Archive for the ‘Brave Writer Philosophy’ Category

Thankful for You!

Julie Bogart

These last two years have been an odd emotional starvation. We’ve missed our people. And as we miss them, we’ve been trained to be a little afraid of them too. We’re bracing ourselves for arguments about vaccines or politics. We’re worried about the random jab or the pop quiz.

While we need each other, we are learning how to be with one another again.

Most Thanksgivings, I’ve shared an annual message that sees you—the you that works so hard to make the world better through the energy and sincere efforts you make. You can read it again here.

Today, though, I have a different message. Keep reading.


Let the rope go slack

In the last two years, not a single person on the planet escaped the traumatic impact of the pandemic.

Unlike a car accident, where you can draw support from your friend who was not in the accident with you, the pandemic was global. There’s nowhere to turn for support from a person not impacted.

The re-entry into “life as usual” feels tinny—off, not quite right—because there’s no one to show us the way.

Trauma—of a global scale.

To combat the feelings of being out of control and vulnerable, we arm ourselves with plans. We prepare a feast and decorate the table and invite our loved ones in. Or we pack up the goodies and make the journey to see the people we love who we haven’t hugged in a while.

We go into the season doubling down on happy—willing it into being by our sheer force of will. 

We expect a return to normal—to find it’s vanished.

Someone is rude.

Someone has a strong opinion and imposes it.

Reticence to hug or defiance in the face of the reticence send new signals—lines drawn about who is safe and who isn’t and what that means about their politics, loyalty, and spirituality.

Preparation can’t save us. The carefully planned holiday, the soldiering on now papers over the new reality.

We can’t escape that we are vulnerable and life is fragile and we don’t know the way on.

To each of you holding space for the memory of a carefree holiday, I honor you.

Each dish you prepare, each candle you light is a faith-based affirmation that we have come through the worst and can find our footing again.

When the inevitable effects of trauma sweep their way into your space—the careless word, the overbearing opinion, the debate about safety—it’s okay to feel it. 

  • And then, we can serve pie.
  • We can play with the babies.
  • We can look through a window at the fallen leaves and a bright red cardinal on a tree.
  • We can take long, slow breaths, grateful we can rely on our lungs once again.

We can yield to whatever this holiday is as one step back on the path to our formerly taken-for-granted lives.

We can let the rope go slack.

Thank you for wanting a good life for and with your family.

This Thanksgiving, that’s enough.

It may be realized this year, it may be the next. No matter what, we’re back on the path together—all of us—in every corner of planet Earth, looking for happiness and connection and peace.

You are not alone. We’ll find it together one day at a time.

Thriving over Striving

Brave Writer

It’s not hard to inspire children. They thrive under a certain condition. The condition is as follows: Admire your kids. It’s really that simple.

Your children want you to love them, sure. But they especially want you to know them for who they are.

  • They thrive when you admire their competence.
  • They strive when you praise their achievements.

Let’s pick thriving over striving.

Here are some examples.

There’s a difference between “Good job” and “You kept me in suspense in that opening line. I couldn’t wait to read more.”

They feel capable when you say: “Your gentleness after I lost my cool helped me get back on my feet.”

They feel known when you say: “It must have taken you a lot of thought to decide you didn’t want to play that sport any more.”

They feel pleased with themselves when you offer an encouraging nod or wink privately.

They want to know that when you look at the composite picture of who they are, you see someone who is making it—someone who has what it takes to arrive on the shores of adulthood, ready to tackle whatever comes their way.

Admire your kids. Notice their inherent worth and competence. Express that admiration in concrete terms. Do for them what you wish your parents had done for you.

It’s that simple, yes.

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

Delight-Based Learning

Delight-Based Learning

Enchantment is delight-based. Knowing what brings that delight is the result of getting to know your children.

Lots of times parents tell me they created this magical setting (candles and cookies) and the child STILL resisted the lesson. In those moments, ask yourself if you were using candles and cookies to get your child to do X or Y.

True enchantment supports the environment. So if the child resists math, just adding candy or stickers doesn’t necessarily make it more meaningful for the child. What would make math more meaningful would be attending to what the child needs.

  • Some kids simply need a collaborator: you!
  • Some kids may enjoy being cuddled by a blanket.
  • Some need you to make the math itself more relevant.

The goal of enchantment in learning is to whet the appetite so your child will want to out forth the effort it takes to learn. If the child continues to resist, that simply means you haven’t found that sweet spot yet.

Go back to talking with your child, identifying the pain point first. Once a child feels heard and supported, adding a little whimsy goes a long way.

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

Focus on Meaning

Focus on Meaning

Brave Writer is different from other writing programs because we use a contextualized approach to:

  • literature,
  • grammar,
  • and mechanics instruction.

Rather than a linear-sequential approach, we focus on meaning-making (how children internalize what they are learning, rather than merely being exposed to material and tested on it).

The Arrow is a literature-rich program that allows parents and children to learn about the mechanics of writing as well as grammar and literary devices. These are taught through the literature and lead to depth of understanding and personal insight.

If you begin with the Arrow, you will cover a wide variety of grammar and writing mechanics concepts this year. Your child will experience great literature. You will discover how to connect to your learner.

To add a writing component, take it one thing at a time. If your child is needing help learning to put pen to paper and gain confidence, I recommend either:

If you feel comfortable with the writing process, start with Jot it Down or Partnership Writing to add what we call writing projects (writing assignments). These are month-long excursions into writing that result in a completed work (poem, report, letter, etc.).

Arrows and Boomerangs

A Different Kind of Learning

A Different Kind of Learning

Here at Brave Writer, we work hard to hear our parents and to make the programs accessible and useful to you.

This year, we’ve even added lifetime membership to the Brave Learner Home when you purchase a bundle (or take our classes). We will be a part of walking you through your programs that you use. We’ve added skills trackers and even planning tools.

What I’ve found in my time talking with customers over the last 20 years is that they are sometimes nervous about a program that asks them to read. They make a purchase and stop short of reading the program. They want the program to be “self-teaching” in a way. That they can open it and discover the instructions while standing next to their kids at the table. A “fill in a blank” or answering a single question or following specific criteria kind of writing assignment.

Brave Writer is not designed that way because that’s not optimal for writing growth—the kind of writing that

  • has power,
  • connects to a reader,
  • and is enjoyable to read.

The Writer’s Jungle is meant to be read with a lemonade in one hand and a highlighter in the other. I seek your conversion to a new way of thinking about writing. There are activities to do in each chapter, but there is information to read first. The primary guidance for implementation is simply: read the chapter, do what’s in it.

The Dart or Arrow—same thing. Read the guidelines, then try one book, one week and see how it goes. Learn to have natural conversations about grammar and mechanics rather than chugging through worksheets.

It’s a different style of learning and education. It does take parental investment. We want to help you experience the shift. If you connect to my work in video and podcasting, you can have confidence that what we have built follows those principles. But it may take a leap of faith to experience it for yourself.

Hope that helps! You can always reach out to us at with specific program questions.

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

Brave Writer Language Arts Programs