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Brave Writer, Family Connections, Homelife, Homeschooling, Parenting

Conversation Starters for Families to use All Year Long

Our family began a simple tradition many years ago that has had an incredibly positive impact on our dinner conversation.

We stopped asking our kids how their day was or what they did that day. Instead, we asked two simple questions:

  • What was the highlight of your day? (or what was your favorite part of the day?)
  • What was the hardest part of your day?

Our oldest child was only around 8 years old when we began to ask these questions on a regular basis and these two questions became the foundation for our current family conversation starters.

Continue Reading

Art, Homeschooling

Art Appreciation Through Projects and Stories

Our house is bursting with creativity and tons of art supplies this year.

We kicked off our year with several Mixed Media projects from the Art of Fall and we have continued to create new masterpieces each season.

Recently, I incorporated art appreciation into our studies so that my kids learn to recognize and appreciate the work of well-known master artists.

Of course, I didn’t want to stop creating our own masterpieces so I decided to find a way to incorporate both art appreciation and art creation.


Looking for ideas to incorporate stories and art into you art appreciation course? I've got the perfect combination. Continue Reading


Homeschooling on the Go

I’ll admit that my favorite homeschool days are the ones we spend at home with no outside commitments or activities on the schedule.

I protect our days at home as much as possible.

But there are days that we have to take this show on the road.

How we homeschool on the go. Continue Reading


101 Things Standardized Tests Can’t Measure

Hey there.

I see you. Staring at your child’s standardized test scores. Feeling frustrated, disappointed, or concerned.

This score can’t be right.

You KNOW your child. Your child is witty, fun, creative, and bright. But this score doesn’t reflect any of it.

Yet this number counts for a lot. Maybe for too much. But that is a discussion for another time.

Put the scores aside for a moment and picture your child moving through their week.

What do they love?
How do they treat people?
What makes them unique?
What do they do for fun?
What makes them laugh?

Hold on to that image while you read 101 Things Standardized Tests can’t Measure.

Testing isn't everything. Here are 101 things a Standardized Test can't measure. Continue Reading

Art, Homeschooling

Review: Masterpiece Society Studio Membership

Are you ready for the ultimate art experience in your homeschool?

Alisha Gratehouse, one of our favorite art teachers, has released an annual membership option for her art courses called the Masterpiece Society Studio Membership.

Our family has enjoyed Alisha’s Mixed Media courses in the past. We are currently working through the Winter Wonderland Mixed Media course, and we completed several projects in the Fall Mixed Media Workshop.

This annual membership will give us immediate access to all of Alisha’s wonderful courses in addition to member bonuses.

Check out a Masterpiece Society Studio Membership for instant access to unlimited art coures all year long. Continue Reading

Brave Writer, Gifts, Homelife, Homeschooling

Gifts Inspired by the Brave Writer Lifestyle

Gift giving is such fun. I love surprising people and finding the perfect gift. Shopping for my kids brings me joy. Truly.

On the same hand, I don’t want a big pile of “stuff” left around after a holiday celebration or birthday. This forces me to think before I buy.

I want gifts that are fun and practical. It is a possible combination! I don’t want to find myself overwhelmed with stuff for the sake of stuff.

This is where my creativity comes in. I need to find things that will be inspiring, useful, and a joy to give.

So in the spirit of practical AND fun gifts, I present the following ideas inspired by our love for the Brave Writer lifestyle.

A list of gift ideas that are fun and practicall so that you will continue to use them all year. Check out these gift ideas inspired by the Brave Writer Lifestyle.

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.}

Making my lists and checking them twice…

Poetry Teatime

Special Teapots

I absolutely adore these Tea-For-One ceramic tea sets from the English Tea Store. I bought each child their own solid color set and treated myself to this beautiful set.

Everyone loves drinking from their own special teapot, whether it is filled with hot tea, hot chocolate, or lemonade.

You can find several on Amazon as well. Here are a few that caught my eye:


New Poetry Books

I could list a million poetry books. The sky is the limit here.

But when it comes to gift giving, I like to find unique books that we will return to again and again. In that spirit, I’ll list a few favorite poetry book gift options:


You can also check out this list of Modern Picture books and scroll to the poetry section.

Just for Fun

How about magnet poetry for the fridge? Maybe the Haiku version? Or the Edgar Allen Poet kit?


Did you know that you can find movie discussion guides on the Brave Writer blog every Wednesday?

Movies create the opportunity for big, juicy conversations in the same way that a good book does. Take advantage of a few family movie nights during the busy holiday season or the gift of a good movie.

Check out the Brave Writer Movie blog posts and pick a few for this holiday season.

Gift a family movie night with a new movie and big gift basket of movie watching yummies.


Writing gift fun because we are BRAVE writers.


I am obsessed with markers and pens, so I am happy to buy a ton items in this category. And I do. All. Year. Long.

Here are some of my favorites to pull out for copywork fun.



Just for Copywork Fun



We love our special Golden Lines journals (for favorite book quotes) and our Friday Freewrite journals. My boys have asked to start their own Golden Lines Journal, so you know they’ll be getting one.

  • A Novel Journal is one of my favorite options. If your child has a favorite title that is featured then this is a perfect Golden Lines journal.
  • A Gold colored journal for their Golden Lines.
  • Grab a simple spiral notebook with a special cover. Maybe a sport or a character?
  • Some of these Harry Potter Journals would delight the kids in this house.
  • Get Out!!! There is a great selection of Stranger Things notebooks.


Game Play: Language Games

Toss the vocabulary and spelling workbooks and grab a game instead. Here are a few of our favorites for wordplay, storytelling, vocabulary, and spelling:

  • In Dixit, players use a descriptive word to describe their artwork hoping that it also describes the artwork someone else is holding. We own Dixit Journey, but it was very pricey when I posted this. I would check out the version pictured below.
  • Codenames forces the players to think about words, their various meanings, and connections. There are many versions to choose from. We have the original, but the neighbor has the picture version. The Duet Version is on my list.
  • Quiddler. Think spelling practice but FUN!
  • Rory’s Story Cubes are a classic storytelling game. They are also easy to take with you in your purse.


  • Taboo and Scattergories are classics from my own childhood. Both involve creative wordplay and work well with your older kids.
  • Apples to Apples is a great follow up to a lesson on adjectives and nouns!
  • Snake Oil is a fun game of persuasive language and laugh out loud word combinations.





What is hygge?

According to Wikipedia, it is a “Danish and Norwegian word which can be described as a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).”

Part of the Brave Writer Lifestyle is all about bringing coziness to our homeschool environment. Instead of doing school at home, we create a cozy home environment where learning can happen.

Art and Nature

Experience Art and enjoying nature are just part of the activities on the agenda as a Brave Writer family.

In my home, we are much more likely to dabble in the arts instead of nature, but I try to incorporate both. There are so many simple gift ideas that will remain useful for years to come.



Bring the Bard to your gift giving events. There are so many books about William Shakespeare, so I am going to list my favorite “gift-worthy” titles.

Shakespeare Books

  • Wills Words – My favorite kids hardcover picture book to introduce kids to the language invented by Shakespeare.
  • My love for OMG Shakespeare runs deep. This is a hysterical set for your teen. (language warning with emoji and texting acronyms)
  • Loves Shakespeare and Star Wars? Combine your loves with these hysterical Star Wars rewrites.
  • Pop Sonnets are modern day pop songs rewritten in the language of Shakespeare. I like to read the Shakespeare version and see if the kids can guess the modern song.


Shakespeare Fun


Continuing Education

Julie Bogart of Brave Writer supports continuing education for the homeschool mom. We learn alongside our kids every day, but we should feel free to pursue our own passions as well.

In addition, we can improve our ability to homeschool by surrounding ourselves with other moms who are pursuing the same ideals and reading books about learning and education.


If you are looking for a one-stop shop for a Homeschooling Parent to learn and grow in a community of like-minded Brave Schooling parents, then a membership to the Homeschool Alliance is the perfect gift.

The Alliance is Julie Bogart’s personal coaching community where a homeschool parent can find support for their homeschool journey.

Gifts for the Brave Writer Lifestyle includes support for mom from the Homeschool Alliance.

My favorite aspect of this community is the Master Class in Learning. I consider it my continuing education because each month I read and discuss thoughts on learning and education with like-minded adults. The monthly webinars are important to my growth as a homeschooling mom.


Of course, part of the Brave Writer Lifestyle is taking care of YOU – the parent.

Make sure that as you make your lists for the kids, you think about something that will nourish your own soul this holiday season.

What useful gifts are on your shopping lists?



For More Great Homeschool Ideas:

For lots of great ideas about motherhood, homeschooling, and travel, follow Not Before 7 on Pinterest.