Are your kids fed up with workbooks? Do you feel like you’ve circled over nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs cyclically with little evidence that all that teaching results in better writing? Grammar is that one subject everyone feels guilty not teaching, yet most of us don’t have a clue why it’s important or how it applies to written expression.

The Groovy Grammar Workshop empowers parents to implement a natural approach to teaching grammar. This workshop stands the whole concept of grammar on its head. Rather than studying terminology and dissecting sentences, students are encouraged to play with language, to explore how words bump up against each other and generate meaning. Words, in a variety of contexts, will spring to life in fresh ways, which enable kids and parents to discover the sheer power and joy of shifting syntax for shaping grammatical understanding. Writing is enhanced when kids deliberately thwart reader expectations and forge new grammatical relationships between the old, tired words everyone uses. Activities include:

  • Compiling personalized word lists
  • Running through the house assigning these words to items of their choice
  • Defining the relationships between meaning and words in their own words
  • Creating word sculptures
  • Authoring a personalized dictionary of made-up words
  • Analyzing “Jabberwocky” to identify parts of speech when applied to nonsense words
  • Writing their own poems which employ their personal lexicon of newly created terms

I promise you: You’ll never see “verbs,” “nouns” and “adjectives” in the same way again. :) And your kids may even declare by class’s end: “I love grammar!”

High school students are welcome to take this class on their own, or they may post separately from the rest of the family if younger siblings are also taking the class.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

Class Structure Description #

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll test it and agree!

Click here to login to a sample classroom.

The Groovy Grammar Class is what we call a "Family Class" in Brave Writer. Your children are enrolled in the class and will be the ones doing the activities, but the parent is the "student" in the classroom. The instructor will teach not just your children about grammar, but also you, the parent! Together you will read the material and support your kids in doing the activities; then you will report back to the instructor by posting your children's work. We find that kids have a much more successful experience with grammar when a parent is involved in the whole process.

That said, your kids are free to convey their thoughts and reactions to the instructor, too. She will want to get to know them! The structure of this class is that the parent is the enrolled student, and the kids are the active participants. Our hope is that both you and your children will have a transformed relationship with grammar by the end of the four weeks together!