Julie Bogart on Moving Through Writing Resistance in Differently Wired Kids

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Today’s episode features an eye-opening conversation with author and educator Julie Bogart on how to help kids who have resistance around writing, which, I have a hunch, is something many of you out there listening are familiar with. Julie, the mastermind behind the Brave Writer program, the Brave Writer podcast, and really thoughtful content on all things kids, writing, learning with confidence, and critical thinking, is the perfect person to explore this topic with. 

What I thought might be an interview focused on the nuts and bolts of writing ended up being a very moving and inspiring lesson about self-expression and trust. Julie and I talked about how separating the mechanical and self-expression parts of writing can help kids experience less resistance to writing, how to break through barriers students may have when it comes to expressing themselves, and what Julie identifies as performance anxiety at the heart of a child’s struggles to getting starting putting words down on the page. Julie also gave some fantastic advice on how to change the script around writing resistance and where to get started for parents experiencing this at home. 

If you have a struggling writer, I hope this episode gives you comfort and confidence to meet your child where they’re at and make meaningful progress in a way that feels good for the whole family.


About Julie Bogart

Julie Bogart is known for her common sense parenting and education advice. She’s the author of the beloved book, The Brave Learner, which has brought joy and freedom to countless home educators. Her new book, Raising Critical Thinkers, offers parents a lifeline in navigating the complex digital world our kids are confronting.

Julie’s also the creator of the award-winning, innovative online writing program called Brave Writer, now 22 years old, serving 191 countries. She home educated her five children, who are globe-trotting adults. Today, Julie lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and can be found sipping a cup of tea while planning her next visit to one of her lifelong-learning kids.


Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • What Brave Writer is and how it helps families looking to support their children in becoming more confident writers
  • How separating the mechanical and self-expression parts of writing can help kids experience less resistance
  • Julie’s thoughts on support systems and available assistive technology and how they influence kids’ relationships with writing
  • How to break through the resistance when children feel daunted by the idea of expressing themselves
  • Why Julie believes performance anxiety is at the root of resistance when kids struggle to begin a writing task
  • Advice for parents raising kids who experience intense resistance around the writing process


Resources mentioned for writing resistance


This Season’s Sponsor: Fusion Academy

Every student is so different, but traditional schools treat them all the same. That’s why my teen attends Fusion Academy, the world’s most personalized school. Fusion is especially great for differently wired students. Their 1-to-1 classrooms match your student’s unique pace and preferences, so they can learn better, dive deeper, and never get left behind. Fusion has 80 convenient campus locations across the country for grades 6-12, along with a fully online campus, Fusion Global Academy. Fusion has been a game changer for my family. Why not experience the world’s most personalized school for yourself?

Fusion is now enrolling for both summer catch-up courses and full fall enrollment. Sign up for a free 1-to-1 trial session at FusionAcademy.com/Tilt.

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Episode Transcript

Debbie Reber  00:00

Tilt Parenting is proud to partner with Fusion Academy this season. Fusion Academy is the world’s most personalized school with one to one classrooms that match your student’s pace and preferences so they can learn better, dive deeper, and never get left behind. Learn more about the most personalized school in the world and how it’s changed the lives of 10s of 1000s of differently wired students, including mine at fusionacademy.com/tilt.

Julie Bogart  00:25

The resistance is not about you, ever. It’s about what makes the child feel good. So when the child says I don’t want to write, they’re not thinking to themselves, how can I show my parents I’m defying their authority, they’re thinking, how can I avoid doing a painful thing? So if we reframe resistance as a child, trying to protect that small, fragile self that is starting to emerge, we can actually lend it more support. Oh, writing is painful. You know what? I’m on your team. What can we do to make this experience less painful for you? I’m happy to try anything.

Debbie Reber  01:09

Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber and welcome to this summer season. I hope the podcast break wasn’t too long, but I promise it was worth it for the incredible conversations I’ve had over the past months and I’m queuing up to share with you this season. Today’s episode features an eye opening conversation with author and educator Julie Bogart on how to help kids who have resistance around writing, which I have hunch is something many of you out there listening are familiar with. Julie is the mastermind behind the Brave Writer Program, the Brave Writer Podcast, and really thoughtful content on all things kids writing, learning with confidence and critical thinking. She is the perfect person to explore this topic with what I thought might be an interview that focused on the nuts and bolts of writing ended up being a very moving and inspiring lesson about self expression and trust. Julie and I talked about how separating the mechanical and self expression parts of writing can help kids experience less resistance, how to break through barriers students might have when it comes to expressing themselves. And what Julie identifies as performance anxiety at the heart of a child struggles to get started putting those words down on the page. Julie also shared some fantastic advice on how to change the script around writing resistance and where to get started for parents who are experiencing this at home. Before we dive in, let me tell you a little bit more about Julie. Julie Bogart is known for her common sense parenting and education advice. She’s the author of the beloved book The Brave Learner which has brought so much joy and freedom to home educators. And her new book Raising Critical Thinkers offers parents a lifeline in navigating the complex digital world our kids are confronting. Her award winning innovative online Writing Program Brave Writer has been around for more than 20 years, and it has reached students in nearly 200 countries. If you have a struggling writer, I hope this episode gives you comfort and confidence to meet your child where they’re at, and make meaningful progress in a way that feels good for the whole family. Before I get to that if what I’m doing at Tilt Parenting and the guests I bring onto the show are providing support and encouragement and hope for your family, and you’re ready to dive deeper with me and uplevel your parenting progress, I invite you to check out my membership community the differently wired club. Think virtual office hours, coaching calls, expert guests, monthly themes, connection with other parents like you and much more. I used to only open the doors three times a year. But now there is an enrollment window open at the end of every month. Curious to know more visit tiltparenting.com/club for all the details and to get pre-registered. That’s tiltparenting.com/club. And now here is my conversation with Julie.

Debbie Reber  04:19

Hey, Julie, welcome to the podcast.

Julie Bogart  04:21

Thank you so much for having me.

Debbie Reber  04:23

Yes, my first interview of the summer 2023 season and I know we can’t cover all the things that you do. You are a multi passionate person. And there’s so many things we could have talked about today but just spend a few minutes in your own words introducing what you do in the world and your personal why for doing that.

Julie Bogart  04:40

Oh wow. That’s beautiful. I am a mother of five adult kids and grandmother to three. I gave the lion’s share of my early adulthood to raising those five kids at home. I homeschooled them, several of them did do public high school but really all five had unique experiences of education between K and 12. Four of them went to college, the one who went and quit three times, is a self taught computer programmer. I have kids living all over the world, including Hong Kong and Mexico. I love global travel, I love other cultures, I love the feeling of being connected to a wide variety of ideas. I’ve studied theology, I’ve studied history. I am a freelance writer, who teaches writing to families. And I’ve written a couple of books that are traditionally published, in addition to a ton of curricula.

Debbie Reber  05:35

Yes, you’re just such a busy person, I find it so inspiring. There’s so many things I want to dive into. And even before we hit record, I’ve already invited you to come back. So we’ll make that happen. But I think your name came up to me first years ago through your Brave Writer, company and your business. And I was hoping you could just talk with us just a bit about what Brave Writer is.

Julie Bogart  06:02

Yeah, when you asked about my why I think I was raised in a way that valued self expression. My mother is a published author of over 72 books. She was a theater major in college, and I grew up acting and writing. Those were my two passions. And so I think from a very early age, I had been taught that my internal world mattered. And that expressing it was important. And so I did from a very early age, my grandmother gave me a diary, a lock and key diary in fourth grade. And I felt like that was the safe place to put my thoughts. And so as I’ve raised children, and as I’ve worked with many 1000s of parents, what I’ve discovered is that they don’t have that same perspective around self expression. They’ve been taught to be guarded, or to not value their own thinking, or to put the performance of writing ahead of the self expression of writing. And so what led me to starting Brave Writer was encountering over and over parents who were frustrated by their children’s resistance to writing or their failure in the grammar and punctuation and spelling side of writing. And I wanted to free them to actually enjoy their children, and capture what I would call the snapshots of the mind. We’re so busy taking pictures of their bodies. But writing is like taking pictures of the mind life of your child at the various stages of development. And I wanted that to be a pleasure, and something that parents felt honored and privileged to do, rather than being this nightly battle over homework and tears.

Debbie Reber  07:46

Yeah, so resistance and battle are the two words that jumped out at me, in part, because that’s, that’s been a personal experience as a parent, certainly surrounding writing. But it seems like that is kind of ubiquitous among families today, are you seeing that not just among parents of neurodivergent kids, but kind of across the board?

Julie Bogart  08:05

I would say that writing has been the Waterloo subject for decades. I mean, I might even say, a century. And I really believe it’s because of the way it’s taught. Writing is taught like it is a set of master verbal skills, that if they were taught in this linear sequential way, everyone would arrive on the other side of that territory successful in writing. But we don’t teach speech that way. Imagine having a baby. This was me with my two year old son. And he’s sitting in a highchair one day, and I’m at the kitchen sink, washing dishes and all of a sudden, I hear Him say the word, Nana, and I know that he means banana. Now, given that I was a freelance writer and someone who cared a lot about writing, what did I do? Did I turn around and say to my one year old, Oh, honey, Nana is a part of a word. And the word is banana and it’s a noun. It goes into a sentence like this, I would like a banana. And because it’s a request, I need you to use the oral format called etiquette. So please say, I would like a banana, please. You know, would we say that to a one year old? No, what we typically do is what I did, which is, oh my gosh, my one year olds, a genius. He said, Nana, and then we would feed him six bananas. Write it in the baby book, make an international call to your mother, yell for the husband to come down the stairs, right? We treat this milestone as expression, not as failure to speak. We treat it as the first evidence that this child will be a fluent speaker. And within three months, he’s saying things like me want Nana, and we don’t correct his grammar. We get him a banana. And it may be over the next six months. We might playfully say do you mean I want a banana? And then he might imitate you exactly with those words, I want a banana. And we don’t say to ourselves, oh no, he Is my exact words, I better not speak to him ever again, or I won’t know if those words are really his. No, we encourage this playfulness, this modeling, this even highlighting and featuring an errant word I know he called watermelons, water, lemons. And we still call them that, and he’s 35 years old as a joke. So there was no doubt that this child would be a fluent speaker, if we gave the appropriate support, enthusiasm and offered those models. But for some reason, with writing, we do it completely backwards. We’re like, Okay, now that you know how to read, here’s a pencil. And we need you to write the thoughts in your head without spelling errors and accurate punctuation. Before we will value the content of what you’re trying to communicate. And in Brave Writer, we flip the script, we take the professional writing instruction approach the way that I teach adults to write, which is, hey, do you have something to say, let’s do our best to just get it out there. And then once we’ve got all these words out on the page or the screen, we can treat it like playdough and reshape it into the thing you meant for it to be. But we don’t worry about things like punctuation, spelling, or grammar, until we’ve gotten the self expression. Because who cares about all that if we don’t care about the meaning of the content.

Debbie Reber  11:27

So it sounds like from a pretty early age, we’re almost fostering a dislike of writing, because it’s not associated with expression. It’s associated with rules, and a certain template or one way this needs to look. And I could see how for all kids really, but especially differently wired kids who often like to put their own spin on things or really approach learning in their own unique way that could really present a lot of challenges.

Julie Bogart  11:54

Part of what we want to communicate to every child, whether they’re neuro divergent or not, is that they are already authors simply by being a human. The first evidence that they’re an author is their parent writes down their first word in a baby book. And the moment you’ve written down something someone else said, and it can be read back by other people, you are now an author. So where we begin in the writing life is letting the child have the pleasurable experience of being read. And that starts with jotting down their words for them. So for kids who have ADHD, or autism, or struggle to read and write, like with dyslexia, or dysgraphia, giving them the awareness that their ability to be an author is not contingent on mastery of the mechanics of writing is such a liberating moment. I had two kids out of five that were neurodivergent, one had ADHD, which was undiagnosed for most of his life until he was 25. But he was still that kid. And the other one had dysgraphia. And both of them I supported by writing their words for them, when they were in that sort of burst of self expression in the early years. And as they got older, of course, we were working on the mechanics. But we worked on the mechanics, independently of that self expression. In other words, I like to say we use someone else’s writing, to teach a child the mechanics of writing. And we use their writing voice to help them experience being an author. And so initially, a child is copying literature, we call that copy work in Brave Writer, we can practice with things like dictation, where I read a passage and the child hand writes it while they’re listening. And that very much mimics what it’s like to write the thoughts in your head. But they don’t have to create the thoughts. They’re literally transcribing existing syntax. Meanwhile, when they go to write their own thoughts, we give them permission to be as clumsy and playful as they are when they’re learning to speak. So we call that free writing. That is a term I got from Peter Elbow, who was Professor Emeritus at Amherst University in Massachusetts. And he really wrote the book on free writing in the 90s and early 2000s. And free writing is the permission for unbridled self expression in written form, without undue attention to grammar, spelling or punctuation in that initial burst. And in fact, if you get stuck, and you are free writing, you can write things like I’m stuck. This is stupid. I can’t believe my mother is making me do this. Because what we’re trying to do is to hook up the mind with the hand. So as we pay attention to the words on the ticker tape in the mind, the hand is learning how to keep pace. And for a lot of kids, that’s quite liberating, we can start with just one or two minutes of free writing and build up over time.

Debbie Reber  15:05

You said so many fascinating things. And in that response, I’m taking all of these notes, even just that idea of having the technical, the mechanics piece happen independent of the expression piece, I never thought of separating those two, and it makes so much sense of why you would want to do that. I love that. And also, as you were talking about this sucks, you know, as someone who goes in and out of that practice of mourning pages, I have a hard time getting back into mourning pages, even though I know they’re worth the practice. But I could fill up a whole page of that I have nothing to say this is really boring, I can’t believe I have two more pages.

Julie Bogart  15:46

Exactly. Exactly. And in fact, part of the reason that we feel that way is because there is this sort of what I call the ghost of public school past, sitting on our shoulder, watching us, right. And so part of the practice of free writing or mourning pages, or whatever, is to help us learn how to flick her off our shoulders, we are not writing for performance, we are writing to get to know ourselves, to discover what we think I often will be in the shower out for a run, and I’m thinking about what I want to write or what I want to say, when I go to the page or the screen, it is gone. All those thoughts that I thought were so coherent, are not the same as what ends up on the screen or the page. And that is because the activity of thinking coordinated with a hand is different than just thinking. And so it takes time to train those two to work together. And the mechanics of writing can inhibit self expression. I’ll give you an example. You might have a child like I did with my youngest of five, who really loved difficult vocabulary words, because she was the youngest of five kids, she had two parents and four kids older than her using vocabulary she couldn’t spell yet, but that she found amazing. Her favorite word when she was about seven was cornucopia. She couldn’t spell that word. If I asked her to write a sentence, she is going to worry about spelling that word and getting it wrong if my standard is accuracy. And so what kids do is they dumb down their content to match their mechanical skills. And then we read it and we’re like this is flat footed, this is dull, this is boring, use a better word, but your child has already thought if I try to write cornucopia, I’m gonna spell it wrong. And so I better pick a different word like many. That’s what they do. But if we prioritize self expression, and we give them the freedom to take that risk to write the word in accurately, and to even later explain to us what that word is, we can say, well, I love that you use the word Cornucopia or apocalypse, that’s an amazing term in this face, want some support in spelling it accurately? Let me show you how is just so different from what you spelled it wrong. I’m going to put a red line through it or circle it with a big red circle or give you minus two on your page because you misspelled two really ambitious, but wonderful words. This is the difference.

Debbie Reber  18:24

That makes so much sense. And it also brought up multiple questions for me and we’ll get to that right after this quick break.

Debbie Reber  18:30

Every student is so different, but traditional schools treat them all the same. That’s why my teen attends Fusion Academy, the world’s most personalized school. Fusion is especially great for differently wired students. Their one to one classrooms match your student’s unique pace and preferences so they can learn better, dive deeper and never get left behind. Fusion has 80 convenient campus locations across the country for grades six through 12, along with a fully online campus, Fusion Global Academy. Fusion has been a game changer for my family. Why not experience the world’s most personalized school for yourself? Fusion is now enrolling for both summer catch up courses and full Fall Enrollment. Sign up for a free one to one trial session at fusionacademy.com/tilt That’s fusionacademy.com/tilt

Debbie Reber  19:20

One of the things you said I thought was so interesting, you said that the activity of thinking with a hand is a very different experience. And that made me think of other ways of writing. I don’t know if it was a podcast I listened to. I heard you talking about this something that I used to do was be the typist for my child. And so a lot of me being a transcriber, and there’s so much voice to text. Is that a different process still from writing with your hand and I just would love to know your thoughts on the different support systems or assistive technology and how that influences things?

Julie Bogart  19:57

Yeah, so I am a huge fan of this notion of what I call jot it down, jotting down your child’s words for them, that can start as early as age two or three. And it can continue until the child is feeling pretty fluent in reading and handwriting. At that point, you do want to make the transition where the child starts to practice, owning that feeling of thinking in their minds and using their hands. Now, for kids who struggle with dysgraphia, or dyslexia, if you are using support systems to help bridge that gap while they’re practicing, just know it will take them a little longer. But we still want their hand engaged. And there is some research that shows that using handwriting versus typing is formative in some ways for how the brain wires itself, I tend to be a little less rigid about that than some reading specialists. So I’ll just say that upfront, because I am so invested in self expression. I mean, there are kids who are paralyzed, there are kids who will never be able to use their hands. There are children who are blind, who are using completely different technologies for writing. Writing, to me fundamentally starts with self expression. And then the vehicle for that self expression, whether it’s your hand, or its voice to text is secondary. If we can train a child to have the independence to use their own hands, that’s incredibly valuable. And we want that as an outcome. But it might not be for all people. A friend of my husband’s has his PhD and he struggled with dyslexia his whole life. He got his PhD in the 1980s, so long before we had voice to text or computer technology. And for his dissertation, he used a Dictaphone, recorded it all with his voice and hired a secretarial service to type it for him. Why did he do that? He had made it all the way through grad school to the end, and he said this, he could give better attention to his thoughts when he didn’t have to think about spelling and punctuation. And this is a man who today works as a professor. I think it’s important for us to remember that. My own father, who has no disadvantages in terms of language processing. He is a lawyer for 50 years of his career, he typed not a single deposition letter or brief, he either wrote on a legal pad, or he used his trusty dictaphone, and he only learned to type 10 years ago. I think we forget this. I think we are stuck on this idea. Almost like it’s noble to use your hand. I think it’s powerful to use your hand but it is not noble. Those would be my distinctions.

Debbie Reber  22:54

Yeah. I love that. You’ve been talking a lot about expression. And that makes me think of another question. And something again, I’ve experienced and I hear from a lot of parents who have kids who struggle with writing, I do think writing is particularly tricky for a lot of neurodivergent kids, that there is this sense that I have nothing to say, I think this is stupid, I don’t want to write something I don’t want to write, I don’t know if it’s a task initiation, executive function challenge, but that idea of starting with nothing. And then it could be a processing speed challenge. I’m not sure where it comes from. But this really big mental barrier that as soon as you’re asked to express something, it’s just a blank screen. What do you do with students like that? How do you break through that barrier?

Julie Bogart  23:43

Oh, my gosh, this is like maybe my favorite question you asked me. So first of all, I call that the Etch A Sketch brain. And it happens to adults all the time. You go in for an interview for a job where you think you’re prepared, and the person asks you a question and your brain just goes blank, it’s Etch A Sketch, everything that was there is gone. That’s performance anxiety. It doesn’t really have anything to do with writing. And so for kids who already feel that they aren’t as good as other kids at things and usually our neurodivergent kids are aware, they’re not ignorant of the fact of their particular uniqueness, their challenges. It’s extra double pressure. So I have this practice, I like to call “catch them in the act of thinking.” And here’s what it looks like. Instead of asking them to tell you a story, or to tell you about brown bears, or to tell you about the state they live in, or to start writing about your life. And the next time that child is in the white heat of communication. That’s when you jot down what they’re saying. So let’s say you’re making dinner, you’re busy stir frying, all of a sudden your child runs in from outside. Mom, Mom, did you see Rocky? He was chasing the squirrel. You’re like Rocky was chasing squirrels. Yeah, he was chasing him in the backyard, you grab a sheet of paper, and I’m just modeling this for you, you grab the back of a supermarket receipt, an envelope, a sheet of paper, and a pen. And without saying a word, you start writing down their exact words. Now your child very likely is going to say, Mom, what are you doing? And that’s where you say, keep going, this is so good. I don’t want to forget it. You don’t say, Oh, I’m gonna write down your words, because this will work as a writing assignment, you just let them know, you can’t keep up, you want to hear every word. Now, there are some kids, when you say that, they sort of square their little shoulders. And they immediately say, well, in that case, and they go, you know, for 20 minutes. And so you write down as much as you can as close to their accurate language as possible. For the child who says, Stop writing. This is weird. Stop, pay full attention, turn off the stove, give eye contact, listen. And when they walk away, jot down as much as you remember. Now, here’s the key step that follows this. Later that night at dinner, when everybody’s sitting at the table, if that’s how your family does things. Pull that sheet of paper out and say, You know what, Isaiah was telling me all about rocky chasing the squirrel in the backyard. It was so good. I was afraid I was going to forget it. So I wrote it down. I just wanted to read it to you, and read it to the family at dinner, and talk more about the dog and the squirrel. Don’t say oh, what good writing, say? And then what happened? What do you think would have happened if he had caught the squirrel and start collecting their spontaneous speech and put it in writing for them? Drop those little gems in the library basket and read them. When you read picture books, you might say, Oh, look at this. Look what Isaiah wrote, remember, we read this last week, I want to read it again, and start letting them get in touch with how much you actually value. The thoughts they take the risk to express. So many kids I’ve heard because we’ve advocated this practice for almost 25 years now. I’ve heard from these parents, and these kids are like in shock that their parents think they have things of value to say, because what happens when it’s oral is it disappears forever. So no one values it really. But we all know when it’s in print, it must matter. And that activity of recording it and rereading it starts to confirm that to the child. It’s before they know how to spell it before they read fluently. And beyond. It even works with 16 year olds, by the way, like even with a reluctant 16 year old. What I always say is wait until you’re in an argument and just start writing down all their points. Wait, what else? What’s the other reason you want to play video games for six hours? Keep going, Oh, and what else? And then read that back at dinner and have the conversation start putting their thoughts in writing and they’ll know you value their thoughts.

Debbie Reber  28:00

That is just something I’ve never heard of before. It makes so much sense. And I could see how it really just changes their whole idea about what writing is. It’s just a huge mindset change. You talked about performance anxiety, and that makes total sense. And I’m wondering if perfectionism is the same thing as performance anxiety. Is there a distinction? Or what are your thoughts on that?

Julie Bogart  28:22

I mean, I’m no psychologist. So there’s probably like clinical definitions for those ideas. But I would say this perfectionism, let’s this is what I say. You’re You’re welcome to argue with it. I think perfectionism is passed down in the family. I think most children who are perfectionist have parents who are a little bit too perfectionistic themselves. And the best cure for that is to blatantly stop. The recommendation I make to lots of moms is the only way your child knows that you mean it. When you say really I don’t mind if you misspell I don’t mind if you forget punctuation, it’s okay if you just make mistakes, is to leave the lunch dishes out for three hours after you ate while you go and play with Legos. It isn’t the words you say. It’s the life you lead. You have to show that you don’t hold yourself to a perfectionist standard, if you want your child to believe you aren’t holding them to one. And I’ll give you a little self report on this. My kids’ father and I both are composition instructors and freelance writers. So I taught my kids to write using all these techniques and they mostly worked. But my oldest son really was reluctant with free writing and I couldn’t figure out why. And one day I asked him about it. I said, What’s going on with you. You’re free. You can write anything you want. We’re not going to criticize you. He says I do believe you. But you and dad are both writers and I think secretly, you would like me to be a good writer. Such an honest comment, and I thanked him for it. And I said you know what? You’re right, thank you for even helping me see the hidden agenda, I have said, Let’s do this. Let’s do some free writing where I don’t read it, we’re just going to be free, right, and you can throw it away or hide it from me or stick it in a folder, and I will never look at it, so that you truly know what it feels like to be free, right. So these are the kinds of things that I’ve experienced over the years. And we do invite private writing. It’s so powerful for kids, if you’re worried about your child who’s a writer, sit down at the table with your child, and set a timer for five minutes. And both of you are right, you should have to take the same writing risk as your child. And then don’t read it aloud and don’t read theirs. And turn this into a time where there’s candles and cookies and writing. And nobody reads anyone’s writing. Eventually they settle down because they start to believe you.

Debbie Reber  30:54

That’s great. You mentioned the word reluctance. And it made me think of an episode of your Brave Writer podcast, which is just excellent. By the way, listeners, I really encourage you to check it out. There’s so many topics that Julie covers, not just writing, critical thinking a lot on homeschooling, just it’s a great show. But you did an episode on resistance. And you said something that really stayed with me, you said that our kids’ resistance is really just their loyalty to themselves. It really struck me and I’m wondering if you could expand on that concept?

Julie Bogart  31:27

Yeah, for sure. A lot of times we treat resistance like it is defiance of authority. And so then a parent doubles down on this notion that the child needs to obey or cooperate. You know, my generation called for obedience, the millennials are a little bit more manipulative than that, they call it cooperation, it’s the same thing. It’s the adult has the agenda, and the child has to do the agenda of the adult. The resistance is not about you, ever, it’s about what makes the child feel good. So when the child says, I don’t want to write, they’re not thinking to themselves, how can I show my parent, I’m defying their authority, their thinking, how can I avoid doing a painful thing? So if we reframe resistance, as a child, trying to protect that small, fragile self that is starting to emerge, we can actually lend it more support. Oh, writing is painful. You know, I’m on your team, what can we do to make this experience less painful for you? I’m happy to try anything. That kind of support is so different. I remember I had this dysgraphic child who really struggled, he was left handed, he found writing really difficult. And at one point, I said to him, Okay, why don’t we just stop writing? Let’s just stop no more handwriting practice, you know, you’re reading fluently. I’m going to jot things down, you’re welcome to use the computer if you want to type. But let’s just stop. And I said every six months, I’m going to check in with you and see if you’re ready to resume. And so the first six months, we didn’t need to do any writing. But I was clever. We drew maps of islands, we created things that he could color. You know, he didn’t stop using a pencil, but it wasn’t about writing words. And one day, we were reading this book on bird watching, because he loved watching birds. And it was an adult book. And the author said his name is Pete Dunn. He said, if you’re keeping a bird watching Book notebook, it only counts. If the bird that you’ve cited you put in your own hand in this bird watching book. And Liam looked at me and he’s like, I guess I’m going to have to write. And the next thing you know, we’re going to the zoo, which really isn’t supposed to count in your bird book. And he’s writing down to seagull, it was adorable. And I’ll never forget how he found a way for himself. Later, he had to fill out some form for lacrosse with the team like two years later. And he said, Mom, I’m ready for some therapy, because I want to be able to fill out this form, and really be able to do it. All during that time. I was jotting things down. He was typing while we were reading. I think sometimes we’re in this big urgency to overcome resistance, instead of providing the supportive environment that helps them overcome it themselves.

Debbie Reber  34:33

I love that story so much. And it’s so in alignment with what we talked about it tilt and we talk a lot about respecting our kids unique timelines and how much more confidence they can have when they learn something on their own terms and that sense of agency and also I love that you’re like every six months you checked in like that is not we gotta figure this out in the next weekend too because this has to happen or you know, I love that reminder to just Slow down and create the space and the environment so that a child can come to it on their own terms, which is going to feel so much better. I want you to share how listeners can learn more about the support you offer through brave writers. But could you maybe just give us one or two pieces of advice for parents who are out there who’ve got kids, whatever age who have just a tremendous amount of resistance around writing are convinced nothing’s going to work for them. What would you say to those parents of where they could start?

Julie Bogart  35:33

Yeah, that’s so good. There was a quote, a friend of mine shared with me years ago, and it’s now been attributed to me, but I’ll just full disclosure, I did not create it, but I have affirmed it. And it is this. There are no educational emergencies. There are none. Your child is where your child is. And we work with the child as a human being, not a grade, not an age, not a neurotypical or neuroatypical deficiency, we work with the child in front of us. And in Brave rider. That is where we always start. Whis son that I just mentioned, with dysgraphia, he did four years of junior high, not three, he was homeschooled. And when it was time for high school, he didn’t feel ready. And I’m like, All right, another year, he finished high school, he took another year off, he started college at 20. It was the perfect timing for him. And during all those years, he came to the point where he wanted professional support on his dysgraphia. And he got it. I think it was between the ages of 11 and 13. I think it’s really important to remember that we’re dealing with human beings, not collections of symptoms. And sometimes when we’re reading books, we get really focused on how to fix something. I was listening to an Instagram parent guru today. And she said, Whenever I look at my child, I think of what is the thing I’m working on with them. So they’ll grow. And I thought I would never recommend that. I would rather start with, what am I seeing that I can affirm and fan into flame. I love what you just said. That vocabulary word really struck me. Tell me more about that, oh, you’re gaming, I want to sit and watch you play. I’m going to take notes on that game you’re playing. I want you to teach me how to play. Can we write down the steps I need to take? Actually use their expertise against them, so that they start to experience themselves as powerful in the world. And in Brave Writer. That is what we’re about. Our core class, Brave Writer, one on one enrolls the parent, not just the child, because too often we’re trying to do education to our children. And yet, we have not transformed our understanding of learning to sustain that education. So we help you become the writing coach and ally that your child needs. And we help you watch us affirm the liveliness into your child like everything that’s good about your kid, we notice. And we start modeling how that actually grows the writer. And it is magical when it happens. So Brave Writer went to one and then the written version of that class that you can do independently is called Growing brave writers. And those would be the two key products that I would recommend as a starting place. Both of those have been used in homeschools. And parents of traditionally schooled kids. So they work for both.

Debbie Reber  38:33

That’s great. And listeners, I will have links in the show notes for those resources. And Julie’s podcast and Julie’s books. I’ve spent time checking out all the different offerings and they’re so interesting. I’ve listened to interviews where you’ve had members of your staff, you have a big staff of writing coaches who work with you and I just really love the approach and I do feel like it is so respectful and neurodivergent friendly. So thank you for that. I’m really happy that you’re out there in the world doing this work. It’s so important.

Julie Bogart  39:05

Thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation, wonderful to meet you and your audience.

Debbie Reber  39:13

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