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  1. I'm super interested in the Bravewriter online courses, and I'm wondering, from those of you who have experience with the program, is it worth the cost to take the Writer's Jungle course online before starting a 9th grade course? I'm specifically interested in the courses for my current 13 year old, soon to be 9th grader, although I would also be interested in learning about the process for my younger two, as well. Would my 8th grader think that the Writer's Jungle is "babyish?" Writing is probably what she hates most about school. She doesn't have any experience with courses online, so I was wondering if the Writer's Jungle (before 9th grade) would be suitable as an intro. to an online writing course and also worth the hefty price-tag? Kind of something she could try before it "counts" for high school.
  2. I have a 7th grade boy who doesn't enjoy writing. His grammar is solid, but his sentence structures tend to be simplistic. He doesn't enjoy adding details or descriptive writing! We haven't even delved into research writing yet. We've tried a couple of writing programs including Write Shop but I don't feel like I can appropriately evaluate his writing and I don't think he responds well to my evaluations. He also doesn't enjoy writing a paragraph on something random and does much better with an assignment that goes with his literature or his history studies. I need an online class. I looked at Bravewriter. I think it's a good option. I don't really like the Writer's Jungle (I don't want to do the class!) but some of the others look good. Athena's Academy also has a new 8 week writing program that looks interesting. Ideally I'm looking for a shorter session--not a full semester class. Any thoughts on either of those classes or other suggestions?
  3. In reading multiple Brave Writer threads, it seems that some prefer the newer Arrow issues rather than the older ones. I was wondering, why? Is it just because the newer ones have more content? Also, is there a list anywhere indicating which ones are "old" vs. "new"? My apologies if this topic has already been discussed. I really did try looking and reading through many prior threads. :) Thanks in advance. This forum is always very enlightening!
  4. I have browsed Bravewriter and the philosophy behind if for a bit but I feel overwhelmed with where to begin. I have one child who seems to be a natural writer and one for whom writing is not natural. I would like to know the best place to begin so that I could perhaps read something over our Christmas break to change some things up. Thoughts? Tips? Advice?
  5. For those that use Bravewriter's Arrow either stand-alone or as a part of the entire program, when/how do you read the chosen book? Do you read it in its entirety before starting copywork/dictation from arrow or do you read in sections that fit the arrow weeks? Edited to say that I am not using the entire program, only arrow for copywork/dictation and extra literature.
  6. I want a creative writing program for my homeschool to use in conjunction with WWE. I have read through "No More, I'm Done" but I don't have any access to "The Writer's Jungle." I'm not interested in "Jot It Down." Does anyone have experience with both of these resources? I love the explicit mini-lessons in NMID and I love the overall philosophy of the writer's workshop. I believe I can implement this program starting in first grade with good results and repeat it again in second at greater depth. However, I know I would want to move on to something new around third grade. Would Bravewriter expand on the ideas in NMID or is it a completely different philosophy? Does it have explicit lesson plans to build skills? Is there anyone out there who can compare these programs? And, on a different note, does anyone have recommendations for a creative writing program that focuses on poetry? Maybe something that could work as a poetry mini unit over the summer? TIA for any help!
  7. A. is zooming through IEW's SWI-A faster than I'd thought. And he's developed a real interest in writing stories. I'd like to round out IEW with something, and looked at Classical Writing but I think we need to head more in the fun/craft-oriented direction rather than honing the classical model/rewriting thing. He's 7.5 and is more of a STEM fellow generally. Thoughts? I'm leaning toward Bravewriter, or using the book Writing Magic (though he may be a bit young to work through that).
  8. Any input on this class? Is it worthwhile, and, if so, what ages benefit most from it? Trying to decide if it's worth the time and the money, mainly for my 11yo and 7yo. Thank you!
  9. I've been expending time and brainsweat the past few months on trying to really *understand* the similarities and differences between SWB's approach to writing, and the Bravewriter/Peter Elbow approach to writing (Peter Elbow is one of the main influences behind BW - TWJ lists three of his books as inspiration - and I loved TWJ so much I looked them up on the spot - and I love Peter Elbow so much I now have five of his books and still haven't gotten back to TWJ because of it :shifty). Anyway, after many hours of thinking and typing today, I finally reached something of a breakthrough on part of it, and I'm so chuffed I'm posting it here in the hopes it might be helpful to others :). I'm putting my sum-up and sum-up of the sum-up ;) up top, and then I'll post the big, long analysis that led to that, so as to not clutter up the main post. To sum up: I agree with SWB that developing fluency and automaticity in producing Standard Written English (SWE) is a good thing, and that it takes time and effort to achieve. I disagree that SWE is effectively a foreign language compared to unplanned English speech, and that you cannot/should-not harness spoken competence in teaching written competence in SWE. (And, actually, SWB sorta-kinda gives a nod to the importance of involving the ear and the tongue: she is a big advocate of lots and lots of reading of SWE - helps internalize the patterns and feel of SWE - and I think she's a fan of reading aloud, even when students are fluent readers (even if she isn't, I still am :shifty:giggle). And of course she uses narrations in spoken SWE as a key component. So I'd say she *does* value spoken competency in learning to write - she just doesn't think non-SWE language (whether spoken or written) has anything to offer in teaching/learning SWE - that "writing is a foreign language" thing.) I agree with Peter Elbow that we can and should build on our spoken competency (regular ol' unplanned speech) in teaching how to develop written competency - that writing is basically recorded speech, and that our intuitive knowledge of spoken English is a powerful help in learning to both speak well and to write well - is in fact the *core* of our language knowledge, and all our conscious, explicit language learning should build on it and be rooted in it and continually refer back to it. I disagree that the better solution to non-fluency in mechanics and surface conventions is to adopt crutches to get by (learn how to separate the bulk of writing from the parts you aren't fluent in, so you can write effectively in spite of your lack of fluency, dealing with that lack by pushing it off until the very end, when you either rely on handbooks or friends or paid professionals to copy-edit), instead of working steadily to achieve fluency. (In fairness, Elbow does actually value learning to be fluent in those areas - and offers up ways to harness our intuitive knowledge to get us most of the way there with knowledge we already have - but his primary audience is college students and adult students - who have already passed by their main chance to become fluent in those mechanics - and Elbow doesn't want to feed into the idea that you can't be a writer until you can churn out error-free prose. And I *do* agree with him, strongly, that it is much easier to turn good writing into correct writing with a good dose of copy-editing at the end than to attempt to turn blah correct writing into *good* writing - the latter is in need of much more than a quick polish. He's totally right that they are surface issues - I just am concerned 1) about the practical issues of not being able to turn out workmanlike relatively error-free prose on the first try, because so much day-to-day writing goes infinitely smoother with that skill, and 2) the lingering negative effects of not being fluent, no matter how good the kludges - I understand doing the best you can with what you've got, but when starting from the beginning with new writers, who have *time* to work to fluency, I don't want to settle for a second-best kludge-y non-fluency unless I *have* to, due to issues outside my control.) To sum up the sum up ;): The key difference does indeed seem to be the idea of writing as a foreign language - is our intuitive spoken knowledge of English a base to build on, or a parallel track, with no intersection with writing? - and there I fall on Peter Elbow's side. However, I do indeed value all SWB's goals, and want to achieve fluency in SWE (not just be able to edit my way there) - I just also believe that I can get there better/faster/simpler if I build on our intuitive knowledge of spoken English, instead of ignoring it as having nothing to offer. Implications for homeschooling: *the basic plan of brave writer plus WWE seems sound *big mod to WWE will be grammar teaching that builds on intuitive knowledge of English - gives words to concepts we already know, and teaches us how to consciously use our intuitive knowledge at will, to achieve specific goals - instead of teaching and practicing explicit rules so much that we internalize them; planned approach - work through Patterns of English, plus some diagramming, plus Whimbey's sentence combining, plus Killgallon, plus Elbow's techniques for training the ear. *biggish mod to brave writer will be a possibly? greater caring/emphasis on correct mechanics. Might not be a huge deal, as planning to do a serious spelling program (most of which do indeed take full advantage of training the ear to hear, in addition to teaching the eye to spell), and the grammar/WWE will address punctuation and conventions in terms of enhancing understanding - not that BW doesn't address that, but I believe it's more in the copy-editing phase, as opposed to practicing it to fluency.
  10. I just finished reading The Writer's Jungle, and am totally in love with it. The gradual building and integration of skills makes so much sense to me now! I've been getting the daily prompts from BraveWriter Lifestyle, but now have the context to actually implement everything. I'm now actually looking forward to writing with ds in the fall, without buying any more programs! If you have TWJ and haven't read it all the way through, you should!
  11. I will be using a straightforward, step-by-step essay program with dd15. However, I am drawn to Bravewriter's Help for High School and wonder if it would work to run it concurrently with the bare bones basic program. This particular dd does better with specific step-by-step or I might just go for HFH by itself.
  12. Just got the email - I know there are others who were interested. The sale is good for only a short time ($29.95 instead of $49.95). I emailed to ask if this would be available through HSBC and she said it will NOT be available through them for one year, so if you are going to buy it, now is the time! http://www.bravewriter.com/program/home-study-courses/jot-it-down/
  13. This all started here, you know (so it's all your fault, hive members :tongue_smilie:). The thread for the freebie from HSBC for Mother's Day led to me reading most of the pages on the Bravewriter site. I looked at the samples in the freebie offer and THAT is more like what I want for literature. I like that it introduces literary elements using real books (vs. something written by textbook authors) and that it has the kids practice using that newly learned literary element in their writing. I liked the presentation, that it give a definition of what the literary element or device is (not assuming I already know it, like Figuratively Speaking sometimes does) and I don't have to go searching for books with good examples of that element in them. Of course, I need to look closely at Teaching the Classics and at various lit. guides yet to see how they stack up. BW is going on my list of things for consideration for the upcoming year. While I was at the BW site, I surprised myself by liking the writing philosophy for creative writing. Would it be confusing or too much for a child to do WTM writing for non-fiction and BW for creative writing?
  14. I'm just curious why people chooses it over other writing programs.
  15. Does anyone who has the digital version (in PDF) think it would be simple to convert it to a Kindle file? Or are there lots of funny fonts/clip art/etc that would require it to stay PDF in order to read it well? I'm considering buying the digi version through Home School Buyer Co-op, but I hate reading only at the desk. If something like calibre would convert it even mostly readably, I think I might take the plunge. Any recommendations? TIA
  16. Help me figure this out, please.... I have read that BW does not have a lot of hand holding, but what does one need to read before teaching it? Is TWJ background philosophy, or a basis on how to teach? Is there some other instruction for the teacher? I've ordered Arrow for future use, and feel like I'm just not getting some vital part of the program. Thank you! :)
  17. I'm considering this program for my kiddos, and I've read many positive posts about it. What do you NOT like about it? I'd like to know both sides of the story before I make up my mind! Thanks!
  18. I'm about to sit down and schedule this. Before I reinvent the wheel, has any one else done it already who would care to share?
  19. I've looked at these on & off throughout the years & am considering buying a 10 pack from HSBC since they're 50% off. I *thought* I had bookmarked a post in which someone listed the Arrows they'd purchased & enjoyed vs. the ones that were a disappointment, but I can't find it now! Did anyone else bookmark this? Also, I may just get 10 Boomerangs rather than any Arrows. Were there the same problems with some Boomerangs having very little content or are they all full issues? Thanks!
  20. I've only just begun chapter 1, but I already picked up a couple of great ideas from the introduction! I'm so glad I decided to click the purchase button :001_smile:.
  21. Someone mentioned in the cost of curriculum that Homeschool Buyer's Co-op has The WRiter's Jungle for 50% off. Well, Help for High School is also 50% off! I think the sale goes until March 31, 2011. I was hoping for sale at the PA convention but it won't be more than 50% off! Capt Uhura
  22. I need some advice. I am using CW Aesop with my 4th grader. He hates it! He is an average writer with little or no desire to write. I am not a big fan of CW either. I think it is a great program, it is just hard for me to totally get my head around. I am not a strong writer, and so this subject is a tough one for me. I was going to buy CW Homer used, then I noticed that the homeschool buyers coop has Bravewriter 1/2 off til the end of Feb. I have read great things about it, and I have heard that it really gets reluctant writers to enjoy writing and enjoy the process. My son HATES outlining, and I know that BW has a different approach. So, I need some honest comparisons of the two. For those of you who have seen both or used both, could you please tell me: 1. Which program creates stronger writers (if that is even a possible assessment to make)? I would stick with CW even though we both dislike it if it has better results. 2. Is BW harder to implement than CW? How much time do you think it takes to "get the hang of"? Is there a lot of teacher prep involved with the day to day lessons? How does it compare in this regard to CW? Thanks in advance!! Beth
  23. Still looking for writing resources! Has anyone done Kidswrite on-line? It looks interesting, and we'd like to know more about it. Susie
  24. and I need to know whether I would use it. First, I've got six kids from 13 to 8. Except for the oldest (who needs help occasionally in stuff *I* have trouble understanding!), I feel like much of the time I'm "down in the weeds" with the rest (due to apathy about school, ESL issues, and basic younger kid stuff). So, I don't have much in the way of empty time right now. Second, a couple of months ago I looked at one of her writing products (can't remember which one) and thought it was a bit more lofty than my personal style. I mean, I understand about how she wants to truly encourage kids to write and to love writing. But in my mind, I'm more of a nuts-and-bolts kind of person (a la WTM: read this, outline this, write summaries, etc.). I'm also wondering how teacher/parent-intensive this is. Is this a group effort or is this more of an individual effort? Would I have to be sitting with each child to do this, or can I break my kids up into a "bigs" and "littles" group? Finally, even after reading whatever it was I borrowed earlier, I'm still not sure *what* kind of handholding I'm getting with the program. Is it scripted? Philosophical? Fill in the blanks? Free form? BTW, there are a number of different offers listed, including the high school program, the middle school program, and the newsletters. (To really skew the conversation, I'm considering buying Killgallon after Christmas. And I'm a CW dropout following my eldest dd's waning interest in CW Diogenes. Furthermore, I try really hard to follow SWB's really simple yet elegant directions for writing in her lectures, but just can't seem to make it an integral part of our homeschooling!) Thanks for the input! Jeri
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