Why Brave Writer Works
The bane of existence in writing #
The majority of writing curricula focus on teaching writing formats and the structure of writing. They don't tell you how to ensure that kids access the words within. Those programs rarely address the critical role of the parent in facilitating that process or even understanding how it works.
Brave Writer focuses on establishing writing voice and the writing process in children and teens first, by helping parents know how to foster the right environment for writing risks. We give parents instruction in how to nurture and draw out the writing voices of their children without causing damage (making writing a chore or treating it like a subject to be drummed out for school or causing resentment, tears, and writer's block).
Vive la différence! #
The core difference between Brave Writer and other programs is that we teach writing much the way professional writers teach writing. Educators often teach writing from format or structure, believing that students will find ease in writing if they are told what the shape of that writing ought to be. These programs deconstruct a specific writing form (like an essay, for instance), identifying its elements. They create an assignment that will reproduce the structure of the model or the form (five paragraphs, has these components, takes up this much paper), and then expect the student to produce writing that matches that set of expectations without necessarily taking into account what the student wants to express. When this kind of mode is used for teaching writing to young children not yet in touch with their writing voices, kids train themselves to think of how to solve the "puzzle" of the assignment (meeting the expectations of the rubric), rather than tapping into their writing voices and really determining what it is they want to say, and how they want to say it.
Professional writing instruction usually starts with a person—what do you have to say? Let's get it out as best we can, then we can mess with it and see what can be done to mold it into the kind of form that best suits the material. Brave Writer helps kids discover the power and play of language, and boosts their sense of pride in their work because it most often represents content which is meaningful and important to them.
Brave Writer, not Brave Writing #
This is why our company name is Brave Writer not Brave Writing. We focus on writers—people—and the quirky process of pulling language from within and finding the best shape for it, and then to polish it and share it with others.
We offer both parents and kids tools that enable them to revise and edit their work with confidence. As kids get older, Brave Writer introduces writing formats (particularly in late junior high/high school) that take advantage of the cultivated writing voice, their evolving rhetorical thinking, as well as their language arts powers. We promote both substance (insight, thought processes, developed vocabulary, mastery of material) and style (enabling kids to discover the variety of writing voices they have inside to meet the demands of any writing assignment).
Parents report that their kids who have taken our online classes and who've used our materials are ready to tackle any writing assignment as they get older because they feel confident in their powers to generate language and insight. In fact, they know they can write.
New to Brave Writer #
If you're new to Brave Writer, the next step is to determine what you need:
A Home Study Course
These are manuals designed for self-instruction. You are a good candidate for a home study course if you prefer to follow your own schedule, have the self-discipline to follow through on your best intentions and like to hold a manual in your hands. Moms and dads who get stressed by time on the computer or prefer to set their own pace for writing instruction do better with the home study course such as The Writer's Jungle. Teens who work independently well do just fine with Help for High School (designed for them, without a need for a parent's direct involvement).
An Online Writing or Language Arts Class
Brave Writer classes are a good idea for you or your children if you would appreciate the structure, support, feedback and accountability of working with an instructor. Moms who feel they routinely fail to "get writing done" do better in classes than with "one more manual" sitting in a bookcase.
Ask yourself #
- How successful have I been in the past when I am in charge of my child's writing instruction?
- Do I put it off?
- Do I find other things to do?
- Do I wish I had someone to talk to when the going gets tough?
- Do I wonder if my child's writing is adequate for his age?
(If these are your issues, take a class.)
Or perhaps you are thinking like this:
- Where can I find a guide that helps me to unblock my young writer?
- I know how to create assignments
- I have no trouble setting a schedule to follow
- I just don't have the tool I need at my fingertips to facilitate writing growth
(If this is the case, you will do just fine with the home study course: The Writer's Jungle.)
What if you have a teen? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does my teen prefer to work alone?
- Does my teen have the self-discipline to work through a manual without instructor support?
- Does my teen benefit from the structure and accountability of a class with a start and end date, as well as due dates for assignments?
- Would my teen enjoy having other students read and give feedback to the student's work?
If the answer is "yes" to the first two, then Help for High School is a great choice. If the answer is "yes" to the second two, then online classes are the right choice. Of course, a combination is perfectly valid too! Many Brave Writer teens use the home study course and take online classes.
Language Arts Program
Perhaps you need tools to facilitate development of language arts skills using real literature. We have those too.
Finally, if you are looking for a way to create a lifestyle that leads to a language rich environment, please check out the Brave Writer Lifestyle. It's one part of our site with all kinds of resources that are free and that will give you ways to foster a happier homeschool environment all while on the stealth mission of creating a lifestyle that fosters great writing! If you don't know where to start, we suggest Poetry Teatimes as these are the hands' down winners of the BWL!
[Image by Brave Writer mom, Danielle]