibility.

With simple tilt controls and basic graphics, Germanium looks and is exceedingly simple.

Even so, only the very elite 1% of gamers ever make it to the end.

What level of gamer are you?

Find out in the next 100 seconds…

His other game is called “Sushi Trainer.”

I have appreciated your stories about your son Noah over the years. Your appreciation of his skill in Klingon in particular has helped me to not interfere in my son’s interests and not to push my agenda with him. He is following his own interests and has taught himself x-code over the last half year.

We have rarely done physical writing, only the occasional Freewrite, opting instead for endless discussions about anything and everything. I took courage that he would write when he had something to say and knew from our discussions that he had the vocabulary to do it when he felt the need.

Junpei has written a note for homeschoolers…and has included his thoughts on the Brave Writer lifestyle.

Thank you for encouraging us to know our children and follow their lead.

Best wishes,

Image from iTunes

For Email Marketing you can trust

“Her writing has exploded”

Image by Morgan -blog

Brave Writer mom, Morgan, writes:

My 9 year old daughter has always been an avid reader since she was little, and now this year her writing has exploded. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we started using the Brave Writer program this year.

Today after we were done with school, I took her brothers to the neighborhood basketball courts and let her stay home. I came home to her in the below picture. She has her favorite audio book in the CD player. Her favorite book of poetry is open, and she is copying poems out of it in cursive to improve her cursive she told me.

After doing the Brave Writer program, I now fully appreciate the richness and value of what she is choosing to do all on her own.

Thx, Morgan

Image (cc)

For Email Marketing you can trust

Friday Freewrite: A new skill

BLM Eastern States Connects America’s Heroes with Public Lands

Think of a time when your dad or mom taught you how to do something you’d never done before then pick one or both: 

1) Describe the experience like a scene in a movie

2) Explain why you are glad (or not!) to have acquired that skill.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Image by Bureau of Land Management (cc)

For Email Marketing you can trust

College Admissions Essay Class

Caitrin college - blog

Wake up the College Admissions Staff with an Awesome Essay!

College Admissions Essay Class

starts on August 25!

Don’t miss your chance to get your teen help!

If you’ve got college-bound high schoolers, it’s high time to work on that Common App or College Admissions Essay in time for early application deadlines.

Homeschoolers set themselves apart regularly through their powerful prose, demonstrating command of language and a wide range of unusual experiences. Grades for homeschoolers mean less to admissions officials. The essay is what gives your teen the chance to showcase homeschool in all its creative diversity!

Yet it can be hard to prioritize the writing of a killer essay when you are up to your elbows in the college hunt.

Are you in the midst of what I like to call “Operation Line-Up-Your-Ducks”? If so, you are visiting schools, taking tests, shopping online for the best popcorn popper, and filling out the Common App. Somewhere near you is a long to-do list. Some of the items on it take hours to complete. One of those items is “write my essay.”

Enter Brave Writer and our College Admissions Essay class, which begins August 25th and ends September 19th, and will send you into the fall with one item gloriously ticked off that list. Join us and create your essay with the enthusiastic support of Nancy Graham (our awesome instructor) and an online classroom of confrères (if you don’t know that word, look it up–your student may find it on the SAT).

Nancy is excited about this class because the college application essay prompts give you an opportunity to review your life up to this point and glean the moments that have made your student unique. Nancy gets to be the witness, goad, and cheerleader. It’ll be like spending an evening around a campfire near the top of a mountain, looking back down into the valley and sharing stories about the journey so far. Tell your teens to bring their laptops, memories, and a few s’mores.

The Essay as Capstone Project

The final results of this essay class will not only be exciting to college admissions officials, but to you, the parent–an amazing capstone project at the end of the wonderful homeschool years.

You’re nearing the end. (Sob!) Let’s celebrate together!

Read more here about how the class is structured.

Tuition: $229.00
4 Weeks: August 25 – September 19, 2014

Sign up today!

For Email Marketing you can trust

The brain–it’s a greedy little banshee!


Did you know that your brain weighs 3 lbs, but consumes 10 times more energy than the rest of your body by weight? It’s a greedy little banshee!

Mind-fatigue is hard to identify. It looks like dawdling, procrastinating, poorly executed work, fatigue, a loss of creativity, and wanting to “zone out” with music or movies.

Revive your brain by taking time off from thinking, yes. But avoid stressing it out further with your usual choices for relaxation that still overly involve it (scary movies, intense strategy games, arguing on a discussion board, reading reviews or news).


  1. Connecting with nature (get your hands dirty—plant flowers, weed, mow the lawn). Or take a walk in it with the phone turned off.
  2. Exercise. Let your mind go fallow. Use your body.
  3. Sleep. Exhausted minds need rest. Sleep is good for your brain.
  4. Eat protein. Have a snack that energizes (true mind-food).
  5. Dole out affection and receive it (to a loved one, a pet, a close friend). Nurturing stimulates and lights up different parts of the brain—the emotional center needs restorative input too.

Be good to your brain. As one brain researcher shared, we can design computers to play chess, but we can’t teach them to see. Our brains work hard (mostly outside of our consciousness) just to help us walk, digest, pump blood, and breathe! Add all the tasks we ask our brains to ‘work on’ and it’s no wonder sometimes your mind is simply tuckered out. As are your even younger kids’ little brains.

Food for thought!

Cross-posted on facebook. Image by dierk schaefer (cc)

For Email Marketing you can trust

Brave Writer Seminar for Parents!


Saturday September 13, 2014
St. Bernard Church –Spring Grove Village
Cincinnati, OH

Are you drawn to the natural, lifestyle-oriented vision of language arts, writing, and literature, but aren’t sure how to make it work in your family? Do you have reluctant writers or children with special needs or even advanced writers who seem beyond your skill set to help? This seminar will show you how to create a rich homeschool environment that will honor your values, promote learning, and expand your happiness—yours and your children’s!

Topics covered:

  • natural writing development
  • language rich environment
  • nature and art study
  • “party school”
  • freewriting
  • copywork and dictation
  • partnership writing
  • poetry teatime practice

Join us!


For more info EMAIL Terrie at: Happy-Kempers@cinci.rr.com

For Email Marketing you can trust

Brave Writer Movie Club!

movie night!

Participants in our Movie Discussion Club “develop skills that transfer to the study of literature or any textual or visual analysis. Take advantage of this pleasurable way to expand your child’s writing and thinking skills.”

For example, read these excellent observations from a former film class about superheroes:

On The Incredibles

“Identities, there are concrete identities and abstract, there are deep characters, and shallow. Dynaguy is one of the characters who are true to the thought of ‘superhero’. Even though he had a small role in the movie, he fills the role of ‘true hero’. With his cape and his boots, he saves the weak, and destroyes evil. After another’s day work, defeating the bad guys, Dynaguy bows to the damsel in distress, and his cape gets caught on the rocket he moved to defeat evil. His short scene ends with him flying through the air, attached to a rocket, the damsel either laughing, or surprised. Edna Mode, uses his story to outline the phrase “No Capes” (one of my favorite quotes in movies). Now, Dynaguy might not have been ‘the brightest bulb’, but he stayed true to the role of Superhero. His chivalry and honor harkening back to a ‘golden age’. To be ‘Super’, one often is thought to have to have superior intellect, or powers that allow an advantage over the average human. “Super” on the other hand is found in the lives of these heroes, the acts they do to save us, the heroes we love and cherish. Even though ‘Super’ is a word delineated to the powerful and fictional, should it not be used also to describe those with a sense of duty, honor, and chivalry? Dynaguy is not a great hero, not even an average one, but he used his powers and his sense of duty to help those who cannot help themselves. Is that not something we can do as well?”


“Near the beginning of the movie, at the end of the TV report, the reporter said ‘Their secret identity will became their only identity.’ I thought that was a cool way of putting it. I believe she was saying that Mr. Incredible will stay Robert Parr from now on. Instead of saving the world, he will stay an insurance agent at Insura-Care, and will have a life the same as every other ‘normal’ person. For Mr. Parr, that is a hard change from the Superhero lifestyle he was used to. He was somewhat blinded by the ‘Glory days’ and was so preoccupied by his memories that he wasn’t really part of the family. It wasn’t until he got his identity back that he became more involved in his family. He became a much stronger person, both in mind and body. At the end of the movie, it shows the Incredible family working together as a team to help protect the city.”


“I decided to talk about Dash.( : I love Dash’s character because he is always wanting to help, he is protective over his family, and he is mischievious. Although he can be the annoying younger sibiling at times and he allows his curiosity to get the better of him, it shows throughout the film that he loves his family.

“”Haha, I love our family.’ —Dash

“Dash often uses his speed to run to the rescue. He runs to protect his sister a few times in the movie, he runs to get the remote to defeat the robot, and he runs to save his mother and sister from drowning in the ocean. Dash’s super power relates to his personality for sure! He is quick to speak and quick to act on things in pretty much any situation. Dash’s power is superspeed and he can also run on water. He is also a bit mischievious and he often uses his superpower to further his little pranks and jokes. He is curious as well he uses his speed to give him easy access into places he may not be invited to like when he eaves dropped on his parents during their argument and also to grab his costum from his mom without her being able to protest. He struggles a lot with being normal because it meant him being limited to do things that other children got to do like sports. Overall though Dash is spunky, fun, and sometimes comic relief in the Incredibles.”


The theme for our fall Movie Discussion Club: ROBOTS! 

SIGN UP TODAY for the next class!

Image by Ginny (cc text added)

For Email Marketing you can trust

Tuesday Teatime: Togetherness, beauty, simplicity, and health

Tuesday Teatime Brandy

I have always loved tea. As a family, we have had a practice of drinking many different types of herbal teas throughout the year. It is a much loved habit that I “blame” on my “genetics.” My mother is from the West Indies and went to nursing school in England, and my father is Scottish. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with a more “official” tea time.

Tuesday Teatime Brandy 2

This year, I was introduced to Brave Writer, and knew that her philosophy of teaching and learning fit perfectly with what our family had already implemented in our lives. Nature journaling, movie night, poetry tea times – I was in heaven reading about all the ways to encourage and get my children excited about writing! We had our first tea as a birthday party for my youngest. Our closest friends (who we introduced to Brave Writing) came over and celebrated the day, while also learning some fun etiquette in the process.

Tuesday Teatime Brandy 1

Most recently, we started having the more “official” Tuesday Poetry Teas into our week. I make special drinks and hor d’oeuvres, we enjoy the food, each other’s company, and poetry. Each person takes several turns (if they want) choosing and reading aloud a poetry selection.

Tuesday Teatime Brandy 3

We knew that we wanted our poetry times to incorporate the things that we value and prioritize in our family – togetherness, beauty, simplicity, and health. I own 2 platters/stands (as seen in the pictures), and my husband made a cake stand out of some of our firewood (which serves as a decorative stand for our emergency candles when not used for parties), and the jars pictured serve as functional storage when needed, or as decoration in their “off time” from parties.

Tuesday Teatime Brandy 4

We are so very thankful for Brave Writer, and for how seamlessly the BW lifestyle matches who we are as a family, and how we live our lives.


Images (cc)

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 select your photo to post then you’ll receive a free Arrow or Boomerang of your choice (once per family). Note: all submissions fall under Creative Commons licensing.

For Email Marketing you can trust