“Bringing such joy”


Dear Julie,

First, let me say how positively evangelical I am about your Brave Writer lifestyle. My eldest son was definitely a ‘reluctant writer’ when I pulled him out of school. He read voraciously, and could talk to me about all kinds of topics (particularly those he was obsessed with) but when I ever asked him to write anything down, he would barely write a sentence. Getting him to complete worksheets was painful.

I noticed Brave Writer mentioned on another homeschooling mum’s blog, and I thought it sounded ideal for Marcus. Within perhaps six months of buying The Writer’s Jungle, and putting it into practice, he was regularly freewriting and we were all enjoying our weekly Poetry Teatimes. I think I sent you a photo from one of the first teatimes.

Marcus also learned the value of writing drafts, and of revising and expanding before he ended up with a finished product that he could publish. We spent about three weeks working on his first blog post, and after that he posted frequently. Sadly, he used Posterous, which has now folded, but at least we printed out his blog posts before we lost the website. He’s started a new blog on WordPress but it only has a few posts as yet.

Marcus has come so far that he now considers ‘author’ to be one of his career choices. This is amazing, considering he used to tell me that he didn’t know why he should learn to write.

We are currently taking one of your online courses, with the wonderful Jeannette Hall. Marcus (11) and his brother Paolo (9) are enjoying reading and appreciating the Just So Stories and have started to work out the elements that will go into their own story. I read these myself when I was a child, but not since. I have found great pleasure in sharing the stories with my boys.

Perhaps the best effect in our family has been on the two younger children. Amber (now 2 1/2) has grown up having Poetry Teatimes every week. I think she was under 1 year old when we started. She has her own book of nursery rhymes and she will not be missed out: she insists that I read from her book every teatime. Conor (5) started off asking me to read from his book of poems, but now reads them for himself. He loves Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. We borrowed this book from the library so much, that I bought him a copy of his own, for his birthday. The first poem he read out loud, for himself, was this haiku:

If this puddle could
talk, I think it would tell me
to splash my sister

Thanks so much for bringing such joy into our homeschooling and family life. (I also subscribe to your Facebook feed and I really appreciate the parenting posts too.)

Best wishes,


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