Writing has been one of the things that I have struggled with from the beginning. I was considered an excellent writing teacher when I taught, but it hasn’t gone as well at home. Karis HATES writing and dreads it every day. There have been many tears over writing. I have tried teaching it the way I taught in public school (Writer’s Workshop), Writing with Ease, Writing and Rhetoric, WriteShop, Essentials in Writing, and most recently IEW. Some of those I liked and she hated. Some of those she didn’t hate (still didn’t like) but I hated. She didn’t get good instruction in school either. It has just been a terrible struggle for years. She even hated it when she was in school back in Frisco (Writer’s Worshop). She would spend weeks on one paper and she wouldn’t end up turning them in, which resulted in poor grades.
I thought that she needed IEW because it tells you what to write. You use a passage and a keyword outline. This worked okay, but I honestly hated it… and I know she didn’t love it. The more we got into it, the harder it was for both of us. I chose this program because that’s “the program” to create good writers. I thought it was my only choice.
I was going to continue IEW for my kids… then I was going to just use it for Karis and use Writing with Ease for the boys (because I felt that they wouldn’t do well with the strictness of IEW).
A few days ago I was chatting in The Good and Beautiful Facebook group and learned about “The Brave Writer Lifestyle.” I had never heard of this (though I had heard of the curriculum, I had never heard of the “lifestyle.”). Many of the ladies that use The Good and the Beautiful also use Brave Writer for writing (G&B doesn’t have the greatest writing… at least in the lower levels).
I decided to check out “Brave Writer Lifestyle” on YouTube because I was curious what that meant.
I wasn’t prepared to have my whole view of homeschooling changed by a new philosophy of education.
Check out the video below:
It’s an hour long so I’ll summarize it with these bullet points:
- Poetry Teatimes
- Have a time set aside each week to set the table with a tablecloth, have tea or hot chocolate or whatever your kids want to drink, a breakfast treat like scones or muffins, then let your kids read their favorite poetry.
- Read alouds
- Read aloud from many and varied books each day
- The kids should copy sentences and paragraphs and write from dictation.
- Art appreciation
- Appreciate art… look at it and discuss
- Read Shakespeare, watch Shakespeare movies and plays, etc.
- Watch documentaries, watch movies of good books, etc.
- Movies and tv teach characterization, plot, etc.
- Friday Free Writes
- Set a timer and write. You can use a prompt if necessary. The kids write about anything that is on their mind. Pay no attention to grammar and mechanics. Do not correct, just admire. Write while the kids write if possible.
- The kid can write “I don’t know what to write” over and over if necessary, as long as their pencil is moving!
- Nature journaling
- Go on nature walks and draw/color/paint pictures of what you see.
- Literary elements
- Learn about things such as metaphors, analogies, similes, alliteration, etc.
- One on one time
- Give each child one-on-one time each day, even if it’s just a few minutes.
- Language games
- Play games such as scrabble, Scattergories, Cranium, Apples to Apples, etc
- Also do crosswords and word searches
- Writing projects
- Make writing fun! Turn it into a project (use her ideas if you need them!).
- This will only be one a month or even less if necessary.
Then I decided to keep watching Julie Bogart YouTube videos.
Can I just say that she’s a breath of fresh air? I have had so much anxiety about homeschooling (even though I was so excited about it) because I carried so much weight thinking that I had to do everything a certain way, that the kids needed to be on or above “level,” that I needed to have a schedule so that Ethan could thrive (because I thought he needs extreme structure), that I needed to have “school at home,” that I had to have the perfect curriculum in order to have everyone on or above level, and so much more. I have spent so much money over the years on curriculum because I didn’t trust myself to teach them and because I wanted “rigor.”
Here are some great ones!
Through all of this I’ve decided to:
- Do The Good and the Beautiful for all of language arts but writing (I got my books the other day and I LOVE them! They are beautiful!).
- Go ahead and do copywork, dictation, and narration with all of my kids, not just the boys (using Brave Writer products to reinforce mechanics, learn literary elements, etc through novels).
- Do writing projects with all of the kids.
- Do Friday free-writes.
- Continue with my plans to do nature journaling, read Shakespeare, do art appreciation, and do read-alouds. A lot of this will happen during morning time.
- Do poetry tea time every Friday (get out the tablecloth, make a breakfast treat, have hot chocolate and/or tea, and allow the kids to choose their own poetry to read). I showed Levi the video about this and he is so excited! I have so many poetry books that we haven’t been reading.
If I can’t implement all of these all the time, that’s okay. It’s just a guide. She even says that sometimes she goes months without implementing some of these things.
I’m learning to be okay when they aren’t “perfect” at things because NO ONE IS PERFECT. And small kids shouldn’t be expected to do things that aren’t developmentally appropriate for them. Also, writing comes easy for some people and not for others. That’s normal.
Rigor doesn’t equal right. Rigor isn’t my personality and it’s not the personality of my kids. Sarah McKenzie talks about this in her book Teaching From Rest. I have learned a TON through that book as well (read twice and listened to 3 times)! There are tons of videos on YouTube about it, and I suggest watching the 3 part Teaching From Rest book club! This is the gist of the book and a great conversation about it.
I feel like I can take a deep breath and just enjoy being home with my kids educating them!
Most of what I’m adopting for our family is the Charlotte Mason method of education (along with a little bit of classical). I am at such peace and “in love” with where I have landed!
Here are some pictures of The Good and the Beautiful:
Here are some pictures of Brave Writer:
I can’t wait to get started!