Friday Freewrite: Perfect Age

Friday Freewrite

Imagine you must stay the same age for the rest of your life…but you get to pick what it is. What would be your “perfect age”? Explain your answer.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Homeschool Sanity: Principle One

Principle One

No two years of homeschooling are ever the same.

Your children get older and change grades. Each child has a unique personality. What worked with one won’t necessarily work with the next (The Brave Learner, 203).

As you think about the coming year, think less about mastery and more about fine-tuning and tweaking. How can you meet the needs of these children who are new again this year?

It’s easy to think: Hey, I already know my children. I know what they like and don’t like.

What do we do with the surprises?

  • Your quiet child may have a sudden burst of extroversion.
  • Maybe the literature-lover decides she wants to be a dolphin trainer.
  • Perhaps the one who hated math is obsessed with sewing.

Be a student again—discover who this child is this year. New opportunities for learning are here. Allow yourself to be surprised. Make adjustments as you go.

I recommend not buying all the curriculum in the summer. Get to know your children’s needs again in the fall. Make some purchases in December or January that reflect what you’ve learned about your kids during the early months.

Remember: even though a system or schedule feels reassuring to you, it may be overkill, may be too centered on what you need to feel comfortable, or may not grow with the child.

Lead with confidence, but embrace the surprises along the way. See them as a chance to enhance homeschool not as invalidations of your plan.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

The Brave Learner

Fall Online Writing Class Schedule

Fall 2020 Online Writing Classes

The Fall 2020 Online Writing Class Schedule is Up!

Psst…Be sure to take advantage of our special offer!

We get so many wonderful emails from our happy families, and even more during this stressful time. I wanted to share a quote from one to help you get a feel for how our writing program impacts families.

I think this particular season, during this unexpected pandemic, life became challenging for everyone, but I appreciated this online course at this time for our son to focus on, and I certainly appreciate his teacher taking this on and staying the course amid these added life stresses…so I offer my sincere thanks. The information and accountability and encouragement were all excellent.

Brave Writer is all about personal investment and connection. Our instructors give you a deep commitment of time and gentle instruction that leads to happy, improved writers.

Our writing classes are built from the workshop, writing support group model.

  • Each participant is valued as a person, not just as a student.
  • Writing feedback is detailed, friendly, and thorough.
  • Our instructors recognize that they have a sacred trust with your children and they aim to ensure that each student feels heard, read, and supported in deepening both skill and insight in his or her writing.

Special Offer!

Buy a class, get access to a lifetime of homeschool coaching and support!

We’ve got a brand new, easy-to-access space online (and in an app!) that offers you daily, weekly, and monthly support from trained veteran homeschoolers, writing coaches, and a versatile community of committed home educators.

Brave Learner Home combines our popular Homeschool Alliance and our Brave Writer product coaching (formerly on Facebook). Brave Learner Home opens for members on August 1.

Here’s how it works:

  • Register for one or more classes during fall registration (opens July 27 at noon EDT)
  • Make sure your class enrollment totals $198 or more (all in one cart).
  • Pay for your courses*
  • Get access to Brave Learner Home for life!

We want you to have the support you need. Help really does help. 

*Charter School Payments: once the charter school payment is complete, then we add the parent to Brave Learner Home.

Fall Class Registration opens Noon EDT on July 27 

Summer session is currently registering (many classes are full)

Brave Writer Online Classes

Friday Freewrite: Silly Story

Friday Freewrite

Choose 3 items from the list below and use them in a silly story.

  • Noodles
  • Kazoo
  • Teacup
  • Baseball
  • Sand
  • Wig
  • Throne
  • Motorcycle
  • Chimney
  • Tuxedo
  • Scissors
  • Pickles

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Podcast: Brave Schooling

Brave Schooling Podcast

Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?

This school year is different from any other. We are not going into it with the same sense of confidence or the same tools, resources, and experiences that we rely on to be good homeschoolers. Instead, we’re coming in with a lot of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused parents to think about the fall in a new way, and in addition to the garden variety homeschooler who chose this lifestyle long ago, there’s a new crop of homeschooling parents joining the community. Welcome.

In this podcast episode, we will cover what learning is NOT, how homeschooling differs from traditional school, and the essential steps to facilitate learning at home.

Learning is not an activity that is confined to just school, and I want to teach you how to make learning a natural part of your life.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

There’s a question that a lot of people, especially new homeschoolers, have right now: Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?

For many of you, there was delight when our schedules all came to a grinding halt. For the first time, you were considering that you could do your work at home even though your children were in the same space. This is something homeschoolers have known for a while — many homeschooling parents have side gigs or full-time jobs that they perform from home while they homeschool. It seems like something nobody would choose to do, but suddenly many of us are forced to do this… and it isn’t so bad!

Another thing that many new homeschoolers discover is that much of the work our children do in schools can be done in a fraction of the amount of time they normally spend in a school building: somewhere between 1-3 hours compared to the 6-8 hours they would spend at school.

How to begin homeschooling today

It’s an interesting question: How do we embark on the theory of education that combines personal tutorial with a program, online school, or curriculum while weaving it into a family life that may or may not include working for money?

The three key admissions of learning

From the moment you bring your kids home for learning, you are making three admissions about learning:

  • Learning does not happen in a building
  • Learning does not live inside a textbook
  • Learning is not sourced in a teacher

Kids are learning every minute of every day. Learning is not confined to a single location.

It does not lie in the pages of a textbook. A textbook is a tool, a resource, an answer key, or a set of problems or suggested activities so you do not have to start from scratch. It can be incredibly helpful, but it is not where learning comes from.

A teacher does not decide what a person is and isn’t going to learn. Kids do not need us in the way that our worldview leads us to believe. Learning is always taking place, so we need to rethink the ways we look at teaching.

How do we know that learning has taken place?

As an adult, what proves to you that you’ve mastered something new? Mastery is elusive. There’s never a point where you think, “I’ve played guitar for 20 years and now I’m a master.” No matter how much energy you put into any topic, there is always more to know.

Let’s say I realize I want some indoor plants. I see an African Violet at the supermarket and bring it home. Then I realize I don’t really know how to take care of it, so I decide to learn about caring for African Violets. We have the entire world in our hands with our cell phones. And the proof of learning is in seeing those violets bloom.

How useful is it to know the information about multiplication tables and yet never see it bloom in lived experience? Even if I had studied and aced a test on African Violets, I still wouldn’t know if I could get one to bloom.

When we are thinking about subject area, there are three essential ingredients in learning:

  • Triggered interest
  • Find a meaningful use
  • Immerse (deep dive) into the topic

When we think of learning as consuming information, we miss the first essential ingredient: a triggering interest. 

It can’t be leveraged for a future goal. It has to be a meaningful use for today, which is the second major ingredient. Trying to make something fun does not work if there is no underlying interest. 

Lastly, you want to immerse yourself fully in that topic, or what homeschoolers sometimes call a “deep dive.” Traditional school doesn’t really permit this, but at home, there’s no rule that you have to cover several topics in one particular day.

This is the secret of homeschooling: Apply the same learning style you use for your hobbies to the school subjects with your children. You will be shocked and amazed at how much more meaningful their educations become, both to them and to you.

If you’re stepping into homeschooling for the first time this fall, ask yourself: What could instigate or trigger curiosity? What would be a meaningful use for this subject area for my child? And what kind of immersive environment could I create that would allow my child to risk exploration?

Be intentional to create a space where this natural learning could bloom; test it, refine it, and tweak it until learning is part of the way you live together.