Friday Freewrite: Fruits vs. Veggies

Friday Freewrite Fruits vs Veggies

If fruits and vegetables could talk, what might an argument between them be like?

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Introducing the Classics…Or Maybe Not

Introducing the Classics

by Amy Frantz, Brave Writer alum

I am passionate about classic literature, but as an adult I’m also a little resistant to reading it.

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I can trace this resistance to my teens when the idea that classics were superior to modern genre fiction began to pervade my social interactions. As a teenager, genre fiction was my bread and butter and a constant parade of sneers at my chosen reading matter ignited my stubborn streak and I flat refuse to read classics for all of my teen years (except for Shakespeare. You would pry Romeo and Juliet from my cold dead fingers). To this day, I still have not quite shaken off my resentment of the classics, which is honestly a tragedy.

My childhood, however, was a different matter. It was filled with Charles Dickens books (read aloud by my wonderful homeschooling mother), every Jane Austen adaptation available (especially Pride & Prejudice), and multiple film versions of Jane Eyre. In fact, my primary introduction and contact with the classics as a child came through screen.

There is a pervasive line of thought that holds to the notion that movies and television are inferior forms of storytelling and that “the book is always better.” Although the limitations of screen adaptation can certainly result in a film with less detail than or noticeable plot deviations from the source material, I do think we should be cautious in throwing the whole lot of them out entirely in favor of making kids and teens “read the classics.”

I am dyslexic and as a child experienced significant reading delays, so in many instances I either watched the movies or I didn’t experience the stories at all. I met Jane Austen’s heroines exclusively through screen and what a sadness it would be if I had never met them at all due to insistence that I read the books. And when I did start finally reading? I fed myself on a steady diet of Star Wars novels and Harry Potter; definitely not Homer. But my mother was simply thrilled that I was reading; what I was reading seemed to matter less than the act of reading itself.

I didn’t actually get around to reading Jane Eyre until my mid-20s, but my passion for the story is rooted in countless childhood hours comparing films. In fact, I probably would have never sat down to read Jane Eyre if it hadn’t been for those movies. I still have not as of yet completed reading a Jane Austen novel, I blush to admit, but Pride & Prejudice is still one of my favorite stories. I became passionate about the stage musical of Les Misérables in my early 20s and not only did I read Victor Hugo’s 1,400+ page masterpiece, I own five different English translations of it.

If the goal is to nurture a love of stories and a desire for literacy in kids,
I think it’s okay to take a backdoor approach.

That’s what worked the best for me growing up, anyway. I was allowed to consume the easiest versions of classic literature, which enabled me to sidestep my dyslexia and dive right into these stories which are considered important by so many people. Loving the stories first made me more willing to pick up a heavy book filled with tiny print that would otherwise send my dyslexia running and screaming.

When I was told as a teen that I was reading the wrong stuff and that my reading matter was inferior, it certainly didn’t make me want to go home and reach for the Tolstoy. It made me all the more stubborn in my reading choices and closed me off to things I genuinely would have enjoyed. In other words, it made me resistant. The exact opposite of the intentions of the people who were trying to get me to read classics.

Full disclosure: I am not a parent. But I do know what fostered a love of literature in me as a child and what didn’t. Shaming and blaming from peers and well-meaning adults was ineffective. Being allowed to compare different versions of Jane Eyre without the expectation that I had to read it was what eventually lead me to read it.

For me, the most important thing was loving the stories in whatever medium I could best handle them at the time. And to this day, my bookshelves are filled with Shakespeare’s works, Harry Potter, Les Mis, and Star Wars (a lot of Star Wars) all jammed in together.

Encouraging a love of classic literature might not look like a child reading Austen contentedly on the coach. It might look like movies, popcorn, and a whole bunch of science fiction books, but if there’s a love of stories plus a desire for literacy the classics will follow.

Brave Writer Lifestyle

Brave Writer Podcast: Being an Awesome Adult & Living Your Most Fulfilling Life

As home educators, what does it mean to have a satisfying adult life? How can we nourish and enrich our lives when we are so depleted from giving away so much to our kids? What happens if we spend so much of our time preparing our children that we end up watching our own lives go by?

This two part talk I gave about being an awesome adult led to some of the richest online conversations I’ve had in years. The first part caused many parents to feel liberated into being the person they had always envisioned themselves to be once an adult. Other parents wrote to me say: “Are you freaking kidding me? I can hardly keep up with my four kids and homeschooling. Now you want me to have personal interests or pursue hobbies or a career? Give me a break!”

Yeah, those comments led to Part Two (UPDATE: listen here to the second podcast).

Wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Tune in to catch up with the inspiring controversial notion of putting the “awesome” back into your adult life for you and for your kids.

Life is Long & You Are Awesome

We’re going to start our discussion about Awesome Adulting with a simple principle: life is long!

Getting married and raising children is a consuming occupation for many young adults, and it is deeply satisfying and deserving of all of your energy.

But as you continue your journey, a natural question may arise: Should I be doing more than this? As women, in particular, is the highest good we can contribute raising a family?

We believe that it is possible to be completely head-over-heels in love with your children – so devoted that you want to stay home with them, raise them yourself, and educate them – and still keep one foot out the door, contributing to the larger good of society.

Awesome Adulting isn’t really about whether or not you are leading some “fantastic” life that other people may find startling or amazing. It’s about leading a life that is satisfying to you, and that represents the benefits of having gotten to the age you are today, for you.

The word “awesome” is not meant to be a burden or a new standard for you to hit – the goal is liberation and freedom.

Your Mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify two things:

  1. The passion you have for your children’s lives
  2. How you can express the incredible gift of personhood that only you possess

We don’t want to squander the incredibleness gift of personhood that is ours, and ours alone! Should we generously offer this gift to our children? Absolutely! But in conjunction with the person that we believe we are meant to become, want to become, or think is a privilege to become.

“When I say Awesome Adulthood, I don’t just mean taking up kayaking – I mean having a rich mind life, becoming a full person, and exploring and expanding the woman you are!”

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!

Friday Freewrite: Double Standard

Friday Freewrite Double Standard

A double standard is when two people are treated differently for doing the same thing. Have you ever experienced a double standard? What did that feel like? How did you handle it?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Blog Roundup: May 2018

May 2018 Brave Writer Lifestyle Blog Roundup

Welcome to the latest blog roundup! See how other homeschooling families practice the Brave Writer Lifestyle!

5 Tools that Spark Meaningful Family Conversation – NotBefore7

Inspired by Julie Bogart at Brave Writer – Learning Llamas

Becoming a Family of Brave Writers – Nourish My Scholar

Homeschool Curriculum: How to Ditch the Schedule and Embrace a Lifestyle – My Little Poppies

We hope to share more roundups in the future! If you write about an aspect of the Brave Writer Lifestyle, let us know! Email your post’s url to


Brave Writer Lifestyle