"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." —Flannery O'Connor

Journaling Jumpstart

Jump in! The water's fine! #

At least, that's what we are told when we decide to embark on a journaling practice.

For many people, journaling can feel open-ended and challenging to begin. Yet self-expression through journaling can be the beginning of self-understanding. It is also a tool that can lead to a life-long love affair with language and writing. Personal journals take many forms and they are enjoyable to explore! Popular journaling styles include: commonplace books, art journals, gratitude journals, one sentence journals, memoirs, acrostics, collections of quotations, and the tried-and-true daily record of one's activities.

Your kids may discover that the key to writing is finding their writing voices when they have a creative way to capture their experiences vividly. You may be asking...

Where to begin? #

Journaling Jumpstart guides students to explore various methods of journaling, all while challenging them to build a pattern of regular journal-keeping, no matter what the style.

"The best time to begin keeping a journal is whenever you decide to."
(Hannah Hinchman, A Life in Hand)

Because journaling can be built on a pattern like any form of writing, having accountability and inspiration will help students get started and give them a lifetime of inspiration to keep going. The instructor serves as the tour guide through this world of journaling, offering fresh ideas and inspiration each week in order to provide support when it feels like there's nothing to say, and gentle accountability that celebrates the completed journaling tasks.

Does your child struggle to journal consistently? Are there dozens of half-started journal projects lining your shelves? Maybe your kids have expressed an interest in journaling but aren't sure how to begin. Now is their chance to be inspired and to begin with a great foundation in a skill that will serve them the rest of their lives!

This class is perfect for middle school, junior high, high school, and beyond! It would make a great first independent online class for middle schoolers or a great family project (parents included!) to start the new year journaling together!

Journaling Jumpstart Hand
Week-by-Week Outline #

Week 1: Build a Habit

Learn to observe like a spy-master and create a pattern of journaling by setting a series of small, attainable goals.

Week 2: Use Your Words, Make A Picture

Create visual impact with your words using shape writing. Play with handwriting styles that project your mood onto the page.

Week 3: Know Thyself

Use your growing self-awareness and craft supplies to create brief and artful memoirs.

Week 4: Art Journaling & Mixed Media

Make use of artwork to inspire words and to create three-dimensional journal entries with mixed media. Tools for overcoming obstacles that stop the journaling practice will also be provided.

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.

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.