Asalamu alaykum ladies,
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you would have seen me sharing a peek into how we use Brave Writer in our homeschool; granted there were a couple of hiccups along the way (we had family stay over unexpectedly, alhamdulillah!).
I wanted to write a little more about how we use Brave Writer, as many of you have heard about Brave Writer, however, because it’s so unusual to other Language Arts curriculum it can be a little confusing on how and where to start.
So, my kiddos who are formally learning are 9, 11 and 12 years of age. My 9-year-old is a natural reader and writer Allahuma barik, and my 12-year-old is more of a hesitant writer. She has dyslexia and sometimes lacks confidence when it comes to writing.
So I decided to purchase the Partnership bundle which comprises of The Writers Jungle, The Arrow book guides, and the Partnership Writing guide. This turned out to be a great fit for us, alhamdulillah.
So here’s what a typical week looks like for us.
Before we start a new book study, I read a couple of chapters of the assigned book in advance. We don’t have a set time for read-alouds, I usually fit them in during lunchtime, or in the evenings.
Prep; I print out the arrow guide for myself, which is for the month. I also print out the weekly copy work passages for the month for my kiddos and clip them onto these handy plastic frames along with this parts of speech key. Finally, I write out the passage on my whiteboard too.
On day one, we read out the assigned passage aloud. We then go through about half of the literary discussion, and I make notes on the board whilst the kids take notes on their copies. I like to use the guide as just that; a guide! If I feel the kids need more help, we spend some extra time going through concepts. For example, when we covered cinquains, I l kept a jar of topics on the table all week and the kids went a little cinquain crazy!
On day one, we usually copy out the entire passage for copy work as my kids don’t find it difficult. If your kids find this a little much, you can always spread this over two days. To keep this fun, use gel pens, scented pens, fountain pens; anything that your kiddos find exciting!
Prep; Usually no prep. Unless I feel the kids need a little more help, I sometimes think of a simple reinforcing activity. Continue on with the book during read-aloud.
On day two, we start off by reviewing a little of day two; just some quick-fire questions to refresh their memory. We then get straight into the literary discussion again and usually finish it by day two. Again, like day one we do this on the board and the kids take notes individually.
Sometimes, I like to tie in day two with our Islamic studies lesson, and we do some copy work based on a religious text.
Prep; I usually prepare a dictation activity based on a passage in the book. I usually either French dictation or reverse dictation, and my kids really enjoy both. This doesn’t take long, and I print each child a copy ready for the lesson. Also, have some treats ready; fruit, cupcakes, hot chocolate…anything goes! Continue on with the book during read-aloud.
We usually like to have our weekly Poetry tea time around lunch on day three, hence the snacks. Contrary to what social media projects, poetry tea time can be simple yet wonderful. Some treats, poetry books and perhaps a lit candle is all you need. We will be introducing some Arabic poetry too, I’m currently scouting for books!
In the afternoon we complete the dictation activity, which doesn’t take long. Kiddos are rewarded for what they get right, it’s a great confidence-building activity which kids tend to enjoy as it brings variation.
Prep; this is dependent on the writing project and varies. It’s worth looking into this the week before, so you can get any supplies you may need. Continue on with the book during read aloud.
This is the day we spend on our writing project; which is laid out in the Partnership Writing guide. There are ten projects in the guide and you can take as little or as long on the projects as you like, though the guide gives you a weekly schedule to follow.
Here is an example of one of the Writing Projects we completed last month, where the kiddos designed their own continent.
These projects are really fun, and because other subjects like Science, History and Geography as well as Arts and Crafts are integrated it sometimes doesn’t even feel like a Language Arts lesson; in a good way!
Prep; None except for reading aloud the assigned book!
Day five is our least intense homeschool day. For our Brave Writer segment, this is our free writing day. Since this is Thursday for us, we call this our Thursday free-write session! The basic idea is to set a timer, and the rule is two write continuously until the timer stops, yes Mom should be writing too! Most of the time, the kids can write about anything they like, but every now and again we write about the assigned book. Afterwards, everyone puts their free writes in an envelope and after a few weeks of free writing selects a piece to edit. This really captures the essence of Brave Writer for me, as the process of shaping a piece of writing together with your child is not only effective, it’s enjoyable and a great bonding experience.
This is also our Nature journalling day where we take our Nature journals with us in the afternoon and draw, write and reflect.
And that’s a wrap! That is usually how a typical Brave Writer week looks for us. It’s worth mentioning here that like all curriculum, it’s important to adapt them to our own needs, first and foremost ensuring they don’t go against Islamic principles. Hence I select the books that I feel are appropriate. I also don’t incorporate the Music component, instead, we focus on Nature, Art and reading elements.
For more information, see the Brave Writer website. And feel free to leave a comment or question below or via Instagram.