Archive for the ‘The Brave Learner’ Category

The Four Forces of Enchantment

The Four Forces of Enchantment

If ever there were a time where we needed to focus on the strengths of home versus school, it is now.

One of the reasons all of us struggle with bringing education into our homes is that we are focused on duplicating what happens in the building called school. Schools are designed the way they are because that’s how you teach a huge number of children at once with adults who are not their parents.

But now, you are at home. Home where you wear slippers and take off your bra and flop on the couch and tease each other and open the refrigerator looking for food whenever you want. How do you get a child to do a math lesson when their entire body says “I’m home; I get to relax”?

One way is to draw on the forces of enchantment.

  • Children love surprises. Pair the read aloud with muffins and a tea party.
  • They love mystery. Create a secret code treasure hunt that leads to a board game you’ll play.
  • They love risks. Stand them on a chair, drill their math facts, and each time they get the right answers, ask them to jump to the sky and land in pillow clouds scattered on the floor.
  • They love adventure. Reread your favorite adventure tales. Play video games where your children can indulge a fantasy life outside the house. They are living an adventure right now that they’ll never forget. They are part of a heroic narrative in real life!

Dig through your basement and your cabinets. Look for all the art supplies you haven’t used and use them up. Eat lunch on the floor as a picnic. Have big juicy conversations about politics with your teens.

It all counts as learning when you’re at home.


The Brave Learner

Brave Learner Home + Special Offer

Brave Learner Home

Imagine a living-breathing teacher’s manual for your Brave Writer program.

Imagine a living-breathing mentor for home education who has already graduated homeschooled kids.

Now imagine an easy-to-access space online and in an app that offers you daily, weekly, and monthly support from trained veteran homeschoolers and a versatile community of similarly committed home educators, from all walks of life?

What would you get? Power to keep going! Tools and tips to create the homeschool you want.

That’s our community space. We call it the Brave Learner Home. It’s a membership site where the *membership dues are waived forever* when you purchase a qualifying Brave Writer program.

We believe in giving you the support your whole person needs to thrive as:

  • an effective educator,
  • a compassionate parent, and
  • an awesome adult.

Not a gimmick. Our space has six years of monthly master classes and creative lesson plans, a discussion board, and ongoing monthly webinars to train and support you.

Topics range from brain-based learning to sibling rivalry to new methods for math to motivation in learning and so much more.

We invite experts to share with us and we provide coaching to your personal needs and questions.

Special Offer

Brave Learner Home combines our popular Homeschool Alliance and our Brave Writer product coaching (formerly on Facebook). It is yours for the rest of your homeschool life when you purchase any item on our Special Offer page (offer expires June 30. Lowest price of the year, and a new offer goes up July 1).

Still have questions?

I’ll host a Q&A on Facebook Live Friday (June 26, 2020) at 4 PM Eastern.

Register to see the webinar on the Zoom platform instead.

Brave Learner Home

The Right Atmosphere

“What are children learn at home is largely invisible to us — directly connected to their experience of well-being — the atmosphere of family life.” ~The Brave Learner

Get the atmosphere right and learning blooms. Oh I know. I used the word “right” and immediately that plunges you into a pit of despair!

Let me define “right atmosphere.” Ready?

Space to Create

  • Lots of talking
  • Freedom to be yourself
  • Snacks
  • Second, third, and fourth chances
  • Hope
  • Optimism
  • Love expressed as admiration, support, collaboration
  • Time
  • Following your hunches
  • Faith in learning, not just curriculum
  • Willingness for mess, mistakes, and makeovers
  • Growing as an adult learner too
  • Add your own!

[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!]


The atmosphere that promotes learning is free, emotionally nurturing, and filled with learning opportunities of all sorts. It will look different in each family, yet the “feel” of it will be similar—growth and learning valued and sustained.

I’m reading Ainsley Arment’s book and love this quote in particular:

“Trust your natural instincts, even when you don’t know what to do, because if all else fails, you still know how to be a parent.” ~The Call of the Wild and Free

What creates the “right” atmosphere in your home? Pick one from the list above or add your own.


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

The Great Wall of Questions

The Great Wall of Questions

Who’s begun a Great Wall of Questions this year? I talk about how to do it on pages 73-74 in The Brave Learner.

“One way to ignite interest in a subject, then, is to interrogate it— to resist the temptation to know the answers. If seventh grade science is nothing more than paperwork in your mind, stop assuming you understand the scientific method. Ask science your boldest questions. Provoke it into a response. Don’t stop until you’re amazed. Same thing goes for your kids. Answers are not nearly as interesting as questions” (73).

Here’s what you do:

  • Put a stack of sticky notes next to a clean surface.
  • Include markers to write questions.
  • All questions for the whole week go on sticky notes (even questions like, “Where’s my toothbrush?”).
  • Stick the notes to the window or the whiteboard or the wall.
  • At the end of the week on Sunday over dinner, start peeling them off, reading them, and discussing them (inevitable).

You’ll be amazed at how much learning is catalyzed simply by valuing questions for a whole week. Try it!

Let me know how it goes.

#greatwallofquestions


The Brave Learner

Help Kids SEE Differently

Help Kids See Differently

In chapter 4 of The Brave Learner, I write about the 4 Forces of Enchantment and how they catalyze learning. The second force is “mystery.”

Mystery provokes:

  • depth,
  • awe,
  • closer scrutiny,
  • a shift in perspective.

It’s the force of “unknowing”—the heart of any deep dive in learning.

One of the ways I suggest promoting mystery is to help kids SEE differently using all kinds of tools:

  • microscope,
  • binoculars,
  • magnifying glasses.

When I visited the Getty Center a while ago, I noticed these BIG magnifying glasses hanging on the wall. They were provided to examine Da vinci sketches. Adults flocked to them. You had to wait for one to come free and then they were immediately snapped up again.

Holding the glass, looking carefully through it meant every person spent more time examining the artwork in that room than any other room I had been in. I noticed as I looked that the drawing had been composed of deft hashmarks, layered—sometimes close together, sometimes far apart. Made me wish I had a magnifying glass for every painting, too!

A shift in how you SEE leads to an awareness that my habits of seeing are limited. There is always more to see/know when we shift perception, when we find aids to help us move away from the familiar to discover more.

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