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Podcast: Overturning Overwhelm

Brave Writer Podcast: Overturning Overwhelm

It’s a little thing: that one comment, the nudge in the acceptable direction, the calm and carefully-worded reminder. You had the right tone of voice, the best intentions, the least egregious expectation. And then your child flies off the handle anyway. The resistance, the tongue-lashing, the pushing past whatever small boundary you set—putting on shoes to go to Target, taking the bowl to the sink, not licking the jug of milk with his tongue, not making that scooching sound with his chair…

When we face resistance or challenge, it’s so easy to abandon ourselves and declare: I’m overwhelmed!

Today’s podcast episode is all about overturning that overwhelm and reclaiming our power—especially for women (though men are welcome to listen along).

Show Notes

Focusing on Empowerment & Agency

When you are homeschooling, you may become overwhelmed and confused — legitimately so! — and this is doubly true during a pandemic. We hear it ALL the time in Brave Writer, parents that write us saying, “I feel lost. I’m overwhelmed. I’m confused.” And then they ask for help.

It’s not as though our children tell us what they are confused about. The confusion is declared as a state of being—a chronic sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

And believe me, I get it! When your small children and teens are unhappy, an easier feeling to hold is “confusion” rather than the feeling of failing them.

So let’s pivot.

Let’s get away from these two disempowering terms and think instead about what’s missing from our lives when we declare overwhelm and confusion. Rather than addressing the big emotions of little people, I want to talk to you about your super powers of adulthood.

2020 Cyber Monday and Holiday Shoppe!

Brave Writer Cyber Monday Sale

We’re excited to introduce you to our amazing literature singles!

On November 30, Cyber Monday, you can buy one, get one free of any combination of Dart, Arrow, or Boomerang. That means one Dart + one Arrow, or two Boomerangs, or any combination! Good for one use per customer.

These literature singles teach literature and the mechanics of writing in one packet—one month at a time.


  • punctuation,
  • spelling,
  • grammar,
  • literary devices,
  • comprehension questions,
  • PLUS book club party ideas for your read aloud.

All are organized for you in a delight-based design and practice!

That’s what each Dart (8-10), Arrow (11-12), Boomerang (13-16) offers. Regular price: $9.95-$14.95. We’re excited to have you experience the Brave Writer way.

Sale runs from midnight to midnight on Monday, November 30. We have dozens of book titles to consider. Go take a look

Holiday Shoppe

Monday, November 30 will also be the opening of our annual Holiday Shoppe! It will provide you with gift ideas for holiday shopping and will be open through midnight EST Dec. 31, 2020.

Brave Writer Cyber Monday Sale

That Big Decision You Made

Certainly the quote above can apply to homeschool itself, but what about curriculum?

The dilemma is real. Trust your gut and ditch the program or product because your kids “hate” it, or keep going because you invested money and all your friends told you it was great so maybe it is…?

Try a third option.

Take it out of rotation this week. Read the instructions instead. Try the problems or activities yourself, away from the kids. Think about how to introduce the concepts or the activities without the book on the table. In fact, if you can do the practice or the process without announcing it, in front of your children, some may become curious about what you’re doing. There’s nothing more magnetic particularly for kids under 12, than doing what a grown-up is doing.

Before you ditch any program or curriculum:

  • adapt it,
  • test it,
  • get to know it,
  • invite feedback from your kids.

You could say, “I like the goals of this program but I wonder how we could do it so it’s not so annoying.” Give your children a meaningful chance to help you figure out what’s not working and what could be working.

It’s rarely the program that’s the problem. It’s often context, implementation, or a poor understanding of how to use the product. Even math books often come with teachers manuals that include creative ways to implement the lessons.

Park your kids in front of the TV and take an hour to get to know the program. Mull it over this week. Practice a little alone. Adapt it to your particular family. Try try again.

You can do this!

If it still brings tears and you hate it: good riddance! Sell on ebay, and move on. Your first “research and development” experience is complete.

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

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Growing a Mind

Growing a Mind

Brains adapt. We know this from the research. The plasticity of the brain means that we can shape how we use our minds. Our brains adapt to influences, experiences, and materials that we consume and enjoy (or fear).

To grow a mind suited to homeschooling, shape your child’s mind toward curiosity and insight. Their brains need lots and lots and lots of encounters with attractive opportunities to:

  • grow their skills,
  • test their ideas,
  • and explore this amazing world we call home.

Learning can be pleasurable and effective at the same time.

If you’re new to homeschooling, this is a paradigm shift (a brain chemistry change) for you too! Take it slow.


  • reading,
  • growing,
  • and adapting.

Your mind will join you on the journey.

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

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A Journey Through Curiosity

A Journey Through Curiosity

Imagine education differently: as a journey through curiosity.

It’s tempting to focus on making sure our children are curious, to see if they have interests. Do you expect them to develop passions and then hope you can parlay those into the 3 Rs or 6 subject school day? Lots of discussion in teaching theory focuses on the notion that a child’s interest can lead the way. And to a certain extent, it’s true.

Children are naturally curious about all kinds of things. But they are also human beings. And humans go through dry spells and boredom. They run out of their own creative or curious energy from time to time.

During those in between times, parents sometimes assume that the child is no longer a curious person. They worry that the child has important subjects to master but shows no interest in them. So they resort to coercing an education.

In those moments, your curiosity can become the focal point of your child’s education. As the chief role model of adulthood and learning, what fascinates you and draws your curiosity is irresistible to children. By attending to your own capacity to learn, you live a learning journey in front of your kids.

They see a model of what it looks like to go from no interest, to curiosity, to interest, to applying yourself to learn something new. And because the topic or hobby or subject is of interest to an adult, it immediately becomes valuable. Children are drawn to adult tools, adult hobbies, and adult interests because that makes those subjects, hobbies, and experiences cool.

  • If you want to quilt—get at it, in the middle of the day—not off stage, in your “free” time).
  • If you want to learn the constellations, add the Stargazer app to your phone and start sky-watching tonight.
  • Want to master algebra? Start your day with coffee and chapter one, working the problems, before read aloud time.
  • Wish you had a better literature education? Listen on Audible in the car or while making dinner. Watch the film versions.

The stuff you imagine makes a great education can be yours (and by extension, your kids’) if you lean into your own curiosity, now, while homeschooling.

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

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