Our Brave Writer Lifestyle, Part II

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In my last post, I shared a blog entry from 2013 about my discovery of the Brave Writer Lifestyle.  Today I am following up with another re-post from November 16, 2013 which was also written about our first year with Brave Writer.  This is the second post in a three-part series.

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Yesterday, I mentioned my love for our BraveWriter lifestyle this year!

Today I want to explain our Language Arts program this year in case someone is curious.

When I decided to attempt the BraveWriter philosophy, I dove in!

When we first attempted the Brave Writer Lifestyle, we dove in with both feet! Read about our first year!

I decided we would scrap everything else I had tried in the past so I could go for it 100 percent.  Then I would give it until December to see if we loved it.

The first thing I did was purchase the full year of The Arrow. The Arrow is a curriculum guide containing spelling, copywork, grammar, literary elements, and punctuation based on quality literature titles.

This means I tossed out the spelling workbooks, grammar workbooks, and vocabulary workbooks.

THAT was a HUGE step in this house. HUGE. Those workbooks were my daily checklist so that I could be sure that I was covering everything. They were my evidence of school.

The scariest part of all of this was deprogramming myself. Because this is NOT how I learned. Workbooks were safe. This felt less so.

And guess what?

We love it!

AND it works!

Brave Writer TriciaMy daughter who struggles with spelling is doing great! She still struggles with correct spelling, but she continues to make progress over time just like she did with those boring repetitive workbooks.

The copywork is now our guide for teaching various punctuation, such as commas, colons, and quotation marks.

Each Arrow Guide contains weekly discussions that include various literary elements as well as writing techniques and grammar rules. In addition, the end of each guide includes a writing project.

Best of all, the literature titles have been fun! Julie, owner of Brave Writer, selects a nice mix of classic and modern literature in her guides.

Our favorite so far this year has been, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. The entire book is written as journal entries in free verse poetry. We loved this book and the reader on the audio CD does a great job with it!

The next thing I did was sign up for Julie’s emails each day, and I began to follow her on Facebook.  I can’t possibly implement all of the great writing ideas, but they have helped plant seeds in my mind that I use when the timing feels natural! I love those emails!

bw-kWe have also implemented Teatime Tuesday (more on that next) and Freewrite Friday (more on that next too!).

I also purchased Jot It Down. This is a writing guide for ages 5-8. It contains monthly writing project ideas. Julie emphasizes that one writing piece a month is plenty! This was a very freeing idea to me.  One writing piece a month?  A weight off my shoulders was lifted!

I know we will often write more than one piece a month, but it made so much sense to complete the full writing process on only one piece of writing!

Currently, we are reading Fairy Tales and retelling them in our own words. The first one we did blew me away as my 6-year-old son retold a beautiful version of “Rapunzel”.  He spoke it with such a high-level of vocabulary straight out of the story which he had clearly learned from listening. My 9 year old daughter likes to retell the stories with her own twist. Her version of “Little Red Riding Hood” includes Ninjas.

Best of all…this year my kids all consider themselves writers!

They keep poetry journals. They talk about their stories and write for fun. Even my 4-year-old asked one night if he could tell me a story! The next day he told me another and I wrote it down in his writing journal.

They all have learned that they each have ideas that are worth writing down! And I can think of no better goal for writing at this age.

So, what does Language Arts look like at our house?

Monday: read a chapter or so from our read aloud title (The Arrow); copywork (from The Arrow guide); discussion of the grammar/punctuation/literary elements in our copywork selection

Tuesday: read a chapter from our read aloud; Tea Time Tuesday (poetry sharing)

Wednesday: read a chapter from our read aloud; copywork (from The Arrow or free choice); finish any activities/discussions from The Arrow guide

Thursday: read a chapter; Copywork (free choice or The Arrow)

Friday: read a chapter; Friday Freewrite

In addition to the everyday basics, we usually complete some sort of wordplay activity from Julie’s email suggestions on Wednesday unless we are working through one of the Jot it Down writing projects. The Arrow also includes a writing project at the end, so sometimes we pick that one instead.

Honestly, I don’t miss the boring workbooks at all. This feels a bit more haphazard, but we have found our groove and we love it!

I loved reading this original post.  A lot of our implementation has changed, but my enthusiasm for Brave Writer is just as great, if not greater than it was in 2013.  The fact that my love for the Brave Writer lifestyle has grown over time says a lot about this lifestyle.

This post is part of a three-part series, all reposted from my former blog.  The first post contains a little background about my introduction to the Brave Writer philosophy.

Related Links:

Read about the beginning of our Brave Writer Lifestyle.This is our language arts plan to use the Brave Writer Arrow guides in our homeschool.


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