Laughter, Learning, and Lots of Notes

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Good friends. Good food. Lots of tea, coffee, and chocolate.

And plenty of felt tip colored markers for the 15 pages of notes in my bullet journal!

All of the perfect ingredients for a weekend with Julie Bogart, learning about the Brave Writer Lifestyle via the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s.

{This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Not Before 7}



A weekend with Julie Bogart.  Being inspired in your pursuit of the Brave Writer lifestyle.  Getting help for high school.  Learning the key ingredients to create your fantasy homeschool.  Discussing the elements of a language rich environment.  And doing all of this without having to leave your own house or local area.

That’s exactly what six friends and I did this weekend!

After receiving digital access to the Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s a few months ago, I immediately watched all five session.  At that time,  I wrote a detailed review of the DVD’s.  The sessions were full of such great information that I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I watched them.  In fact, an idea began brewing in my mind….

I decided to plan a Brave Writer weekend to share the sessions with friends.

Using Facebook, I created an event: Brave Writer Retreat DVD weekend and I invited a few local friends and one out of town childhood friend.  The basic plan for the weekend was as follows:

Friday night
7 PM: Introductions
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Help for High School
8:30 – 9:15 PM Discuss
*Then head home for evening and return the next day

arrive 8:30 AM
8:45 – 10:15 AM: Nurturing Brave Writers
10:15-10:45: Discuss
10:45-12:00: Ally, Coach, Partner
12:00- 12:45: POTLUCK LUNCH and discussion
12:45-1:45: Creating a Language Rich Environment
1:45-2:15 Discuss
2:15-3:45 Your Fantasy Homeschool
Then discuss and head home by 4:30.

(I am happy to say that our final ending time was 5 PM, which was pretty darn close to the original plan.  Impressive for a group of 7 women!)

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night with Help for High School which is actually the fourth video in the series. It made more sense to start with it on Friday night so that anyone who wasn’t quite ready for the high school discussion could opt out.  This allowed moms of little ones to stay home that night and only set aside Saturday.  Of course, everyone was welcome to attend all of the sessions.

IMG_4749A hot tea, iced tea, and coffee bar were set up in the basement, scattered with some yummy chocolates.  We planned a pot luck lunch including soup, salad, bread, fruit and veggies.  Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy lunch on the deck.

After a packed morning of information, lunch outside was a welcome break to digest information and talk through ideas.  Then we were ready for our last two sessions.

IMG_4776I have to warn you that you will receive a lot of information in one weekend.  A LOT.

Be prepared with a ton of colorful felt markers, gel pens, or whatever your note taking medium of choice happens to be.   I filled 15 pages, front and back, in my moleskin bullet journal.

We found that pausing the video was necessary because all of the discussion notes were shown on a power point presentation.  The screens were shown briefly in the video, but IMG_4757not long enough to write down the information.  Pausing was effective, but here is a pro-tip for you:  snap a quick picture of the screen with your phone or tablet!

Having the “slide” on your phone allows you to look at it as Julie was talks, so you can copy down each of the bullet points as she explains them rather than having to copy them all at once and then squeeze in your notes.

It’s safe to say that we all filled pages upon pages with notes whether the Brave Writer Lifestyle was new to us or something we were quite familiar with.

When Saturday came to a close and the last session was over, our final discussion was brief.  Most of us felt ready to go home and process the information, including myself.


Truly, it had been a fantastic twenty-four hours that we set aside for ourselves.  We laughed and learned.  We we were energized and challenged.   The time spent this weekend was good for ourselves, our homeschools and even our parenting.

And it made me even more excited about the Brave Writer retreat in July!

(I have been following the Brave Writer Lifestyle for 3 years in our home.  I am proud to be a Brave Writer Ambassador and to share ideas with you regarding our families’ use of Brave Writer products and the implementation of philosophies.  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and they help to support this blog)



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4 thoughts on “Laughter, Learning, and Lots of Notes”

  1. Love this idea. I bought the digital DVD’s a few months back. I need to plan this for our local community. Once again, I’m stealing one of your great ideas. Thanks, Mary!


      Steal away my friend! That’s what we are all here for – to share and steal ideas 🙂

  2. Julie Schellin

    Mary – this sounds like such a great thing. I see God using you in such a great way in your homeschooling community. Keep going, mom!


      Aw. Thanks Julie. This is such a compliment, especially from homeschooling mom whom I respect so much! Thanks lady!

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