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What do you do when your child hates writing? How do you instill a love of writing when it is something that brings nothing but tears and heartache to your child? I must admit I was at a loss when it came to writing in our homeschool. Writing had become an almost painful requirement for both myself and our son. Basic writing prompts only prompted one or two word responses! That is, until a year ago when I discovered Julie Bogart and Brave Writer!
We have struggled with getting our son to write. We have tried many curriculum's and philosophies over the years from Classical homeschool to Unschooling. Don't get me wrong, he is brimming with ideas. Fantastical thoughts and stories fill his head...dragons, wizards, battles, wars, and even whole planet libraries! Yet getting those ideas onto paper has been difficult at best and down right non existent at worst. For example, we once had a writing prompt about farms and since we live on a Farm I thought this would be great! The prompt gave a picture of a pig and said, "I love pigs because...." Our son begins to tell me all the reasons he loves pigs: They make wonderful pets and are as smart as dogs, pigs have a great sense of smell and are known for their truffle hunting abilities, pigs make great bacon, ham and BBQ! Wow, I thought to myself, this is fantastic now write that down. Our son just starred at me blankly when I made that request. "Write that down" had become one of the worst things you could say to him. He ended up writing a single word on this pig writing prompt...bacon. With all of his amazing thoughts, our son could only manage a single word...bacon. I didn't know what to do. I felt like we were both failing.
*Disclosure: I received Brave Writer's Jot it Down at no cost in exchange for a review. I have sense purchased several other Brave Writer products because I love them so much! I was not required to write a positive review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
What is Brave Writer?
Brave Writer is a Language Arts program created by Julie Bogart. Most writing curriculum's only focus on techniques, grammar, spelling and punctuation. But Brave Writer is so much more than a curriculum. Brave Writer is a lifestyle that starts with relationships. The relationship between you and your child and your child's relationship with the written word. Brave Writer is both flexible and thorough. It covers all the academic bases while leaving room for individuality.
"The Brave Writer Lifestyle is the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal rhythm in your homeschool that explores music, the arts, film, nature, literature, poetry, and various writing practices in a natural predictable flow." Julie Bogart - Jot It Down
Doesn't that sound lovely? Brave Writer also promotes Story-Telling, One on One Time, and Big Juicy Conversations....all things that our son loves.
Our Journey Through Brave Writer
I've found that I do best as a homeschool mom when I can get daily encouragement. I know that as mother's and as homeschoolers we have a tendency to feel like we aren't doing enough. It helps to be encouraged, especially from those that have more experience than us and have come out on the other side of homeschooling with adult kids that are thriving. I stumbled upon A Gracious Space while stalking Julie Bogart on Facebook and You Tube. I am so glad I did! Julie homeschooled her 5 children for 17 years! She's been there. She knows what we're going through. Most every morning I start my day with her encouraging words. I always walk away feeling empowered and ready to give our children all of the love and understanding they need.
"Your eyes, your brain, and your mentoring are crucial to your children's growth as writers. Your Partnership offers assurance, encouragement, and practical help. Don't miss this shared experience of intimacy and creativity." Julie Bogart - A Gracious Space: Fall
Now, if we mom's do best with daily encouragement, wouldn't our children be the same way? Do you think it matters, to them, not only what we say but also how we say it? Brave Writer has challenged me to take a step back and place myself in my children's shoes. What reactions will bring the best out of me? Negativity or Positivity? A Gentle Word or a Harsh Word? Patience or Impatience? Instead of focusing on the one word our son wrote, Bacon, with negativity what if I approached it with Encouragement? Such as, "Wow, that may be the best capital letter B you've written yet! Well, Done!" These are the lessons I am learning from Julie Bogart and Brave Writer.
By focusing on our son's strengths he is now writing more than a single word in response to writing prompts. Sometimes a quill and ink with a bit of parchment is all that's needed for him to feel comfortable enough to write his thoughts. Other times we find that nature journaling and scientific facts gives him the confidence he needs to write what he knows. Since moving to the farm, our son has also taken to writing pen pal letters to his friends in far away states. Even still, I will scribe for him if he has loads of information that he wants to get out of his head and onto paper. We have even started writing a book together! It's all about his favorite subject, dragons!
Poetry is a lovely thing. Julie Bogart from Brave Writer says,
"Poetry is the candy of language for young children."
I love that the Brave Writer program puts an emphasis on poetry and encourages Poetry Tea time. Who knew that poetry could be so much fun for children? Our Poetry tea Times have been a huge hit and it has exposed our children to famous poets such as Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Emily Dickinson.
Follow Poetry Tea Time
Poetry Tea Time has become so popular that it now has its own Poetry Tea Time Website! You can gain inspiration by following them across social media...
What I Love About Brave Writer
There is so much to love about Brave Writer
- It meets your child where they are at, yet it also focuses on three important areas... Language Arts, Oral Language, and Writing Projects.
- Brave Writer is flexible! You choose what rhythm works best for your family. If you are looking for a curriculum to tell you that you must do this and this each day, then Brave Writer isn't for you. Brave Writer gives you suggestions for your rhythm but it is ultimately up to you to decide what works and when.
- Brave Writer promotes heaps of Read Alouds, Poetry Tea Time, Nature Journaling, Art Appreciation, Copy Work, Dictation, Grammar, Spelling, Movies, and Conversations.
Over the past year I have seen a change in our son's confidence and excitement to write. Long gone are the days of single response answers like "Bacon." Now he wants to write a book about dragon's, write down his thoughts on science and write down his opinions on the current books we are reading. I've also seen a trickle down effect with our 3 year old. She has taken to mimicking her brother's writing. I am constantly finding her writing little squiggly letters and notes for everyone in the family. She loves to tell me how she is, "busy writing." I've even found her lovely notes tucked into our mailbox waiting for delivery via the post! We have surely become a family of Brave Writers.
Follow Brave Writer
I am obsessed with Brave Writer and have been following them for a year now! If you are like me and looking for a writing curriculum that is full to the brim with encouragement, inspiration and positivity then I challenge to to take a peak at Brave Writer for yourself.