Wise words to write by

wise words to write be

As mundane as it seems, the truth is that traditional powers that have slipped return to the top with the same principles and practices that made them great. The modern zest for personality contests, motivational speeches, fancy spread offenses or gimmick plays has little to do with the desired result.

Football is a game of leadership, ball security, field position and physical dominance. Positive team expectations are built by establishing deeply ingrained habits in each of those areas. Consistent winning is the product of positive expectation combined with those habits.

—Bill Curry

I feel especially tuned into football lately. (Just in case you didn’t know, I have other talents hidden from the view of most Brave Writer families – I won the Fantasy Football League trophy last year! Boo ya!)

Anyway, I saved this quote for an auspicious moment and here it is.

Let’s translate it for the homeschooling family:

As you look at last year, do you feel you’ve hit a wall and are looking for “a new offense” or a “gimmicky play” that will transform your days into that machine of homeschool efficiency that you admire in your best friend? Have you been sucked into thinking that a prettier school scheduler will make you more conscientious to keep your days recorded and your goals fulfilled?

But homeschooling is more about creating a context for nurturing, leadership, and emotional security; understanding what stage of development your child is in (field position), and intellectual prowess (aptitude to match the tasks set before the child). Positive outcomes are a result of not just positive expectations on the part of the parent, but on the part of the child. A child’s sense of progress comes from increasing competence in each skill-based area. These are the habits of education that you help cultivate through enthusiasm, routine, level-appropriate lessons and a lifestyle of emotional nurturing.

Consistent learning is the result of a happy environment, reasonable expectations, and habits that are not burdensome or tedious. For the Brave Writer family, homeschool is best evaluated in the following categories:

Developmental stage:

What level is your child? Forget age, forget grade level. Look at actual skills. Match the work to the skill level, even if it means slowing way down or moving back a couple of years. Conversely, work that is too easy for the child can be just as inhibiting and demotivating.

Positive environment:

What is the emotional temperature of your home? Are children free to share their real reactions, feelings and ideas? Can they openly state that they are bored, that their work is too hard, that they are too tired from a late night to concentrate? Likewise, do you bring a cheerful, realistic, supportive person to the table when you start the day? Are you undistracted and available to help, support and applaud the work that your kids do?


Which practices can you turn into habits that will support the natural growth in any given area? These habits don’t need to be iron-clad laws that suggest punishment more than reward. Rather, what kind of routine will give maximum opportunity for a child to cultivate the skills that will take him or her to the next level? Have you shared the benefits of the practices so that your child can see the point of the work and the direction he or she is pointed? Is there a way to validate growth? Is there a way to mix it up – habits that have a variety of applications so that the practice isn’t endlessly predictable and tedious?

Start here: See if you can look at your homeschool through a different set of eyes this week.

Freewriting Prompts

3 Responses to “Wise words to write by”

  1. Katie says:

    Great reminders, Julie! Thanks for perking us up for a new school year, coach!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I will keep them in mind as I spend the rest of this week school planning. I have two years left homeschooling my one son and three years left with the other son, and I want these few remaining years to count. I want us to finish with gusto. We have had such a busy summer and I’m a little weary. I never write, but want you to know that I love reading your blog. You are a great source of encouragement to me.


  3. Dale says:

    I was using the hour and a half I had to sit in the service department of the the car dealership today to continue planning for homeschooling this Fall. I had the Bravewrite Arrow Eval & Planning Tool for Writing with me as I always do when I’m at this stage in my planning. It always helps me look at my three kids (ages 9, 12, and 15) with fresh eyes and step-by-step figure out what I want to do with each of them during the coming year. And, once again, it was such a great resource!

    When I got home to my computer, I checked in with your blog and found this post. It reminded me again that all this preparation will be worth it once we start into the Fall fun. Thanks for your reminders and support about what is important to be focusing on.

    During this process, I’ve found myself wanting to re-read a post you once put on your blog about homeschooling through the seasons. If you have a moment, could point me to where it is in the archives?