Writing curricula… changed perspective

Last summer, one of our brave moms (Michelle) started a conversation on our Scratch Pad forums. Thought it might give you all some food for thought as the curriculum scramble continues in the northern hemisphere before fall.

After leaving my local curriculum store, I was almost ill! I was only looking for a geography worksheet book, but as I walked around I saw the language arts section. It broke my heart to see how language and writing instruction have been reduced to their smallest parts. There were books on composition, making analogies, poetry, how to write a narration, ad nauseum. Being there reminded me that I am now a Brave-Writer mom. If I were not, I would have been shopping for some of those books, either at that store or online. I am resolved to be a mom who nurtures a love of language and self-expression in her children, not a mom who will try to stifle the creative process with a stack of language arts books.


The sad reality for me is I do not have to go to a store to see shelves full of writing and grammar curricula. A peek under my bed revealing two banker’s boxes full of the stuff causes a horrible sinking feeling within the pit of my stomach. $Cha-ching$. Oh, how the writing experts caught me with all the glitter, gizmos, and gimmicks. Brave Writer set us free from worksheets, upfront essay formats, correcting as we write; and dull and dreary driblets of properly squared paragraphs. My family embarked on a new journey where ink or crayon dance across paper–laughing, singing, playing. My reluctant teenage ds tells tales of adventure, dragons, perseverance, and good vs. evil. Dd spins stories of warrior queens on worldwide quests to save the king: a quest where many characters from mythology, the Bible, and Lang’s Fairy Tales appear throughout.

Way in the back of my mind over the years, I knew copywork and dictation were best for my children, but listened to the masses. I ‘ve found a perfect combination of materials based on NCDS: narration, copywork, dictation, and sentence structure.

I’ve fallen in love with writing all over again as I learn how to properly “show” the dc how to write, and no longer demanding that they write how I “tell” or teach the subject.

Hi Michelle,

I wanted to add that I feel this way about almost every subject. We use a simple approach for our homeschool – math followed by college-level science, reading from a challenging list, writing which includes vocabulary study, copywork, and dictation. Julie’s ideas have given us numerous ways to interact with the books we are reading, and her writing method has freed us from textbooks, workbooks and curriculum for that subject.

I recently sorted through all of my homeschool materials and asked that all important question, “Will we ever use this?” The result – one small resource shelf.

Our goal at Brave Writer is to nurture a natural and innovative approach to language arts and writing. Be sure to check out our archives here on the blog as well as the Scratch Pad forums for loads of free support and creative ideas!

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