Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Learn As You Go

Brave Writer Learn As You Go

There’s no expiration date on an education.

Lifelong learning means you keep learning for your entire life.

Remember: you don’t have to squeeze it all in by 18. Leave some treasures to be discovered in adulthood.

I didn’t read Jane Austen until my 30s. What a treat! Not ruined by some English class before I was ready to enjoy her wit and insight.

The world has so much beauty and endless riches.

Your job as your children’s educational guide is to make some introductions and whet their appetites.

College is not only valuable at 18. In fact, it can be well argued that starting university at 20 or later is more beneficial to lots of kids (if at all)!

Learn as you go.

Take the byways.

Trust the process.

There are no educational emergencies. One day, one book, one idea, one experience at a time.

You’re never too late. You’re right on time.

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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Learning in the Wild: Take Grammar and Literature Outside!

Brave Writer

When it comes to writing, interacting with abstract concepts through physical activity and play is educational gold!

  • Go on a letter or word hunt using the signs at a local park. 
  • Enjoy a bookish Big Juicy Conversation during a walk through the woods or city streets.
  • Move and groove in the playground to punctuations’ directive drumbeat. 
  • Practice the art of recording descriptive details by observing birds in trees.

Brave Writer’s Mechanics and Literature programs naturally engage both body and mind, making it easy to take your learning outdoors.

Let’s see how!

Quill (ages 5-7)

Hop, skip, and jump your way into nurturing pre-literacy skills! The Quill introduces young learns to reading, writing, and math with engaging activities you can do over and over again.

If you are eager to take learning outside with lots of movement to make concepts stick, these handbooks will be of special interest: 

Try this im-press-ive mark-making activity from the Rocks Rock Quill

Cuneiform writing was developed in ancient Sumer in the early Bronze Age. People “wrote” by pressing wedge-shaped sticks into soft clay. The marks often represented an exchange of goods. Your child can make marks to practice letters or symbols while developing the fine motor skills necessary for writing! 

Here’s what you do: 

  • Find a spot outdoors with a flat surface. 
  • Gather soft clay and a few tools to make marks. 
  • With your child, flatten a slab of clay with your hands or a rolling pin. (Tip: a rolling pin is another helpful tool that develops gross motor skills necessary for writing!) 
  • Invite your child to experiment with motions that work best. Get curious! Does it work to drag the pencil through the clay to make lines and squiggles? Is it easier to press the point into the clay, forming shapes out of dots? 
  • Join them with your own slab of clay. 
  • Press to flatten and make new marks for as long as your child is engaged. 

Explore literature, grammar, and punctuation outdoors the Brave Writer way!

The Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot literature handbooks feature one novel per month and use weekly passages for copywork and dictation. They explore punctuation, grammar, spelling, literary devices, and literary analysis.

Try it prompts

Try It prompts, featured in every handbook, engage kids and teens with concepts through simple movement, discussion, and hands-on activities. Some are written to be enjoyed outdoors, while others could be easily modified for this purpose.

Explore the sampling of Try It activities below—take them outdoors!

Dart (ages 8–10)

This Try It from The Very, Very Far North Dart was made to be done outdoors!

What are the colors in your crayon box?

Have your child trot around the house to gather objects in their favorite colors. When the collection is assembled, brainstorm together to name these particular shades. Does your child prefer moss green or lime? Cherry red or scarlet? Playful and wacky names are encouraged: your palette could include unique shades like sourdough white or mouthwash green.

Next time you and your child take a walk, notice the colors in your own landscape. Together, invent descriptive names for the hues you encounter. Or if your child is a Minecraft fan, you can come up with a list of color words for each biome! 

And remember: colorful writing utensils can make copywork and dictation more engaging! You may want to collect a bunch of blue pens, markers, and crayons from around the house and let your child write the painter’s shades of blue in ink that matches their description.

Arrow (ages 11-12)

Here’s an engaging Try It from Harriet the Spy Arrow:

Personify it!

Grab paper, a clipboard, and a pen and take this activity outside.

Look for an object you want to describe. Let personification help you get the job done.

Tips for success:

Make a list of objects that are familiar to you—modify this list to feature objects outdoors.

  • dog bowl
  • guitar
  • sheet of paper
  • shoe
  • glue bottle
  • pencil sharpener

Make a second list of human characteristics.

  • hard worker
  • walking 
  • helpful
  • joyful
  • creative
  • performing
  • cranky
  • exhausted

Connect them.

  • The dog’s bowl worked hard to keep its owner nourished.
  • The guitar joyfully performed its song for guests at the party.
  • Her shoes hit the pavement happily on their way to the movie theatre.

Boomerang (ages 13–14)

The Beast Player Boomerang is bursting with nature connections teens can apply to their own writing: 

Nature Writing

Take a walk and pause for a moment anywhere you choose—or gaze out a window, if you like. Capture one aspect of life outside. It can be as small as a raindrop on a leaf or as expansive as clouds in the sky. Write a paragraph or perhaps a haiku poem about your observations.

The benefits of outdoor learning.

The science is conclusive: outdoor learning is where it’s at! Research shows that getting outside is a healthy lifestyle choice with measurable academic and emotional benefits that include:

  • improved mental health
  • stronger academic performance
  • increase in focus
  • fewer disciplinary challenges

Bonus: an outdoor “classroom” supports individualized learning styles of all kinds. So, if the wild outdoors is lately summoning your family, tempting you away from your indoor workspaces, perfect! Heed its call and enjoy!

Looking for books begging to be read outdoors?



Boomerangs & Slingshots

Ready for an online class?

Natural Jounaling! Enroll the entire family for ONE price. Write, hike, and draw together!

Brave Learner Home Members!

Check out the One Thing Challenge library for ready-made outdoor activities! 

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Complete Series: Am I Doing Enough?

Brave Writer

Tea with Julie” is a weekly emailed missive that enhances your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adultFrom time to time, we’ll share some of our past topics here on the blog.

It’s an oft-asked homeschool question: “Am I doing enough?” and if you’d like to see how Brave Writer addresses the issue, we’ve gathered together ALL the Tea with Julie messages on the topic plus two recent podcasts!

Am I Doing Enough?

Tea with Julie messages:

PLUS listen to these Brave Writer podcast episodes:

If you’d like more hands-on coaching, join our Brave Learner Home coaching community. You’ll find a slew of Brave Writer staff coaches as well as thousands of members who share their experiences of homeschooling with each other.

The Brave Learner Home is for every level of homeschooler, from newbie to middle of the muddle to homeschooling high school. It provides:

  • professional development,
  • lesson plans,
  • community discussion,
  • self-care, and
  • guidance.

Can’t wait to help you have the best year of your life!

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Be Who You Are

Brave Writer

If I had one gift I could give to every home educator, it’s the freedom to simply be the homeschooler you are.

It needs to be said, even though it should be obvious.

We spend so much time searching for clues to know how to be the best parents and educators we can be for our children. The fact is, we are who we are. If you’re a loosey-goosey type person, so will your homeschool be. If you’re a ship-shape, ducks-in-a-row person, so too your parenting style.

The trick to it all is not wishing away your flaws. It’s embracing the strengths of who you are! As you lean into the personality that makes you lovable, you’ll gain new appreciation for the differences your children exhibit—how they express their lovable splendidness differently than you. Some intersection between your unique way of being and theirs creates the utterly true-to-you family and homeschool that works.

Give Yourself Grace

The reason we sometimes feel unhappy with ourselves is that we imagine once we find that sweet spot, it will sustain itself indefinitely without hiccups or misfires. Remember: we’re human beings, living a human life. Give yourself a little grace for the undulations.

I was with my daughter-in-law the other day. Like so many daughters-in-law, she saw me arrive and began tidying. I said immediately: “My house was exactly like this when Noah was a child. EXACTLY. We got it all done in the middle of the muddle and mess.”

When I look back, my chief memories are of the learning that took place, not the tidiness I achieved (however short-lived). What my kids remember are the teatimes and projects, the backyard birds and the performances of Shakespeare scenes on our back deck. Even my kids’ dad can’t remember the mess and he cared the most about tidiness!

Trust the who-you-areness of who you are to lead you. Your kids, your partner (if you have one), your friends think you’re FANTASTIC! So do I.

Lean in, learn together, and know that some days just suck. But many of them will be better than you think, particularly when you look back fondly.

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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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!

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