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A Review of the Brave Writer Arrow Guides

I felt like Tarzan.  Or Jane.  Swinging all day from tree to tree and never knowing if it was going to be enough.

Spelling.  Vocabulary.  Comprehension questions.  Grammar.  Writing.  Would my kids ever connect all of these branches?

I was leaping from workbook to workbook to cover these skills, but what was I achieving?

Language arts felt so jumpy and disconnected in our homeschool.   And I felt so tired.  I didn’t want to swing like Tarzan from topic to topic anymore, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

So I did what any homeschool mom does.  I googled.  And I googled.  And I googled.  I knew I could find a program that would help me teach Language Arts as a cohesive set of skills for communication.  I knew I could find a guide to take us into the world language and communication.

And I was ready to drop my Tarzan rope.

A review of how the Brave Writer Arrow Guides and how they transformed our approach to Language Arts.

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Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

Top Ten Brave Writer Arrow Guides

I confess.

I am a paper girl trapped in a world of PDF’s.  Despite these handy electronic files,  I continue to print out most everything. And this includes my homeschool curriculum guides.

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Open my file cabinet in the basement and preview the stacks and stacks of Brave Writer Arrow guides from three full years of subscriptions.  Thirty printed guides are sitting in my files in addition to their PDF counterparts sitting on my computer.  I am not really sure why I feel the need to save the printed copy, but I do.

So as part of my procrastination file cabinet organization, I pulled out all of my Brave Writer Arrow Guides and sorted them until I found my favorite guides released in the school years that began in 2013, 2014, and 2016.  This list does NOT include any titles from the current school year (2016-2017).

brave-writer-arrow

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Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

Using the Brave Writer Arrow Guides

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This is our third year using the Brave Writer Arrow Literature Guides.  And we love them.  In fact, our family has adopted them as the core language arts program in our homeschool.

While the guides are fairly straight-forward, I know that homeschooling families love to read about how it is working in other homes.  I totally get that feeling as I feel the same way!

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Book Clubs, Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

Full Circle Moment: Brave Writer Arrow Title Connection

If you use the Brave Writer Arrow literature guides in your homeschool, then you are going to love this one…

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Right now, we are reading Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata.

The story follows Cracker, a German Shepherd, sent to train for battle in the Vietnam War.  Cracker is assigned to dog handler, Rick Hanski, and together they are going to “whip the world” according to Rick.

The story is well told and alternates between the dog’s and the soldier’s point of view.

Now…back up a few months with me…

In January, we read the book Love that Dog by Sharon Creech.   This delightful book is told through the journal entries of an elementary school student, Jack, who is learning poetry in school.

Jack is inspired in particular by the poet, Walter Dean Meyers, and writes him a letter.  He even gets Mr. Walter Dean Meyers to come to speak at his school!  And of course, we all become familiar with one of Mr. Walter Dean Meyers poems because of this book.

We were even inspired to write our own poems at our Party School Book Club celebration!

Now…come back to the present day with me…

Tonight, I sent my husband to the library to pick up some titles I had requested.  I used the online catalog to search for children’s books about the Vietnam War.  I wanted to learn more about it with the kids because of our read aloud title, Cracker!: Best Dog in Vietnam.

I couldn’t believe it when he came home with this one:

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Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam.  I opened it and began to flip through the pages.  The book is a long poem told through the eyes of an American soldier in Vietnam.

I glanced at the cover to see who the author was.

(Take a moment. Peek at the picture. Top left in red letters)

BAM!

Walter Dean Meyers.

I love when an unplanned moment like this one happens in our school day.  I can’t wait to read this with the kids tomorrow.

UPDATED NOTE:  I did read this with my kids today at our Poetry Tea Time.  The book is one long, free verse poem.  It is thought provoking and well written.  I did want to mention that both Cracker!: Best Dog in Vietnam and Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam are not necessarily books for your youngest or most sensitive readers.  They both deal with the realities of the Vietnam war and parental discretion is advised!

(NotBefore7 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com)

 

Brave Writer, grammar, Homeschooling, Literature

Grammar Lesson using The Arrow: Love that Dog

Grammar.  The word can evoke very strong opinions.

Who knew grammar was such a hot topic?  Probably very few parents.  Unless they decided to homeschool.

And once you weed through all of the philosophies, it can be quite confusing to find the actual best fit for your family.  I know because we have tried so many options!

One teaching option that feels very natural for our homeschool is teaching grammar through literature passages.  The Brave Writer literature guides, The Arrow, have been the backbone of this process in our house.
Our family has found that teaching grammar with literature as the tool has been a great fit for our homeschool. Here is just one example of how we did it!

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Book Club Titles 2017-2018

Another year of school is about to start and another round of book clubs are ready to begin. Of course, these are just your average book clubs. We love to dive in with a memorable, themed party school book club!

This will be my third year organizing book clubs for my kids. While the girls have been in a book club for two years, last year was the first year that my boys participated in a book club.

It takes a bit of organization to pick the dates and then we choose the book titles. We typically choose books from the Brave Writer annual subscription lists so we can use the Arrow and Boomerang Guides, but that isn’t a hard, fast requirement.

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