“Mom! I have to go write a story! Can I go on the computer please, I really need to get this out right NOW!”, my very excited 8 year old jumped off the sofa in a sudden burst of energy and inspiration. I sat there, in that moment, beside my 11 year old son as we worked though his language arts lesson – and looked back at this bright-eyed 8 year old and thought “This is it. This is what Brave Writer IS.”
If you’ve known me for a hot second, you’ll probably know that Brave Writer has been a major influence in my homeschool. Not only because of the products we use – but because of the philosophy that underpins the whole thing. This thing we call “The Brave Writer Lifestyle” is more than just a series of resources and curriculum products. It’s all the ways that we incorporate language into our daily rhythm, and the best way for me to describe it is by telling you a tale of two children: a writing-anxious young boy who has always struggled with language and doesn’t come to creative writing very easily. And, a precocious little 8 year old girl who has a natural tendency towards writing and creativity.
How can two such different kids both find success and both flourish in this Brave Writer Lifestyle? That, dear reader, is the beauty of this approach.
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A Tale of a Hesitant Writer
When we first pulled our kids from public school, we spent some time deschooling and relaxing and enjoying our newfound freedom. After a few months, I started to notice that my son’s anxiety would trigger almost instantly anytime I asked him to write anything at all. Language struggles were nothing to new to us, but I don’t think I had realized just how deeply they still ran.
One of the first products I ever purchased in our homeschool was The Writer’s Jungle – which is essentially the manual for the Brave Writer philosophy. As soon as I started to read it, I knew that this would be a huge help for my son. But more than anything, it felt like I could let myself relax finally. I had a guide, a holding hand, someone who felt like they ‘got it’.
Over the next 3 years, Brave Writer was with me as I worked with my anxious son. And more than a language arts curriculum, more than poetry teatime and Arrow literature guides – this lifestyle gave me a deeper, richer connection with my son. It allowed me the room and space to be with him, in each moment, right where he was. Underneath all of the amazing resources that Brave Writer produces, there is a current of connection and relationship.
For my son, writing was more than just hard or challenging – it was terrifying and anxiety-inducing. Embracing a language-rich homeschool environment, I was able to infuse my son’s days with words and games and stories and gradually, even writing.
A Tale of A Natural Creative Writer
If my son was a hesitant writer, his sister was as far opposite as could be. I can hardly remember a time when this little girl was NOT telling stories, creating magical worlds, and dreaming up the craziest characters. I remember sitting on the side of her bed when she was barely 2 years old, just listening to her rattle off this amazing story just off the top of her head. Always with a little flair for the dramatic, my daughter is a natural storyteller, and already an eloquent writer.
This same Brave Writer lifestyle that allowed my son the space and security to grow at his own speed – also gave me the tools and ideas to really let my daughter develop her writing skills at her own pace.
That day, when she jumped off the sofa and ran to the computer – I could have said “we will write when it’s time, right now is time for math/science/whatever”. Instead, because I had years of Julie Bogart telling me “follow enchantment, say yes, go off the schedule and follow the rabbit trails” – I said “Sure, honey, go for it!”
The result of that, after 40 mins of listening to the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard, was a story so beautifully written that I choked back a few tears when I read it. I know that filling her days with language, using our Brave Writer products, and just having this homeschool atmosphere of words and beauty and peace – allows her to really blossom.
This Is What Brave Writer Is All About
So, that day, when my daughter passionately bounded out of the room because she “just had to get this out right NOW”, I looked at her and at my son and I knew in my heart that this was the fruits of my labour. This is what I had carefully and patiently worked towards. This Brave Writer lifestyle was the real deal and it was working. All the little moments along the way were culminating in two children, very different with very different skill sets, both developing a love for language in their own unique ways.
Watching a little boy who would fall apart at the SIGHT of a book or a blank sheet of paper – grow into a young man who reads voraciously now? Watching my little girl’s eyes light up as she weaves a tale of magic and wonder? This is what Brave Writer is. This is what homeschooling is. These are the sweet moments that I will hold in my heart long after this homeschool journey is over.
Friends and readers – I have exciting news! If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Brave Writer podcast, you need to do that right now! This season, on the podcast, is all about Brave Writer Families – the real deal, day in the life stories of how the BW Lifestyle looks in different homes. And….*drumroll please*….yours truly will be a guest on the podcast on March 13! So follow any of the links below, or click on the image, to go check it out. And excuse me while I go have a fangirly moment over here!