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: April, 2017
Apr 17, 2017

We’ve reached the finale of this Brave Writer Lifestyle Series. The past interviews have shared literally decades of homeschool experience, including all of the challenges, discoveries, family relationships, and friendships that have resulted from this Brave Writer lifestyle of love and learning. (Don’t worry! We’ll be back with a new episode next week!)


We’re going to wrap up the series with the wisdom and wit of the wonderful friend, author and homeschooling pro Melissa Wiley.

Melissa is mom to “a small army of children” and she has been writing children’s books since 1995, including her Brave Writer featured book The Prairie Thief (affiliate link). In 2005, Melissa started her blog Here in the Bonny Glen to document her family adventures – it’s my favorite homeschooling blog and it’s hilarious, so make sure you head over there and read it.

Melissa will also be teaching two Brave Writer classes in the Spring! One class is about comic strips and the other is titled “Penning the Past.”

Melissa was drawn to many of the great ideas in Unschooling, Charlotte-Mason and the classical method – but she didn’t like how strict the teaching methodologies were. She found that her family was constantly learning in different ways.


Shifting between more and less structure was working, though. The tide would come in and the tide would go out, but they were learning at every level. She observed her home education style and coined the term Tidal Homeschooling. It’s not a method, it’s a description.

  • High Tide – The family charters the ship and maps out the journey. The parents are the captain and the children are the crew. They’re open to side trips and adventure, but the captain is in charge and there’s a planned course of action.
  • Low Tide – The family is at the beach. The children are all wandering along the shore, exploring their own interests. Although the children are all doing their own thing, the parents are still involved and can act as a facilitator.


Everyone is present at every stage of the journey, but their roles may change along the way.

One of the benefits of looking at home education through the lens of Tidal Homeschooling is recognizing that we go through these seasonal changes. Tying ourselves to only one point of view about learning sometimes limits our creativity and causes us to miss a natural ebb and flow in how learning gets expressed by our children.

When I talk about the Enchanted Education I talk about surprise, mystery, risk and adventure. It can be an adventure to go solo, but it can also be an adventure to participate in a well-prepared lesson or plan.

It’s a beautiful metaphor that expresses how the seasonal shift can make us feel and why we should move with the flow of things rather than fighting it.


Melissa’s oldest child is in college right now, and overall she feels that Tidal Homeschooling was an effective primary education.

  • During her first year, Melissa’s daughter realized, laughing through tears, that she didn’t have a bad teacher until she was 18.
  • She said she could have used more practice doing timed tests.
  • While many of her peers relayed a high school experience full of pressure and AP classes, Melissa’s daughter loved her high school years.


Melissa’s husband, Scott Peterson, is a comic book author. Her kids grew up on comics and comics played a role in their home education.

The images support the text and the text supports the images, and so kids have multiple shots at decoding comics. They can actually invite children into decoding risks and provide them with the courage to read.

Melissa’s 3rd daughter learned to read using The Adventures of Tintin. Her youngest child did the same thing with Calvin & Hobbes. The vocabulary is often more advanced than what you might find in an early reader’s book, too.


“She had so much motivation to decode those words in the bubbles, in the balloons, because she wanted to have the whole story, not just the half that the art was telling.”


The images can also offer assistance to children who struggle with reading. The art will help them make sense of the story, and going through that process teaches them to decode context clues for meaning.

We’re in a golden age when it comes to comic books for kids. They’re bound in sturdy collections that can stand up to young children, distributed digitally, and available at most libraries.


To close out this Brave Writer Podcast Series, here are Melissa’s five things that should fill every child’s day (based on Charlotte-Mason):

  1. Good books
  2. Imaginative Play
  3. Meaningful Work
  4. Encounters with Beauty
  5. Ideas to Ponder and Discuss


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Apr 10, 2017

Angela Awald wears a lot of hats. She is a mother of six kids, a certified teacher, a writer, and a doula. She also runs the blog


“I came across the Brave Writer lifestyle and it clicked. Everything that I had read and felt in my heart just clicked when I read about it.”


Angela is a classroom teacher turned homeschooler, and transitioning to homeschooling was more difficult than she expected. She spent a long time trying to force school at home.

Moving away from school at home took a lot of trial and error. Instead of looking at a list of what they need to cover, she learned to look at what was best for her children. When she stopped trying to meet other people’s standards, the home education process started coming together.

In 2014, she came across the Brave Writer lifestyle and it clicked. The days started to flow more smoothly because everyone was more engaged and connected.


“That’s what I love about the Brave Writer lifestyle … I think of it as a framework that allows a lot of grace and flexibility.”


Angela created a delightful twist on Poetry Teatime – Poetry & Pajamas day! Every Thursday, the family comes to the table for breakfast treats, poetry and a project relating to the theme of the day.

The treats bring everyone to the table and the flexibility of the activity allows everyone to participate when they want to. By being flexible, she doesn’t pressure anyone to engage more than they want to while leaving an open opportunity for them to participate when they feel inspired.

Angela lives an inspired homeschooling lifestyle, meaning she develops an education guide that allows for inspiration. Angela steers clear of the word “plan” and, instead, focuses on intention.

Based on the Brave Writer lifestyle, she created a visual planning guide that covers everything she intends to get to in the next month. At the beginning of the month, she assesses what requires more focus so that she can better respond to the needs of her family.


“I try to think of it as intentions. As soon as I say the word “plan,” I automatically become rigid in my own thinking.”


Angela’s experience with homeschooling six children has taught her a lot. She says the keys to homeschooling are an open mind, a spirit of adventure, flexibility and love.

  • “An open mind is just being open to the other ideas that might pop up. The input of our children. Some of the best learning that has happened in our home was not my idea. It was the idea of a child.”
  • “A spirit of adventure means just being willing to step outside of our own comfort zone … being open to the things our kids can teach us, the the things the world has to offer, and not being afraid to go out there and experience them.”
  • “Before we had children, I was a very by the book. You start at point A and you go to point B. There’s no detour. Well, I have learned that that just doesn’t work anymore so flexibility is the name of the game around here.”
  • “If all else fails, or even if it’s all going well, just love ‘em … If we just keep focusing on the love we have for the child who’s right in front of us, it puts everything in perspective.”


At and on her Pinterest page, Angela offers a lot of awesome resources for homeschoolers, parents and doula care. You’ll find...


“If we nurture ourselves and our families, those are our roots, and that’s what’s going to change the world.”


You can download show notes for the podcast here:



Apr 3, 2017

Chantelle Grubbs, her husband Tony and her five beautiful kids have been using the Brave Writer lifestyle since 2014. In Spring 2016, Chantelle and her friend Christy Thomas launched a venture they call Play 4 Life Moms based on their experiences with the Brave Writer lifestyle.

Chantelle fell into homeschooling because she didn’t think public schools were offering enough to her first two boys. She felt the school expected every child to perform and act the same way, and that’s just not the case.

Chantelle was first introduced to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, but she had difficulty implementing it. When she started, she didn’t know how to translate the ideas into actual lesson plans. It ended up looking a lot like school at home, and that didn’t work.


“It took a lot of tears and trying over and over again to come to a place where we were enjoying ourselves and also learning at the same time.”


Chantelle noticed that her kids were more engaged with learning when they were having fun with activities. This is because, when children are problem solving and using their bodies, they’re imprinting the lesson in a different way than just reading about it.

When Chantelle started a weekly Poetry Tea Time in her household, her two oldest children were reluctant to enjoy poetry. Of course, they still came for the snacks. Over time, they came to enjoy the poetry too.

Now everyone in the Grubbs household is excited for Poetry Tea Time, although not everyone likes tea and some of the older children aren’t able to be there for a whole hour – but that’s fine! Lemonade, snacks and poetry for 10 minutes is still a great family learning experience.

Chantelle’s biggest challenge has been figuring out what is best for each child, and accepting that they all need something different. No two people learn in exactly the way.

One of her children is actually finding the support and education she needs in a public school environment, and Chantelle couldn’t be happier.


“I think you have to do what’s best for each child. That’s the biggest obstacle. It’s not always the easiest thing – the easiest thing is to pick one thing and have everyone do it – but that doesn’t make it the best thing for each child.”


Play 4 Life Moms allows you to sign up for encouraging texts or emails that inspire you to build connections in your home through play.

The service started after Chantelle and Christy interacted during one of my Facebook Live videos. They both wanted a solution to remind themselves, as homeschooling mothers, to slow down and embrace play.

The text messages range from challenges to positive comments to inspiring quotes that help homeschooling parents live up to their best intentions.


“Those little reminders help bring you back to where you want to be. That’s what we’re trying to achieve for other moms.”


Some example texts:

  • Drink a warm cup of tea today and savor the warm decorations in your house.
  • “Play builds the kind of free-and-easy, try-it-out, do-it-yourself character that our future needs.” –James Hines, Jr.
  • Try to sit down to eat during lunch this week. Enjoy your food. You’re important <3


Having these quotes and reminders on a daily basis help create a sustained imagination and allow mothers to tap into their own experiences and best intentions. You can sign up for Play 4 Life Moms text messages here.

Having your own story is what counts – not being somebody’s poster child for their story. Every home education experience is different. Chantelle’s incredible story and willingness to adapt will be an inspiration for any #BraveSchooler.


You can download show notes for the podcast here: