I have been teaching at Brave Writer since 2002. Founded by Julie Bogart in 1999, Brave Writer is a true stand out among writing resources for home schooling families. Centered in the philosophy of 19th century British educator Charlotte Mason, Brave Writer stresses gentle family learning and a better-late-than-early focus on “formal” writing. Younger students instead learn the important pre-writing concepts of copywork and dictation which Julie explains in detail on her web site.
Julie offers online classes taught by herself and carefully handpicked instructors which highlight the Brave Writer values of non-coersive learning as a family unit, encouragement of student writing, partnership writing, and gentle modeling of writing formats. Designed for students in late elementary through high school, online classes vary from KidsWrite Basic (paralleled in Julie’s excellent handbook The Writer’s Jungle) in which moms are trained to be their children’s best writing cheerleaders and coaches to courses in Literary Analysis, Expository Essay (paralleled in Julie’s Help for High School, written directly to high schoolers), Shakespeare, and The MLA Research Essay for high school students.
In Fall 2011 I will teach The MLA Research Essay course for high school students in which they will plan, research, organize, and write a formal college-level research paper according to the 2009 Modern Language Association (MLA) format. The students are allowed “free choice” of their topic, as long as it contains an “argumentative edge,” or is a persuasive-type essay in which the students seek to prove an aspect of their topic. I will also be teaching Literary Analysis: Anne of Green Gables, a class designed for students in grades 7-10. We will examine the background of the book, facts about author L.M. Montgomery and Prince Edward Island, and explore lots of great links as well as examining aspects of the novel chapter-by-chapter. It’s going to be a blast!!
In Winter 2012, I will be teaching two courses at Brave Writer: The Groovy Grammar Workshop and The Playing with Poetry Workshop. Both courses are designed for use by the whole family as I facilitate learning activities, games, and assignments that turn the non-lovers of grammar and poetry into people who are converted to a true appreciation (if not outright LOVE) of these formerly “boring” topics.
Designed by Julie, The Groovy Grammar Workshop is absolutely revolutionary as it shows how grammar works through inventive word games and intriguing assignments. Lots of fun for the whole family, the course finishes with students’ original “nonsense” poems based on Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky.”
I designed The Playing with Poetry Workshop which also uses word play to create poems of many different sorts, allowing families’ creative juices to flow, even on sluggish wintry days. Working with music lyrics, Japanese forms, free verse, shape poems, and formal English verse, families enjoy exploring poetic forms and writing their own poems following model poems, receiving encouraging feedback from me and from each other.
In spring 2012, I am slotted to teach two literary analysis courses: one on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice designed for high school students, and one on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for students in 7th-10th grades. Both classes will provide many interesting links, facts about the authors, and in-depth scene-by-scene and chapter-by-chapter analysis of these two classic works of literature. We’ll also watch and discuss film versions of both books as well.
I hope to repeat the Shakespeare Family Workshop in May, overlapping the Merchant of Venice class. Now expanded to six weeks, the Shakespeare Family Workshop examines Shakespeare’s life and times, the Elizabethan Theater Scene, then spends a week each on Shakespeare’s poetry, mostly his sonnets (18 and 116); his comedies, focusing on Much Ado About Nothing, his histories, especially Richard III, and then his tragedies, examining Hamlet in particular. Then in our final week we’ll do some more formal writing in response to the plays we’ll be exploring in more depth. This class garnered some of the most enthusiastic feedback of any class I’ve taught, so it’s an experience I highly recommend!
So these are the classes I’ll be teaching at Brave Writer over the 2011-2012 academic year! Please join us in some excellent and enjoyable online courses!!