Homeschool Alliance: February 2020

The Invisible Education

Family dysfunction has the power to sideline learning. Homeschoolers are not immune to the problems that all families face, and in fact, some grown homeschoolers have been public about challenges they faced growing up.

I get questions about all kinds of challenges to homeschool:

  • divorce
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • rage
  • alcoholism
  • chronic underemployment

Physical illness, mental health problems, financial problems, infidelity, divorce, and abuse can occur in all families, regardless of the way the children are educated.

An “invisible education” provides the backdrop, the context, for homeschooling, whether the emotional “weather” at home is positive or negative.

  • How do we learn to tell ourselves the truth about how our family is functioning?
  • Can we homeschool in some “right” way so we know we are doing enough to keep our kids safe and make them successful?
  • How do we manage any damage and move forward more positively? 

I’m eager to share with you ways you can enhance the nurturing and health of your family. Come spend time with us this month so we can help your unique situation.

Join us for the Homeschool Alliance webinar, “The Invisible Education,” at 7 pm, February 18, 2020.

Your children deserve parents who are well and able to give the gifts of presence and love.

The Homeschool Alliance

You are a One-Room Schoolhouse

You are a One-Room Schoolhouse

My kids are 9 years apart top to bottom. The idea that I could run five grade levels each day became a joke-on-me quickly. Certainly there are skills that are child-specific, but once I stopped thinking of pushing the rock up the hill called “individual work” and thought about my crew as a unit, my life got easier and theirs got happier.

Here are three ideas to help you one-room schoolhouse it.

Same Topic, Different Levels

Why study five different historic periods or five different science concepts or five different grammar terms? Everyone can learn about fingerprints or the red-tailed hawk or Colonial America or the Lakota Nation or adjectives at the same time.

Sure, your older kids will bring more detail to the table (though your curious youngsters may surprise everyone), but the littles also bring down the house with giggles. The connections they make are off-beat, charming, or super silly—refreshing the cool elders. Each kid can do a project scaled to that child’s skill, but all on same topic.

Same Skill, Different Levels

We had math time (everyone working on math at once). If a child needed extra help, I focused on that child while others worked individually but as a group (same time of day, same table). If my littlest ones were too small to “do” math, they had blocks or games or puzzles reserved for math time. Same for handwriting/copywork.

One Project, All Contribute

Pick a project: building a small medieval town, or writing a year-end family newsletter, or hosting poetry teatime. Each child can help—scaled to skill. Final project is a combination of everyone’s efforts.

For the village, big kids build it, little kids add decorations. For a letter, youngest kids contribute drawings while older kids write the content. For a party—you know who can bake, set the table, arrange flowers and books. Enter in together.

Some independence is good too—especially as kids start to become teens. But any time YOU feel frazzled, the best way to reset the dial is to come TOGETHER again—even going to the zoo or flipping through Netflix or making crafts.

Happy Home Educating One Big Family!


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner

Friday Freewrite: Be Kind

If the words “be kind” were visible to people as they went about their day do you think it would help them be more kind? Would it help you? Share why or why not.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.


Celebrating 20 Years of Brave Writers

Brave Writer Podcast

Brave Writer just turned 20 and we’re kicking off a NEW podcast season! 

Our goal in the upcoming episodes is to focus on your questions, both the questions you’ve been asking Julie throughout this podcasting journey and the questions you haven’t asked yet. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook groups — wherever you have the opportunity to reach out, please send a message to Julie about what you’d like to learn during season six of Brave Writer.

To celebrate, we also will have a slew of wonderful offers throughout the year. You will find all of these deals in our newsletter, which you can sign up for at this link.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

There must be some enchanted magic to the triad of 20s greeting Brave Writer in this new year. January 2020 is Brave Writer’s 20th anniversary—my little idea that could, which launched itself into the worldwide web at the dawn of the new millennium.

Brave Writer is not the story of an entrepreneur in search of a good idea. Oddly, Brave Writer IS the good idea — creating conditions for children to experience writing as pleasurable, as sourced in their ideas, vocabulary, and passions. My heart from the beginning was to alter the story people tell about writing: that it’s difficult, that it’s a requirement so you’d better get to it, that it’s a skill primarily, that the accuracy of your grammar usage and spelling skills define the quality of your ideas. 

Instead, I wanted parents and kids to discover that the writer lives within and that writer is best accessed through play, interest, collaboration, help, and kindness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Boomerang Book Club: February 2020

Boomerang Book Club

Looking for a great read for teens that is filled with potential for insightful Big Juicy Conversations? Look no further than Brave Writer’s online Boomerang Book Club!


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


February’s selection (for ages 13-18): Unbound: A Novel in VerseAnn E. Burg. Scholastic Press, 2018. 352 pages.

Grace, a 9-year-old enslaved girl is sent to work in the Big House. Her mother warns her to keep her head down. Witnessing the heartlessness and hatefulness of the Master and Missus first-hand, it is increasingly difficult for strong-willed Grace to hold her tongue. A terrible chain of events is set off when Grace lets out the thoughts she has been holding inside. Grace’s story introduces readers to a little-known chapter in American history—the story of enslaved people who sought freedom in the Great Dismal Swamp, a region spanning the boards of Virginia and North Carolina.

Purchase the novel here.

Brave Writer book clubs provide thought-provoking questions, engagement with one of our talented writing coaches, and a safe place to have interactions online about a common interest: books!

Join us!

Boomerang Book Club