Collection of Happy Thoughts

I know, I know. Why has this blog been so dormant over the last year? Truth be told, in addition to some personal challenges, Brave Writer has been growing! My time and attention had to be turned to other pressing concerns, such as curriculum development (more on that soon, I promise!), website building, improving our online classroom, preparing for and traveling to three conventions in a month, speaking in various parts of the country for workshops, teaching classes myself and all the usual stuff that a kitchen-table-growing-like-gangbusters-into-a-grown-up-business experiences in year 11.

We are improving contact between you and me, and between you and, well, you, too! Here are a couple of ways we are making headway:

  • You can now chat with me via a live chat widget when you visit the website! This live chat function will be open when I’m online. I look fwd to being able to serve you all better, particularly our overseas customers who find the phone a difficult means of communication with me.
  • We are releasing a brand new discussion/message board for the Brave Writer community so that you have a place to talk about the Brave Writer Lifestyle. You can use it to get feedback from other moms and dads who are in the trenches helping their kids, just like you! I’ll pop in to answer questions as well.
  • We’ve just created a twitter identity as well as a facebook page to make it easier for me to send out short snippets of insight and writing support, rather than having to commit to an entire blog post every day. My hope is to update the blog once per week while using the other tools for daily support.
  • We’ve enabled podcasting for Brave Writer as well. Look for my convention workshops to be posted some time next week.

These are all ways I hope to enrich your experience of Brave Writer over the coming months.

In the meantime, listen to these happy thoughts shared by our fabulous families!

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your seminars. I’ve been homeschooling 22 years, and writing has been one of those things I’ve felt like I never did a good job teaching, because we never seemed to get around to doing any of the “curriculums” I purchased. The kids did write–they wrote what they wanted to write, or type, when they wanted to, so I knew they could write, sort of, but I always felt like I should be doing more. Your seminars reminded me that writing can be just as relaxed and part of our real lives as reading good books. Your ideas about the way to help children write are so much more in line w/ my way of homeschooling, than any of the canned programs I have, that I just felt a giant sigh of relief while listening to you. Thank-you. I feel like your seminars were worth the cost of the conference all by themselves. I purchased the Writing Jungle and read the first chapter that evening in my motel room and enjoyed it so much. I’m looking forward to making writing a part of our lives in a more relaxed and natural way.


Hi Julie!
I met you yesterday at your booth. My son, Luke, is currently in Jean Hall’s expository essay class and enjoying it immensely.

Here’s a little background about Luke (14) and my daughter, Kallan (12). We have been using another program for several years . We struggled quite a bit to get writing done. OK, we struggled a LOT. I believe the things the kids learned do a good job of helping them when they are editing, but the actual act of putting the pencil on the paper and writing something wasn’t happening. I was becoming very worried that my 8th grade son was not going to be ready for high school writing. I was also worried about my 12 year old dyslexic daughter who would not write, because she is self-conscious about her spelling.

I finally bought “The Writer’s Jungle” and proceeded to carry it and a highlighter around for several months. At the beginning of February, we curled up in front of our wood stove in Colorado and I read several of your descriptions of other attempts at freewriting. We discussed how it felt when we sat in front of a piece of paper. It was almost as if a wall would appear and absolutely no words would appear. Even I would have a problem and I love to write. After several years of the other program, I would even freeze. I set the timer for ten minutes and my daughter decided she would write about her new (and first) American Doll, I decided to write about airports (love them) and my son said he would just “write what comes into his head”.

Here is what came out of my gangly 6’1”, 14 year old who is constantly walking around with his nose in a book. I no longer worry about his creativity.

The page is as white as a dove, the plumage snowy white, the subtle wind currents lifting it above the clouds. Perhaps, it is like snow, the glistening water dripping like a faucet, or perhaps like a cloud floating below the stars. The incandescent stars and fluffy clouds matching together in a dance eons old. This is how I think of Blank Page Syndrome. The white abyss of a writer’s block, the paralyzing fear buffeting his brain. The fear of failing making him cry out in frustration. Needless to say, right now this writer has no qualms about such matters for his pencil is light, his mind active, his resolve solid. Blank Page Syndrome is like the Niagara Falls icing over. It’s luster gone, replaced with a blank wall of impenetrable ice. The reader may or may not have experienced this syndrome, but the writer has. This essay has been written in ten minutes and the writer is done. Now there is no more blank page.

This has not been revised other than a couple of periods, one misspelled word, and some capitalization. THANK YOU! They both see for the first time that writing can be fun!


Hey Julie,
I wanted to share something with you. My daughter and I attended the Cincy. convention this past weekend. We were coming from north of Dayton on Friday morning and were planning to attend two separate workshops at 10:30 – I thought! The workshops actually started at 10:00, not 10:30 and we encountered Cincinnati, morning traffic (we’re not used to that out in our boondocks area). So we arrived late. Once inside the convention center we sat down and tried to figure out our plan B for the day. I was planning on coming to your booth at some point. We’ve been using “Brave Writer Jungle” for about a year and a half, but I was feeling a lack of confidence in my ability to go forward.

Well, anyway, we both ended up coming to your workshop – and all I can say is “God was takin care of me that day!” You said exactly what we needed to hear – thank-you for being you. We came to your booth and one of the gals spent quite some time with me. We’re going to start using the Boomerang next year, but have already started to use some of the concepts in our school stuff this week.

I went back and read a blog that you had posted last year in January – I kept it in my emails because, again, it was what I needed to hear, and obviously what I needed to reread now. It was about homeschooling through grief. The last 5 years have been hard years for me – a lot of really sad stuff and some really great life moments. We’ve done: illness, graduation, college, death, marriage, a lot of change and a lot of emotion. Your blog helped me to realize that our family is still trying to get our gears re-machined, and forcing the issue can sometimes end up with a lot of overheating and smoke.

I just wanted to thank-you for doing what you do, to thank the people that help you do what you do, and to encourage you – you do make a difference.

Have a grand spring day!

These last two years have been intense ones for me personally and in the business. I’m grateful whenever I hear from you—sharing how your families are learning to write and love each other every day. Makes all of it worthwhile. You’re all doing brave, meaningful work. Brava to you and your dear families!


5 Responses to “Collection of Happy Thoughts”

  1. Pam says:

    Love the Facebook page and can’t wait for the podcasting and the new forums. And yay! for more blog posts.

  2. Mrs. H says:

    Yeah …. Podcasts! I wasn’t able to make it to all of your workshops in Cincy, I hope to catch them here.

    Mrs. H

  3. Kika says:

    I’d also like to give a shout out for the Jean’s recent Expository Essay class – my son, Jairus, was in the same class as Luke (from main post). It was a fabulous class – exactly what I was looking for. I wanted an essay writing class that would challenge Jairus to a higher level of maturity in his academic writing and not treat him like a baby (which we’d experienced with another online writing class – not Bravewriter). Not only was I pleased but he also liked the class which is a big deal.

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  5. Julie Bogart says:

    We do want to add video! It’s in the plans for the new year. Thanks!