Hate teaching writing? Scared of it, in fact? Don’t feel bad. I’m going to let you in on a secret: as a former Language Arts teacher, many a fellow English teacher confessed teaching writing was not their favorite (they preferred teaching reading). For my part, I love teaching writing, but it can be a challenge without the right philosophy. That’s why I’m sharing Brave Writer’s The Writer’s Jungle with you – a homeschool writing coach for parents!
Sponsored by Brave Writer.
Writing is a jungle…
There’s a reason teaching writing isn’t many teachers’ favorite. Why they prefer to teach a novel rather than writing. Because the novel is finished: polished and complete, easy to enjoy and if you get lost, there’s an “map” out via the plotline. Writing though? That’s a messy process, wild as a jungle. As Julie Bogart puts it:
Jungles are unfriendly places. But they’re also beautiful, and wild, and exhilarating… Visitors need guides, not maps. Guides know how to get along in the jungle not just how to get through it.
Your writer’s jungle is also a wild place. But I promise you: it’s alive and beautiful, too. It’s the landscape of your child’s mind and heart. Our job is to stop and notice the sights along the way; to uncover the tiny iris lost under the pile of bad punctuation. (Julie Bogart, The Writer’s Jungle, xliii)
The Writer’s Jungle is a homeschool writing coach for parents
So teaching writing’s not your favorite. That’s okay. I thought teaching math wouldn’t be mine, but you know what? I found a math curriculum that “held my hand” through the process, and now I don’t dread teaching math (we’ll talk when I hit the Algebra years!).
The Writer’s Jungle is a homeschool writing coach for parents! Author Julie Bogart virtually holds your hand, coaching you as you learn to coach your kids in the writing process! Here’s what’s in the digital PDF download (or purchase a pre-printed version in an organized binder):
The preface and introduction – yes, read it! Julie Bogart shares incredible wisdom that will reshape your thoughts about teaching writing. She debunks oft-quoted “principles” of writing.
Sample Language Arts schedules for four age ranges – these suggestions can be modified to suit your family. It’s okay to repeat writing lessons and activities as kids grow; the writing process is nearly the same no matter a person’s age. Children will write with increasing complexity and face new hurdles, plus they’ll choose new topics for the assignment types. So you’ll refer to The Writer’s Jungle chapters year after year to support your child’s writing.
Coaching through the writing process. Seventeen chapters read like a story as Bogart shares personal anecdotes about how the writing process really works. The margins contain notes from authors, experts, and moms who’ve taken her online class. I felt like part of a larger conversation about writing!
Sample student writing at various ages, so you get a feel for what kind of writing happens at each age.
A FAQs section capturing Bogart’s principles of writing in a nutshell.
IF you use The Writer’s Jungle Brave Writer online course, you get Julie herself, or one of her trained instructors to go boldly through the writing process with you! You can also use The Writer’s Jungle as a home study course.
The Writer’s Jungle will last you a lifetime
The Writer’s Jungle isn’t just a one-year program to “get through.” It’s a complete writing manual for parents teaching students in a wide age range (8-18). You’ll refer to this book yearly as you cycle through teaching your children. The Writer’s Jungle struck me as more philosophical than many writing manuals. Just so! Julie Bogart doesn’t just trot out one assignment after another and leave you with the same overwhelm of “Why can’t my kids do this!?” This is not a workbook filled with drudgery! Instead, she shares her philosophy of writing, debunks myths, breaks down misconceptions, and offers handy writing tips, tools, and activities to practice your refreshed philosophy of writing!
And it’s good. Really good! Bogart’s methods encourage writing as an art rather than a school subject. Her ideas about writing may be vastly different than what you’re used to, but with Julie “holding your hand” you’ll be able to:
Stop struggling to get your kids to write…
Bring joy back to your homeschool instruction…
Actually know you KNOW what you’re doing…
if you want all of the above… get. this. book!
You might find that the activities Julie suggests don’t “feel” like writing lessons. Like this one, where my son is giving directions about how to draw a design; he’s not physically writing with pen and paper, but he’s learning a lot about the importance of clarity in writing!
This is just one example of the interactive games and activities The Writer’s Jungle suggests to help you and your child develop a lifestyle of writing, not simply complete assignments. Because you will have tried each writing activity beforehand (yes, you have some homework!), you’ll be able to offer helpful advice when the going gets tough.
In The Writer’s Jungle, Bogart re-defines goals and purposes for writing instruction. Then she shows you how to reach those goals, covering soup to nuts writing topics like:
- Descriptive Writing
- Final Drafts
- Report Writing
- Journal Writing
But she does so by turning typical thoughts about academic writing upsidedown, refocusing your vision on writing for a lifetime of enjoyment. She’ll coach you how to:
- Pick the best writing assignments for your child (don’t give your children “busywork” assignments! Honor their work by giving them “worthy” assignments!)
- Use writing and word games to build vocabulary
- Deal with reluctant writers
- Recognize writing growth in your child
- Grow your own writing and reading abilities so you can help your children!
Understand that you’re a parent and an educator
How well Bogart understands the unique situation of homeschoolers! We’re both parent and educator which means we swap hats repeatedly – often in the same five minutes!
Over and over, Bogart addresses this parent-educator concept. She talks about how developing your child’s character is paramount. If a writing lesson has to wait – then so be it. She just really gets it: what we’re trying to accomplish as homeschoolers isn’t the churning out of perfect five-paragraph-essays, but the cultivating of little hearts.
The Writer’s Jungle is a writing manual like no other. This 263-page guide to teaching writing is a guide that has heart and purpose. Here, Bogart gives you permission to unburden yourself of your writing angst and teach writing from a place of joy. She encourages you to simply be a parent, to love and cherish and nurture your kids. Because, after all, where will their stories come from if not from the warmth and love of your home?
Ready to think about writing in a new way?
To find out more about The Writer’s Jungle, visit Brave Writer. This guide will be at your side for years to come, so it’s a valuable resource and well worth the $79.99 price!
Just starting out with little children and want to make writing fun? Read my review of Brave Writer’s Jot it Down program!
Want to learn how to use living books to teach writing? Read my review of The Arrow!
Please join me on Instagram as I continue to share how we walk through The Writer’s Jungle in our homeschool!
Thanks to Brave Writer for sponsoring this very beginning “conversation” about how parents can coach their children’s writing! All opinions are my own.