- Reviewed on Wednesday, May 29, 2013
- Grades Used: 6th
- Dates used: Spring 2013
We are new to homeschooling and started out with Time4Writing. I have two children who are, of course, on opposite ends of the writing spectrum. It is my son that struggles with writing. He writes run on sentences and struggles with grammar and punctuation. Time4Writing was simply not enough for him and the reasons are for a different review.
I began researching for a writing program for both of our children. Up popped Brave Writer, and I thought it might be a good fit for my son. I looked at The Brave Writer website and researched reviews from others that had used this program. All reviews were positive. One reviewer even went so far as to compare it to Singapore Math, which we are using with much success. I was very excited to start a new program that would help with my son’s writer’s block, poor handwriting, inability to organize thoughts into words, and overall dislike of anything to do with writing.
We have been incorporating the ideas of Brave Writer and the Writer’s Jungle, Jot-It-Down and The Arrow, in my son’s homeschooling program for about 3 to 4 weeks. I am disappointed. First of all, this is not a program. Rather, this is a document that encourages you and helps guide you to create your own program. There does not seem to be much more in The Writer’s Jungle than is on The Brave Writer’s website, with the exception of in-depth details and some more warm and fuzzy stories of how well others have done with this “lifestyle.”
Here is my journey into the Brave Writer’s lifestyle. I purchased digital versions of The Writer’s Jungle, Jot-It-Down, and The Arrow. I began by attempting to read The Writer’s Jungle. This document is 263 pages long! I started out focusing on the first 50 or so pages, including the long winded preface, Chapter 1, and parts of Chapter 4. Then I perused the entire document scanning for ideas that I thought would be beneficial to my son’s writing. From this I got a feel for copywork, dictation, freewriting, and Scrounge Poetry. Again, all things that you could do by looking at the website, signing up for Brave Writing Mom Yahoo Group, reading the blog, and Googling these words. I read Jot-It-Down to incorporate the idea of making lists. I selected an Arrow and purchased the corresponding book. From all of this, I built a month long program that incorporated reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation, dictation, freewriting, scrounge poetry and Poetry Tea Time. Whew!
While I like the ideas and encouragement this guide gives, there really is nothing extraordinary in the information. I am a bit chapped at spending $169 for Jot-It-Down, Writer’s Jungle, and a year’s worth of The Arrow and then having to spend hours reading to creating my own program. Also, I found it annoying that the author, Julie Bogart, only referred to homeschooling moms. Clearly there are homeschooling dads, my husband being one of them.
We are going to continue with copywriting, dictation, and freewriting, as I think these have some value to developing my son’s physical handwriting. While we have a year’s worth of The Arrow, we will not continue. Each month you select a book and there are passages, vocabulary, and spelling that are discussed in a weekly format. This was the most structure, the most programming, I received. Unfortunately, my son was not particularly engaged in the book selection and I would rather have him read materials that he finds interesting and engaging. Isn’t that half the battle?
If you are in need of a guide that will encourage you to create your own program and need constant reinforcement via daily Yahoo Group email blasts of encouragement, then The Brave Writer and its touted lifestyle is for you. In my opinion, the main ideas and concepts can be generated by reading The Brave Writer’s website, joining the Yahoo Group, and reading the blog. Save yourself some serious bank and start there. If there were a money back guarantee, I would be applying for it. I simply don’t have enough time in the day to spend hours reading, researching and developing a program for my homeschoolers. Due to the lack of structure and the lack of a clearly laid out organized program, I do not recommend this guide.