Friday Freewrite: Speaking in Rhyme

Friday Freewrite

Suddenly, you can only speak in rhyme! Describe how your daily conversations go.

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Podcast: Critical Thinking for Toddlers with Susie Allison of Busy Toddler

ritical Thinking for Toddlers with Susie Allison

As we talk about critical thinking, the conversation tends to skew towards teenagers and high schoolers, but you’d be amazed at the powerful wheels turning in the minds of our little ones. We can prime the environment for them to be quality thinkers at as young as preschool or even toddlerhood.

Susie Allison has a lot of insight into this age group. She runs the popular Instagram account, Busy Toddler, and she’s created a wealth of experiences for her own children and other families. Busy Toddler has grown up to become a worldwide brand, with Susie authoring “The Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting.” She has a degree in Elementary Education and is currently earning her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Activities for Critical Thinking

Everything that toddlers do is designed to acquaint them with the world, so that they can discover, learn, and grow. That all requires critical thinking, which is something we can encourage through specially designed activities.

One of Susie’s favorites is “the pouring station.” You put out a large empty container and various cups of water – potentially in different colors – for kids to pour into. They learn pouring skills, they have the sensory experience of the water, and it requires barely any equipment to set up. They’re also learning hand-eye coordination, capacity, volume, and cause and effect.

Another great accessory for toddlers are pom-pom balls. Believe it or not, they actually survive being wet! Putting a kid in the bath with some wet pom-poms invites so much play and sensory exploration.

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Teaming Up with Here Wee Read

Literature Collaboration Here Wee Read Brave Writer

We love small book shops! That’s why we’ve teamed up with our longtime friend Charnaie Gordon at Here Wee Read to offer the Brave Writer Mechanics and Literature program books through her shop at

Charnaie was a guest speaker at our Brave Learner Conference in Cincinnati, has been on the Brave Writer podcast, and offered a helpful session at our Homebound Conference. Our Brave Writer community also sent books to help support the 50 States 50 Books campaign inspired by Charnaie’s children to “help close the literacy gap one state at a time!”

Such a fruitful relationship!

Purchasing the 2021–2022 Brave Writer books through her website is a beautiful way to support her small shop (filled with fantastic titles for a wide range of readers) and provide you with a one-stop shop for your Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot readers. 

Find the titles all in one place under the Brave Writer Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot titles section of the Here Wee Read shop.

And look around for other great book recommendations while you are there! 

Brave Writer Language Arts



The system doesn’t create your homeschool. YOU do. Fundamentally, your homeschool thrives when you are fear-free, and you have faith in your own judgment.


What a notion! What might a fear-free homeschool look like?

  • Spending a week watching old Audrey Hepburn movies with your kids and discussing her hat choices.
  • Building the Death Star in LEGO as your entire homeschool plan for the day.
  • Reading a long list of limericks—finding them in books, online. Then trying to write them, making each other laugh until your sides hurt.
  • Taking the month off of math because the current material isn’t sticking yet.
  • Getting lost in one era of history (the Inca!) and staying there until you’ve satisfied everyone’s curiosity and interest.
  • Using a textbook because it’s efficient and helps you.
  • Getting help when you need it because help, helps.
  • Having parties—every kind: birthday, poetry tea, CA Gold Rush, Super Bowl, writing with friends. Turning any lesson into a party because it makes learning a joy.
  • Letting tomorrow take care of itself—being invested in this moment, now, here, with these children.

Fearless, fear-free learning is simply trusting that the work you do today, in whatever way you do it, will get you to the next place and the next and the next all the way to the end.

You’re an education pioneer—putting your faith in learning how to learn while learning with your kids.

Are any of us actually fear-free? I doubt it. But the journey helps us learn to be more and more brave, while we watch our choices land. As you do, your judgment will sharpen and your homeschool will feel more and more like the one you wanted when you started, even if it looks a lot different than you originally imagined.

Keep going! I’m rooting for you.

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

Brave Learner Home

Friday Freewrite: Overheard at the Zoo

Friday Freewrite

You’re at the zoo and suddenly realize you now understand everything the animals are saying to each other! What do you overhear?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.