Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

“Now he wants to be a writer.”

Now he wants to be a writer.

Meet Lydia and her crew of four!

This Air Force family moves frequently, so homeschooling helps them to keep consistent with their learning. It keeps alive Lydia’s love of all things creative, too! She’s a self-professed eclectic, “flexible but routined” homeschooler who can’t resist a creative, artsy project! We love that!

We were honored to find out that we placed on Lydia’s homeschooling bucket list!

Ever since I had heard of Brave Writer, I wanted to try a class. I mostly tried it to “check off” a style of writing I was not confident in (poetry).

Lydia signed her family up for our Playing with Poetry: Discovery class last winter. (A great choice, since the whole family gets to participate for one fee!)

Isaac, then 8, was struggling to read and write. He hated to even try writing and often refused because it was too hard. 

Lydia offered Isaac a lot of support. (We share ways to do that in our video “How to Support your Child in an Online Class”—emailed to you when you register!) 

It was transformative.

I never forced him to write or complete anything, but invited him to come along for the ride as much as he wanted, and he chose to work through the fear…

I offered to jot things down. I asked questions to get him thinking and more questions to clarify. The first poem was based on a photograph so he just said words that popped into his mind while looking at his photo. 

Lydia helped Isaac gather all the materials needed to create his masterpiece then—

[W]hen he was ready, we read through his list of words and he very thoughtfully chose which words to use and created beautiful phrases that then took on a life of its own and became his very first poem. 

Aren’t you grinning ear to ear thinking about a reluctant writer who just cranked out a full POEM? I am! 

Writing coach, Susanne Barrett, swooped in to support Isaac’s newfound confidence

Susanne’s feedback to him completely changed his outlook on his ability. She told him she could tell that he cared about beautiful language and chose each word very carefully, a sign of a true writer. He beamed and took all that to heart and has been writing ever since and now wants to be a writer. 

Not only did they have a wonderful experience in that 4-week class (a perfect length, Lydia says, for a deep dive), but the effects of the class have been lasting.

I’m… confident that without partnering with Isaac, and jotting things down for him, he might not have realized he CAN be a writer even while struggling to read, spell, and write.

Since that first poem, Lydia’s kids have taken several of our classes

I appreciate how the classes have taken some of the pressure off of me to check the box of writing and it’s organized and totally doable! I love how much parents are encouraged to partner with their child in order to grow and succeed. 

Thank you, Lydia! And thank you, Isaac for sharing your poetry with us! (See Isaac’s work in the training tip below!)

Brave Writer has two Playing with Poetry classes. Take them in any order! Don’t miss the chance to partner with your kids in a relaxed writing environment.

You can learn more about our online classes here.

We also invite you to log in to a sample class. Click around, play with our text editor, and read real instructor responses to writing posted in class.

Playing with Poetry: Discovery

Start the School Year with a Surprise!

Start the School Year with a Surprise

Want to flip your kids’ expectations on DAY ONE? Surprise them!

That together-summer feeling doesn’t need to fade. You might:

  • Spread a blanket in the backyard and have read aloud time there.
  • Start with a field trip and go to the zoo.
  • Make the first day a party with streamers and cake!

Another option: take a Brave Writer class TOGETHER! Your kids will be shocked! And delighted!

We’ve got a family learning adventure for you that’s whimsical and enthralling: POETRY!

Poetry allows your kids to play with language, discovering the magic of imagination and poetic form in a relaxed and fun way! 

Playing with Poetry: Discovery explores

  • Introduction to Poetry and Free Verse
  • Visual Poetry: Shape, Concrete, and Acrostic poems
  • Counted Word Poetry: Cinquain, Diamante, and Etheree poems
  • Japanese Poetry: Haiku and Tanka poems

Why start your school year with this online class?

  • Learning side-by-side with your kids sets the tone for the year
  • Get an impressive unit of study checked off your list right away
  • You can let someone else be the expert while you ease into things
  • One tuition—your ENTIRE family! 
  • Remind everyone (including you!) why learning is FUN!

What families say:

You too can be a poet!  This class explores a range of poetry forms and provides the guidance to play with words and develop your own poetic masterpieces!  — Elizabeth S.

This was a great class to take as a family. It helped us see familiar forms in new light and introduced us to new kinds of poems. — Jennifer A.

This class… was both fun and informative, and offered enough flexibility to make it work well with our ever changing schedule. — Kimberly M.


This is our only poetry class until 2020. Don’t miss it!

Sign up today!

Playing with Poetry: Discovery

Brave Writer Podcast: Poetry Teatime

Brave Writer Podcast How to Include Poetry Teatime in Your Family

Want to grow a writer? Focus on the joy of language and the celebration of expression! Make those your top priority before worrying about the details of spelling and punctuation.

We’ve got a sure-fire way to rock your linguistic world—the practice of pairing poetry and tea. Promise—it’s a slam dunk. It’s so easy and natural to find joy in language through what I call: Poetry Teatime (so easy, in fact, poetry teatime is often seen as the “gateway drug” to all things Brave Writer)!

Poetry Teatime fosters a pleasurable language-rich environment effortlessly (okay—a little effort: treats, tea, and stacking anthologies on the table). Your kids will be drawn to the festive atmosphere while opening themselves to the magic of poems they read to each other.

By pairing rich experiences with learning, our children make precious connections that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.


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Why Poetry Teatime?

The idea of Poetry Teatime is to elevate the learning experience for your children.

When we imbue an experience with sophistication, a little intention, and some elegance, we immediately associate the context with the subject matter – suddenly, poetry goes from just another school subject to an opportunity for enchantment.

“When you cultivate a language-rich environment, you are creating a lifetime of passion for the word – and that is different than teaching a paragraph.” –Julie Bogart

By pairing rich, contextual experiences with our learning objectives, our children will create precious associations that they carry with them throughout the rest of their lives.

(Some of) Our Favorite Poetry Books


Would you post a review on iTunes for us please (here’s a handy guide)?
Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!

Poet Highlight: Emily Dickinson

Poet Highlight Emily Dickinson

During the month of April we’re highlighting Poetry Teatime in the Brave Writer Lifestyle, which makes this a fitting time to break out some Emily Dickinson along with the teapot!


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

On December 10, 1830, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although she would write nearly 1,800 poems over the course of her life, very little of her poetry was published during her lifetime and even those that were published were edited to be more “conventional.” Dickinson’s poetry did not become well-known until after her death.

An infamous recluse, Dickinson remained in contact with her friends primarily through letters. She wrote poetry throughout her life, which she kept in tied-up “bundles.” Her sister discovered these bundles after Dickinson’s death and had them published in an altered form. Dickinson’s work would not be published in anything resembling its original form until later.

Dickinson’s distinctive poetic style is notable for its use of short lines, non-standard grammar, and unconventional rhyme schemes. In particular, her poetry utilizes slant rhyme, which happens when the poet chooses words that nearly rhyme but don’t quite. In other words: she was a rule breaker!

Dickinson’s poems represent an opportunity for young readers to see a respected poet playing with language freely. So, boil some tea and enjoy the word play!

A note to parents: Emily Dickinson’s poetry at times deals with some heavy themes, most often surrounding death. We recommend reading the poems yourself before deciding if they are right for your family.

Resources

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson – In this BrainPOP YouTube video (8 min.), “Tim and Moby examine the life of the celebrated poet and explore one of her groundbreaking poems. ‘A Bird came down the Walk’ [which] illustrates Dickinson’s lyric style, her vivid imagery and figurative language, and her innovative use of slant rhyme.”

Emily – If your kids are too young for her poetry, this beautifully illustrated picture book follows a little girl who lives across the street from Emily Dickinson.


Join the Homeschool Alliance
This month we’re sharing our favorite poems!

Playing with Poetry Success

Playing with Poetry Success

A Brave Writer mom had this to say in our Playing with Poetry Workshop!

During my introduction, I posted that I had a kid who associated the word poetry with “reading and books” which were “two things I hate!” and I reached out to Susanne to make her aware of a few special needs and couple set of special circumstances and I received the warmest email packed with loads of fantastic suggestions and ideas and here’s what happened:

To my utter shock, the child snatched (yes, snatched!) the book (uhuh, a book!) right out of my hands, tucked a lock of hair behind her little ear, crossed her legs prettily, adjusted her dress, pushed her glasses up her nose, cleared her throat dramatically (“A-hem!”), and proceeded to read aloud to her sister and me (she read aloud!!! And here’s where I got a little lump in my throat and had to clear my own throat a bit, except really quietly, while gulping “tea,” okay it was really lemonade, okay it was a big lump in my throat, okay I was choking on a giant sob, okay now that the kids are in bed and I’m writing about the whole experience I’m choking on that same sob all over again but in a good way! I’m so proud of her!). Obviously, we had a lot of FUN with this assignment! We tweaked it quite a bit to suit our needs, using lots of Susanne’s ideas.

1. Look at the Poem

We looked at all the poems that Susanne had listed online. We didn’t use any books at all at first. We noticed how they were arranged, the way they were grouped, whether or not the lines had periods at the ends. And at first, we did not read them at all! (This was very enticing to my child. “We don’t actually have to read?” “Oh no, this is poetry! This is like Word Art! At first we are just going look and notice! In fact, do not read! Just notice and appreciate the lines of words right now. Absolutely do not read when you first look at poem!”) Eventually, after noticing and appreciating all of the poems (we likened it to strolling around a “Word Art” Gallery), we decided to pick “The Firefly” by Ogden Nash (admittedly because it was the shortest offering listed in Susanne’s list).

2. Every Word Counts

I carefully copied our selected poem into a big piece of construction paper. And then I made a few separate oak tag boards for handwriting practice with three unfamiliar words from our poem for us to figure out. Handwriting isn’t really our thing, so I knew that my daughter wouldn’t be interested in doing copywork for the entire poem. And the oak tag boards were completely optional. But they were big and pretty and I used purple markers and pulled out supplies for us to make drawings of fireflies on them with glow in the dark paint to embellish them, so I was pretty sure that she’d be interested. (She was, since art is her thing!) We didn’t look for the dictionary definition only, we looked in a thesaurus as well, so we could get the gist of what the author was talking about. And then we came up with lots of synonyms of our own too! We looked up the word: EERIER (oddball, creepy, weird, strange) and UNIDENTIFIED (unknown, unnamed, mysterious) and POSTERIOR (rear, backside, behind, or as this author intends it…tushie, bum, b-u-t-t! Insert peals of hysterical rolling on the floor, irreverent, delightful, elementary kid, laughter).

3. Read Poems Aloud – Always!

We read our poem lots of times! We read it over the phone to Dad, who is away on a business trip this week (EERIER rhymes with POSTERIOR which “GUESS WHAT THAT MEANS DAD??”). We read it to our friends when they came over to play! We read it to another friend when he dropped over to visit! And we expanded all our friends’ vocabularies and taught them all the author’s intended meaning of the word “posterior” and Mommy had lots of coffee on Monday and Tuesday (but did I mention that on Tuesday night my daughter read a poetry book? Oh, and it wasn’t authored by Ogden Nash) so it’s all good! It’s all very, very good.

4. The Whole Enchilada!

As I said above, we tweaked the copywork suggestion quite a bit to suit our needs. And we stuck heavily with the goal of enjoying our poem! We had lots and lots of tea parties, lots and lots of teatime treats, we drug big sister in on the tea parties, we seated and served stuffed Pokemon like royalty with their own tea cups! We pulled in firefly art projects, we danced, we made up songs (sorry, Mr. Nash, your lovely little poem got turned into a rap!), and we just had all kinds of fun with our poem for a solid 48 hours. (And I’m sure it will still be going on when she wakes up tomorrow!)


Poetry Teatime