The Writer’s Jungle Online: Meet Our Veteran Coach!

The Writer's Jungle Online: Meet Our Veteran Coach!

Ever find the ghost of public school past lurking on your left shoulder? It whispers to you, “Hey the local schooled kids are writing academic essays in third grade. What are you doing?”

Many of us are haunted by papers with red ink scrawling across hard-won sentences and paragraphs, circling mistakes and crossing out awkward phrases. We don’t want to treat our kids’ writing the same way, but we don’t know any other approach!

Here at Brave Writer, we’re ready to help you navigate an entirely new approach to giving support and feedback to your child’s writing.

Our writing coaches bring their personalities and positivity to the classroom while they form their own rapport with each child—and with you! Our instructors are professional writers who teach your kids by coming alongside your children and talking to them like fellow writers.

Best part: We’ll show you how to do that too! No red pens needed!

One of our most popular writing coaches is Deb Bell. She’s a veteran here at Brave Writer. Her training in theatre arts, multi-sensory learning, and learning challenges (like dyslexia and ADD) give her a versatility that wins her students over. We hear over and over again that those reluctant writers are racing to the computer to see what Deb has to say in response to their work.

You can see why.

She talks to our kids about their obsessions, connecting with them and modeling vivid and dynamic language. Her feedback here about Minecraft does a lot to establish her credibility as a writing partner:

When we bring a story to life, our readers get to experience it as if it is their experience. Through the writers in this class I’ve built a shelter, but failed to get the door “on” before mobs attacked, I’ve helped battle an Ender dragon for his egg, found diamonds, built a custom home of lapis lazuli, and I’ve ridden a roller coaster mine cart on a rickety track!

Concrete writing instruction is woven into reassuring responses, to help the writing grow while honoring your child’s voice. Even simple details are noted and drawn out:

Student: The last time we had steak as a whole family Robert still had his old grill and we still had our old white plates. Andrew and Celia still lived at home.

Lovely. You are showing us that it’s been a while; we assume that now you have new plates, and that Robert has a new grill. As well, my mental image of the family around the table is now populated with white plates. Every detail adds to the three-dimensionality of the scene for me. Good.

Can you imagine the RELIEF in having a partner like this to help you work on your child’s writing? It can happen right now.

Join Deb for an injection of joy and progress in writing with your kids!

Register Here for Deb’s Classes

Learn more about Deb Bell

Arrow Book Club: March 2019

Arrow Book Club

We’re sneaky! The Arrow Book Club (ages 9-12) provides an online discussion space where students discuss literature using literary analysis vocabulary without the pressure of writing “essays.” All that discussion will be put “into” writing but it will be invisible to them. They will feel like they are just “talking” when in fact they are writing!

Plus a FREE digital copy of our language arts guide based on the book is provided.

[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!]

March’s Arrow Book Club selection is Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh.

Discover the world through the eyes of eleven-year-old Harriet, a spy. As all good spies do, she writes down everything she observes in her notebook—even brutally honest and often awful thoughts about her classmates. When the notebook goes missing, Harriet finds herself in a fix. Will the rambunctious Harriet smooth out the mess and regain the trust of her friends? Available as an audiobook read by Anne Bobby.

Purchase the novel.

Homeschool students especially need the chance to talk about what they read—-yet the busy mother-of-many doesn’t always have time to take the discussion to a written form.

Let Brave Writer help you. These book discussions are drawn from entertaining works of fiction that your kids are sure to love!


Caveat: Please remember that you’re the parent. If you have doubts about the content of a particular book, please check the reviews of the novel or read it for yourself first.

Also starting in March are our Boomerang and Pouch Book Clubs.

Live Free: Florida Homeschool Convention

Live Free Conference

Florida Homeschool Convention: Live Free

May 23-25, 2019 Orlando, Florida

The Sunshine State and I are going to be reacquainted this spring because I’m headed to the Florida Homeschool Convention! Make your plans now to join me in Orlando in May.

There is something for everyone:

  • great workshops,
  • exciting events,
  • a huge vendor hall,
  • and plenty of opportunities to chat with fellow home educators!

My Sessions:

  • The Secret to Writing Breakthroughs
  • The Brave Learner
  • Awesome Adulting—Lead by Example
  • Don’t Let High School Writing Scare You

I’d love to see you in Orlando this May! Copies of The Brave Learner will be available for purchase, and I’m prepared to brandish my autograph pen if you’d like your book signed!

Learn more about the speaking schedule here.

Register Today!

Live Free Homeschool Conference

Writing Coach Interview: Susanne Barrett

Brave Writer Coach: Susanne Barrett

Continuing our series of interviews with our marvelous writing instructors, here’s the latest installment: an interview with Susanne Barrett!

In the wee small hours, Susanne scribbles away, writing blog posts, poems, journal entries, story ideas, to-do lists, academic studies, etc. A former bookseller, she delights in collecting quirky quotations, dip pens and ink bottles, empty journals to fill, antiquarian books, and just about anything related to Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and jolly ol’ England. The most intriguing classes she taught at university include World Lit I (Epic of Gilgamesh through Canterbury Tales) and guest lectures on Medieval Women Writers and Shakespeare’s Henry V. In her 21st and final year of home educating her four “kids” from K-12, Susanne hopes to have more time for writing by candlelight and for reading many, many books.

[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!]

What kind of a writer were you in high school?
In high school, I mostly wrote poetry. I discovered the joys of reading and writing poetry due to my tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Sebastian. My favorite poems remain the ones he recited from memory for us: “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” by Poe, “Birches” by Frost, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot (and yes, he recited the whole thing!), “in Just—“ by e. e. cummings, and too many Emily Dickinson poems to count. Mr. Sebastian also taught an elective class in creative writing, and there I learned to write poetry—mostly free verse heavily influenced by Dickinson—no surprise there! In fact, many of the poetry forms I teach in the Playing with Poetry Workshop I first learned in Mr. Sebastian’s class.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Hmmm. Sapphire, I think. Midnight Blue was my favorite color in the old 64-Crayola box, but it was a wee bit too dark. Sapphire makes me happy—such a deep, rich, mysterious color.

Read the rest of this entry »

Brave Writer Podcast: Getting Wild + Free with Greta Eskridge

Brave Writer Podcast: Wild + Free
First, thank you for being part of the confetti cannon of congratulations I’ve received from The Brave Learner’s release—it’s been a wonderful whirlwind of a week! Your enthusiasm is truly treasured.

Next on my agenda? I’m headed to the Wild + Free Conference in Frisco, Texas. Speaking of which…

Today’s podcast guest—Greta Eskridge—has worked with Wild + Free for over seven years. When I met Greta we had an instant connection—she’s a kindred spirit for sure!

Greta lives in Southern California (where I grew up). Aside from being a go-getter creative entrepreneur (seriously, she does it all!), Greta loves writing, reads voraciously, and is perhaps best known for her deep passion for nature.

Listen to today’s episode to learn:

  • The benefits of just ONE hour a WEEK in nature.
  • Greta’s tips for sparking a joyful nature experience, even with littles in tow!
  • What it’s like being a second-generation homeschooler.
  • And much more!

Show Notes

Wild + Free

Wild + Free started as an Instagram account, quickly growing into an entire online community of mothers and homeschoolers who want their children to not only receive a quality education, but also to experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood.

It’s not confined to one particular type of homeschooling, and that’s one of the best things about it! It’s a passionate group of creative women driving a new style of educating kids, and teaching each other along the way. They’re flipping the script of conventional homeschooling – and we at Brave Writer are so happy to be a part of that movement!

We can be about thinking deeply, we can share our experiences, we can share the evolving insight that we get as home educators, and we can all be better for it.

Brave Writer Podcast: Wild + Free

Second-Generation Homeschooling

Greta loved being homeschooled growing up, and she’s incredibly grateful to now be a second-generation homeschooler. There is a sense of peace that comes with personal experience, and Greta says she’s less afraid of how her kids will navigate college and careers because she was able to do it. “It doesn’t mean I am never overwhelmed or wonder if I am doing a good job. But when I feel those things, I can always look to my own experience and find comfort in knowing how much good I experienced as a homeschool student.”

And from a very early age, Greta knew she would homeschool her children. “In fact, when I first started dating my husband at age 18, I told him I planned to homeschool and if he wasn’t interested in that we probably shouldn’t date!” He said he was fine with that, of course, and they got married four years later.

Before she had kids, Greta was actually a high school English teacher in a public school. She loves teaching, she loves kids, and she loves literature, so it was the perfect fit – “Except for the fact that I felt the limitations of teaching 150 students. I couldn’t meet all their needs. Plus I was limited by what the school district and the state said I had to teach. I longed for something different for my own kids.”

Even with all her experience, Greta still struggles to meet all of her children’s needs sometimes, just like the rest of us. “But I relish the freedom I have to be the boss of my own school, to set my own standards and curriculum, and to let my students needs and interests drive their learning.”

Brave Writer Podcast: Wild + Free

Greta’s Advice for Homeschoolers

  • Remember your why. When doubts, fatigue, frustration, or loneliness creep in, remember your why.
  • Be the boss of your school! No one knows your kids better than you do. Don’t let fear govern your decisions. Instead, if you know something is right or wrong for your child, follow your intuition and let their needs and interests steer their learning.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The flip side of being the boss is acknowledging you can’t do everything well. When your child needs something that someone else does better than you, get that person on your team!
  • Let things go. This is crucial to your success as a homeschooler. What you have to let go of is different for each of us: a perfectly clean house, no technology, home made dinners every night, early readers, getting into that one college…. Whatever it is, adjust your expectations when needed for the health and happiness of your children, your spouse, and yourself.


Ask Julie a question: (include “The Brave Learner” in the subject line)

I’m speaking at the Wild + Free Conference in Frisco, TX!