Flip the Script!
A mother of ten called me to ask about writing. She had never heard of Brave Writer until a friend of hers shared about it enthusiastically. She wondered how it compared to her favorite writing program and why she should consider switching.
We had a great conversation. One of the issues that emerged in the phone call struck me as worth sharing here.
I want to say it to everyone.
It’s okay to use more than one writing program.
As you gain confidence in your home education abilities, what you’ll find is that it is your philosophy of learning and education that governs how you use any material you bring to your children. The curriculum will no longer be in charge. You will be.
So this mom shared how she used to be a slave to the rubric of the writing program she loved. Then one day her college-aged son told her that he had discovered in college that there was more to writing than formats or structure.
It was a moment for her. It changed how she saw writing. The next thing you know, she felt less worried about the rubric. When her next child wrote, she was okay with a few flaws in the final product and was more interested in the process that produced the paragraph.
As we chatted more, it became apparent that she had evolved a lot as a home educator in all these years. She is comfortable in her own skin, she feels free to switch things up for a change of pace to keep her own interest in homeschooling burning, she feels curious to try Brave Writer because she’s excited to have another set of tools to play with.
This is how it ought to be for all of us. It takes time to get there. You cling to the books and programs you trust at the front end of home education. But as it goes along, you evolve, you discover that you have opinions, you have children reporting their opinions, and you realize that YOU are in charge of how your kids move forward (not a book, not a theory, not a program).
Feel free to add other voices to your writing instruction. I’m one. But there are so many good ones out there! I recommend many of them in The Writer’s Jungle—the ones who’ve completely changed my life and my writing.
I always recommend reading published writers who write about writing. They’re usually hilarious and smart, cynical in all those delicious ways, and uniquely sympathetic to the struggle to confront a blank screen. You might also:
- Join a writing support group.
- Take a poetry class at the local community college.
- Put your kids in the library poetry slam group!
- Act out a scene of Shakespeare as a family, to ingest the language and amazing number of metaphors.
- Buy a book of writing prompts and use those for your freewrites.
- Learn to draw instead of write. Those processes are so similar in how they work with your brain, you’ll find that one informs the other and vice versa.
- Read fan fiction. Write it!
Writing is so big. It’s much bigger than a book that tells you how to write an essay.
And remember: essay writing lasts for 8 years of your child’s life (9th grade through senior in college). If your kids go on to get an MA in the social science or humanities, it will go on a little longer. If he or she goes on to be a Ph.D., that means they like writing.
But for the rest of us, the shelf life of an essay in anyone’s life is two terms of a presidency. That’s it!
But writing—all the kinds we do all our lives—goes on for good! Get into it. Add new colors to your homeschool instruction. Don’t worry about “purity” of philosophy. Try stuff, see how it feels, keep what works, chuck what doesn’t.
Flip the script—see what’s on the back of the page.