A Brave Writer's Life In Brief

The Brave Writer podcast is a big juicy conversation about how to bring learning to life for your kids! Julie Bogart and guests talk about how parents and children are partners in the learning adventure, especially when approaching the daunting task of writing. Brave Writer appeals to homeschoolers, educators, and parents who want more out of "school" than merely passing tests. Visit us at and follow along at the blog for show notes:
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A Brave Writer's Life In Brief








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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 27, 2017

Amy Milcic is a former mental health therapist and a homeschooling parent of five active, busy boys. She has a great blog, Rock Your Homeschool, that will add sparkle to your family’s learning fun.

I first ran into Amy on Periscope, where she starts her day by pumping up other homeschool moms (I think coffee is one of her secrets!). Today, she is going to help pump you up in your homeschool efforts, too.

Amy’s kids are drawn to the freedom of the Brave Writer lifestyle. It allows them to embrace who they are as an individual and keep out of any cookie cutters.


“The Friday Freewrites have been… oh my goodness! I could cry when I think about the effect it has had on our family.”


Friday Freewrites have been hugely beneficial for Amy’s family. They have helped her kids be comfortable in who they are, their thought processes and how they can express their thoughts on paper.  

One of her children even said, “Mom, I never knew writing could feel this good.” Before Friday Freewriting, it was a struggle. The same child would crumple into a fetal position at the first mention of writing.

Poetry Teatime has also been very meaningful for Amy’s family. It’s so popular that they want to do it more than once a week!


“As a mental health therapist, I feel that self-expression is so important and poetry is just a beautiful way of carefully selecting words to express your thoughts and feelings.”


Poetry has helped Amy’s boys realize that there are different writing formats and different ways to express yourself. Poetry Teatime opens up a world of new conversation and discussion that, otherwise, they never would have had. For the athletes in Amy’s family, poetry also helps them find a part of themselves that they never knew existed.

If you want to see some wonderful examples of Poetry Teatime with five boys, check out Amy on Instagram @rockyourhomeschool.

As a former mental health professional, Amy is acutely aware of the importance of self-care in homeschooling. As parents, we want to give everything to our children – yet, we need that time to reconnect with ourselves.


“Self-care as to be a priority. Otherwise, if my cup is empty, I can not be there for my family. I feel that is a vital part of a homeschooler’s life.“


Whether it’s self-care or lesson plans, there is no one way to do it. Many homeschooling parents and children feel boxed in, feel overwhelmed or feel like they should do something differently. That is simply not true.

One of the wonderful things about the Brave Writer lifestyle is that there are so many different ways to do any one thing, and we can focus on using our own individual gifts to help our children.

There’s many different ways to teach any one thing. We all can use our own individual gifts to help our children with that “and, in the process, learn more about our children and help them discover their unique potential.”


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Mar 20, 2017

Mary Wilson is a popular Brave Writer blogger and the only person I know who may love tea more than I do. In her blog, Not Before 7, she writes about homeschooling, parenting and adventure.

In 2016, I put out a challenge for parents to show how they are leading an Enchanted Education lifestyle via Periscope. Mary used the hashtag #EnchantedEducation and walked us through her amazing child-friendly home to showcase the power of an Enchanted lifestyle.

For Mary, there’s a Brave Writer lifestyle and then there’s a Brave Writer philosophy, which helps guide all of the other choices we are making. Mary first incorporated elements of the Brave Writer lifestyle into her home, and the philosophy naturally followed.

She started by implementing pieces of the Brave Writer lifestyle that connected right away, like Poetry Tea Time, The Arrow and free writing. Mary was drawn to resources that allowed her to teach all four of her children together and effectively.


“It was so great to move to this place where I could teach all my children together and accomplish so much.”


Mary also started hosting book club meetings for her family and other families, but she takes the meetings to another level. She brings in appropriately-themed activities, puzzles, experiments, foods and even invitations to turn book clubs into an adventure.

  • For “The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart, Mary sent out invitations that looked like a newspaper ad, set out a series of clues, used a red bucket to collect items and communicated using morse code using flashlights in the dark.
  • For “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, Mary turned her home into a jungle, procured a conch shell, started a fire and made food in the shape of pigs.


Children aren’t just learning at these parties – they’re also excited to keep coming back. Mary has seen kids start public high school and continue to remain in the homeschool book club because it’s such a highlight of their learning education and their social life.

The Brave Writer philosophy has encouraged Mary to look at her relationship with the child first, to look at the total person in front of her. Adopting this philosophy helped her take a year to focus on improving one of her children’s mental health. The extra focus was extremely beneficial and it greatly improved academic progress for her whole family.


“Now we’re making so much more progress academically because we’re not fighting against the way my child is programmed. Now we’re working with the way that she is programmed.”


Embracing this philosophy has also helped Mary shift from a Teacher-Student role to a Partnership role. This shift helped her overcome the preconceived notion that the teacher’s goal is to, eventually, not be needed in the education process.

Collaboration through partnership is not only a useful tool for the education – it’s also a critical skill in the workplace. The most effective employees, workers and entrepreneurs of the future are those who know how to collaborate on a peer-level with their fellow co-workers.

The Brave Writer wants to free parents from any obligation they may feel to make their student self-directed in learning without any conversation, direction or lesson preparation. Freeing yourself will allow you to invest in your children’s education, as opposed to controlling it.


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Mar 13, 2017

Nadine Dyer and her two kids are living a big, juicy homeschool life above a rowan tree in Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Up Above the Rowan Tree, she talks all about her journey as a homeschooler, especially her experience using the Secular Charlotte Mason method.


“There are moments of joy that definitely outweigh the difficulty, but I was completely unprepared for how hard it was. I don’t feel that enough people mention that part.”


When Nadine first started homeschooling, she wishes she knew how difficult it would be – and how rewarding those hard days would be when her children overcome an obstacle.

When we see our homeschooling communities on social media, we are often looking at the bright red berry moments in a dark winter. We sometimes forget that, behind those bright moments, there are days, weeks or even months of challenges.


“One of the scariest things that I’ve done as a homeschooler is saying I need to back off. That didn’t feel intuitive to me. That didn’t feel natural to me. It made me feel like somehow I was neglectful if I didn’t just keep pushing and prodding.”


We also forget that children can offer us a lot of insight into their experience, if we’re willing to act on what they say and not just talk them out of it.

Nadine has tackled her biggest home education challenges by giving herself permission to slow down, offering her kids the control and trusting in that process.

One of the things I love to advocate when we talk about the Brave Writer lifestyle is imagining what would nourish a sense of commitment to education. Is it freedom, is it one-on-one time, is it eye contact, is it a treat, is it feeling like this space is intended for a specific purpose?

Too often we’re juggling 12 balls at once and we want our kids to exclude all the distractions or just get it done so we can move on with our day, and we don’t consider what it is that we’re asking them to do. We don’t set the context.

To add context to a difficult subject, Nadine really embraced Teatime. It became something that she wasn’t forcing because there were no worksheets or quizzes. It was just sitting, enjoying, reading and talking together. It became such a positive connection for her kids that she started putting down tea and snacks right before their math lessons.  


“[Teatime] became this thing that they connected with calmness and safety and there was not a lot of pressure. Anytime I need them to do something difficult or challenging I make a pot of tea or a pot of hot chocolate and we will do whatever it is that’s hard, while we sip tea, because everything's better when you’re sipping on tea.”


Nadine was first introduced to Charlotte Mason while reading The Writer’s Jungle. She saw pushback to the Charlotte Mason ideology, but those ideas were also what worked for her kids and brought peace to her home.

It works for her family and, ultimately, the goal of homeschooling is for a tailor-made education directed by a real human being.

Nadine has a wonderful blog and Instagram account. Follow her to learn more about how she is using the Charlotte Mason methodology to craft a unique homeschool experience for her family and how the Brave Writer lifestyle has helped her overcome family challenges.


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Mar 6, 2017

Alicia Hutchinson is the founder of Learning Well and a homeschooling mother of four. The funny thing about Alicia is that she never really saw herself as a mom – much less a homeschooling mom.

Now Alicia can’t imagine life without homeschool.

Alicia begins every day with a morning meeting. It started as a time to sit down, talk about the day and, on Mondays, go over the coming week. The meeting has grown to incorporate more activities and a daily focus.


“What I’m doing as the home educator is I’m teaching them to love to learn.”


The Morning Meeting:

  • Sit down with an assignment notebook to write down what each kid has to do for that day.
  • Talk about what is happening later in the day.
  • Each day has a daily focus: Nature Study, Math and Logic, Writing, History and Geography or Fine Arts.
  • Alicia runs down a list of fun activities or discussions: daily idioms, current events, games, journaling and more.


“It’s really, really important for me to have a house where my kids can create and play and learn together.”


What is Learning Well?

Learning Well is the idea of not being so hung up on the logistics of everything and focusing more on our kids. What you do may look different than what the homeschooler next door does. Education works differently for everybody, but if you’re all learning together then you’re doing it right.

Learning Well is a community of homeschoolers teaching each other – and having fun!


“Learning Well is the idea of not being so hung up on the logistics of everything and focusing more on our kids. If you’re all learning together then you’re doing it right.”


The Learning Well Community website is full of valuable lessons, planning tools, reviews of homeschooling products and a community of like-minded homeschoolers. Make sure you also follow the @learningwell Instagram account. There’s so much value in seeing the life in action and her posts are fabulous.


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Mar 1, 2017

Today we have a bonus treat for the Brave Writer community, especially those of you in the Boomerang Book Club.

We are introducing you to Kwame Alexander. He is a poet, educator, New York Times Bestselling author, honorary Brave Writer, and recipient of both the 2015 Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award.


We explore...

  • self-publishing
  • poetry as a form of form of activism
  • and why Kwame blends poetry and sports.


You can download show notes for the podcast here:







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