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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).

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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!

Using the Brave Writer Arrow Guides Continue Reading

Book Clubs, Brave Writer, Homeschooling

Creating a Book Club for Kids

Our monthly book clubs are one of the best things that ever happened to our homeschool.

From the first attempt at the fun for the Hunger Games to our most recent book styled two ways for the Green Ember, our book clubs have become a huge hit with my kids.

Of course, this means that I receive a lot of questions about is starting a book club for kids.  And while a lot of information about my book clubs can be found on this blog and my YouTube channel, I thought I’d answer some of your most common questions.

How to create a book club for your kids! Continue Reading

Book Clubs, Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

My Children’s Book Club Plans this Year

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Last year I organized two successful book clubs for my daughters:  The Arrow Book Club (5th/6th) and the Boomerang Book Club (7th/8th).  We follow the Brave Writer literature suggestions for our titles and our family uses the Brave Writer Language Arts book guides at home.

This year the girls have graduated so the Arrow Book Club will include 6th and 7th grade girls while the Boomerang Book Club will include 8th and 9th grade girls.  I will also be adding a boys book club for 3rd-6th grade boys! Continue Reading

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!

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Brave Writer, grammar, Homeschooling, Periscope

Writing Concrete Poems

(But first, a disclosure: 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. NotBefore7 is also a BraveWriter ambassador, earning a small percentage via links to BraveWriter. All opinions and enthusiasm for said products are my own.)

Our January Arrow Guide was for the book, “Love That Dog” by Sharon Creech.

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The copy work and discussion provided in week two were based on the concrete poems found in the book.  The poems served as a spring board for our discussion about parts of speech with my children, as suggested in our Arrow Guide.

Using the poem in the back of the book, as well as the copy work selection for the week, we identified nouns, adjectives and verbs.

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Then, instead of copying the provided selection, my kids were eager to write their own concrete poems.

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If you are interested in seeing a detailed explanation of how I use the Arrow Guides to teach grammar through literature, then you can watch the periscope of this activity  below:

Book Clubs, Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature, Periscope

Mysterious Benedict Society Book Club

This school year, I wanted a way to help my children develop connections to the literature we are reading at home and connections with other girls their ages.  Hence, two monthly book clubs were “born” this year.  The one I host tomorrow is for my younger daughter, 5th grade.

To get this group organized, I contacted a few moms with girls in the right age range this summer and tossed out the idea of a book club.  I suggested the Arrow Book Club titles because our family uses the Arrow Book Club guides for our Language Arts.  While the other families aren’t required to use the guides, I offered up the book titles selected by Julie at BraveWriter this year because she chooses a nice mix of classic and modern literature.

Each month a different mom hosts and is responsible for a snack and activity inspired by the book title as well as a brief literature discussion.  This month is my turn.  Tomorrow morning I will host our group for a discussion of “They Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart.

After our meeting, I will blog some pictures and details, but if you want a preview of my plans, I periscoped them tonight: