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I’m Julie Bogart, owner and creator of Brave Writer, the homeschool writing program designed to ensure peace and progress in the writing process.
I wonder if you’re at all like I was as a home educator.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table with an open math textbook, a child looking up at me with pleading eyes, and my heart racing because I literally did not understand the mathematic process on the page. It was in that moment that I dearly wished I could contact the author and ask him, “What did you mean by this information in your instructions?”
Alas, I could not ask that question! Instead, I was left frustrated and alone, and my child lost some confidence (rightly so!) in my ability to be helpful to her when she encountered math difficulties.
I discovered that many parents had this exact experience when teaching writing! They would open the writing manual to read a set of instructions about a descriptive paragraph, they would explain them to their child…and then–nothing.
The parent would hand the child a blank page
and get back a blank stare! At that moment, parents enter the lonely space of “Now what do I do?” and have nowhere to turn.
Most homeschool writing materials focus on “what to do” rather than how you actually get it done. It’s like a math book that tells students to do long division but never shows a child how to factor or the relationship between multiplication and division.
Not to worry!
YOU are uniquely qualified to come to your child’s aid! You can become a writing coach and ally to your child!
Understanding grammar and writing formats alone will not help your children to write well.
What will help them to be effective writers is to give them tools so that they discover the writing partner that lives within. They need to get in touch with the language, ideas, thoughts, and stories they want to tell, in the ways they want to tell them, freely, into an emotionally safe space, supported by a parent who is head-over-heels in love with that child. That’s you!
Brave Writer offers a host of products that give you a variety of ways to interact with writing. The website and blog are rife with free insight and instruction. Our materials are divided into three types of products:
- Writing Manuals
- Language Arts Tools
- Online Writing Classes
How do these fit together?
Glad you asked! Keep reading…
How writing is like sewing
When learning the skills needed for sewing, students start with scrap fabric. Once the student is comfortable with sewing, she may use patterns to create products.
Writing, like sewing, is a set of skills a person masters over time that can eventually be applied to academic forms of writing, with developmentally appropriate writing experiences along the way.
In Brave Writer, The Writer’s Jungle is the sewing machine.
The manual orients a child to the processes of writing: finding the words that live within, observing keenly, generating insight, and hooking readers. These processes are explored using scrap language—whatever is in the mouth and mind of the child at the time (like sewing skills are learned using scrap fabric).
The writing is interest-driven and exploratory. The child is gaining facility with the practice of accessing language from within and getting it to the page in a variety of ways (all different styles of “language stitching”), supported by you, the parent.
Each week, the parent reads a chapter of the manual and then tries the practice with the child. This is how you would teach sewing—one stitch at a time.
In writing, these skills are:
- learning to say what you mean,
- finding descriptive language through exploring your sensory experience deeply,
- asking yourself meaningful questions about the material before you try to write about it,
- saturating in the subject area long enough to have a vocabulary to support writing about it,
and so on…
These are the skills of writing that must be explored by students before attempting writing assignments by themselves.
The Wand, Arrow or Boomerang (our language arts products that teach the mechanics of writing) are similar to managing the needle, pedal, and thread of the sewing machine.
As students learn the functional skills needed to run the machinery of writing, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting, and/or typing, parents come alongside and support their children’s original writing impulses by partnering with them—helping them “thread the machine” or “guide the fabric,” so to speak, until their kids are able to perform those skills unaided.
In Brave Writer, we offer “writing assignments”—the formats of writing—in several different ways.
We have two stand-alone products designed for the early developmental stages of writing:
And we have online writing classes that explore a variety of writing projects suited to the ages and stages of your children.
The point is this:
Writing assignments are the dress patterns of writing. Don’t hand your brand-new-to-writing student the equivalent of an evening gown dress pattern and expect it to turn out right on the first try just because there are “clear instructions.” After students understand how the machine works and can manage the demands of the machine, then it’s time to make a dress all on their own!
Formats for writing never teach your child how to write. Writing is a set of skills applied to formats. This is why starting with formats is as wise as handing your child a sewing machine and a dress pattern to teach her to sew. Without having learned to stitch and buttonhole on scrap fabric, your child will not be able to follow the pattern. Likewise, until a child has learned to write using the scrap language that lives in her mouth and mind, she will not successfully be able to write to format. Learning the skills of writing comes first.
Writing is a set of skills
practiced independently of assignments,
leading to developmentally appropriate writing projects
that reinforce and expand evolving skills.
Brave Writer exists to promote positive relationships between parents and children as they embark on the writing process. In other words, not only will your children learn to write using Brave Writer materials, but your connection to your child will be enhanced and protected through the processes and philosophy of Brave Writer’s writing instruction.
Let me know how I can help you!
Contact: [email protected]; (513) 307-1405 (My direct line—call me!)
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P.S. Download Your Free Writing Lessons Now! Brave Writer offers you a natural, guided, nurturing approach to teaching the writing process. Get started today!
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