I have been reading through their website (very extensive!) and am intrigued...in some ways it sounds like a lot, but in other ways it doesn't. I'd love to hear from someone who actually followed any part of this program.
I'm also a little interested in the basic online class they offer; I'm wondering if it would cut through some of the initial resistance I get when I implement anything new.
It is! It's supposed to be less of a curriculum and more of how to incorporate regular writing into your daily life. I was just curious to hear if anyone had used it. There are many different components to pick and choose from.
I've never used it but have heard good reviews. I also saw that it's on sale (50% off) right now on the homeschool buyer's co-op website. :)
Milly, stumbling horribly on God's path, married to my amazing Superhero, and mama to my 3 awesome boys, and my amazing rainbow baby girl! Missing our Little One, lost 11/09, and our son, stillborn 11/10
I live and breathe Brave Writer so hopefully I can help. I have taught using Julie Bogart's approach to writing for several years now in our co-op. I've read through The Writer's Jungle more than once, read Help for High School, my son took one of her online classes, and I even went so far as to apply for a job to be one of her online instructors. I had the chance to train with her last summer and am on a list for possible future hire. Just missed the cut this time around. Bummer! LOL
Brave Writer is not a curriculum to open up and follow each day with pre-made assignments. It is, however, a lifestyle. The approach to writing is very organic with the emphasis being on the writing content, on developing writer's voice, and of enjoying the entire language arts subject. My son is 12 years old and writes beautifully. I tell him he writes better than me as he is not inhibited in anyway. He has been allowed total freedom to express himself on paper and he does so easily. His writer's voice is strong. His fictional writing is fun but he knows formats as well and can pump out a five paragraph paper that sizzles. My 10 year old daughter laughs in glee as she types her stories and my 7 year old even gets on the laptop and types away at times. They all love writing and have absolutely nothing to fear about it. They realize the power it holds -- the power to surprise people, entertain people, educate people, move people.
I have not incorporated all of the components of BW into our lives but yet, we do a lot naturally so I probably do more than I realize. We always read books together, my kids read on their own, we do do the copywork and dictation exercises, we read poetry on occasion but I haven't done the poetry teatimes. As far as movies go -- I did NaNoWriMo with my students last year including both my kids and now when they watch movies, they will tell me when we have hit the inciting incident, who the antogonist is, who the protagonist is, and when the climax is etc. They tell me the plot and the sub plots. It just all happens naturally.
BW teaches writers versus writing. There's a big difference there. I love teaching using this approach. To see students enjoy the process and "get it" is very rewarding.
Hope that helps a bit?
Khenn, thank you for your response...you've convinced me! Well, that and the 50% off from HSBC. I will admit that I'm a little overwhelmed at the volume of materials to read through, but I did get the Writer's Jungle and also the Arrow subscription, so we'll see how it all goes. I'm thrilled to hear that it has worked so well for you and your children! If you have a chance, I'd love to hear a few more details about how you incorporate some of the activities into your daily life, such as the Free writes and the copywork. I was also thinking about signing dd (10) up for the class, just to get us going, but maybe it's not necessary?
Mere, I'm so happy to hear you are going to get The Writer's Jungle! The classes are run quite frequently so you might want to just get TWJ first, read through it, and then decide if you want to spend the money on a class or not. The manual is really great in helping you know how to approach any writing assignment. You will want to work through the first 9 chapters in TWJ with your child in that order but after that, the sky's the limit on what you want them to do for writing. Following their interests is the best way to go. Being as I teach in a co-op, I have to assign writing projects which takes the Brave Writer philosphy and forces it a bit which is not ideal but what can you do?
The writing process starts with freewriting where you child will just dump their thoughts on paper. Once you have several freewrites to work with, have your child select one of those to take through the writing process. At the most, they will do one full writing project a month. The next step is revising. This is not editing! Revising is about "more". You will ask your child questions to help them expand on what they have written. Just showing interest in their story will help them want to expand on it. You are not focusing on the mechanics yet. You are showing them the value of what they have to say by showing interest and asking them what they meant or what the character ate when they had their dinner meal or what the person looked like when they were scared etc. The goal is for them to get what is in their head, into your head. TWJ has a great exercise that you will do with your child in the first week to drive this point home. After revising it is finally editing time. Again, TWJ will give you tips on how to go about cleaning up the mechanics.
Aside from writing, Brave Writer gives you tools to cover other aspects of language arts. Those who read will find writing easier. It's tough to write effectively if you don't read quality writing and recognize it for what makes it quality. The Arrow subscription comes into play here. I have my children use the weekly passage as copywork once and as dictation once during the week. The younger the child, the more I lean towards doing French Dictation. My children started doing dictation this way. When they were done with writing the words in the blanks, I had them go onto MS Word and type the words in. If the words were underlined as being spelled wrong, I had them right click and find the right spelling. This way the computer pointed out their spelling errors instead of me.
I have never done any spelling program with any of my kids. By just doing copywork and dictation, they are right on track for their grade level. Grammar I have only done once with my 12 year old and have yet to do it with my 10 year old but that will change this year. In Sept. we'll start up with school again and my 12 year old will start the Adanced Winston Grammar while my 10 year old will do the Beginner Winston Grammar. Julie Bogart says to do grammar 3 times in their 12 years of school and I'm all for that. Less is more.
It's more a matter of working with some form of Language Arts every day in some capacity. It's not a matter of expecting new writing every day as that would be a huge mistake. My kids do one freewrite a week at the most. When they are working on a writing project, they don't freewrite anything else on the weeks they revise. Editing week they might still freewrite.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
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