Write, hike, and draw together! #

Perfect for Charlotte Mason fans!
This class turns your aspiration to study nature into a "dream come true"! Fun for the whole family, of any age!

  • Check out this Power Point done by a student to reflect her experiences on a "Color Walk" (taught in class).

photo-grasshopper

The Skinny #

This class will provide an introduction and exploration of nature journaling. By capturing observations in word and art, each student's journal will offer the opportunity to experience connection with the natural world. Through individual documentation, we will work to build skills in observation, sketching and appreciation of life's beauty and mystery.

The most important part of this class will be the hands-on journaling activity that will encourage students to take the time to actually get out into nature with their journals—daily, if possible. For four weeks, students will be encouraged to put nature journaling at the top of their "one thing to-do" list. This concept of nature journaling will be based upon the book Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth, which will be used as a teaching reference.

Week One: Introduction

  • A Look at Nature Journaling: What is it? Why Use it?
  • Hands-on Activity: In Your Own Backyard
  • How to Respond to Student Sketches
  • Weekly Reflection (each one will include insights, sharing and encourage interactions/further questions)

Week Two: New Observations

  • A Look at Different Journaling Styles
  • Hands-on Activity: Observing a New Location
  • Writing Extensions (plant comparison/scavenger hunt, writing persuasive paragraphs)
  • Weekly Reflection

Week Three: Journaling on the Move

  • A Look at Different Locations and Materials
  • Hands-on Activity: Journaling While Hiking
  • Writing Extensions (plant identification, creating field guides/collections, writing descriptive paragraphs)
  • Photography and Journaling
  • Weekly Reflection

Week Four: Bringing It All Together

  • A Look at Adding Maps and Clippings
  • Hands-on Activity: Student's Choice
  • Drawing Tips and Extensions (box-a-day, flowers, leaves, grasses)
  • Tips to Incorporate Journaling into Busy Lives
  • Weekly Reflection: Ongoing Journaling & Conclusion

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

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 test it and agree!

Click here to login to a sample classroom.

The Nature Journaling Class is what we call a "Family Class" in Brave Writer. Your children are enrolled in the class and will be the ones doing the activities, but the parent is the "student" in the classroom. The instructor will teach not just your children, but also you, the parent! Together, you and your children will learn about nature journaling, you will read the assignments and support your kids in doing the activities; then you will report back to the instructor by posting your children's work. We find that many kids have a much more successful experience with nature journaling when a parent is involved in the whole process.

That said, your kids are free to convey their thoughts and reactions to the instructor, too. She will want to get to know them! The structure of this class is that the parent is the enrolled student, and the kids are the active participants. Our hope is that both you and your children will discover the joy of exploring nature and then journaling about it by the end of the four weeks together!