“Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”

Neil Gaiman

The younger sibling of the novel? A shorter version of a “real book”? Not so!

The short story may be little, but it’s fiercely unique and powerful in its own right. If all your student knows about short stories is that they’re short, this class is a must!

Originating from oral histories in cultures around the world, the short story rose to fame in America for its quick-to-publish format. The golden age of the genre saw Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Jack London, Langston Hughes (and more!) sharing their work in magazines, journals and newspapers.

The short story remains one of the most accessible genres in history. The shorter word count means sharing faster and more widely, allowing the author to address a current issue or circumstance. Often a little gutsier than the traditional novel, short stories are essential reading for gaining insight into varied voices and perspectives.

With this class, we take the short story back to its roots. We’ll read authors from a variety of different places and viewpoints. We’ll examine:

  • Dramatic structure and pacing

  • Power, voice and audience

  • Perspective and selective focus

  • Metaphorical significance

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect literary analysis class for a reluctant or slower reader, this is it!

We’ll read 1-2 stories per week. Here are the stories we'll be reading:

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami (Japan)
Alyosha the Pot by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansefield (New Zealand)
Leng Lui is for Pretty Lady by Elaine Chiew (Malaysia)
The Story of a Sock by Muhammad Al-Asfar (Libya)
My Father’s Ties by Recaredo Veredas (Spain)
It Was Nice Not to Meet You by Ofir Oz (Israel)
A Play by Anton Chekov (Russia)

Students will participate in lively, stimulating discussion about plot points, literary devices, and reflections on the readings for each week. They will also engage in student-to-student responses, connecting the dots and sharing what was impactful for them. During our final week students will complete a larger writing project.

This class fits the bill for immediate gratification, exciting topics and fresh access to new worlds and new authors. Join us!

In Brave Writer, we select a wide range of essays and literature that include a variety of perspectives. Please be aware that you may experience strong reactions as you read. By using literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, you and your students have the opportunity to explore literary style as well as challenging content.

Brave Writer cannot ensure the appropriateness of this reading material for your child. This class is recommended for high school students, but it is up to the parent to review books thoroughly to determine whether or not they are suitable for your child to read.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Class Structure Description

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.