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Brave Writer’s The Arrow


Last month we added Brave Writer’s The Arrow to our Language Arts studies and I’ve noticed the difference in our homeschool already. We’re having so much fun with “The Brave Writer lifestyle”. Our own language as well as our awareness of language around us – written, spoken and performed – is heightened. Here are some examples of what we’ve done.

Two weeks ago, on Movie Wednesday, we watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! Beforehand, we discussed the meanings of plot, plot twists and climax. I paused the movie as we went and we discussed who the good guy and bad guy should be according to the rules of right and wrong and who the good & bad guys were in B’s eyes according to their personalities. We discussed how important the script writing and each actor’s portrayal of their rolls were in getting us to root for Ferris and relish Principal Rooney’s mishaps.

I stopped it a number of times for B to tell me what the plot was, what he thought would happen next, his reaction to the “next” not being what he thought it was, etc. When it was over, he excitedly told me when he thought climax began and when it ended. We had this long, animated discussion about how people are not just black and white; we are all full of grays – good and evil, making right and wrong choices for the right and wrong reasons, etc.. It was so wonderful to see him expressing and discussing without just using the words, “Awesome” and “Amazing”.

Yesterday, I asked him to write using descriptive language. I wanted him to paint a picture with his words. His writing in the past has been, “I played outside with my friends.” I asked him to use words to describe the feel of the sun or the warmth of that Spring day. Playing outside was just an example I gave him; he could write about whatever he wanted.

He chose to describe tasting a macadamia nut, which he did for the first time earlier that day. I have to share his description with y’all.

“Today I tried a macadamia nut and it was awful!!(There was a frowny face with a tongue sticking out under the 2 exclamation points.) It was so unbearable and repulsive I had to regurgitate it into the trash.”

Now, he didn’t try to describe what he thought it tasted like, an old gym sock, for example, but that’s something to work on. The fact that he wrote more than, “I hate macadamia nuts.” or “Macadamia nuts are awful.” and he wrote two sentences makes me very happy. He took the assignment seriously and I can give more detailed direction in the future.

Most importantly, he’s enjoying language and writing. He’s getting how important it is to his understanding and entertainment and we’re (Julie Bogart and I) are stoking the desire in him to write like that for others.

Movie Wednesday

Last year, I told you about our Language Arts curriculum, Brave Writer’s The Arrow.  Today is Movie Wednesday, but we didn’t watch a movie.  We watched a show that aired on ABC last night – Countdown to the Oscars: 15 Movies That Changed American Cinema.  I saw the show on the guide several minutes after 10pm, turned on the TV and hit record.  When we watched it this morning, it only captured #14 through #1.  I’ve searched the internet and cannot find what #15 was, so if you saw the show, please let me know!  Anywho, watching this 54 minute show provided lessons in not only Language Arts, but also History (of our country and the movie industry), Civil Rights and Cinematography.  B wants to make movies when he grows up.  He really enjoys doing it now and this show gave great, historical insight.  In the future, we will watch almost all of these movies for the content and ingenuity they will lend to B’s education.

Language Arts

The Brave Writer Lifestyle teaches us the importance of word selection in stories, whether they are told in books or movies.  When you read a great line in a book, the delivery is yours, in your head.  The tone of a book B reads may come across completely differently when I read it.  With movies, you hear an actor in character saying an iconic line; see the expression and emotion on their face as it’s delivered.  How many lines from movies stick with us, do we use in our daily lives?  Lines from movies decades old, movies we’ve seen years ago, still stick with us and we want to make that impression on others when we write (or act). Every movie on last night’s show had lines like that.  This show also reminded us when it’s fitting to not use “proper” English; when the local and/or historical way of speaking should be used. See if you can tell from which movie these lines came:

  1. “Whuzzah happenin’, hot stuff?”
  2. “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
  3. “STELLA!”
  4. “Well, when I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”
  5. “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”


Ever movie is on this list because it made cinematic history.  The Production Codes were created in the 1930s to censor future movies after I’m No Angel was released.  The multi-plane camera was invented in order to bring the first, full-length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to the screen. Easy Rider was the 1st indy film that became a blockbuster.  2001: A Space Odyssey birthed the Sci-Fi genre.  Jaws showed us that the score of a movie can make a villain.

So many times during this show, we paused to discuss not only the what and why of a storyline, but also the filming.  The shower scene in Psycho was a great topic!

B: [Janet Leigh’s character] was ridiculous in the shower!  She just stood there and kept letting out short screams while the bad guy took forever to raise his knife.  She should have attacked him or knocked him over and run.
Me: She didn’t scream that long.  She gave one scream, and the director chose to play it over and over again, at different angles, to prepare the audience for what was about to happen.  Otherwise, the scene may have gone by before the audience could absorb it and they might have missed it.  (I hit play again and B listened to commentators on the show describe how Alfred Hitchcock reinvented fear in this movie.  Audiences had not seen anything like this before and it was so horrifying without even being gory.)
B: I get it!  No one was expecting a murderer.  No one was expecting that character.  The director had to give the audience a second to get what was about to happen so that they could get and be afraid of it as it happened.  Cool!

But these movies also taught us about our History.  In clips from The Birth of a Nation, B learned that KKK members not only dressed in white but also covered their horses.  Although Hattie McDaniel was nominated for, and won, an Oscar for Gone with the Wind, she was not allowed to sit at the same table with her cast mates.  She was segregated to her own table in the back.  We discussed the significance of a black man cast as the main character of a motion picture (Lillies of the Field) in 1962 and Sidney Poitier winning an oscar.  B watched Halle Berry’s emotional acceptance speech in 2001 with shock that a woman of color had not won best actress until the 21st century.  Easy Rider was created by, for and about the 60s generation.

Oh my goodness, I can go on and on about this show and the wonderful lessons we got from it today, but I have to stop and make dinner now.  I can’t wait to watch one of these films next Wednesday!

Hump Day is a perfect description for our Wednesdays lately!


B happily writing a song about Thanksgiving for his Songwriting class.

This is our second “semester” of B taking classes outside of the home regularly. It’s been fun and he’s learned things that I could not teach.   The classes are all at the same place and on in the same day of the week, which is very convenient. But it’s also tiring.

This semester he’s taking 3 classroom classes and was outside in a running class for the 2nd half of last semester and 1st half of this semester. With the running class, we were out of the house from 9am-5pm; since running is over, it’s 10:15am-5pm. When we get home, we grab a quick dinner made by the hubs and dash out for another activity that is 6-9pm.

In October, we joined a Circle at our church. A Circle is a small group of men, women, couples or families who meet regularly. Spiritual formation is meant to happen in community, not just in private. Some circles study the Bible, share their stories, perform community service together or all the above. We were invited to join an existing circle when one of the families moved out of state. Our circle meets every Wednesday from 6-9pm, and each family hosts 2 months a year.

Circle has been a wonderful blessing in all 3 of our lives, but it is quite taxing on this introvert!  When we dash home for dinner, I am DONE. I don’t want to go back out. I want to get in my jammies, be served dinner by the hubs and crawl in bed, shutting out all the noise and movement of the world. Even B, my extrovert, is showing some wear and tear. 😯  Something has to give!  (BTW, we are in AWE of families who go to work/school all day and then have extra curricular activities/homework/sports/church activities/dinner/together time, all before bed. Y’all are superheroes!)

Yesterday, B and I had a heart-to-heart talk about what to do.  We decided to take the next semester off from these outside classes. Winter weather has already set in and, with the amount of snow they are predicting our region will receive this Winter, the idea of hibernating in PJs with Life of Fred, US History and Brave Writer sounds lovely! When the hubs came home from work yesterday afternoon, we told him what we’d decided and he declared it was good. 😉

When we arrived at classes this morning, B headed straight to his first classroom and I went to sign him in before retiring to the parents’ lounge. At the sign-in table, the class list for the 3rd semester was being handed out and date of registration was announced. I made a terrible mistake – I took a class list!
Digital photography! Species effects for film making (the industry in which B wants to work as an adult)! DNA! The US Constitution! Robotics! 😮  I know I should keep this list from B, but I really want to show him, hope he gets as excited as me and then bugs the hubs to go! 😄

What to do?!

Teatime Tuesday – Well, Sort Of

Tea Time Tuesday

As I’ve said on here before, we love, love, LOVE the Brave Writer lifestyle and it is our Language Arts/Writing curriculum.  Julie Bogart, the brilliant created of Brave Writer, suggests having a poetry teatime each week, on Tuesdays – Teatime Tuesday.  This week, however, we did not read poetry.  The current book selection from our LA curriculum, The Arrow, happens to be Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang and it’s due back to the library today.  Therefore, we dedicated to read as much as we possibly can before having to return it.  I’m unable to renew the book because someone else has reserved it.  And, although I feel the late fees would be worth it, I won’t keep it.  I know I don’t like waiting for a reserved book because someone else has not returned it on time, so I will not do that to another.

We also decide to to hold teatime until after the hubs got home from work today.  I made a batch of brownies and set out some mango salsa and chips.  B made a plate of cheese, crackers and pretzels.  Ice tea was poured into the teapot and the table was set.

When the hubs arrived, we all sat down, ate and took turns reading until the daily afternoon knock came at the back door, and the voice asking B, “Can you come out and play?”

I just love our life!  :o)

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