As you might know, I recently read The Brave Learner and then started Poetry Tea Time with my daughters. Poetry Tea Time was an instant hit and already a highlight of the week for us.
I spent a lot of time looking at the Brave Writer website after reading The Brave Learner and watched several of Julie’s YouTube videos too. I’m really excited about her writing programs and I know my daughters would get a lot from them. Before investing though, it seemed sensible to try out a free 7 day program first. Plus, being self-employed, money is tighter than we’d like, so purchasing a bundle is on hold temporarily.
The girls knew I’d been reading Julie’s book and enjoying it, because I’ve been sharing ideas from it with them. So when I told them about the 7 Day Blitz, they were totally on board. For my seven year old, she was ecstatic when I said I could write for her.
Prepping for the 7 Day Blitz
There wasn’t too much prep for me to do for this week of writing, which is always a bonus for us home educators. I read through the PDF document so I knew what’s we were doing and that was it! Day four required the most prep, but that was just a bit of photocopying and cutting. The day before each activity I’ve also been reading Julie’s emails.
One of the things I really liked about this week was that I was joining in with the writing too. Either I was scribing for my daughters, or I was doing my own writing. It just made me feel so much more connected to what we were doing, and to my daughters’ ideas.
We’ve spent the week writing on windows, on sticky notes, under the dining table, curled up on the settee, on the top of the climbing frame.
The main thing that I got from this week is that writing can happen anywhere and it’s still just as valuable.
I guess it’s a hang up from my own school/teaching days, but I’ve always associated writing with sitting at a desk. Do you?
Writing For Them
Scribing my daughters’ writing was an absolute revelation too. Focusing on their ideas not the mechanics of writing was wonderful for both of them. My seven year old eyed me with suspicion when I first offered to write for her. No wonder, I’ve spent so longer trying to encourage to write for herself. But really, aren’t her ideas more valuable than how they’re presented? This is definitely been a major de-schooling point for me (proving the process may never be over). She’s been delighted with how much writing she can produce if I write it down for her. It’s been really funny trying to keep up with how fast the words tumble out too!
My nine year old can write really well, with beautiful handwriting too, but she did occasionally take me up on my offer of scribing throughout the week. I was amazed at how many ideas she came up with when we wrote about an object hidden in a bag. It made me give some real thought to how we usually approach our writing; how many of her wonderful ideas could have been lost because of writing fatigue, or just not being able to keep up with her brain?
Celebrating Our Writing
A hugely important part of the 7 Day Blitz is taking the time to really celebrate your child’s writing. No matter how much is produced, who writes it or how it’s presented. We chose to create a book of our work throughout the week and the girls loved adding new pages to it each day. They even wanted to include my writing too!
On the last day, we presented our book of writing to my husband. He’d seen little bits of their writing through the week, but had been so busy with work that he’d missed out on most of it. The girls loved going through, page by page, explaining what they’d done. Seeing their enthusiasm about their own work was just joyful. They remembered what they’d done on each day and particularly enjoyed Daddy reading their nonsense poems from Day 4!
Then we presented them with a certificate each and a little gift. I’d bought some really cheap (£1) notebooks at the beginning of the year and put them away for Christmas. I thought that a notebook was actually the perfect gift to celebrate a week of writing and to encourage them to continue. I personalised them a little with the label maker (the girls are obsessed with it right now!) and they were over the moon with them.
Their only disappointment was that the 7 Day Blitz wasn’t an ongoing thing! Something that really struck me all week was how excited my youngest was. After each activity she was asking me to tell her what was coming up the next day; we’ve never seen that level of enthusiasm about writing from her before!
Moving On from the 7 Day Blitz
Almost a week has passed since we finished our 7 Day Blitz and we’ve carried on with our “Brave Writer Lifestyle”. This week we wrapped up our dinosaurs topic with a session of freewriting. We went to our favourite coffee shop to do it. We had another go at writing about a mystery object because my youngest really enjoyed it. I’ve done lots of scribing for them and we’re continuing to make books of our own stories.
The 7 Day Blitz has completely shifted my mindset in terms of what writing looks like and how it happens and that’s been the most valuable thing of all. I’ve realised that although it might not get recorded, they spend a couple of hours every day playing imaginatively together. They make up characters and backstories, worlds and adventures, and they act it all out with animals, or dinosaurs, or LEGO figures. That’s creative writing at its best!
I’ve also seen the real value in my writing down their ideas. Valuing their thoughts and ideas above all else has been a game changer. I truly believe that the mechanics of writing for my youngest will come in time (she can write, but it’s a slow process), but for now why not celebrate her fantastic ideas? There’s real value in this for my eldest too, and I will continue to write for her when she’d like me to.
All in all, I absolutely recommend Brave Writer’s 7 Day Blitz, no matter the age of your children. In fact, it would be valuable for them whether they’re home educated or not! If I’d come across this when I was teaching, I’d have even done these activities in my classroom. It’s a really valuable use of time that will totally change the way you, and your children, view writing.
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