How To Actually Love To Teach Writing

Today I’ve got a Faltering Ownership review for you, one of my favorite programs from Brave Writer. I’ve been using it with my 5th and 7th grader this school year and it has been so good!

For the first eight years of homeschooling, teaching my kids to write was always a daunting task. It totally freaked me out, if I’m being honest. I wanted my kids to be able to express themselves, like the act of writing is supposed to allow for. But every curriculum we tried felt so rigid, so checklist-ish, so intimidating! Enter Brave Writer and their writing programs about three years ago and a whole new view of teaching writing to my kids. I’m not freaked out anymore and I don’t want you to be either.

I’ve shared a ton about Brave Writer and how we use it in our homeschool, but today I’m going to walk you through the Faltering Ownership program, the writing projects we’ve created so far this year, and how you can adapt this program for your family. If you’re struggling with writing, this post is for you!

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If writing is hard in your homeschool, this post is for you. This Faltering Ownership review dives deep into one of the best writing programs out there.

Brave Writer’s Writing Programs

The first thing you need to know about Brave Writer’s writing programs is this: they’re not boring.

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There’s no checklists. No scope and sequence to follow. There won’t be any tears or feelings of inadequacy for your child. If you’ve struggled to teach writing in your homeschool, you know what I’m talking about!

Brave Writer’s writing programs are not based on grade level–not by a long shot. The programs are based on skill level. They meet your child right where they are, developmentally.

  • Jot it Down stage– where your child might not be able to physically write yet, but is working on narration and telling stories. YOU jot them down for your child! It’s so much fun! (apx. ages 5-8)
  • Partnership Writing stage this is when your child can write pretty comfortably on their own, but still the skill of getting ideas OUT of the brain and DOWN through the arm and hand is not quite there yet. This is where the parent will partner with their child to create amazing writing pieces! (apx. ages 9-10)
  • Faltering Ownership– I love this stage! In this stage, your child can write pretty well on their own, but they still will falter–they’re kids! And you (the amazing parent!), will be right there to take their hand when they’re faltering. (apx. ages 11-12)

After this, your child’s writing becomes more personal, more opinionated, more individual. They’re becoming young adults and forming their own thoughts–how beautiful is that!?

Fluency in writing comes as your child grows and develops and gets more writing experience. This stage usually doesn’t happen until adulthood and college.


Brave Writer’s Faltering Ownership Review

Today, I’m focusing on that middle stage–Faltering Ownership. We’re using this with my 5th and 7th grade kids. If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve used the other programs, you can check out our Partnership Writing review and Jot it Down review.

Here’s what you’ll find with Faltering Ownership writing program:

  • The program is split into two sections:
    • An overview of the Brave Writer lifestyle and tons of ideas for your homeschool and
    • Writing projects to last your entire school year (or longer)

Faltering Ownership Writing Projects

The projects is my very favorite part of Brave Writer’s writing programs. They’re not like any other program we’ve tried. The writing projects don’t feel like writing at all. They feel like creating something awesome!

Writing is an extremely creative art form, so I love that Faltering Ownership makes it feel like art…not another task to be checked off.

Faltering Ownership (FO) has 10 writing projects that are designed to take about a month. Because of our hectic schedule, the projects usually end up taking us a bit longer. Usually, it takes us about 1 1/2 school years to finish a writing program from Brave Writer and I’ll explain later why I am totally ok with that.

FO also has two bonus projects that you can add in too.

Writing Projects that are Teaching Something Bigger!

Even though these projects are meant to be really fun, they’re teaching kids something much bigger.

Digging through references, gathering data, creating outlines and notes–these aren’t natural skills for kids. But these projects introduce allllllll kinds of writing skills without intimidating kids—and moms!

Here’s an example of a project we’ve completed this year:

Family Newsletter

I LOVE sending out Christmas cards, and I’ve always had this big goal of sending out a fun family newsletter. But getting it finished felt like a chore. BUT lucky for me, one of the Faltering Ownership monthly projects is writing a family newsletter!

  • The first thing we did was dig through pictures and last year’s calendar to see all the things we had done over the year. (Skill: Research and data collecting)
  • My kids made a huge list of all the ideas to write about and then whittled them down to a reasonable amount! From there, they split up who was writing about what. (Skill: writing organization + outlining)
  • Free writing! We set aside several free writing sessions where the kids just wrote and wrote and wrote about the topics they’d picked to write about. The free writes were kind of messy, there were lots of grammatical errors, missing periods, etc. But we didn’t even give that stuff a thought–we were purely writing! (Skill: Head to hand to paper…writing!)
  • Next we laid out all the free writes. I didn’t even read them! This was purely their thoughts and writing without my intervening at all. I asked them to beef up any weak areas and make sure they had lots of descriptive wording and add more details if they were lacking. (Skill: Revision)

  • NOTICE: We still haven’t checked for periods and grammar yet–it’s ALL writing! If my kids stop to ask me spelling, I just tell them to keep writing–don’t even worry about spelling! (You’ll see it all come together in a minute, I promise!)

Pulling it All Together:

  • After the kids revised their newsletter articles, they typed them up and printed them out.
  • NOW it’s time for Mechanics Mop-Up! (You can get lots more info about this in the Writer’s Jungle.) The kids when through first to find any grammar errors. I have them circle or underline what they find. Later, I go back through and see if they missed anything. (SKILL: Writing mechanics)
  • With their Mop-Up items marked, they corrected them in Word, where their last version was saved.
  • When it’s all good to put in the newsletter, the kids copy and pasted their articles into a template I found on Canva.com. They also got to input photos, change fonts, and be really creative with this part–so fun! (SKILL: Formatting)
  • Lastly, we had it printed in full color and mailed it out to family right before Christmas.

It was so fun hearing from family as they received their mail. So much ownership in this project! So much to show for it! And SO much more fun then yet another boring paper report!

Adapting Faltering Ownership to Fit Your Family

As I said, the ages/grade suggestions for these programs are very relative. You may have a writer that’s 9, but may be better off starting with the Jot It Down stage!

My suggestion is to a) know your family and get what will suit the majority and b) choose what you can easily teach. Personally, I think it would be really tough to have multiple writing projects going on at once. Just like having two big history units going on at once is just not doable for us.

The best thing about Brave Writer for us is that we can use the programs for so many ages, which helps are big family get a lot done together!

Here’s the kids doing research for their current projects: a mini-report on a natural disaster. We’re revising them this week and I love what they’ve come up with!

You Also Might Like

We adore Brave Writer, and I write about how we use it A LOT! If you’re interested in other aspects of the program, check out these links:


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