Friday Freewrite: Alphabetical

Friday Freewrite

Tell a story (it can be about yourself, someone else, or a fictional character) in 26 alphabetical sentences! Begin the first sentence with an “A” word, start the second sentence with a “B” word, the next sentence, a “C” word, etc.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.


Podcast: To Parent Or Not To Parent

To Parent or Not To Parent: That is the Question

In this season of the podcast, my goal is to give you a chance to pause and consider ways to improve the experience of learning in your home and in your family by answering questions you’ve sent to me.

One theme is clear as I glance through the list of growing topics: parenting!

You want to know

  • how to get your kids to cooperate with the plan or the lack of a plan,
  • how to prepare them for their futures when they don’t seem to imagine life past age 15, and
  • how to help them fall in love with learning, and you want to do it without provoking resistance or anger or boredom or lethargy.

So often we believe that the issue we are facing in our homeschools is about learning itself or the subject area (like math, writing, or science). What we are facing, though, is more universal in nature. Even parents of kids who attend traditional schools struggle to get their children to finish homework or to care about their grades or to feed the dog or to brush their teeth and make their beds.

Effective parenting—that’s the skill we want to gain.

But what is parenting?

We know so well that we assume we know what it means. Parenting has been presented in many ways to us: the strict disciplinarian, the coach, the best buddy, the wise adult leader…

The term itself is problematic in my opinion. Parenting implies “doing something” to our kids (we “parent” them—turning that noun into a verb with an object of its action—our unwitting children!).

We ARE parents. But the question I want us to consider is: do we do an action called “parenting?” Do I do an action that can be described as “parenting?”

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Parenting is different from other relationships we have because it implies an enormous responsibility. Not only are we charged with the two primary duties related to raising children (keep ‘em busy, keep ‘em alive) we’re also expected to civilize those children — to show them the ropes of how to behave in groups, as friends, and eventually as students — so we want our kids to be self-sufficient, kind, brave adults. We feel morally clear and justified in our actions that require our kids to cooperate with our goals — parenting is our duty. It’s a duty to perform on behalf of our children.

What is the child’s experience of all this parenting, though?

Read the rest of this entry »

Boomerang Book Club: March 2020

Boomerang Book Club

Did you know that we’re hosting live chats in our online book clubs?

Brave Writer coaches will post the day and time to invite kids to chat in real time as part of the club.


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Look what we’re discussing in our March Boomerang Book Club (ages 13-18): 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne. SDE Classics, 2018. 317 pages.

Undersea marvels await readers in this timeless classic. Verne’s novel brings Captain Nemo, Dr. Aronnax, and marine life that few had seen at the time to life on the page. Dr. Aronnax is torn between a desire for freedom from the confines of the Nautilus and the urge to join Captain Nemo on his adventures to the depths of the ocean. He considers spending his life on the Nautilus and is reluctant to leave, until a fateful night when Nemo does the unthinkable. The story highlights the clash between man and nature, and it introduces readers to the ideas of justifiable revenge and the fight for liberty—at any cost.

Purchase the novel here.

Boomerang Book Club

Arrow Book Club: March 2020

Arrow Book Club

Brave Writer’s monthly online book clubs are where your kids can meet to discuss thought-provoking questions about books with one of our amazing writing coaches.

And kids are having a ball!

What students have to say:

I would definitely recommend this to a friend because it was very fun and awesome. HOORAY FOR BOOK CLUB!!!! —Drew

This class gave me a greater sense of “knowing” the book. If it wasn’t for this class, I would’ve likely understood less and didn’t have as much of a “full” feeling.  —Arina


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Here’s what we’re reading in March in our Arrow Book Club (ages 9-12): Book Scavenger, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC Reprint Edition, 2016. 368 pages.

Here is a delightful tale of friendship and finding a place to call home. Emily’s family moves—a lot. While her parents see the freedom of their nomadic life as a gift, Emily yearns for roots and friendship. When they land in San Francisco, she unexpectedly stumbles upon a mystery, and just as unexpectedly, finds a friend to help her solve it. Part coming-of-age, part mystery—Book Scavenger adds up to a whole lot of book-binding adventure.

Purchase the novel here.

Arrow Book Club

*NEW* Jot It Down Planner

Jot It Down! Planner

Party time! 🎉

You told us what you wanted. We heard you!

  • If you’re a planner.
  • If you’re a planner-from-behind.
  • If you’re somewhere in between… 

We’ve got your back!

Last June we launched brand new planning and tracking tools for the Arrow and Boomerang, our programs that teach the mechanics of writing through literature.

These tools were an astonishing success! Thank you for using them and giving us your feedback.

And so, we looked ahead to our other products and Ta Da! 

We’ve added a planning and tracking tool to the Jot It Down! program, making it easier to use than ever!

Introducing a Jot It Down! supplement we call: the Jot It Down! Planner.

Each Jot It Down! project has a custom designed:

  • Week in Focus Planner and
  • Writing Skills Tracker 

That’s right! 

  • Ten planning sheets
  • Ten skills trackers
  • Customized to each project—over 20 pages in all!

The Week in Focus Planner will help you 

  • weave Brave Writer Lifestyle activities into your week 
  • schedule oral language practices: memorization, narration, and word play
  • plan daily activities for the writing project of the month

The Writing Skills Tracker will provide you with 

  • checklists to note basic and project-specific writing skills 
  • a word bank of academic vocabulary 
  • a space to incorporate that language into a short narrative about your child’s learning experience

These flexible tools help you

  • plan ahead
  • plan from behind
  • track growth
  • reassure yourself of progress
  • craft end-of-year evaluations
  • and show you the path to progress in writing 

Jot It Down! will now include the Jot It Down! Planner with every purchase.


NOTE: If you purchased Jot It Down! or the Jot It Down! bundle before 2/17/2020, you’ll need to purchase the Planner a la carte. Follow this link for more details.


We’re excited for you to experience greater and greater ease and clarity about your children’s growth in writing. We want to support you every step of the way!

Go take a look at the Jot It Down! Planner and let us know how it works for you!

If you’d like to hear me explain how to use the Jot It Down! Planner, tune in to the Facebook Live I did.