Author Archive

Learning How to Think

Raising Critical Thinkers

Knowing what to think is not the same as knowing how to think.

What parent doesn’t want to give their kids a shortcut to a safe, meaningful, values-driven life?

I do!

The biggest temptation we face is what I call the “Parental Propaganda Program.” We have the belief that we’ve figured out how to live correctly. All we have to do is teach our kids what to think.

We tell them “sleeping eight hours makes you less cranky” and “eating vegetables matters” and “standing for this belief is essential.”

Teaching kids what to think short-circuits their ability to think well for themselves. They learn that someone else has the answers for them and to trust an authority figure more than their own research.

You may feel good about being that source of authority in your child’s life. After all, you’re that figure…for now. What about when they’re teens? Who will they select to tell them the one right path/answer? I’m here to tell you—many of them choose a slightly older teenager!

Learning How to Think

What happens if we put learning “how to think” first? It means taking a child’s dissent (or challenges) seriously. It means setting aside your preconceptions.

“I hate vegetables” becomes an opportunity. You support your child doing their own research, to honor their experiences.

Kids discover that their experiences drive meaningful questions that deserve to be asked (not automatically answered).

The choice to hold back our “better answers” is challenging for us!

And yet, parents often parrot information they’ve learned from an authority without thinking it through themselves.

I might ask myself:

  • Why do I assume vegetables are important?
  • What ways did people get nourished before supermarkets and year-round produce?
  • What else can I learn with my child about this subject?

Learning how to think protects a child from cults, peer pressure, and bullying others.

Raising Critical Thinkers

Brave Writer Boot Camp! 

Brave Writer

Learn the Brave Writer method by doing it. 

Yes! Our writing coach plus YOU and your child (ages 9-14) work together in Brave Writer 101: Guided Writing Process.

Curious what this online course entails? The whole writing process, start to finish!

Week One: Communication

Share the needs and challenges that you and your child have over writing and get individualized help from your coach. Next, you and your kids play a game to learn about how writers communicate. 

“[My son] loves this. He said it really helped him see how important details are.” —Parent Laura

Week Two: Observation

Wish your kids would generate deeper insights? More vivid descriptions? Feel like they have no fuel for writing? We practice finding things to say and putting them into words on the page.

“I am seeing some happiness around observing, and selecting words which is great!” —Parent Fabienne

Week Three: Freewriting

We introduce a magical process that liberates so many kids. Freewriting puts your kids in the driver’s seat. This week shocks so many parents: wow, my kid is WRITING

“We’d agreed that he’d write for five minutes – but I didn’t see him again for over twenty.” —Parent Sonja

Week Four: Freewriting and Feedback for Revision

The writing process gets tense for parents when feedback is warranted. Watch our writing coach approach your child’s writing with constructive advice and gentle encouragement.

“By the end of Week Four… it became the first thing she wanted to do every day…” —Parent Jennifer

Week Five: Revision

Learn how to revise by doing it—with our help. We cover different ways you and your child can improve a piece of writing of their choice. Without any tears!

“Our instructor was a terrific model to me on how to lavish my writer with feedback and how to ask excellent questions to help draw my writer out.” —Parent Allison

Week Six: Editing

The final polish-up! We started with raw communication (the essence of writing!) and we’ll finish with making that priceless jewel shine! 

“I didn’t get resistance on this exercise at all… [He] seemed to enjoy this type of editing.” —Parent Amanda

That’s it—the writing process! Don’t wait for the next writing opportunity. It’s time to get started with Brave Writer.

Brave Writer Online Classes

Podcast: Am I Doing Enough?

Brave Writer Podcast

I am recording some of my Tea with Julie emails for the podcast for those of you who prefer to listen. These are brief messages of support for parents and educators. If you’d like to receive the weekly emails, they are free. Sign up at

Have you ever felt anxious about homeschooling and worried that you’re not doing enough?

In this Brave Writer podcast episode, you’ll hear our advice on how to create a well-rounded learning experience for your kids and learn how even the least “schooly” moments can be opportunities for growth.

Join us as we explore the idea that every day counts and that it’s all enough!

Show Notes

Complete Tea with Julie notes can be found HERE.


Connect with Julie

Brave Writer Podcast

Jumpstart Creativity in 15 Minutes!

How can I get my kids to be more creative?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked that question.

(Yep, us too.)

Rather than the kids, what if creativity starts with us, the grown-ups? It’s not something we get our kids to do; it becomes something “in the air” of our home and family.

We can show you how to magically assist a creative habit in only 15 minutes a day!

Cultivating a Family Art Habit

Melissa Wiley returns to Brave Learner Home to share how to cultivate a family art habit.

If you know Melissa you know she bubbles over with creativity. Come learn from Melissa how you can make time and space and dive into creative pursuits!

Webinar: Cultivating a Family Art Habit with Melissa Wiley
Thursday, March 16 at 7:00 pm (Eastern)

All live attendees get a coaching session with me and Melissa this month!

And a replay will be made available to Brave Learner Home members.

Become a Brave Learner Home Member

Join Brave Learner Home and gain access to the largest home-educator resource library on the internet, including:

  • Live coaching sessions with me
  • First-class writing help from expert Brave Learner Home coaches
  • A Master Class library with over 80 topics
  • A unit studies library with 90 topics to pair with your literature
  • In-depth product training webinars
  • Member-exclusive Brave Writer discounts
  • Community discussion with homeschool families
  • and more!

You’ll find mentorship and make progress in educating and parenting your kids in Brave Learner Home.


Brave Learner Home

Are They Growing Enough?

Brave Writer

Home education doesn’t always show the fruit we want to see in a single year or even a handful of years. So, on those days when a child suddenly surprises you with an achievement or a good report, CELEBRATE!

Whether you homeschool or not, parents constantly evaluate how well their children are growing, how much they’re achieving.

There’s an inner insistence that kids live up to a parent’s imagined ideal—finished the textbook, scored a goal, prepared a piece for the piano recital.

Most of the time, however, our kids are just growing and growing and growing.

We wonder: are they growing enough?

Then all of a sudden: poof! A child will:

  • startle you with a joke told correctly,
  • perform a composition they made up on the keyboard,
  • show you the spotless kitchen they cleaned for you,
  • comfort a sibling in crisis,
  • take a shower without being asked,
  • or be named captain of the soccer team.

When you experience a surge of joy about your child, that’s the moment! Celebrate!

We call these moments “paydays.” All that work you put in goes without salary or job title. When your child surprises you with an achievement or obvious growth, that’s your payday!

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

Brave Learner Home