Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

From Tears to Young Author

From Tears to Young Author


I’m writing to thank you for the role you’ve played in our educational pathway. I’ve homeschooled my kids in some form or another for their entire schooling. When Kenny, my oldest had reached 9 years old I realized we had a problem. He hated writing. I’m not just talking about not enjoying it. . . we’re talking weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth kind of stuff. I would look for fun writing prompts online and pick something that I thought would only require a little paragraph and there would be tears, and yelling. So I started looking for a different approach.

Call it revelation or providence or maybe just luck. . .but I came across your programs. I ordered the Writer’s Jungle and Partnership Writing. I loved the gentle, hopeful approach and decided we’d try it for a year. If my notes are correct that first year we completed just 4 of the writing projects. But it was just the change he needed. At the age of 10 we did Secret Codes, Imaginary Continent, Lapbook on a Greek Myth and Mail Order Catalog. That was in 2013.

From Tears to Young AuthorA year or so later (I can’t remember for sure) Kenny went to a book launch and met a new author. When he realized she was about the same age as he was he decided he would write his own novel. We spent an entire year working on his novel which was based on his maps and some of the groundwork he laid with his imaginary continent. The writing was not too bad for an 11 or 12 year old but a major change had happened. Now he is an author. He had completed his own book.

Last year as I was talking with another homeschool mother I discovered that she has a small publishing company. I shared his novel and she has taken on the project. Now my nearly 15 year old son, the Author, the Wordsmith has re-written his book to something much more grand. He is planning a life as an author and we are excitedly planning a book launch this spring. I am so excited for his achievement and so very grateful to you and the gentle nudge in the right direction. Honestly I consider this to be a huge win in my corner as homeschool mother, particularly knowing where we started.

Thank you for your beautiful messages, for Poetry Teatimes, for shared journals and for a view that invites parents to work with students in a gentle and nurturing way. Thank you for the Partnership Writing curriculum and for being a pivotal part of our writing journey.



Proud mother of Kenny, soon to be published author of The Middle Lands: The Castaway Hero.

Partnership Writing

Connecting with Kids’ Authentic Voices

Brave Writer Connecting with Kids' Authentic Voices

Brave Writer Mom, Melissa, writes:

Hi, Julie! I just had to share our work from today.

This morning, we completed our first writing assignments using the Jot It Down method. (Kids just turned 7 and 5 this summer.) We are doing the BYL shark unit study, inspired by the fact I was bit by a (tiny) shark on our trip to Galveston last week. (Between that and having given birth in a car, I’ve got some humdingers ready for “2 Truths and a Lie.”)

I am blown away by the ideas and amazing writing that is inside of them! I’ve attached pics and hope you can read my chicken scratch. I swear on my homeschool planner that these words were 100% their own. I just transcribed.

Kids Authentic VoicesClick image to enlarge

The “edits” were even my 7yo’s own changes as she read aloud the finished story. She let her ear be her guide on verb tense agreement. No sentence diagramming needed!

I am eternally grateful you showed me such a simple and effective way to connect with their authentic voices.

THANK YOU for sharing your methods and insights. You are a homeschooling hero!

Much love,

Jot It Down

Don’t be a Perfectionist & Other Advice for Young Writers with Millie Florence

Meet Millie Florence

Millie Florence is an enthusiastic homeschooler and a published author – and she’s only 14-years-old! Her debut novel, Honey Butter, was published in August 2017, and she’s currently working on two more books: a collection of poems and a fantasy novel.

Participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, was a life-changing experience for Millie. It gave her permission to write the first draft of her novel without worrying about perfection, and that’s an incredibly freeing.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Millie’s Tips for Young Writers

  • The most important part of writing is getting the words out of your head and onto paper.
  • A lot (if not most) of what you write will get left on the cutting room floor.
  • Although revision isn’t always the most exciting part of writing, it’s necessary and it’s where a story comes together – and that can be really satisfying!
  • Feedback is critical. Millie solicits feedback from beta readers, who are other writers and friends willing to provide constructive criticism. She actually finds many of her beta readers online, and she says beta reading with people you don’t know as well “will change your life and will change your story.”
  • It took Millie a long time to find a supportive community of young writers, but she eventually stumbled onto, a small but strong community of diverse writers.
  • Homeschooling can give young writers unprecedented freedom to write when inspiration strikes and focus their education on other things that benefit their writing.
  • If you want to get better at writing, you just have to keep doing it – even if you don’t realize it, you’re always getting better.
  • Think about stories! Don’t be afraid to dream, wonder, or come up with wild ideas. “Your mind is more powerful than you can imagine. You can affect so much of the world around you just by thinking. Your own thoughts can teach you, without you even realizing!”
Millie Florence


Millie’s novel Honey Butter

Teen Authors Journal

We are hosting a free Brave Writer classroom for all of the young people who want to write as part of NaNoWriMo, and you can sign up your kids for FREE!

  1. Visit the Young Writers Program and sign up for an account.
  2. You will be prompted to join a classroom by entering a code. Our classroom code is: CKXQFLWR
  3. Our classroom name is NaNoWriMo for Brave Writers!

An Inspiring Young Author – Podcast with Mason Lawler

An Inspiring Young Author- Podcast with Mason Lawler

While you wait for Season Three of the Brave Writer Podcast, enjoy our interview with a special guest. Brave Writer student Mason Lawler recently self-published his first book and we’re happy to have him on the podcast.

2016 was a rough year – Mason went through surgeries and long recoveries – so his mother focused on a big project that would lead to a satisfying outcome. They decided to write a book, and here it is: How the Chameleon Got Its Colors!

How the Chameleon Got Its Colors

Mason took Brave Writer’s Just So Stories online class, which exposes students to the classic animal tales of Rudyard Kipling and tasks them with creating their own. Mason’s class was taught by April Hensley, and she was the first person to suggest collecting Mason’s stories into a book.

In the podcast we talk about:

  • self-teaching
  • the self-publishing process
  • commissioning illustrations
  • and why there is a grain of truth behind all good fiction.

Mason is an inspiration to to anyone writing stories in this modern day and age, young or old. There’s no excuse not to pursue publishing that book!

Listen to the Podcast


Stay tuned for the Brave Shift series on the podcast!

Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!

A College Essay that Works

A College Essay that Works

by Brave Writer student, Adrian
Written for our College Admissions Essay class

I sat on my bed with my laptop, watching my mouse hover over a bright orange checkout button. This virtual shopping cart was not simply holding a book or phone charger. My cart contained every cent I had in the form of computer parts. “I should just wait a little longer for a dell computer. They are more expensive, but there is no chance for me to break it.” Despite this reasoning, I would not let my nerves sway me, so I ignored the knots in my stomach and clicked.

I had wanted to build a desktop for over a year. At first, I planned on ordering a brand name desktop online, but while looking at reviews I saw an article titled “Building Your Desktop!” Building a desktop would cost less and perform better than name brand products. The one glaring issue however was that, if I messed up, I wouldn’t be able to call anyone to help. I was responsible for picking the right hardware and fixing any issues.

But I had decided to go through with it. I saved up my money, mowing lawns, working at a kennel, and collecting coins. Once I had enough I ordered the parts I needed. Waiting them to ship was like counting threads on a shirt, but I won’t forget the day they finally arrived. It was a late Thursday afternoon and it was pouring rain. My brother texted me at work to say, “IT’S HERE!!”

When I arrived home, I found two large boxes covered in a clear plastic sheet, speckled with rain. The first box contained my large and hefty case: a black tower with a glass side. The second box had everything else. Nothing was missing or damaged and my unease immediately lifted. I slept thinking about tomorrow’s exciting task.

The next morning I carried everything downstairs to my basement. It was cold and slightly damp from yesterday’s storm, but it was the perfect place to work. My father had not built a computer since people went to grab a coffee while they’re computer booted up, so he was as excited as I was. Once everything was out of its packaging and I had stripped to my boxers (more traditional than practical) I began. Everything was going smoothly. Although, there were two moments where everything seemed to have been ruined.

My first dilemma took place during the homestretch. Everything was put together and the days’ work was coming to a close. I was pushing my memory card into its slot, but it was being very difficult. I pushed as hard as I dared, watching the motherboard bend to a gut wrenching extent. I was just about to stop when I heard an ear-splitting crack. I looked up at my father who was staring at the computer wide eyed. “What…What was that?” he said. I knew it was the motherboard. An entire day’s effort ruined and several weeks of waiting seemed inevitable, but by the grace of the universe my motherboard was unharmed. A loose bolt had simply shot out of its hole. I had never felt so sick to my stomach before finding the bolt. The final hurdle occurred after everything had been put together. The operating system would not load. I spent an entire day uninstalling, reinstalling, repairing and troubleshooting. I finally tried returning my hard drive. Three days later I was sent a new one and my computer ran like a dream.

Even a year later my computer (The_Bull) runs like new. Since that day I have convinced several of my friends and my brother to build their own desktops and have helped them along the way. Everything from picking a case to putting into their rooms. I even helped a few friends back in India. I love working with computers and helping other people enjoy them. I want to help them click that bright orange button.

Brave Writer's College Admission Essay Online Class