Early in our homeschool journey, we decided to toss our boring grammar program for a new, more relaxed, lifestyle approach to language arts. Some of us were crying when the subject “grammar” was mentioned and the kids hated it, too.
Enter Brave Writer.
Just the name dried up the tears and inspired us to new heights (well, at least we stopped crying).
Julie Bogart and the amazing Brave Writer team brought new life to our language arts — not to mention our homeschool in general. We added Poetry Teatimes, Family Reading, One-on-One Reading, French Dictation, Reverse Dictation and Free Writing to our curriculum. To our lives, we added a more relaxed and enchanted daily living.
After reading through the Writer’s Jungle and watching endless Periscopes/YouTubes by Julie, we started implementing our changes. One of these was to start using the Arrow (the grammar portion of the writing program) with the middle child. And being inspired (because I really enjoy inspiration) by other Brave Writer families, we started our very own Arrow Book Club.
The Secret Garden Book Club
We invited several girls of similar ages to join us on our adventure in literature. We began with a classic and beautifully written book, The Secret Garden. If you haven’t read the book, it is a story set in England in the early twentieth century. The language is elegant. The descriptions – charming. The characters – intense. It was the perfect choice for our inaugural book club.
The Secret Garden English Tea
We started the book club with, as expected, an English Tea. The girls were served crumpets, orange marmalade, fruit tarts, biscuits, scones, clotted cream, tea sandwiches and, of course, TEA! While the guests enjoyed their Tea Time, we had our book discussion. I was prepared for the sound of crickets, but I underestimated the tween crowd. They were more than eager to expound on what and who they were most impressed with and how they felt the characters grew along with the garden.
Never underestimate a group of adolescent girls!
The Secret Garden Book Club Discussion
I found quite a bit of inspiration for the tea party from a book that had been recommended by another fellow Brave Writer. Inside the Secret Garden is full of biographical and historical information about the author, Frances Hodgson Burnett and Misselthwaite Manor. It also includes menus and recipes of food found in the book — most of which were entirely foreign to our little group. At the end, there are suggestions for the reader to create their own Secret Gardens and other activities mentioned in the book.
The Secret Garden Terrariums
After the girls were full of tea and sweet treats, we headed to the gardening portion of the book club. Each girl received a bowl, rocks, soil, and plants to build their Secret Garden terrariums. They planted and decorated and were thoroughly covered in dirt very quickly. And, of course, everyone had to have their very own red bird and key for their gardens.
The Secret Garden Movie Time
And then I did the unthinkable…I let them watch the movie based on the book. The next hour and a half were filled with “That’s not what happened in the book!”, “They didn’t say that in the book!”, and “This is not like the book at all!”. I may have ruined them from ever watching a movie based on a book again (I, secretly, am very proud).
The day ended with lots of laughs and, best of all, new friendships made. Friendships were formed over a love of literature and, if tended, will last many years. As Frances Hodgson Burnett says,
“Two things cannot be in one place. Where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow.”