Podcast: Why a Brave Writer Writing Class Works! with Kirsten Merryman

Brave Writer Podcast

Did you know that Brave Writer was the first online writing class instruction in the homeschool space? We have been pioneers and innovators in the writing space for over two decades, teaching over ten thousand students since then. 

Kirsten Merryman is the Director of Online Classes at Brave Writer. She’s responsible for hiring and training each of our 35 writing coaches to ensure that any student that registers with our program gets the same quality instruction no matter who is teaching.

Today on the Brave Writer podcast, Kirsten shares with us what makes the Brave Writer program so unique.

Show Notes

What makes writing so difficult to teach?

A parent is not going to spend money on a class unless they feel like it will help them in some way. For many homeschooling parents, writing can be one of the most difficult subjects to teach. What is it that makes it so difficult compared to other school subjects?

Part of what makes it so difficult is the complexity of it at an early age. There are the physical aspects of being able to hold a pencil and make shapes, the emotional aspect of putting thoughts onto the page, and the ability to think critically as a writer, as well as many more. With so much to address, how do you approach it all?

There’s also the baggage that parents bring into the homeschool classroom: How we were taught, how we feel about ourselves as writers, and struggling to feel qualified to teach writing to our kids.

We have good news about all of that: Our writing programs are going to take you along the same journey as your kids. No matter how skilled you feel as a writer, your kids can learn to grow as writers — and so can you!

Making sense of history

Brave Writer now features new history classes! Kids get the opportunity to evaluate historical texts and talk about historical events in our History Lab.

One thing to recognize about history is that it is always a story someone has decided to tell based on interpretations of facts. In History Lab, we peel things back and take a look at how historians make decisions about the stories they want to tell, as well as invite kids to come along and go through that experience themselves.

How we’re rethinking the essay

Most of us have been taught a traditional, five-paragraph essay structure. That structure is a tool that can be very helpful when learning how to build up an argument and support it. Unfortunately, the five-paragraph structure has been applied to practically every essay written in primary and secondary school. But at the university level, that’s not what professors are looking for.

The problem with this approach is that it severely limits our kids’ ability to make decisions. When given a set structure and being told “this is how you write an essay,” it becomes very limiting. At the college level, students are expected to make many independent decisions that they haven’t been trained to make.

Kids need to develop agency in order to do more decision-making in the writing process, and that’s what we try to do at Brave Writer. We start with writing voice, and only once that is developed do we begin to add structure. Kids can learn structure quickly, but it takes time to develop a voice and learn that you have something to say that’s worth saying.


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