On any ordinary day, after we have put in a good share of work, you can find us gathered at the table sharing a pot of tea. After everyone is settled with tea and cinnamon toast, I open a book of poems and read one. We might return to the poem again in the coming days. But that’s the heart of our simple practice–tea and toast and poems.
I first came across this pairing through Julie Bogart, the creator of Brave Writer. She calls it Poetry Teatime, and suggests that each child pick a poem to read. I look forward to a houseful of readers! Even though we have tweaked the idea a bit to better fit our family, poetry teatime has become a respite that we all anticipate.
In exchange for an honest review, I recently had the opportunity to watch the brand new DVD series produced by Brave Writer called Nurturing Brave Writer Families. These recordings are from the 2014 Brave Writer Retreat. The videos contain over six hours of teaching for you, the homeschooling parent. You can watch excerpts from three of the talks and really get a feel for Julie Bogart’s philosophy of education…and her humor!
One really unique contribution that Julie Bogart has made to writing instruction is the apply the concept of ages and stages–grammar / logic / rhetoric in classical education or core / love of learning / scholar phase in the leadership model–to the writing process. She says that Partnership Writing is the most overlooked phase in development. This is when a child is old enough to be able to write, and yet finds it difficult to combine the mechanics (grammar and punctuation) and the physical act of writing with original creation. Partnering with a parent in this stage can ease the stress and help prevent writer’s block.
Julie’s ideas have really changed the way I view myself as a homeschool mom. I’m less focused on creating independent learners and more open to becoming my child’s ally and partner in learning. This shift in my thinking has brought peace and a new measure of confidence to our homeschool. I’m not viewing bad attitudes or distracted, slow work as a challenge from my child but rather as an opportunity to come alongside them and find new ways to support them.
This Fall Julie began creating Periscope live video talks for the homeschooling parent. You can access the extensive library for free. So why would you plunk down a hefty chunk of your homeschooling budget for these videos?
- More than any other work I’ve seen, these videos perfectly pair the two streams of Julie’s work–the relational aspects and writing instruction.
- The depth of the videos is unparalleled. I find myself stopping the video after just a few moments to take notes or weigh Julie’s ideas against my experience.
- The investment in money is a sign that you are taking seriously your own development as a teacher. And this investment will yield rich dividends.
The tagline for Brave Writer is Peace and Progress in the Writing Process. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Not academic progress at the expense of our relationship with our children. And not peace in our homes with no measureable growth in the learning process. Julie Bogart has given me inspiration, practical helps, and encouragement. Her ideas are tested (she homeschooled for 17 years!) and they are bearing fruit on our family.