“I couldn’t be happier with the path you’ve shown me”
I travel for my work as a journalist, and for years have dragged my “students” around the country with me, homeschooling in hotel rooms, newsrooms, airports…and always feeling like we aren’t doing enough. I have never written on homeschool blogs and such, but I just have to write to you to say how much your advice has meant to me.I’m a long time homeschooler who struggled with my son in writing for the entire 10 years I homeschooled him. Then he went to the public school for the last two years in high school, and even though he had barely written anything that I’d tried to force him to write, the teachers loved his writing. Just like you say, he quickly improved his mechanics. The English teacher told me his writing stood out from all the other students because he had something to say. They told me his writing was “fresh” and “deep”, unlike the usual writing they got from their students. Talk about waiting to exhale. I let out a huge EXHALE.
Now, I have another young child coming up, a storytelling daughter. And I’m so glad I’ve now found you. After seeing how my son was using the Brave Writer method on ME all those years (by forcing me to leave him alone and just read and tell stories instead of writing a lot of essays and book reports), I’m now enthusiastically following your ideas with my little girl. We started with freewriting and now she is writing a few paragraphs every day in the world’s longest ongoing tale. She is in 3rd grade so I do nothing more than ask questions about the characters, show enthusiasm to hear the next adventure, and ask her to read it to me over and over again. We love your book suggestions, copy work, and your writing projects. She loved the map thing with Nim’s Island and now makes maps (and list of creatures that should live in that place) for just about every story we read.
And the best sign of progress on my part? She spent a week being watched by another homeschool family and the teenage boy in the family went into her story and put editing marks all over it, trying to help her fix the spelling and punctuation. My heart was broken! He thought he was helping but I told her, “I’m so sorry he wrote all over your story. I loved it just the way it was.” To think that it used to be ME writing all over my son’s stories. He has left home now so I called him to apologize. And the boy who wouldn’t write? Well, he hasn’t even gone to college yet and at 18 years old he is already working in a television newsroom and even writing news copy–self taught. And to think of all the book reports I never did get out of him. (Although now that he chose journalism, I’m homeschooling him in an entirely new way… via Skype. He sends me his news scripts and now I’m being more Brave Writer-like when I give him professional feedback.)
You have changed our lives. My daughter and I talk about you like you live in our house. Julie says this…Julie had this idea…on and on. THANK YOU! Other newer homeschool moms ask me for advice about writing “curriculums” and I try to talk them out of it. I tell them about Brave Writer. They rarely listen because they really want a curriculum, worksheets, book reports, lots of assignments. They just aren’t ready to hear it yet. But I couldn’t be happier with the path you’ve shown me. I know what you suggest is spot on because of what “accidentally” happened with my son all those years ago. Now, I’m so happy that Sophie and I are on this journey with you. Welcome to the family.