Journey with us around the world, exploring cultures through folktales! Anansi, Jack (of the beanstalk variety), and a trickster monkey are some of the characters we’ll meet in this four-week class. Folktales introduce familiar themes like greed and generosity but in distinct settings that teach us about culture with a bit of magic thrown in! Passed down orally through generations, folktales were both entertaining and instructive, making revisiting them worthwhile! Are you beginning to smell the sizzling cumin-sprinkled shish kabobs cooking in the alley by Ali Baba’s home?

Venturing through selected tales in the book Best-Loved Folktales of the World* by Joanna Cole (purchase your own copy; affiliate link provided), we’ll use observation skills to understand selected stories and then experiment with our own ideas in writing. A writing coach will be there each step of the way to encourage and invite your child to explore possibilities.

Spinning a Folktale will practice skills learned in Brave Writer 101: Guided Writing Process, though it’s not a prerequisite for the course. Freewriting, gathering ideas, and revising will be tools used and sharpened. In this class the child will be responsible for posting and will receive feedback from the instructor, allowing the parent to ride in the passenger seat on this adventure.

Each week we’ll examine a few folktales and dive into:

  • Characteristics of the hero or trickster

  • How the setting affects the story

  • The use of repetition and visual imagery

  • Using the folktales as springboards into our own stories (for example: What if Jack’s beanstalk was in my neighborhood? What if the Three Little Pigs were actually Three Large Elephants?)

At the end of the class, the child will be revising their own folktale, possibly to be repeated to the next generation!

Spinning a Folktale is an encouraging class for a child ages 9-14 who is new to Brave Writer and either a reluctant or an eager writer. It’s also a fun way to subtly add some geography to your homeschool!

Important Note: In Brave Writer, we read a wide range of essays and literature that address a wide variety of perspectives and that include time-bound references. Please be aware that you may experience strong reactions to what you read. By using literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, we have the opportunity to discuss these evolving ideologies.

We encourage you to pre-read books to determine their appropriateness for your family and to prepare to have discussions on these topics with your students as they participate in the class.

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.

Materials Used in This Course:

Best-Loved Folktales of the World

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.