Brave Writer

Any Brave Writer families in here?

Like many homeschool moms, I was recently evaluating the curriculum we used this year and making a plan for what we will use next.  Almost all of the curriculum that we used, “worked” for us this year.  Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something else out there that might work even better. Something that might excite and intrigue us.  There are so many homeschool curriculum options that I just want to explore them all but, nobody’s got time for that.

I consulted the school principal (aka my husband).  I consulted the veteran homeschool moms in our co-op.  For the most part, everyone else said that they would stick with what worked because maybe next year or the year after, it won’t work anymore and that will be the time to find a new and better option.

Wellllll, I’m not taking their advice. I really did want their opinions and I do value them but once I stumbled upon Brave Writer, I just can’t get it out of my head.  Several of the things that we used this year that worked but weren’t anything special were our spelling, writing, and handwriting resources.  All of those can be replaced with Brave Writer.

I’m in LUST with these ideas and lifestyle changes to integrate “curriculum” into life.  I’m trying not to jump in blindly and buy a ton of stuff right off the bat (Hello, I’ve been on amazon finding THE PERFECT tea set for poetry teatime even though we already have a teaset….PUT THE CAR IN PARK, LADY!).  I’m trying to go slow, I’m reading the Writer’s Jungle right now and want to finish that before anything else.

So, are you a Brave Writer family?  Do you follow it all or just pick and choose components?

                   The tea set that I am currently swooning over!

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Year-round or summer break?

Do you homeschool year-round or take a summer break?

I think we are going to be year-round homeschoolers. First of all, our summers are routinely 115- 120° so we don’t spend a ton of time outside. If we’re going to be stuck inside, we might as well get some work done, right?  Also, we’ve taken week long breaks several times throughout the year for vacations and we’d like to be able to continue to do so.

I am planning to wind down as Avery finishes each subject and then do a week break & celebration before moving her up to the next grade.  She is the type of person who needs or wants that clear definition of when she is done and moving up. She has already finished her geography book for the year and has about 3-4 weeks left of math and writing.  As she finishes each subject, I’m planning that she will just have less to do each day and focus more on any subjects that remain (we’ve apparently taken several extra weeks off of spelling because she has about 8-10 weeks left of that).  We should be done around the end of May when traditional schools are also letting out.

We’ll take a week off, bake a special year-end cake, and maybe visit an amusement park.  Then we’ll head right into our next year! 

So, how do you do it? Year-round? And if so, do you always just keep rollin’ or do you make a definition between the grades?

Outside School

Where we live in Southern AZ, we’re blessed with spring temperatures already.  It has become a daily thing for my girls to request “outside school”.  We set up a blanket and all of our work for that day right outside our front door.  The girls take turns doing their work on the blanket with me and playing in the driveway.  We take out our bikes, scooters, chalk, etc.

outsideschool1

We get so much more work done when we do outside school!  Even though they are continuously playing, they are more motivated to focus on their work when its their turn and BECAUSE they are continuously playing, they don’t get restless and fidgety.

I love outside school too because it gives us a rare opportunity for 1 on 1 learning time.  Neither of my girls nap anymore so we usually all 3 sit at the table and work together.  It works fine but I know that 1 on 1 time is important too.  Outside school keeps one happy and playing and not interrupting while I get to focus on the other.  And then we switch!!

outsideschool2

These girls would probably do a week worth of school in one day, as long as we did it outside!

Pushin’ It

Some people might see what A and I do for our school time and think that maybe I’m pushing her.  We do a lot and a lot of it is sit down, book work.  This is what A likes and requests.  If we go on a walk and I tell her about the nature and environment around us, she doesn’t see that as school.  If we do a worksheet about the same stuff…that’s school to A.  We do both but she requests what she views as school and I’m happy to accommodate her.  I am not standing over her with a ruler forcing her to work in hopes that she will be the next child genius (although she is very smart, girl has potential!).

In the homeschool world, I am seeing “unschooling” come up a lot (I haven’t been in the HS world very long but it seems to be an increasing trend/method.).  Compared to that, our workbooks, worksheets, and flashcards might seem like overkill for a 4 year old.  I do not personally think that SCHOOL must be done at a desk with a #2 pencil.  But if that is how my kid learns, I’m pleased as punch to sharpen that pencil.  The thing that is important to me, is that I’m fostering a love of learning in my children and that they always explore the world around them.  Right now, how we do school is dictated by A and her personality. In another year, we will see how K learns best and change things up to accommodate her learning style as well.

workbook

The workbook she is using here is Brain Games-Kindergarten.  My biggest complaint about it is that the answers are on the direct opposite page.  She cant turn the pages herself or she’ll see the answers before she has a chance to answer herself.  So far, A hasn’t been introduced to any new concepts but this workbook is definitely keeping her skills sharp.  When she gets towards the end of the book, there are some money (coin) and directional (East-West) concepts that will be new for her. This is great to keep kids thinking during school breaks or as a homeschool workbook!