Taken Some of the Pressure Off
At Brave Writer, we know that there are lots of different kinds of writers out there just waiting to be known.
These writers come to us in many different shapes and forms. Whether writing fiction, nonfiction, or a genre that hasn’t been defined yet, there’s a place for all at Brave Writer!
Just as we engage both reluctant and prolific writers, we also come alongside parents, equipping them to coach their kids.
We’ve been offering online writing classes for over 20 years, introducing thousands of families to our unique approach.
How are we doing? Well, our families have stories to share!
Enjoy the first in this ongoing series where we share testimonies of some who’ve been transformed by their online class experience.
Brave Writer parent, Lydia, writes:
Tell us a bit about your student.
Discovery Poetry: Diego (10) was obsessed with the Middle Ages, knights and horses at the time. Isaac (8), was obsessed with Greek Mythology, Justus (6) was passionate about being silly (and still is!)
This past fall Diego (11) took Middle School Nonfiction and he was obsessed with Dinosaurs at the time.
We also took the Fairy Tale class and Isaac (7 or 8?) was very into fairy tales at the time.
Currently we are taking the Telling Tales Family class and the Diego 11, Isaac, 9, and Justus 7, are all very interested in the Middle East.
Diego is also interested/obsessed with the Wings of Fire series and a budding interest in coding. Isaac is all about mythical beasts and monsters (that is a forever lifelong passion) and Justus is still obsessed with being the class clown.
Tell us a bit about you.
This is our 3rd year homeschooling after 2 years in public school. I’m an eclectic, creative, flexible but routined homeschooler to 3 boys + a preschool girl. I love to read when I can find the time and I love any fun creative artsy thing. I love painting and DIY art projects. In fact, to be my happiest self, I need a creative outlet. I do love homeschooling because it offers room for lots of creativity! We are an Air Force family and move every few years (or sooner), so one of the hardest things can be finding community and a tribe. But homeschooling allows us the flexibility to explore locally and keep our learning consistent.
When your student entered our class, how would you describe your student as a writer? Were there ongoing writing challenges?
I’m going to focus on my oldest son, Diego and his experience with Middle School Writing, and my son Isaac’s experience with Poetry because I feel like there were the biggest light bulb moments and paydays.
Diego is a reluctant writer when told to write, but it’s also one of his strengths and comes naturally. When Diego started his Middle School Writing class, he was sure it would be terrible, hard, and impossible with a perfectionist attitude. The first week was hard, however, I learned that it wasn’t the actual work that was too hard, it was the overwhelm at seeing the week’s work all at once.
So instead of him looking at the assignments, I would read the week’s activities and suggest ideas of daily tasks and partner with him to get it done. Slowly, without the pressure of a seeing a weekly timeline, he was able to stay on track and complete each week’s assignment no problem. The teacher’s feedback was so encouraging to him, asking thoughtful questions to make him go deeper while also sincerely being interested in his thoughts.
He learned to go step by step, little by little, and free write in 5 minute intervals. Before he knew it, he had enough for his report! Diego was truly surprised he did it and was proud of all he accomplished! For him, it wasn’t the actual writing where he really struggled, but the overwhelm of a “big project” and an attitude of everything needing to be perfect the first try. But what he learned was it’s ok to just “do” rather than have it be perfect the first try…the “perfect” can come later after editing and revising.
When I signed up my family for the poetry class, Isaac, then 8, was struggling to read and write. He hated to even try writing and often refused because it was too hard. The first activity produced tears and discouragement because he thought he had to do it all on his own. However, we sat down together and I offered to jot things down. I asked questions to get him thinking and more questions to clarify. The first poem was based on a photograph so he just said words that popped into his mind while looking at his photo. I jotted them all down and when he was ready, we read through his list of words and he very thoughtfully chose which words to use and created beautiful phrases that then took on a life of its own and became his very first poem.
Susanne’s feedback to him completely changed his outlook on his ability. She told him she could tell that he cared about beautiful language and chose each word very carefully, a sign of a true writer. He beamed and took all that to heart and has been writing ever since and now wants to be a writer. He still struggles to read and write but they are no longer a barrier to his dream of becoming a storyteller. He now writes on his own even knowing there are many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but he knows he is a writer!
What prompted you to try a Brave Writer class?
Ever since I had heard of Brave Writer, I wanted to try a class. I mostly tried it to “check off” a style of writing I was not confident in (poetry)…but we’ve continued because I truly love how BW classes instill confidence in young writers while teaching them skills needed to grow as a writer.
What was your experience with the class?
I love how short and sweet the classes are! I don’t say that because I don’t love the classes, but I value that as a deep dive into writing, by the end of week 4, the kids and I are spent. It’s a great way to dive deep and then be done and celebrate. I think the teacher feedback is one of the most valuable components of the class — the encouragement, probing questions, suggestions are all amazing and sometimes, kids need that to come from someone other than mom. I also love the creative and open environment — there is a lot of room for freedom within each class and that they are encouraged to include their interests and passions within their writing is amazing. I think that is one reason why my children respond so well to this style of writing!
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve absolutely loved our BW class experiences. I appreciate how the classes have taken some of the pressure off of me to check the box of writing and it’s organized and totally doable! I love how much parents are encouraged to partner with their child in order to grow and succeed. If partnership wasn’t an option, I’m sure that Diego would have struggled and his final project wouldn’t have been as successful (even though I mostly partnered by suggesting a daily task rather than have him look at the schedule.) And I’m equally confident that without partnering with Isaac, and jotting things down for him, he might not have realized he CAN be a writer even while struggling to read, spell, and write.
Whether or not you are encouraging a child whose strength is LA or who is struggling, these classes are perfect for helping your child grow and feel successful! (Also, the video before the class began that gave hints and tips and tricks was BRILLIANT! I wish it had been there for my earlier 2 classes!)
I hope I didn’t blather on too much, but I truly love this program and love how I’ve seen my children gain confidence and a love for writing!