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Janeway

Bravewriter for younger ages? (1st and 3rd grade)

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Anyone use Bravewriter in the grammar stage? I am trying to wrap myself around this program and it sort of looks good. I would love to hear feedback, both good and bad, and feel free to PM me if you prefer. I would love to hear general reviews too, such as..what was it like..and what kind of student is it good for.

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I did some of the Brave Writer "lifestyle" things with my dd when she was that age. We did poetry teas, which I totally credit for her now solid love of poetry, language, and artistic expression. We did Friday free writes. We did a Brave Writer project of writing prompts on popsicle sticks in a jar for her to pull from when she was out of ideas. She loved that.

As far as what type of kid its good for, I think there could be a lot of answers there. I had a very reluctant writer but the relaxed approach in the Brave Writer lifestyle was great for her. I think she just didn't want to be boxed in, she's very creative, and her hand couldn't keep up with her brain. But Brave Writer focuses on getting around that to raise writers.

I didn't use Jot it Down or Arrows, which is for lower elementary grades. Back then, Brave Writer sent out free weekly emails with writing ideas and guides so I just used those. They must've caught on because they stopped sending them! Hopefully someone else can give you feedback on those programs.

This year for 4th grade we are doing Partnership Writing and she is loving it. Little bites of fun writing projects spread out in a non threatening or overwheling way, so its going well. 

I couldn't seem to wrap my head around Brave Writer either. I finally just jumped in and tried one thing I did understand, poetry tea. It was so successful, it motivated me to try something else (Friday free writes) , and that was a success too! I don't think I ever would have "got it" from the outside, I had to see it working to really get it. I hope that makes sense! 

 

 

 

 

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I think parts of it can be good for any student, honestly. It's at its best for reluctant writers and natural, enthusiastic writers. It's also at its best when the parent buys in and it works for their style - it can be a bit mushy and I think when the parent needs something super laid out, even if BW could be perfect for the kid, it won't always work so well.

Practically speaking...

The Writer's Jungle explains the whole philosophy. Good to start with for any age if you're a whole to parts person - if you need to see the big picture. It's a book for you about teaching writing and the whole process. Focused on upper elementary to high school, but useful as a starting point. Don't start with this if you will be frustrated with a long book about writing that is mostly philosophy and approach.

The projects supplements - for elementary school, that's Jot It Down, followed by Partnership Writing. These are one project a month laid out for you. The opening part also summarizes Writer's Jungle parts that are appropriate for your student's age and lays out a loose schedule for the BW lifestyle - the other things to do, like poetry teas.

The language arts supplement - for elementary students, that's the Quiver of Arrows or the Arrow. Quiver is easier, better for K-2 or 3. Arrow is more like for grades 3 or 4 and up. This is one book a month that you read. Then one longish copywork passage a week that you use to discuss literary elements as well as grammar and mechanics. At the end, there's a shorter writing project to cap off the book.

All the other things - like the poetry teas and the Friday freewrites, are things you don't need to buy any product for. You can also make up your own writing projects and choose your own copywork, of course. You can use the Arrow without any other BW products, or the project books without any other BW products. You can do any part of it alongside a more formal grammar program... or not. I think when you do all of it, it's very complete. But also, if one element calls to you but you want to pair it  with something else, I think that works well too.

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I agree with what the posters said above. 

I have used Jot it Down and really like it.  Seems to be simple projects.  I like the way it tells me what the children should write/do. Of course, I often scribed for them. 

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We used Jot it Down and enjoyed it, and I was able to carry the principles into other parts of our homeschooling. We’ve started Partnership Writing and are loving it so far. We used a few of the Quiver of Arrows, and a couple Arrows, and while I don’t love them as much as the writing books, they serve a purpose for us.

We sprinkle some of the BW Lifestyle pieces throughout our lives - poetry teas, art appreciation, movie conversations, etc. I think we would have done these with or without BW, though.

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TWJ is expensive and difficult to follow mostly because Julie envisioned people using it one way when some of us read it like a book and then had no idea how to take this mushy, big picture philosophy and turn it in to...something useable. I still think it needs some re-working to make it more approachable, but the way it was meant to be used was that you read it one chapter at a time and then applied those bits so that you had the hang of it before moving on to the next chapter. She also expects that once you reach the freewriting chapter that you stay there for awhile - and entire semester’s worth of time.

My opinion differs from Julie’s a bit, but I’ve always felt the project based products (Jot It Down, Partnership Writing, etc) were easier to wrap your head around and implement. Starting out with Jot It Down is not a bad idea regardless of where your kids are age/ability wise. You can definitely take those projects and scale them up in difficulty for an older or more advanced writer. Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op had the PDF versions for a reduced cost.

As for who it’s good for? I go back and forth on this one. I have a natural writer who exudes words like breathing. It’s definitely a good fit for her. I have another writer who is...less so. BW has been at times disasterous and at other times the perfect fit for this child. Sometimes I and this child needed something like WWE or WWS to hold both of our hands and help us through. Other times, BW’s less is more approach was ideal. In other words, it depends. BW has a lot available on the website for free so that’s another inexpensive way to try it out.

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For those ages, I would recommend Jot it Down and maybe a Quiver of Arrows. Brave Writer has brought so much delight to the early years for my younger children. I did things much differently with my older kids and I have so enjoyed Julie's approach for the early years. There is a great introduction to the entire Brave Writer lifestyle in the Jot it Down curriculum. Definitely look at the online samples because they give you a really good idea about what the program is like.  

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