BraveWriter KidsWrite

March 18, 2014
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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Brave Writer KidsWrite

Content: Writing
Grade(s): Basic (5th – 8th); Intermediate (8th – 10th)
Perspective: Secular
Parent Prep Time: Moderate
Teacher Manual: Available
Teacher Involvement: Moderate
Cost: $$$$ || ?
Pages: 166
Publication Date:
Updated Review: 03/18/2014

From BraveWriter’s website:

Kidswrite Basic covers the first 9 chapters of The Writer’s Jungle. It is a supported environment for completing those exercises and experiencing models of quality feedback (the type and content) from an instructor. This course covers the following skills:

  • Communication (We use a game to get you started! Fun!)
  • Freewriting (The breakthrough tool that has unleashed thousands of blocked writers)
  • Keen observation (The skill needed to dig out the rich vocabulary lurking inside your child)
  • Revising (We give you tools and permission to get in there with your kids and help!)
  • Editing (The mechanics mop up!)
  • Publishing (Share that great writing with the world!)

KidsWrite Intermediate is the natural follow-up to Kidswrite Basic, particularly for 8th to 10th graders or high school students who’ve had little experience with writing. KWB is not a necessary prerequisite, however. This course enables students to develop their writing voices while it teaches them how to think rhetorically. We use a variety of exercises. These exercises are also found in the first half of the manual: Help for High School. Writing skills to be addressed are:

  • Musicality in language
  • Powerful association (metaphor)
  • Keenly observing an idea
  • Rhetorical thinking
  • Discovering the “true truth” in writing
  • Collage writing (a final project that synthesizes the work over the six weeks)

Kidswrite Intermediate acts as a transition between the free-wheeling, personal experience-driven writing of youth and the more disciplined, rhetorically-driven thinking of academic writing.

* * * * * * * *

These skills are taught in entirely new ways (not seen in other curricula). In this class, parents interact directly with the instructor in a private classroom. The instructor posts assignments while the homeschooling parents post student writing and questions. As you work with your children at home, the instructor will support you, answer your questions, and give you guidance so that you succeed in becoming your child’s best writing coach and ally. Our aim is to make it possible for you to be your child’s writing instructor so that you don’t have to rely on anyone else!

We’ve found that the class environment leads to a rich learning experience for you. Not only will you receive personal feedback on your children’s writing, but you will also be able to read the writing of other homeschooled children and the instructor’s feedback to those families. Because homeschooling can be an isolating experience, we’ve discovered that our online classes offer what an online tutorial can’t: a chance to be exposed to lots of writing by kids at all ages and stages of growth.

This experience gives you more confidence when assessing your own child’s development. (In fact, we find that the experience is usually enormously reassuring since the majority of homeschooling parents tend to be a little nervous that their own children are not performing at a high enough level.)

Because one opinion is never enough! Have you ever used Brave Writer: KidsWrite? How did it work for your family? Share your review below.


One Comment

  • Terri Jacobsen April 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    We just tried Bravewriter and my review is mixed. Depending on your specific interests and the way you work, you may find it a good option. We took the Kidswrite Intermediate class.

    On the plus side, the exercises they use are incredibly creative for middle schoolers, I found most of them very useful and enlightening, especially for a reluctant writer. The program focuses on encouraging kids (and showing them how) to write authentically, without using cliches or language they THINK will make them look like good writers. The philosophy supporting Bravewriter is well thought-out and intriguing, based on a view that kids in middle school are transitioning from using the mechanics of writing to produce something that follows a prototype, to something that expresses their “true selves.” I think this is a long process that requires a lot of focus and time, but Bravewriter offers a great start.

    On the negative side, the format of the online classroom is not for everyone. The kids are never online together, it’s a “post whenever you want” format. The exercises are posted every weekend, and (usually) have deadlines on Wednesday and Friday each week. Our instructor (Nancy Graham) was pretty loose with this schedule at the start, and she gave the kids only a day or so to complete each exercise. This worked for no one, and the kids let her know right away they needed more notice to plan their weeks. By week 3 (of 6), we had postings on Sunday night, which worked better. (I thought this scheduling should’ve been set long ago, rather than being an ad hoc thing that took away from half the course.) The instructor said she expected the kids to check their class site every day, several times maybe, to keep on top of things. this really didn’t work too well for us, maybe other have more time to dedicate to checking for messages and responses than we did. Many kids had incredibly creative responses! and I loved reading through them all (this was strongly encouraged).

    My biggest complaint was the feedback was limited, a lot of encouragement (no doubt needed at this age) but not many substantive or constructive comments on any assignment. I thought the instructor seemed pressed for time, and I felt a little manipulated by the “great job, thank you!” responses my son saw. We worked hard on these exercises, and my son spent a lot of time writing on his own, which was new and refreshing. Unquestionably, the work we spent on these well-designed exercises was the primary benefit of the program. Don’t expect a lot of feedback from the course itself, but if you can dedicate the time to work together, the exercises can be inspirational and thought-provoking, plus they help encourage indepe ndence in your child’s thinking and writing skills.

    We will give Bravewriter another chance, maybe another instructor will give us a different experience. The program holds so much promise, it’s the implementation that bothers me for now.

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