This class is a family class. Click on the "Family Class" tab above to learn more.

Note: This class is recommended for ages 7-10. Families with younger children are invited to check out Elementary Writing: Story Switcheroo. You'll also find wonderful teaching ideas here: The Best Curriculum for a Six Year Old.

Quick! Name some memorable book characters from your childhood! If you’re like me, these names came immediately to mind: Anansi the Spider, Winnie-the-Pooh, Br’er Rabbit, Puss in Boots, Velveteen Rabbit, Wilbur, Babar.

Perhaps your kids have some modern favorites: Acoustic Rooster, Olivia, Clifford, Martin the Warrior, the Gruffalo.

The Elementary Writing: Animal Stories course exposes kids to the fascinating and varied genre of animal tales. This class invites you to revisit old favorites and find new tales to explore as you uncover what makes animal stories tick.

With the support of a writing coach, you and your children will read and enjoy stories of your choice together. You'll learn to identify the literary elements that make these tales so memorable as well as discuss how the stories are crafted. Once your kids have a feel for the structure and delight of these narratives, they'll be led in a process that enables them to write their own!

Elementary Writing: Animal Stories enrolls you with your child(ren) in this class. Since the writing activities are flexible and you get to choose your own books, this class is a perfect fit for a variety of ages, particularly for those kids in the Partnership Writing natural stage of growth. Together you will read the stories and examine them. You'll read the assignments and support your kids in doing the activities; then you will report back to the instructor by posting your children's writing. We find that many kids have a much more successful experience with writing when a parent is involved in the whole process.

This is an excellent class to take after Brave Writer® 101: Guided Writing Process or once you've worked through the Writer's Jungle or Growing Brave Writers (though not a required prerequisite). Brave Writer® techniques such as list-making, freewriting, revision strategies, and editing are all used in this new context of story-writing. Parents are encouraged and taught how to facilitate the writing process so that you and your kids feel successful and nurtured along the way. The final short story is worthy of printing and binding, and even illustrating. Many kids share their stories with relatives and friends as a way to celebrate their successful completion of a fictional narrative. Believe me! You'll love the results!

You’ll want to be stocked with your own selection of animal stories to read, appropriate to the ages and interests of your kids. Here are some suggestions if you’re looking for a place to start:

Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith

Aesop's Fables: A Classic Illustrated Edition — R. and Higton B. Ash

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band by Kwame Alexander

Anansi the Spider stories

Fables of La Fontaine

A World Full of Animal Stories: 50 Folktales and Legends

Animal Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland

Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela

Native American Stories by Joseph Bruchac and Michael J. Caduto

Twisted/Fractured fairy tales

Please keep in mind that animal tales can vary from slightly dark to positively jolly, so it’s up to you to select the most appropriate ones for your kids.

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:

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band Squids Will Be Squids A World Full of Animal Stories Animal Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland Favorite African Folktales

Brave Writer® online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind.

Class Structure Overview #

  • Class is held in a private discussion board with 20-25 other participants.
  • Class is asynchronous—you log in when it is convenient for you each day of the week at no specific time of day.
  • It is text-based—no video.
  • Student writing assignments are posted in a text box, published to the classroom, and all students are able to read student writing.
  • Class is a writing workshop format, with all coaching feedback available to be read by all families.
  • Class work, student writing, and coaching feedback can be downloaded and saved in a PDF format.

Class Length and Time #

Classes last anywhere from three 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.

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.

Private Classroom Space #

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.

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.

Safe Community #

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 dialogue 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.

The Animal Stories 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 about writing, but also you, the parent! Our goal is to provide a model for you to follow showing how to partner with young writers in the writing process. Learn more about how to support a child in the early stages of growth in writing here.

Together you will read the material 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 kids have a much more successful experience with writing 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. They will want to get to know your kids! 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 have a transformed relationship with writing by the end of the four weeks together!