Brave Writer Lifestyle Podcast Series

Brave Writer Lifestyle Podcasts

Season 2 of the Brave Writer podcast has blown us away! Over 75,000 people have downloaded this season already. We’ve hit #1 in the K-12 Education category on iTunes multiple times.

If you are looking for practical encouragement for your homeschool project, this season’s podcast is for you! I interview parents, just like you, in the trenches who are sharing their hope, optimism, and creativity with you in addressing the most vexing problems. You’ll get to hear how each family implements the Brave Writer Lifestyle in their own unique ways, offering you inspiration for applying the principles in your own way too.

Season 3 is in the works, but until then, enjoy Season 2!

Tune in to the Brave Writer podcast on iTunes, Stitcher (or your app of choice), and here on the Brave Writer blog.

S2E1: A Brave, Hip Homeschooler – with Rebecca Spooner
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E2: Unexpected Homeschoolers – with The Homeschool Sisters
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E3: Homeschooling Diverse Children  – with Julie Kirkwood
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E4: What is Learning Well? – with Alicia Hutchinson
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E5: Overcoming Challenges & Charlotte Mason – with Nadine Dyer
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E6: Partnership & Adventure in Home Education – with Mary Wilson
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E7: Remember Self-Care – with Amy Milcic
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E8: #BraveSchoolers are the Best Schoolers – with Chantelle Grubbs
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E9: An Inspired Homeschool Mosaic – with Angela Awald
Podcast | Show Notes

S2E10: Tidal Homeschooling – with Melissa Wiley
Podcast | Show Notes

Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!

Summer 2017 Writing Class Schedule

Summer 2017 Writing Class Schedule

Summer Online Writing Classes!

Our June-August writing class sessions are wonderful for a variety of families:

  • Those down under who are in full swing of their school years (Aussies, Kiwis, South Americans…)
  • Those who want to isolate writing from the rest of the curriculum and play (Northern Hemisphere)!

Check out the summer class schedule below! Registration opens June 5, 2017 at noon EDT. For full descriptions of class content, click on the linked class title.

Comic Strip Capers
Jun 19 – Jul 14, 2017
Melissa Wiley

Write for Fun: Go Wild
Jun 26 – Jul 14, 2017
Karen O’Connor

Kidswrite Intermediate
Jul 3 – Aug 11, 2017
Samantha Burtner

Kidswrite Intermediate
Jul 3 – Aug 11, 2017
Joy Sherfey

Movie Club: Miyazaki
Jul 3 – Jul 28
Johannah Bogart

Fan Fiction
Jul 10 – Aug 4, 2017
Susanne Barrett

SAT/ACT Essay Class
Jul 10 – Aug 4, 2017
Jean Hall

Expository Essay Class: Exploratory & Persuasive
Jul 10 – Aug 18, 2017
Lora Fanning

Kidswrite Basic
Jul 10 – Aug 18, 2017
Deb Bell

Kidswrite Basic
Jul 10 – Aug 18, 2017
April Hensley

We’d love to see your kids enjoy writing this season with us!

Registration opens
Monday June 5, 2017!

Brave Writer Online Classes

Friday Freewrite: Puppet

Friday Freewrite

What might it be like to live as a puppet? Who would you want (or not want!) to be your puppeteer? Share your reasons.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

The Homeschool Alliance May 2017: Year-End Assessment

May in The Homeschool Alliance: Year-End Assessment

Ack! It’s the end of the homeschool year and you want to know: Did I get it right? Have my children made the right kind of progress? How do I know I’m on track?

You’re not alone. May is when I did my “panic-purchases”—the temptation to load up on other, newer, better-er stuff for fall since I somehow botched science (again).

I learned over the years to change how I assessed my kids and my own work as a home educator. We’re going to explore some of those methods in May in The Homeschool Alliance, my online homeschool coaching community.

What I came to see is that the long, slow work of home education can be detected, validated, and valued. I also discovered how to think differently about the subjects where I had not made the kind of progress I had hoped. I also got over my need to “binge-spend” as a way to assuage my, ahem, guilt.

Key questions we’ll answer:

  • How do I know my child is at grade level?
  • What about state requirements?
  • How can I prepare for year-end testing or narratives?
  • What are healthy ways to give children a sense of their own progress and growth?
  • What about grades? Do we need them? How do I give them?

I’ll help you learn how to

  • think about assessment through the lens of learning, rather than achievement
  • prepare a portfolio that showcases your child’s accomplishments
  • create a “show-and-tell” night that celebrates your children’s year
  • share the sense of accomplishment with your kids
  • give tokens of celebration to each child

It’s going to be a wonderful month of celebration rather than end-of-the-year handwringing. We’ll have our usual monthly live webinar too, so you can ask me your questions and listen to conversation about this past year. Can’t wait to hear about all you’ve done and to tell you how awesome you are!

Each month in the Alliance we deep dive into a topic to empower your homeschool. You can join any time and leave any time. We hold monthly web chats with me and Stephanie Elms, our other coach, where we hash out stuff about parenting, credits, teaching, and more.

Check out for details and give us a try this month!

Join The Homeschool Alliance

The Peril of Trusting Your Child

The Peril of Trusting Your Child

I get email every day from parents who love their kids, who think they’ve got the most creative, smart, surprising little people living under their roofs. They share stories, their children’s writing, photos, and detailed accounts of what their kids are doing. These parents are wowed, amazed. And they should be! Their children ARE amazing. So are yours.

Yet often, even in the same email, a paragraph of worry inevitably follows.

  • What if this brilliant child isn’t on course to graduate at 18?
  • What if this parent isn’t pushing hard enough to fit in lab sciences or essays?
  • What if the child next door who goes to school is completing more “official” work?
  • What if trusting your child’s natural learning process is a mistake?
  • How can a parent know if he or she is traveling down the wrong road before it’s too late?

It’s like two people live inside our minds: the one that knows our children and the one that doubts we know our children.

To trust means to let go of worry. Yet worry defines us! It’s what allows us to feel important, involved, and prepared. Worry proves we care. Worry shows that we are invested. Worry requires maintenance which involves google searches, online discussions, seeking counsel and advice, and the endless work of revising the plan. Worry feels like we’re doing what we should be. Worry leads to action—busy-ness, activity, lectures, and important new strategies to repair whatever it is we imagine is broken.

To trust means—well, what does it mean?

It looks like letting go—literally dropping the careworn hand-wringing, falling backwards without knowing if you’ll be caught. Trust is relying on today to be enough, not wondering about tomorrow, not forecasting doom for the future.

Trust is a big exhale—believing what you see with your own eyes and imagination. It means discounting the input that contradicts what you know inside.

Trust means you know inside.

Trust takes patience, the long view, time.

Trust feels irresponsible and naive.

Trust may be mistaken for denial.

Trust leads to missed opportunities, to overlooking a problem before it’s too late, to putting a child’s well-being ahead of your need to fix him or her.

You will miss some opportunities if you trust—if you put your child’s peacefulness ahead of your agenda to get it right. Trust means not hurrying to fill, fix, and finagle.

What we don’t always appreciate is that worry also makes us miss opportunities. We fill the time with activity and angst—robbing the present moment of joy or space to create or a chance to mature and develop. We hurry to the “next thing” rather than allowing some fallow time for reflection or puttering or simply enjoying a skill mastered.

Trust says: “I see my child and I am noticing all the ways that child is developing right before my eyes, like a Polaroid picture.”

Worry says: “I see what my child should be and isn’t.”

Because parenting is always new (every day, every year), it’s difficult to let trust take the reins. I know I couldn’t trust all day every day come what may. What I learned to do (and am still learning literally today!) is to see my worry and breathe it away.

I pause to consider: what can I trust now? In the middle of the muddle of worry, I can trust that:

  • The lessons my child needs are happening, even if invisible to me.
  • New ideas come to me more easily when I let go of the vice-grip of control.
  • There are people who’ve faced these same issues and have come to fresh conclusions that can help me.
  • My child has the power to learn and is learning already.
  • I homeschooled for a reason—to get off the treadmill of pressure.
  • There is no law saying ALL learning must be completed by 18.
  • Joy is the best teacher, patience is a close second.
  • Creativity solves problems better than coercion.
  • I am a kinder mother when I trust than when I worry.
  • Pressure may motivate, but it also crushes and reverberates to pain and anxiety.
  • Being alert is not the same as being worried.
  • Life is full of inconveniences, mistakes, wrong paths taken, oversights, missed opportunities, misplaced priorities, and short-sightedness—I cannot stop the flow of painful experiences.
  • My child gets to have a unique life that doesn’t match my vision because my child is not me.
  • Any choice my child makes is my child’s choice, not mine.
  • I have all that I need to be a good parent right now, today.
  • My child has all that s/he needs to learn today.

You can add to that list.

Fundamentally, trust is about your child—trusting that the person you love and live with will become an adult who may not match your ideal vision, but who will nonetheless be the person you will continue to love and know and admire and care for, for the rest of your life.

Your responsibility to the child is to continue to lay a feast of ideas and offer educational opportunities, all while providing love and companionship on the journey. When a problem surfaces, trust handles it better than worry.

Trust says, “I know my child. I will find resources that suit and support my child. We’ll make progress together.”

Worry says, “My child is behind. I feel terrible about it. I better switch what we’re doing ASAP and get him or her caught up.”

Trust allows you to pace yourself—to stay in relationship, to keep the lines of communication open, to avail yourself to being that support when your child needs you.

The peril of trusting your child is this: you have to give up your right to worry as an excuse to coerce your child into actions that make you feel better.

The Homeschool Alliance