Archive for the ‘Help for High School’ Category

Make Learning Stick: High School and College Prep Writers

Brave Writer Bundles

Your high schoolers are ready for risks and adventures! You know, like D R I V I N G!

But they also like to entertain risky thoughts and go on literary adventures. Your hope is that all this education you are giving them will stick! You want them ready for college (if they go) and beyond! But maybe you’re overwhelmed with how to plan for high school! (It’s the homeschool Big Leagues, after all!).

To that end, Brave Writer has programs designed to give:

  • your teens the best experiences in reading and writing they could ask for
  • you, the support and training you need

No more:

  • dusty old books 
  • boring examination of themes
  • tedious exercises in grammar
  • predictable writing exercises
  • red pen critiques that don’t improve the writing

With Brave Writer, we help teens:

  • deep dive into making powerful associations between what they read and the social, historical, and cultural contexts of the literature we teach
  • discover the role grammar plays to add power and insight to literature
  • develop their own writing voices
  • draw out ideas of their own as they write reflection pieces
  • discern credible research from poppycock
  • determine what sort of writing form matches the aim of the writing task

We do all of this and more in our High School and College Prep Bundles.

Both bundles include Help for High School (you only need to buy HHS once no matter how many kids you have).

  • The High School Writers bundle uses our Boomerang Literature program.
  • The College Prep Writers bundle uses our Slingshot Literature program.

Learn moreHigh School Writers and College Prep Writers Bundles

We’d love to have you along for the ride this year! It’s not too late to start!

I can’t wait to hear all the great stuff your teens learn through our program.

Brave Writer Bundles

If you’re looking for some additional support, check out our online classes for teens. We teach how to write essays and fiction, as well as how to analyze movies and books using the tools of literary criticism!

Psst: Do you have new-to-Brave-Writer friends? You can get a discount for them and for yourself using our Refer-a-Friend program!

Brave Writer Bundles

How to Research a Topic Online

Online Research

We taught our kids to tie their shoes by tying them for years in front of them, then with explicit teaching and supervision.

We taught them to load the dishwasher, brush their teeth, run a load of laundry, and buckle up in the car the same way.

When it’s time to learn how to research a topic for writing, you can use the same tactics!

  • Model what it looks like to do an online search.
  • Show them how criteria changes the search results.
  • Discuss how to differentiate reliable and unreliable sources.
  • Look at viewpoints in conflict with each other.
  • Discuss the key ideas that each source wants to convey.

Each of the search ideas below shift the focus slightly to seek and include more data from a variety of sources.

Search Terms

  • [topic] data
  • [topic] experts
  • [topic] interview
  • [topic] vocabulary
  • [topic] eyewitness
  • [topic] controversy

Try this exercise even if you aren’t working on a writing assignment. The practice of conducting these searches, even with topics like “Yu-Gi-Oh cards” or  “swimming” or the “Olympics” will call up controversy and aspects of the topic you and your kids have never considered.

See what you find!

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

The Original Chat Room

Teens write every day. On their phones! In texts, social media, and chat rooms, they freely express their opinions and ideas.

Time to level up: academic writing is the original chat room! 

Higher education is all about making those opinions precise and well supported. Just with a more narrow set of rules.

We want to show students how to

  • navigate difficult topics 
  • avoid ranting, emotional language 
  • use research and logic to make their points
  • understand someone else’s opinion
  • disagree respectfully, without resorting to personal attacks

These skills are essential to the academic enterprise and to all communication!

Need more help?

Brave Writer’s Essay Prep: Research and Citation teaches your kids how to find reliable, essay-worthy information on the Internet. We also tackle the nitty-gritty when it comes to current expectations on how to format an essay and cite sources.

Students will:

  • keenly observe and examine an idea 
  • use inquiry as the basis for writing
  • research with search engines and local library databases
  • evaluate the credibility of a source
  • take efficient notes
  • summarize, quote, and paraphrase 
  • plan and write a research project
  • cite sources using MLA format

Rescue your kids from hours of fruitless Internet research and let us teach them tools to find reliable information quickly. Register for Essay Prep: Research and Citation today!

Essay Prep: Research and Citation

Transitioning from Homeschool to Public High School

Transitioning from Homeschool to High School

We’ve decided to send our homeschooled teen to public high school. Help!

Enjoy the transition if you can. Buy football tickets and go to games this fall. Meet the teachers. Make sure you attend back to school night. Test the lockers and make sure your teen knows how to open and close them, lock and unlock them before school starts. Get new clothes or shoes. Focus on the adventure of school, not on what wasn’t learned at home.

Don’t feel you have to cram. Freshman English will teach the essay again to everyone. Let your child look forward to school and be confident that he or she has been well educated at home. If there are struggles, get help then.

My daughter struggled mightily with algebra at the local high school. I met with the instructor and he gave me a plan to help her and she implemented the plan and wound up catching up in a semester and sailed through math the rest of the year.

Jacob was behind in band (saxophone) and same thing: once he was in that environment, he caught up because he was in that environment and wanted to.

School exerts a kind of pressure that can be healthy when your kids aren’t burned out and have not been in the system.

On the flip side, I thought Jacob was not a strong writer like his sister and brother had been. I put him in regular English and was called into the school to move him into Honor’s English. I was floored. They told me he was advanced. I didn’t know.

So try not to pre-judge the experience.

Good luck and enjoy!

Memories from a Good Public School

Keeping Enchantment Alive in High School

Keeping Enchantment Alive in High School

by Stephanie Elms

Homeschooling high school has been one of my favorite parts of our homeschool journey. It has been such a fascinating (albeit nerve-wracking!) process to watch each of my boys come into their own.

So how do you keep enchantment alive in high school?

You do your best to get curious and excited about seeing how this will all unfold for your kids, rather than feeling like it is test you are going to pass or fail.

The trick is trusting yourself and what you know about how your kids learn best, resisting the urge to make high school focused too narrowly on checking off boxes on a transcript (which is where enchantment goes to die!) Yes, all those traditional high school requirements get thrown into the mix, but remind yourself that you have a lot more flexibility than you might think.

What is going to stand out on your teen’s transcript is not all the things that they did in high school that look exactly like what every other high school kid has done, but rather their deep dives into their interests. And it is those deep dives which will be what reveals the best path forward for them as well.

When Jason, my oldest, was applying to liberal arts universities as a history major, they were much more interested in the variety of history (many of them independent study credits) and other humanities credits he had than whether he had completed three high school lab sciences (he only had completed one.)

My youngest son, Kyle, is less traditionally academic. It has been his deep exploration in and excitement about photography that is guiding us to a clearer picture of what he wants to do after graduation which, in turn, is providing the motivation for him to work on his weaker academic areas.

I made a conscious decision early on to do what made the most sense for my kids at that moment, rather than worrying too much about some nebulous “they might need this later” worry (or at least tried to do my best to balance the two, often opposing, pressures.) My approach was to take the “next right step” and trust that we always had a path forward, even if we had not completely figured it out yet.

At times this approach has meant that we made choices which “closed doors” for them. Interestingly, it has often been these choices that pointed us to alternative paths that worked extremely well. Jason never took the SAT because at the time it just did not make sense for him. This decision meant that he started at community college before transferring to a four year university as a sophomore. This path turned out to be a perfect transition in many ways from our more relaxed homeschool to a more formal traditional classroom.

I also focused on finding schools that would value and appreciate my teen’s less traditional high school experiences rather than trying to change them to fit a particular college’s requirements. It is okay, and indeed preferable, to honor who your child is instead of trying to mold them into who you think college admissions people want them to be.

If you can hang onto your curiosity and excitement about watching your teen come into their own and approach high school as a journey you get to share with them as you both figure it out, the high school years can indeed be full of enchantment and discovery.

Stephanie Elms has homeschooled her two boys for ten+ years and is a coach for Brave Writer’s The Homeschool Alliance. She blogs at Throwing Marshmallows.