Homeschooling with Brave Writer

Brave Writer review homeschool curriculum

One of the most common questions I get from sisters contacting me is about Brave Writer. If you see me on Facebook, Instagram or any Whatsapp groups we share, I'm always recommending it and so you come to me wanting to know more. I feel as though Brave Writer really should be paying me because so many conversations I have with mums are like sales pitches convincing them why Brave Writer is so awesome.

I'm going to set out in this article everything I love about Brave Writer and explain what it is so that you can understand it a little better. I kindly request if you have questions about which programme you need for your children, to please contact Brave Writer directly to help you with that....I'm not a Brave Writer employee (I felt that needed clarifying).

I totally get why Brave Writer causes a little confusion. We tend to be more familiar with English and Literature studies through the eyes of workbooks, textbooks and worksheets. Brave Writer uses non of these things, so we are puzzled. How does Brave Writer work if there isn't a textbook in sight?

Understanding the Brave Writer philosophy

Discovering  Brave Writer has truly transformed my perspective on education and getting the best from my children not only in regards to their writing development. 
One of the biggest lessons I have taken, is the value of the partnership between myself and my girls in the development of their writing skills, and how that partnership carries over into all other areas of their learning.

The BraveWriter philosophy is about providing a safe space for children to take writing risks without fear of criticism or ridicule. It's about nurturing and encouraging the writer's voice within and appreciating the unique qualities it brings. It's about getting the thoughts and ideas that live inside the child out onto paper and valuing the risk it takes to do that so that they will be encouraged to not only write more, but enjoy it too.

My eldest once said that she doesn't see the point in Brave Writer, because it isn't work. If that isn't a positive enough review for you, I don't know what else I can say!

Education isn't about doing boring work. It is about engaging the learner so that they can find a way to value what they are doing so that it doesn't feel like work! Education shouldn't be tedious. It should be inspiring. When a child (or indeed an adult) is inspired, that's when real transformation and growth happens.

brave writer review

Brave Writer shows you how to become your child's writing coach

When our children were babies, we didn't for a second believe that they must learn to sit, crawl, walk, talk, go to the toilet and dress all by themselves. On the contrary, we modelled each skill for them, we helped, assisted, encouraged, and we showed our excitement at each milestone reached. But when it comes to writing however, we don't seem to do that. 

We don't tend to model how we should write as well as we model all other skills, yet we expect the kids to not only be able to just do it, but to do it well and we become frustrated when they can't or when they show disengagement from even trying. 

We are so used to reading professional writing in our newspapers and our books. We are so aware of what good writing looks like that we see the small offering our child brings in comparison and we cry silently to ourselves.
 Yet we forget that all these professionals wrote with an editor who collaborated with every written piece, not only to make corrections but to offer feedback, suggestions and give direction for changes.  
So why do we think our children, who are just learning the skill of writing (whether they are 5, 10 or 15), should be able to carefully craft a work of written art all by themselves, executing perfect spelling and implementation of grammar and punctuation?

Most children dumb down what they want to say in order to match their spelling or grammatical level. 

This is where the  BraveWriter program is truly unique. It values the voice inside of the child and understands that their writing level doesn't always match up to their voice or knowledge on a topic. BraveWriter is about getting what is inside out first, and then mopping up the writing later to tidy up what is referred to as the mechanics - grammar and punctuation. It doesn't want children dumbing down what they want to say in order to match their mechanical know-how.
BraveWriter is interested in the writer before the writing, and its program guides parents through the writing process; facilitating the parent with the knowledge to guide their own children to invite and welcome the writer within.

Julie Bogart, BraveWriter's creator, is a professional writer by trade and pairing that skill as a home educating veteran has given her a unique insight that the makers of traditional writing curriculums perhaps miss..... this insight I have found to be invaluable and has helped me tremendously.

BraveWriter products I use

The BraveWriter programs are secular works for academic progress. Although I highly recommend the products, it goes without saying that within them, just as with anything else we may use, there may be some points that are not applicable to us as Muslims. However with that being said, on the whole I find its resources to be invaluable in aiding the academic development of my children Alhamdulillah, and you will see that for the most part, the Brave Writer principles are 100% fully adaptable to our needs as Muslim parents.

As soon as I stumbled upon BraveWriter, I was hooked, and I won't lie, I purchased several products within maybe two weeks. I've never done that with anything before. Brave Writer excited me and it just made so much sense. I was all in from the get-go.

Nurturing Brave Writers review

review of brave writer's nurturing braver writers review

The very first introduction I had to Brave Writer was a youtube video; 55 things I did not do as a homeschooler. I don't usually view these kind of videos, but the title of this one intrigued me. From there, I went exploring, viewing more from Julie back in the Periscope days where she would pop on live to talk about anything related to homeschool and writing. 
I think the first thing I handed over cash for when I stumbled across Julie Bogart and her work, was the video course Nurturing BraveWriters . This is a recording of a live conference and it really digs into the philosophy behind BraveWriter principles (which you will see are inspired a lot by Charlotte Mason ideas FYI) and the stages of writing development so that you can confidently help your children become good writers.

Watching the video series, was aha moment after aha moment, as Julie took me through the writing process for children, and showed me as both Mother and educator, how to partner with my kids to be their ally, not only in their writing development but throughout every aspect of their education.
I am not at all a professional writer, my blogging probably testifies to that fact. I don't know much about the English language (despite being a native speaker). But regardless of this, as a home educator, I'm responsible for my children's writing, and I want them to not only master its skill well, but I'd like them to enjoy it too. Julie shows you how you can do that.

This video series, along with The Writers Jungle (which I'll get to in a moment inshaAllah) is what I would describe as the homeschooling parent's equivalent to teacher training. 
It doesn't just take you through the stages of writing growth from the point of view of being informative, but it shows you how to become a writing coach for your children, and how to partner with them.

Now that Julie has opened up what was formally the Homeschool Alliance and is now called The Brave Learner Home, she is giving free lifetime membership when you purchase certain programmes or spend $198 (approx £151) in one shop). With this, you have access to a tonne of what I'd call (secular) professional-development masterclasses for the home educator. And on Youtube she has a tonne of free videos where she shares how you can help develop your children's writing. 

 On the one hand, because of the Brave Learner home if you're part of it, and the free Youtube videos, I'd say you wouldn't really need to purchase this series. However, on the other hand, I still believe it provides a tonne of value. It's organised. It's condensed. It has the feel of the classroom because you see Julie talking to her conference attendees so it is almost as though you're there. I'll share at the end of this post some free videos on Youtube that provide a wealth of information showing you how you can help your children write. 

The Writer's Jungle Review

The writers Jungle review

Ages: 5-18

You can see from my battered copy of The Writers Jungle above how well loved this is. The writers Jungle is a manual for the parent / educator, not a workbook for the child. In fact, you will see that all the Brave Writer manuals are for the parent, not the child....the exception maybe is Help For Highschool.

The Writer's Jungle is pretty weighty once printed out, and when you first see it in your hand it looks pretty intimidating... it's so huge you think to yourself where and how should I even start!?

I've heard Julie repeatedly say that she has many parents call and ask how should they use this manual, and her response is always "read a chapter, do it with your kids. Read the next chapter, do it with your kids. Read the next chapter, do it with your kids."


The Writers Jungle sets out the core BraveWriter principles and takes you step by step through the writing process from beginning to end, no matter the age of the child and is packed full of activities and methods to get the best writing out of your kids. It is something you can use from maybe around age 5ish up to 18.....AND you can use with your children of different ages all together! The activities can be done by all ages, so it makes group learning easy and saves your sanity as a mum by not having to dish out individual grade level lessons to a handful (or more) of children simultaneously. 

This program teaches you how to guide your children through the whole writing process. It directs you to become their coach, their ally, their partner. It enables you to keep your role as Mum, and morph into a true writing coach, to work with your kids to bring out the best of what they have inside of them.

If you can only invest in one Brave Writer product, this would be the one to go for, because it is a complete how-to guide for everything Brave Writer teaches.

Partnership Writing Review

Partnership Writing review

Ages: 9-10

I have heard Julie explain that technically if you have The Writer's Jungle you wouldn't need anything else, however parents often contacted her wanting more guidance on how to implement the principles taught. So she has created a series of age-specific manuals that lay out ten month-long writing projects that you can do in around a year.

The first half of the manual is information on this writing stage and guidance on how you can expect to help your children. This really does help you to build up a much clearer understanding of how you can help your children and apply the lesson objectives from each project.
The second half follows with ten detailed writing projects split into weekly lessons with directions on what to do.

I have found this to be a huge time saver, because it takes all the planning and thinking off my shoulders. I just need to read the lesson guide, have a quick think on what resources we'll need and I'm good to go.

The writing projects are creative, engaging and super fun. I would never have thought to make a writing assignment anything other than something you would work on inside of an exercise book. But here, I'm shown how to make awesome writing projects beyond the confines of a lined piece of paper.

One example I'll give you, is a project to design a country. The children are asked to plot out a map and think about the people who would live there. From that, they use writing to explore and discuss their country's design. Through this, they are working on developing their original ideas and sharing them with us through their writing.

The recommended age is 9-10 but you can easily adapt this to most ages. I've used it when my children were 8 and 11 together. When we were using this programme it was hands down both my girl's favourite lesson of the week.

Julie has a *free* podcast explaining the Partnership Writing stage in detail, and I can't recommend enough that every home school Mum should listen to it regardless of whether you follow the programme. Seriously, it changed my perspective and understanding of my children's writing development forever subhanAllah.

Faltering Ownership review

Faltering Ownership review

Ages: 11-12

Just like Partnership writing, Faltering Ownership is intended as a year-long programme (though you can take as long as you need) offering ten monthly writing projects. The first half-ish of the manual offers guidance on this next writing stage and how you can help, followed by the writing projects which layout week by week direction on what to do.

Julie also has a podcast on the Faltering Ownership stage of writing. I haven't actually listened to this one myself yet but I imagine it would be as beneficial as the Partnership Writing podcast was.

The projects in this manual are starting to feel a little more grown-up and take the children on a journey to develop their writers voice and style. Through various projects they will learn how word choice can impact writing and develop research skills so that they can use that to help create original content.

Help For Highschool

Help For Highschool review

Ages: 13-18

Help for Highschool is a little different from the other manuals. This one, is intended for your child to read rather than you (although it is recommended you do).

Help For Highschool takes your child through academic writing so that they can write well-articulated essays and reports expected from secondary / Highschool students.

Initially, when we started with this, I gave my then 13 year old the manual to read herself. However I found there was so much information, she benefits from us reading it together and discussing before she going ahead to complete each assignment.

It is a hefty guide like the Writers Jungle. A lot of text and a lot of information. To work through the manual simply read a chapter and do the assignment. Read the next chapter, and do that. We have repeated the chapter assignments multiple times as I feel there is benefit to this repetition in the advancement of writing growth. Each time changing the assignment subject but following the same instructions.

What I like so much about this programme, is it shows your child how to improve and develop their writing. It provides clear practical guidance on how to improve and what makes good writing. For me, this takes out the guesswork. And for my child, it gives them the support and direction they need to grow.

The Arrow Guides Review

The Arrow review

Ages: 8-11

Another product we have used is The Arrow. (The Boomerang is the next level up for ages 12ish-15ish). This is where you learn about the mechanics of writing: grammar and punctuation.

Instead of using dry textbooks and worksheets to develop spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, Brave Writer uses literature children enjoy and are accustomed to reading and are familiar with.

You can choose to purchase a year-long programme which will give you 10 book guides (a different set each year), or purchase individual guides of your choice from their extensively growing list.

You'll need to purchase each book that the guide accompanies independently or borrow from the library. Guides are used over 4 weeks, each week taking you through the literary elements of the selected passage. It could be anything from introducing commas and speech marks or parts of speech, through to exploring literary devices such as alliteration, foreshadowing and metaphors for example. The guides point out the element and explain to you how to teach it. Simple. 

This is great for people like me who are not at all confident about grammar and literature discussion because it literally points out everything for us to ponder and discuss. ...again not only a time-saver, but also allows me to understand what I am passing on.

I haven't used so many of the literary guides however, because I find it difficult to select from the book list available. As a Muslim parent, it is difficult to select books that may be considered appropriate. I try to choose books as much as possible that are based on factual stories, or at least might provide some moral value. Harry Potter is a big no no!

We've used The Freedom Train, which is based on the true story of Harriet Tubman. A woman who escaped slavery in the US and helped other slaves to escape through the Underground Railroad. The One And Only Ivan, which although is written from the perspective of the gorilla, it is based on true events of a gorilla that was on show in a shopping mall in the US. And Wonder. While this is not based on true events, it tells the story of a boy born with facial disfigurement and how he copes with that.

This month we have been working with the Arrow Guide for Love that Dog. Love that Dog is a story written in the form of a poem, and I am amazed at how this literary study has impacted my children, especially my youngest who is a struggling writer.
This week she has been writing and illustrating poem after poem (for fun), after having being inspired by the discussion around this book we read together.

An important side note - I have to reiterate that not all the book titles are suitable for the Muslim home. The book choices include titles such as Harry Potter and other books that contain magic, which no Muslim should ever read under any circumstance (listen to Musa Richardson's lesson for clarification).

So you do need to be extremely selective with any Arrow or Boomerang guide you choose and select those which you are comfortable with. Julie does say herself, her recommendation is that parents take a look at the books first to ensure that it would be something you feel is appropriate for your family. 
For me, I try to pick books that I feel will provide educational value, and avoid many titles that include content I feel would be inappropriate. 

brave writer homeschool curriculum review

Want to know more about Brave Writer?

I would love to answer all your questions about Brave Writer, however I am not a Brave Writer employee and simply don't have the time available to reply to everyone all the time. Once upon a time they did offer affiliate commission, but those days are sadly over.

The good news is, the Brave Writer team are extremely responsive and will happily answer any of your queries or help you decide what programme is right for the age and stage of your children. So contact them by email or social media (Julie responds herself personally on her Instagram page).

You can also get a Brave Writer Tour from Julie over on Youtube where she shares each of her programmes and discusses a little about them all.

I'd also recommend you view some of Julies videos on writing that will help you get a better idea of what is behind the programmes and the innovative ideas behind them.
I'd recommend these whether or not you want to follow Brave Writer, simply because you will gain so much value from understanding how you can help your children develop their writing skills as a parent (just obviously view when your husband is not around):

So there you have it, a run-through of the BraveWriter products I have used so far. I'll end by summarising my experience with this alternative writing program by saying that I've found it to be revolutionary in its approach to (secular) education beyond just writing development. 

As with any secular programme, go through it with eyes wide open. I'm not saying everything Julie teaches is sound from an Islamic standpoint. There is no secular curriculum that is all the way through. What I like about Brave Writer in comparison to other curriculum is the fact it is so easily adaptable, and it understands the needs of the home educating family. 
Where there may be a writing project that I feel is inappropriate (writing fairytales as an example), you can simply take the direction of the project and change it to something else. You can't do this with the average English textbook to compare. 

What I have gained from it, is more than just a literature or grammar curriculum for my children. It has given me a deeper understanding and freedom to be a homeschooler rather than a homeschooler. The two are not the same, 
And this is something no traditional school program designed for the school, will ever give you.

Homeschool curriculum review from Brave Writer


  1. Assalamu alaikum Sister,
    I found this post very interesting as I am just starting my homeschool journey with my son who is now Reception age. I was wondering if you think it is worth my investing in Brave Weiter to use with him now (and if so, which products would you advise?), or do you think I would be better off waiting a year or two?

    1. Wa'alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah,

      Definitely you can use Brave Writer fact now is the best time because you are right at the start of your home school adventure!

      The Writers Jungle, sets you up for every stage of writing, and helps you learn how to coach your kids write (a brilliant skill to have as a parent)

      If you want something specific to his age, then take a look at "Jot it Down" (afflink)

      This has been designed for use between the ages of 5-8. I haven't used this particular program myself, as my youngest had already passed this stage once I started using BraveWriter, however, if Allah blesses me with more children, I'd definitely invest in this, because I am using the next program up after this, (Partnership writing) and I find it brilliant.

      If you haven't already, you may find listening in to some of Julie's videos about BraveWriter helpful to give you a better understanding of the philosophy behind the programs

  2. As salaamu alaikum sister,
    Very interesting post. I read in a couple of your other posts that it is not recommended to read or write fiction because of the scholars you mention. Then, what do your children write about? Is it non-fiction? I guess I am wondering if the assignments in the Partnership Program are non-fiction or are they creative writing assignments, which means they are writing fiction? Do you have to adapt it a lot? I'm so curious how you are teaching your children to write without writing fiction, I guess! Essays maybe? Thanks so much habibti.

    1. Wa'alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah,

      Although there was a time we stopped reading fiction, I found during that time it was difficult to encourage their reading, because they were so young, and so we do read fiction with the intent it is helping to build their reading development. - we are very selective of reading material though, and as they are getting older, we are encouraging more non-fiction reading.

      However, I don't encourage writing fiction. Creative Writing assignments actually do not need to be fiction. It is possible to write creatively using imaginative prompts, for example asking to imagine if XYZ was to happen what would you do.

      Likewise, when it comes to story telling, use non-fiction stories from History, Islamic and non Islamic. I find that the children enjoy non fiction stories much more because of the fact they know it is real.

      With the Arrow Guides, these are all based on fiction books. As I mentioned in the post, we do use the Arrow guides, because I find them to be an innovative way to teach grammar and punctuation. However, with that being said, I am extremely selective in the book choices, for example, The One and Only Ivan is a book based upon the true story of a Gorilla who lived in a shopping Mall in America.
      So although the reading is rather fictional, because the story is told through the eyes of the Gorilla, it is based on a real event, which leads the way into further research about Gorillas and captivity and starts the discussion around animals in captivity for example.

    2. Can you please make recommendation, cheap Islamic books for age 5 and under

  3. as-Salaamu'alaikum sister.

    Like some home educators, I am very busy with home life and educating the children. Please could you tell me what I would need for a reception, year 4 and year 5 child with regards to the brave writer curriculum.

    1. Wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

      Please accept my apologies, I've just noticed this comment! I don't know how it slipped past me.
      I can't remember off the top of my head which would best suIt that age group, I'll check tomorrow and post back inshaaallah,

  4. Assalamu alaikum
    I was just wondering how you print and bind your copies of the brave writer downloads.
    Especially the writers jungle which is huge mashaAllah.
    Jazaki Allah khair

    1. Wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah,

      The writers jungle is indeed huge!

      I print at home Alhamdulillah, and then took to a stationary store to get bound.

      You can alternatively print at some
      stationary stores also and I've heard of some online that will print for you and post out -

      Hope that helps, BarakAllahu feeki

  5. AsSalaamu alaykum,
    Jazakillahu khayr!
    Just purchased my first Arrow, absolutely love it Allahumma baarik. Found the poems at the library. Can't wait to get started, this programme seems amazing.


I welcome your comments and feedback!
However due to the number of spammers, I have added word verification to allow genuine readers to leave a genuine comment or question.
Your comment will be published once it has been approved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...