Browsing Tag


Brave Writer, Poetry, Poetry

Our Brave Writer Lifestyle, Teatime and Freewriting

This is the final post in a series from my former blog, originally published in 2013.  The first two posts recorded my discovery of Brave Writer and our plan for implementation. This third and final post records the beginning of Freewriting and Teatime in our home.  We still implement a Brave Writer lifestyle in our homeschool and it is a delight to look back at our enthusiastic beginnings and realize that my enthusiasm has only grown since then!

We did not have our traditional scavenger hunt for school supplies this year.

We did not need any more pens, pencils, notebooks, and such.  Though I do admit that I might have purchased a pack of sharpie markers for myself because I might just be a bit obsessed with them. Continue Reading

Brave Writer, Homeschooling

Our Brave Writer Lifestyle, Part II

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! Continue Reading


Our Brave Writer Lifestyle Begins

This post was written on my former blog (now private) in November 2013.  It was part of a three part series on the Brave Writer Lifestyle in our homeschool.  I thought it appropriate to repost the entire series here as a record of our on-going journey with Brave Writer.   The follow-up posts can be found here and here.

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I don’t even know how to begin describing the changes in our homeschooling since I found Julie at Brave Writer.  I have been inspired and encouraged to finally embrace the homeschooling lifestyle that I think has always been “me” deep down inside.

When I first began homeschooling, I focused on giving my kids a Classical Education.  It was a great start to our homeschooling journey and I have NOTHING bad to say about a Classical Education.  The classical model provides a framework for a fantastic education and the students taught using this method are evidence of what a great option it is.  The problem was that it just didn’t inspire me.  Ultimately it stressed me out.

Eventually, I discovered the educational practices and philosophies of Charlotte Mason.  Slowly, I began to change the way we were doing things.   We found ourselves journalling on nature walks and searching for living books.  Yet, I struggled with ideas like copy work because it was so different from anything I had done in school.  I had a ton of questions. Continue Reading

Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

Top Ten Brave Writer Arrow Guides

I confess.

I am a paper girl trapped in a world of PDF’s.  Despite these handy electronic files,  I continue to print out most everything. And this includes my homeschool curriculum guides.

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Open my file cabinet in the basement and preview the stacks and stacks of Brave Writer Arrow guides from three full years of subscriptions.  Thirty printed guides are sitting in my files in addition to their PDF counterparts sitting on my computer.  I am not really sure why I feel the need to save the printed copy, but I do.

So as part of my procrastination file cabinet organization, I pulled out all of my Brave Writer Arrow Guides and sorted them until I found my favorite guides released in the school years that began in 2013, 2014, and 2016.  This list does NOT include any titles from the current school year (2016-2017).


Continue Reading

Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Poetry

Poetry Teatime for Families

Poetry Teatime is a special part of our family life.

Once a week we slow down, enjoy good company and good food, and settle in for some poetry.

Relationships are built with one another and with poetry, all while enjoying tea (or lemonade) and snacks.

Begin a poetry teatime with your family. It doesn't have to be complicated. Learn more here about getting started.

Poetry Teatime is part of our Brave Writer Lifestyle, a language arts program created with homeschool families in mind, but the idea is certainly not limited to any educational choice or style.  For our family, it is a part of our education lifestyle and an integral part of our language arts week.

Poetry Teatime Basics

Poetry Teatime can be incorporated into any family, any lifestyle, and any educational choice.

Once a week, create a special pause in your day with snacks, tea (or a special drink your kids enjoy), and poetry.  Beyond those basics, the world of Poetry Teatime is flexible to suit your family’s dynamics and imagination.

Poetry Teatime Your Way

Some weeks we set a very simple table and other weeks we go all out.

Host a simple or elegant poetry teatime with your family.

Some weeks my children bring poems to share and other weeks mommy does all of the reading.

Some weeks we skip poetry books in favor of  Shakespeare or short stories.  Other weeks we select from a stack of poetry books.

Some weeks we read poetry books as a family and other weeks we have Poetry Teatime with friends.

Host a teatime with friends or just your own family.

Some weeks we enjoy a treat at our favorite cafe and other weeks we bake (or buy) treats to eat at home.

Some weeks poetry teatime occurs on Tuesday as planned and other weeks it is scheduled on the only free day in our week.  In fact, occasionally poetry teatime happens after dinner and we have our dessert and poetry with Daddy.

Clearly, there is a lot of flexibility to fit any family, any lifestyle, and any given week.

Get Your Family Started with Poetry Teatime

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If you are ready to get started, there is a FREE guide to Poetry Teatime available now.

You can download your FREE guide to Poetry Teatime and other great resources in the Brave Writer shop.

The Poetry Teatime Companion is a beautifully illustrated sampler of American and British poetry edited by Julie Bogart and Nancy Graham.  This book will certainly get you started with a well-chosen variety of poems.

Poetry Teatime has become a special time in our family.  We have our special mugs and teapots and everyone looks forward to selecting fun treats and books for our time together.

I hope you find the same joy and connection with one another and poetry.

Check out titles to add to your family poetry collection:

Amazon Poetry Books for Families

Related Posts:

Read about the beginning of our Brave Writer Lifestyle.Ideas and inspiration for connecting with your kids in January.

Brave Writer, grammar, Homeschooling, Periscope

Writing Concrete Poems

(But first, a disclosure: NotBefore7 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to NotBefore7 is also a BraveWriter ambassador, earning a small percentage via links to BraveWriter. All opinions and enthusiasm for said products are my own.)

Our January Arrow Guide was for the book, “Love That Dog” by Sharon Creech.

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The copy work and discussion provided in week two were based on the concrete poems found in the book.  The poems served as a spring board for our discussion about parts of speech with my children, as suggested in our Arrow Guide.

Using the poem in the back of the book, as well as the copy work selection for the week, we identified nouns, adjectives and verbs.


Then, instead of copying the provided selection, my kids were eager to write their own concrete poems.

IMG_1559 IMG_1560

If you are interested in seeing a detailed explanation of how I use the Arrow Guides to teach grammar through literature, then you can watch the periscope of this activity  below:

Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Writing

Brave Writing

My 7th grade daughter was working on her first writing piece for this school year.

I read her second revision and realized that she “disobeyed” one of the main instructions from the guide: Reveal your object from the beginning. Do not make this a “riddle” to solve. I knew I explained this rule in writing class and it was very clear in the directions, so I reminded her.

“Sweetie, remember that this isn’t supposed to be a riddle paragraph. You are describing the object without any mystery involved. Your topic sentence is supposed to let the reader know what the object is right away.”

“What? You never said that!”

“We went over it in class. It is here in the list of requirements too. It’s fine that you forgot. You just need to make a few tweaks to the start of your paragraph.”

She went back to work. A few minutes passed.

Heavy sighing. “I just want to start with a new object.”

“What do you mean? This is a great paragraph. The language is concrete and descriptive. If you just change the earlier sentences, it fits the requirements. There is no reason to have to start over.”

“But I am just not proud of this paragraph.”

A dramatic explosion occurred in my brain.

I don’t even know how to describe the millions of thoughts that exploded in my mind. Conflicting thoughts, opinions and voices immediately filled my head.  All at the same time.

First, there was the Ghost of Public School Past (a term coined by Julie at BraveWriter):  Directions have to be followed.  There are reasons for the directions.  You are the teacher and she is the student.

Next came the well-meaning friends’ opinions:  She has to learn to follow directions.  If she were in a classroom, they would make her.  At some point she needs to learn that you can’t just do it the way you want.

Then came the obedience drill sergeants:  This is an obedience issue.  She has to learn to obey your instructions with a good attitude.  She can’t just expect the rules to bend for her.  (Does anyone else have this voice in their head?  It must be from reading too many child-rearing books)

Thankfully, the loudest voice came from my own soul:  LET THIS GO!  I’d rather her be proud of her writing than to follow the directions.

The other voices debated with me for a bit while I slipped into the kitchen and poured some iced tea.  Yes, there is so much arguing, debating, and clanging in the mind of a woman.  I doubt I am alone in this.

I know.  I know that she would have to follow the directions if she was in a classroom…BUT SHE ISN’T.

I know she might be one day, but I am pretty confident she will pick up that lesson when necessary.  

This isn’t a defiant behavior.  In fact, it is the opposite.  She is so engaged in her writing that she feels an emotional attachment to the final product.  She is not just trying to skirt the assignment.

She has developed a emotional connection with her writing.  Isn’t that more important than following this requirement?  Won’t that take her further as a writer than learning to follow directions? 

Finally, I shut them all up.  Decision made.  I chose to honor the emotional connection she developed with her work.  I chose to honor her words.

“Sweetie, you have worked really hard.  You felt proud of your work until I asked you to change a key direction you chose to take.  I know you are technically breaking the rule laid out here, but I would rather you be proud of your work than for you to follow that rule.  Just continue to work on this paragraph the way you planned it.”

Joy.  Happiness.  And more writing followed.  I felt completely content with my choice.

(Without a doubt, the voice I listened to in my soul has been trained, encouraged, and taught by Julie Bogart at Brave Writer through her blog entries, Facebook posts, and daily emails.  Brave Writer is so much more than a curriculum.  It is truly a lifestyle created in your homeschool.  If you haven’t read any information on the Brave Writer Lifestyle, then I encourage you to do so!)