EPISODE 178 | Parents finding joy in writing for their children is a meaningful way to connect and nurture creativity. This act strengthens the parent-child bond, fosters creativity, encourages personal growth, and enhances cognitive skills. It also contributes to literacy development in children, fostering a love for storytelling and literature. Additionally, writing for children allows parents to share their values, life experiences, and wisdom in a tangible and memorable way. It provides an avenue for parents to explore imaginative worlds, create characters, and impart important lessons through engaging narratives. Ultimately, writing for children creates lasting memories and enriches both parents' and children's lives with shared experiences and imaginative adventures. Join Janna and her guest, Greg Baran, as they talk about writing and how to make it an enjoyable experience for your student.

ABOUT OUR GUEST | Greg Baran feels blessed every day because his wonderful wife Heather and his amazing son Nate are in his life. With a background in teaching college and secondary English studies, he noticed early on that many students struggled with writing. Drawing from his expertise in English Composition, he recognized that this challenge was solvable, and it became his mission to ensure that every student who passed through his classroom could write with clarity and effectiveness. This commitment led to the development of The Baran Method, which remains a driving force in his efforts to empower every child to become a proficient writer.

See the Baran Method here

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Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:00 Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host, Janna Koch and BookSharks Community Manager. In today's episode, I am joined by Greg Baran, he is the creator of the Baran method, we're going to be discussing how you as your children's educators, you can be equipped and feel confident when you are teaching your children how to write. Greg has been an educator in both the public arena in college and in secondary education and English Composition. He has a wealth of stories and information to share with you, but also a technique that he has devised that he believes. And I've seen it that can help parents be equipped to help their children, right? As a homeschool parent myself, I know that is something that I was always worried about if I was going to be doing it correctly. I am confident after listening to what Greg has to share with us, you're going to feel competent in this area as well. Let me bring him in. Greg, thanks so much for being here.

Greg  00:53 Thank you for having me here. What a wonderful introduction. You're a master at this thank you so much really articulated everything well, that the bear method, and I've done to be here today, so to share with your your parents. So thank you for having us.

Janna  01:10 Well, you're welcome. I'm excited to get into the nuts and bolts of where you started off as an educator, and where you have landed. Now, as a homeschool educator and a parent, it is fun to have a similar background that we both were in educated classes, I guess we could say to be able to teach and then find ourselves amongst the masses of home educators now who were maybe not classically trained, but definitely have what it takes to teach their kids. So why don't you give a quick background of just who you are and how this came about.

Greg  01:50 Happy to do that at and you know, I say us because I have a team with me that are just amazing people. And one of them my wonderful friend, Dr. Mike Kings, a psychologist, and he always says that the best teacher any child can have is their parent. So I know your parents out there get are feeling you know, a little not confident about teaching writing, but they can do it. And they're doing a much better job than they think. So that being said, my history how did I get to sit in here with Janna today, and your audience today? It goes, it goes back quite a ways. And before I was a public school teacher, I earned a bachelor's degree in literature. And then I was struggling with finding a bachelor's. Do I go to a master's degree in English Composition, or English Literature? And my good friend Mike said, You know what, a lot of people can teach kids how to read something, and then talk about it. But very few can teach kids how to read something, and then write about it. And that was my decision then to go towards English Composition. And so while I was in getting my degree, and then later teaching English Composition, I came to a point where I was teaching college freshmen English Composition. And they were really struggling with writing when they came into what I called 13th grade, right? They're just seeing their seniors in high school that come in, they're freshmen, they're nervous, but they need to learn how to write for across the curriculum. And as well as teaching at-risk youth meaning 11th and 12th graders that were close to go into juvenile hall, they were in trouble. I created a rudimentary map then that showed kids where their ideas went on the page, and all sudden, both the college freshmen and the average youth became fantastic writers. And I knew then that I was onto something basically what I had done was articulate my struggles in writing. Because when I went to college, or I had taken some time off, and I went back to college, and I was in class, I would ask the professor, hey, can you teach me the nuts and bolts of this? How do we break this down and pull this apart? And they said, Well, you got to figure it out like I had to. And that was frustrating for me because I wanted, you know, someone to articulate this. And along the way, part of me realized, I don't think they know how to do it. I don't think they can really break down the components of successful writing. So while looking at my own writing, and other writers writing, we're talking about nonfiction writing here, academic essays, and paragraphs, I realize there's a pattern in this. There's a pattern, and if I just use that pattern, I'm going to be really successful. And I was and so later, it was really easy for me to articulate my ideas and my experience into this map that kids then could use my students could use. I've been talking for a while. A little break there.

Janna  04:51 Well, yeah, I do have a question. So as as an academic writer, right if you have any type of college career in writing, and actually really Probably, especially in the very beginning, in college, any type of classes you're going to be doing some writing. What? What do you feel like is the the disconnect between asking adolescents, young adults to provide their thoughts in a clear and organized manner, and not giving them the roadmap in order to do that, because, like, even at book shark, we are a literature based homeschool curriculum. And so we read through both nonfiction and fiction, but we teach really through the story. And so when you're talking about academic writing, which is I think, where parents really start to get nervous, you know, they go probably not going to homeschool through high school because that's, that's above my education level, right? I barely got through, I hear this so many times, like I, it was so long ago. But where's the disconnect? Why would we have this requirement and yet not prepare our students to be able to do it?

Greg  05:53  That's a fantastic question. And that speaks to the heart of the matter. So what's happened over time, once in a while, if you were lucky, you went through high school, and you had a teacher who understood writing the great quote from Albert Einstein, he says, If you can't explain it, simply, you don't understand it well enough. So for your audience out there, if you were one of those lucky one out of 100, that had a teacher who understood how to braid the components of writing apart and share that and teach that with kids. Really, you were super lucky. For most of us, that wasn't the case. And so what's happened now is we're teaching ELA from the framework of English literature. And we need to shift that on its head, we need to teach it from the framework from K through 12, of English composition. And when students come to college, the idea is, you've got to help them get their ideas organized, and on the paper in a clear, effective way. What's happening is we teach kids backwards, we teach them, okay, let's work on you write me a little sentence, or two, or three, or four, and let's correct your grammar. And now let's talk about the style in your writing as well. That is going to destroy a child's confidence that it's going to destroy their ability, then to articulate their ideas, what we want to do is we instead want to focus on a framework of sorts to help kids articulate their ideas, one at a time. For us, even we use colors, I have this map behind me we use colors then to are identified each idea. So for instance, in a paragraph, you might have the for us the topic sensor, the claim is blue, in their evidence is green, and the analysis is red. And what that does for kids is it helps the brains know where the ideas go on the page with this incredibly helpful. But you're right in a way, we don't want to give them a overall framework and say, you've got to do this every time. But that's not what happens when we show kids a framework to use and we show them examples in the beginning what will happen, we don't want them to copy work. Instead, we want their brain to see the examples of this work, assimilate that and then start doing it and it might be close to it. But what they've seen on the page or the examples on the page, but in a very short time, they will start making their own, and their own voice will show through what we need to show them that is the idea where the ideas go on the page. So them a rough idea of what their ideas should look like the tone, the style for successful academic writing. And then very quickly, we do not have to be afraid of them coming up with their own voice. Because they will and their own voice will come through the words that they use. And they'll know this, they'll know if it's too close to someone else's voice of their own. And at some point in time, I get this at times with students they fight because especially with create really creative kids, because they want to use their own language. And that is fine. In fact, that's what you want. You want to give the kids framework boom, shown an example and then let them get to work. But don't destroy them. By make by then giving them a piece of writing and then taking your red pen and circling all the grammar errors or the spelling errors, because your kid will then hate writing and they won't want to work with you. Okay, that's a long answer to a question. Are we heading in the right direction?

Janna  09:20  We are you know, I experienced this in my own home school with my daughters. I really wanted them to enjoy writing. We definitely had reading down we all we all enjoyed reading. We all still enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction. But what I was worried about was the very thing that you're pointing out is if I went in and I dissected and believe me, I love a good dissection of writing I'm an editor at heart. That red pen and correcting the you know getting justice done to those words and putting them in the right order. It brings me a personal dissatisfaction. So I did it once with my girls. And I saw what it did to their face and their emotion. They just had put this time and effort into writing me something. And then I was like, Oh, now it's on. This is this is not how you do it, this is not how you do it. And I realized my mistake. And I would say a lot of damage was done even in that first time of taking that red pen. They were 10 years old. And I just thought, Okay, now I need to just let them write, I need to let them write. And when we want to do grammar, like you're saying, I'm going to separate that out from their personal writing, I'm going to have them work on that when they work on it with somebody else's examples, because that's not there's not an emotional tie there. Right? Writing is vulnerable, if you think about it, right, especially when you're learning something new. And so I chose the route of I tell people all the time, I didn't score my kids writing, I didn't use a rubric. I didn't, I didn't, I said write it. Let me see what you got. And then we talked about it. And then as they went into more academic writing, when they started taking college classes, they would ask me to read something. And I had to always ask, do you want me to edit it? Or do you want me to read it? Because there's, there's a difference, right? You didn't want me to correct what you were saying. You just want me to make sure it flowed. And so I think parents and kids both get nervous when you talk about writing, because my mom's and my dad are going to mark it all up and tell me everything I did wrong. Because unfortunately, as parents, we have a hard time recognizing the positive. Because as we've put on this educator mode, that we have to make sure that they're doing it correctly. And so I am interested to hear about more about how we can encourage our kids to write it and do it well and in an organized manner, and yet not crushed their spirit and their creativity.

Greg  11:48 You know, the two things, two things with that. two easy ways to go about that, first of all, explain to your kids that your writing is separate from you. And so when you're talking with them, you're always saying the writing, the writing the writing. Yeah, this is, you know, in fact, we can even get away from them, you know, your, your writing, etc, the writing, and you explain that to the child, you are not the same as your writing, okay, I love you, you're on my awesome kid, okay, and your writing is not you. So if I look at your writing, and I do a little critiquing on it, I just want you to know that I'm not critiquing you, and you as a person, I'm just critiquing the writing. And when you and when parents do that a few times, your child will get it, and your child will understand that and that will take so much of the pressure away. Let me give another clear example how to go about this. When we're in school, we remember being in school, and you would you do do some writing and you hand it to your teacher and your parent, and you say, is it good? And when when your child says to you, when your child says is my writing good? Well, our natural responses, oh, it's the best. You just, it's the best. I love it. It's the greatest writing in the world. Okay, and because we want to, we want to help them grow, and we don't want to break their confidence. Here's what we say, though. Instead, child brings? Is my writing good. Well, of course, it's wonderful. However, my question for you is, is it clear? We let that we give a moment we take a moment pause right there, we say is it clear? Let that sink into the kids. And then we say go back when she'd go back and want you to read it out loud. Okay, and that's key child has to read the writing out loud, and then come back and let's discuss it and let's see if it's clear. No more good. Okay. And then just is it clear? We have one of our when we go to conventions, and wherever we go, we train people. We always like to say learn to write more good, or that's really the only place that we want to use good, but we want to learn more good or, or how to correct grammar or good or because we want to make writing fun and enjoyable. We don't want kids to hate writing. Okay. In public schools, sometimes what will happen is when a child misbehaves, the teacher will make the child right I will not misbehave, I will not misbehave, and I will not misbehave. 25 times you want to destroy the child's spirit, make them hate writing. Do that. So, don't do that. Don't ever do that. Right? And instead encourage them, Hey, is it clear? And then your writing is not you that's gonna free up both the parent and the child. That's really great, Greg, really, really good question that speaks to the heart of matter of just freeing our kids up so that we can work together and parenting noticed and we're working together on this. Okay.

Janna  14:51 Um, well, I think that that's great. I mean, as soon as you said your writing is not you I'm like, Oh my gosh, yes. That I needed the I need to hear that you No, I think that we forget because because if writing does I mean, let's be honest, some people have a gift of there's a gift in certain areas, right? Some people can clearly articulate without much effort. And other people, it's a skill that has to be honed, and it doesn't mean that they can't get good, right? It just means that they have to come about it a little bit different way. And so to ask if it's clear, I think that is key. Another thing that I think a lot of people may or may not recognize is that our brains fill in the blanks. So if you don't have your child read it out loud, or you don't read it out loud to your child's so. So let's just say even if they want, they say, oh, yeah, I read it out loud to myself, it's fine. Okay, well, let me read it to you word for word before I put any type of correction on it, and then he'll see their face go, oh, that's, that's not what I meant. Oh, that's, that's not what I was trying to say. Because our brains fill in, when we're reading the written word. It's like those little puzzles on social media and half the words are gone. But you can figure out exactly what the the paragraph is saying, because your brain is an amazing mechanism. And if you're have a brain at all, like mine, I skip through a lot of words, because my brain already put them in which it doesn't happen necessarily when I'm talking, but it happens when I'm writing. And so to be able for your children to be able to see that happen, I think, is very imperative to better writing, because so many people are unaware that that even happens.


Greg  16:29 You're preaching the choir, and you're preaching the choir, Janna, we have a video on our website, and I talk about that just got to have kids read out their own writing out loud, that's so important, because what you just said, the brain is an amazing, amazing tool. And it will when our kids, it will fill in those blanks for us. So when the kids read out loud, they're catching those errors. And along with that, though, we want them as you just said, to have kids read out loud, read someone else's writing out loud. And if you know a really good program with that, if you always still a good writers are good readers, they just go hand in hand. So if I have a 10-year-old, and at times he hates this, I gotta be honest with it, he hates us. But when you mate, it's time to read out loud, you know. And we've gotten the point now where we're reading 1010 pages a day, that's our thing. gotta read 10 pages a day. And he's talked me into five pages him out loud, five pages him silently. But those five pages that are out loud, he's reading for about 15 minutes out loud, doesn't matter what book it is. But we read out loud, and then we discuss it. And when he reads out loud, he will have to stop with those words, he doesn't understand he'll have to fumble all over those words that he can't pronounce and then we'll have to discuss it. And I will kind of judge by the way, this is important to I judge as I'm working with him how much I want to correct him. Because if a child gets corrected too much while they're reading out loud, someone else's writing out loud, they're, they're going to shut down. So just be judicious with how much you want to correct them. And it's okay, that they're just reading out loud. And they're getting familiar with other people's work. And they're getting familiar with other people's writing styles as well. I want to add something to this that may or may not make sense to your audience. In the canon of literature. There's only one red canon of literature is basically all the great writers write some from, from Shakespeare to Faulkner, et cetera, all the way down. And there's only one writer that was not classically trained. And that was Keats. So there's only one writer out of all those greats, we consider greats, all those men and women that wrote those fantastic stories and articles, only one was classically trained. So what's going on there? Well, it just means that helping our kids read out loud, clear, your writing is not your your writing is not you. And then helping them have a framework so they can organize their ideas that works. There's only one classical writer that couldn't figure it out. Or excuse me, that figured it out on its own, because he did figure it out. It's wrong. And granted, Shakespeare couldn't figure it out ozone, but they were all classically trained. And that's such an important point that we need to get through that kids need to understand where their ideas go, and a classical training in writing. I didn't say literature, but classical training and writing is so incompetent and so valuable to our kids. So that was a great point. Great question there too. So I'm happy to add on to that. Jana. You're so right. Kids gotta read their own writing and they gotta read out loud. Thank you for thanks for the brain.

 Janna  19:49 Well, I do hope that parents hear the heart behind this that it really is a skill because in our digital age, we're getting away more than More from even taking the time to read the wit written word I am always amazed at when we create reels here at book shark, even just for our customers just you know, sometimes they're fun. Sometimes there's something from the podcast, on average, they're only listened to the first three seconds of that. And I think about parents as educators, if we can only catch an adult’s attention for three seconds, what are we? How are we catching the attention of our children, when we're doing a read-aloud, when we're asking them to independently read and it really is an exercise in a skill that has to be built upon, and same as writing. And I feel like in our society, if we can't get it done, well, quickly, then we're not going to bother doing it. And so we have people kind of getting away from this classical training of writing of reading good literature because especially in the age of AI, I use AI and some of the things that I do for my job, I'll write something and I'm like, surely it can be said better. And I let the co-pilot rewrite it for me, and nine times out of 10. They said it better than I did. And I think that you know it's making, it's making a difference in how kids are viewing their own thoughts. And while our writing is not us, it is still how we organize our thoughts on paper. And so how do we kind of combat that idea that we don't need to necessarily hone this skill, because we have computer programs that are going to make it better regardless.

Greg  21:31 We need to combat that. The bottom line is we need to combat that hover, we can we need to combat that the three R's are incredibly important. I just did a speaking engagement over the weekend, I was talking about the three Rs Reading, Writing arithmetic. One of the younger parents didn't know what the three R's was. That speaks volumes about where we're at right now. My wife is still currently a second-grade teacher. And she'll be leaving the public like myself, I used to tell people, in the last couple of years that I was a public school teacher, I used to tell them I have to get out of education. So I can educate them. It's It's vital. We need to educate our kids, my wife is on our way, I won't be long she and she will escape. She'll reach escape velocity. And she'll have been there but when it not too long ago, the start of this year, they had a a AI training. And they were told in the district that the trainer actually at the technology training, told the teachers straight out. They talked about AI and to trust the question, it's, it sounds like you're telling kids that the kids can go ahead and do the writing response in AI? And the trainer said, yes, absolutely. What you would then do and the teacher should, you know, cook their head, wait, what are you telling me to do? And they asked flat out, and the trainer's did say and this is this is coming from a this is coming from the district a districts telling Yes, the child can write the AI and the AI can write the response for the child and then the teacher would just go over the AI response. How many hundreds kind of ways is that wrong? And is that not teaching kids how to write and organize their thoughts effectively? So we absolutely as parents as homeschoolers, we really need to fight this process and make sure that's not happening. As far as going about and making sure that we're doing it, I would certainly limit the amount of AI that my child uses. In fact, for me, if my child's doing any writing for me, my 10 year old son, Nate, he is not using AI at all. His responses are coming from his brain. I love how you said at the beginning of this this question and you said it's coming from the heart. That our response we're coming from the heart as we're doing this and yes, yes, Jana, we're coming from the heart as we're doing this and from and from the mind guiding it. And I certainly don't want my son, if he's coming from his heart in his mind. I do not want him using AI to do it because that's coming from other people's minds. And I want my son to learn how to articulate himself from him. I want his I use a lot of times you hear this word critical reading critical thinking, I want analytical thinking I want analytical reading, I want analytical writing, and I want my child analyzing, examined and studying what anything that's been what I've shoved at him. I want him analyzing that so that he can make those than critical choices or analytical choices on his own. But I Yes, for your audience. I would stay away from my child with any AI and by the way, I will tell you that I've used some AI for our website, a little bit of the writing, but boy, it sure needs to be cleaned up and I would ask myself then is it a waste of time because at times it really is a waste of time. Wow. But going back to our kids, my child and AI, not gonna go together. What do you think about that? Your kids? Would you do that or not?

Janna  25:09 I'm interested. Interestingly, my older two that are that have taken college courses over this last couple of years, you know, I've asked them and they're like, it wasn't quite perfected, I mean, they kind of finished this year out without having to really ask or answer that question like, would I use it, wouldn't I use it, I personally would encourage them not to use it, because it's too easy, then to not have your own brain organize your thoughts to not have your own voice. You know, there's so many things like the conveniences that we are given in our country, there, they can be used for some good, and then they also take away some of our own independence and muscle memory, for lack of a better word, right. So sometimes I hand wash my dishes, just so I can hand wash my dishes, right? Like, I know, that kind of sounds crazy. But there are things that we have to do. So that A, we remember how to do them. If we just let AI take over how we organize our, our written word, then we'll never have to actually go through the exercise ourself to organize it. And I argue a lot for people who said, Oh, well, my child's not into writing, or they're not going to go into any type of academic writing. I stress that, in order to properly communicate, even orally, you need to have those foundations of organized thinking and writing is a great way to to practice that.

Greg  26:40 Warren Buffett, just as Warren Buffett, one of his greatest quotes is you want to raise your value to your to your, your employer 50% learn to communicate verbally and written in a more effective manner, you're gonna raise your value 50%. So writing is absolutely important. And you know, you've talked about this, left and right throughout our time today, that it's the organization and the articulation of ideas. I showed a video recently of a politician over the weekend, and the politician was really she really struggles to get her ideas in order. And and then what really needs is that just that basic Valley, and for parents that think that for anyone that thinks that a police officer, or a chef, or an AC repairman is not going to have to write, that's not correct, they're going to have to write whether they write memos or invoices, and it reflects upon that company, how well they're and in regard speaking, as well, and how well they can articulate themselves, whether it's through the written word or the voice. So I absolutely 100% agree with you. And this writing is so important and writing, I always try to explain to people that you know, you're going to the first part of that is going to learn how to articulate yourself well with your speaking. But when we move all the way up to a writing, if a child can write clearly, they can speak clearly. And so we want to move forward to those points to that writing point. And that really needs to be important, really needs embedded in our parents thinking and my thinking, hey, my child needs to be able to write really well, because it's basically as Janet said, it's an organization or an articulation of ideas, and that is going to open doors for our kids.

Janna  28:25 I had recently heard that, excuse me, the job that our children are going to be taking are not even invented yet. So this resurgence of creativity and idea, you know, making and being able to organize those ideas are going to equip our children for the future jobs that we don't even how can we train them for we don't even they're not even in existence yet. But if we can help our kids be able to think outside the box to be creative to articulate clearly their creative ideas. How many times have you seen someone who maybe had a great idea, but wasn't able to articulate it? Someone else came into the room said the exact same thing with maybe some different verbiage. And everyone was like, That's a great idea.

Greg  29:16 Right, right, right, or a lesser idea gets put out there because it can be articulated? Well. Yeah. A lot of times people rise up the ladder because in their jobs because they can articulate themselves well, but the person who's more qualified, who has more creative ideas, who's more professional, doesn't rise up the ladder, simply because they can't articulate themselves well through their writing and their thinking and their speaking. Yeah, absolutely. Not go ahead. I'll, I'll defer to you.

Janna  29:48 Well, I do have a few more questions. So you kind of touched on this and I think it needs to be feathered out a little bit more to help parents understand the difference between a writing curriculum and an ELA program.

Greg  30:01 That's another excellent question. Okay, so that's part of the process of educating parents on this, okay? So it's an easy way to understand this. And that, by the way, that point needs to be hammered again. And again. And again, there is a specific difference between an ELA program and a writing curriculum. So when you go, let's say you've gone to college, or you haven't, but let's say you've taken a college, but whenever you go to college, a new student goes to college, there's an English department, and there's an English Literature Department, and there's a composition department. And you don't necessarily have to take an English literature class, but you have to take that English composition class, I don't, it doesn't matter if you're an AI engineer, it doesn't matter if you're a biology major, it doesn't matter if you're then a writing major or your shot, you want to be a chef, you have to take that English composition class. And why is that? Well, because you have to be able to write in all those different arenas, all those different fields. To be an expert, you have to communicate well, you don't maybe later once you learn how to write, you can take that English literature class, but you have to be able to articulate yourself in composition. And when that student gets into composition, and they take it basically what's happening. Well, they're learning in that English composition class, how to articulate their ideas, clearly, others how to organize their ideas, how to structure their ideas, and communicate them clearly. Now, what's happening though, in grades two through 12, we don't have that. Instead, we've mashed them together, and we've combined them. And what happens then is that ELA gets pushed to the forefront. And then the writing gets down, way down. And why is that? Well, because writing is hard to do it unless you know how to help the child organize their ideas, you're going to be lost. And so what are you going to do was what I talked about in the beginning, instead, you're going to read a story that, oh, you're going to read something from Aesop, you're gonna read something fascinating. And you're going to talk about it, because it's so wonderful to talk about the ideas, but the writing is going to be pushed to the side. Worse yet, what's going to happen is your child's going to be in or at home, they're going to be at home, and you're going to say, well, this happens all the time in the public schools. The teacher gives the child assignments as Oh, write about the theme, and Shakespeare's Macbeth, and I need 1500 words on it, and the kid comes home and cries, or you're doing this at home, and you don't know how to do it. And that's what we're dealing with. So we have to focus on that organization of ideas. So how are they different? Well, composition is its own beast, ela, it's its own beast, almost like literature, English literature, look at the name of it. English language arts, it's the art of using the English language. But composition then is a component in it. And, but it's it because it is part of the art, but it's its own like beast itself. And we need to start thinking of it as English language arts, writing composition. And we have to think about that in second grade, here's what we can do. Second, third, fourth, fifth grade, we can start teaching our kids hey, I brought a piece up, let's let's write let's read Aesop's that line in the mouse. And let's write a short pair analytical paragraph about that. And then as we go along, or maybe one sentence about it, let's some of the few minute. And then in fourth grade and fifth grade, we continue that process. What's gonna happen is, when we have kids in English language arts, and they read something we say, well write about it, they don't know how to write about, they're gonna hate both. Instead, when we flip flop it, and we shift to oh, let's organize your ideas. Let me help you organize your ideas we'll do verbally and on paper, oh, that then the child's not afraid of English Language Arts. Why? Because they know they can write about anything they're going to read. And, or they can also speak about anything they're going to read. If you have a parent who's struggling with a child whose child was struggling with writing, especially our younger kids, were talking for four years old, 567 years old, but even our older kids struggling find one thing you can really help them do have them give them haven't tell you a story, any kind of fictional story, make it short, not too long, have them dictate to you and you write that story down for them. You either write it in pen or you type it down, what that's going to do is it's going to take the pain across the child from their their ideas, and you're helping them get in this mode of articulating their ideas. So I really want to encourage that to your your parents who are just starting out on this process with younger kids. You don't know what to do. So what do you do to help your kid get their ideas out first, well, have them dictate to you really going to help. So I hope that I've I've articulate well the difference between ELA and English and composition, and we need to start really thinking about it in terms of that composition really needs to get higher. And that's what I spoke about to Janet earlier. If your parents were lucky, and they had that one teacher who was basically a composition teacher in disguise, they can teach their child they could they could do is they could break things down. Explain to kids, but that's what we need parents do and parents. I wouldn't want to tell parents it's really not that hard. When you understand where the ideas go on the page, it becomes a lot easier and you're not having kids. You're not having kids copy or think about mechanics, or you're not having to think about style. Instead, you're just showing them where that is going on the page and organizing their ideas. Really good question. Thank you for bringing that up. Because we have to keep bringing that to the forefront Jana, that they are two separate beasts, and it's easy to understand the purpose for each and they do work together wonderfully. Once we help kids start learning how to articulate their ideas. 

Janna  35:29 Yeah, it's interesting, you can't have one without the other honestly. And so to think that, well, my kids really good at grammar, and then they understand the English language. Well, the best way to show that they understand it is then to compose using those very standards and principles that they understand. 

Greg  35:50 So you know, there have been 1000s, of speaking of grammar, there's been 1000s of studies done on grammar. And what they found is that grammar taught out of context doesn't work. So if we're giving a workshop to a worksheet to our child, we can no 100% It will not work. Instead, what we do is teach grammar and context. One way to do that is the best way to do that, really, and we know this from composition, and easiest and what Wait, this what they do when a child turns into a student turns into paper and freshman composition, that we will focus on ideas and let's say a child, let's say let's let's bring this down, let's say like a fourth or fifth grader, and the child is forgetting to capitalize the first word of a sentence, right? First, the first letter in a sense, right capitalization errs, what do you do? Well, I suggest that you take a pen, like, take a blue pen, don't take a red one, because we know that that connotation of the red, right? We met when we were kids, and it didn't feel good like you mentioned with your daughter right earlier. So we circle that one. And we circle that grammar error, that capitalization error, and then that's the only area to focus on. And then the next piece of writing that your child does focus on same grammar. And then the next piece of writing, they do focus on that same grammar error, no other errors. When you see that one disappear, move on to the next grammar, I will guarantee you there are about 15 or 20 grammar errors that your parents and your kids need to learn to be successful communicators. And I'm going to communicate I mean verbal and written. So you can throw away, I love I've had this, I've had parents that are like, my kid threw away his grammar book, and he was so happy about that. And wait, I don't want to make i Wait, I don't want to minimize the need for grammar, we need to teach it. But teach it slower. Teaching gentler. If we can teach one hour time, that's even better. But teach it while you're teaching writing your kids. So you know, you don't have to throw away that grammar book because those are handy. Okay. But teach it in context and teach it gentler, the most important thing is getting the ideas out and then gently bring in the grammar gently. 

Janna  37:52   Yeah, I really liked that. Because as opposed to taking a red pen and marking up all of the errors, and then again, that's completely deflating. If you did that to me, and I didn't want to do it again, I felt that makes me feel bad. And I don't like to do things that makes me feel bad. I mean, I think that's human nature. But taking your blue pen, I was thinking like, oh green for growth, like, Hey, we're gonna use our green and we're just gonna, we're gonna grow in this one area. And I'm only going to correct this until we're grown out of that. And then we'll go to the next one. I think that's a great tip for parents as they are venturing into this homeschool arena and, and thinking about writing. Before we get going, Greg, I always ask my guests to give a homeschool hack. So I feel like you've given a couple but do you have anything specifically that you can share with our audience that would really help them feel confident in teaching their children to write well.

Greg  38:48 Ahhh well they are teaching their children so I'm gonna give them an overall one one hack that I love to use. And it was gonna start with reading. If you're especially for I want to save yourself some money, go and find yourself a used teaching textbook for ELA, like a Holter or a Pearson or something you can pick them up for not very expensive, that will give you all the readings that you need to be successful or get a book shark, get a book, get a used one and just go through that. Go through that. Take your time, go through all the readings, have your child read out loud. And that's really an easy way to get started. Because there's so Janna, you know, are there a lot of writing programs and ELA programs out there?

Janna  39:27 Oh, there's there's quite a few. 

Greg  39:31 Yes. So go to your friend

 then and go to them. And they've got a BookShark, grab that, grab that from them and then start using it but gently go through it. Take your time with it. Okay. And if when it comes to writing, just that hack to get going like that, it's easy, then even if you have an 11th grader who's who's just starting out, dictate, let them dictate and get their ideas down and that's going to get the ball rolling. Okay, so I would start that way And that you then you're, they're open to whatever you're going to work with them on. Now, I mean, I can, and then I'm happy Janna to talk about what we do.

Janna  40:09 For those who may not have a writing curriculum that they have found success with Greg, what? What can you offer them?

Greg  40:21 Is this is a, this is a segue to a plug.

Janna  40:26 You're free to plug. 

Greg  40:27  Alright, so the Baran method. So, you know, I talked about where I came from. And where it came from was a hard place, I had to figure out, I was told, we're not going to tell you, you know, we're going to the word demystify or mystify I was there. And so I was de-mystify is what I wanted to do. So that's what the Baran Method does. And I really, I feel for anyone out there who's trying to cheat, teach your child how to write, and they don't understand the organization process of thinking, because it's really there's a pattern, and it's a real simple pattern. And that's what the Baran Method does, is it it and you know, the cool thing about this is that because we're writing curriculum, you can use it on its own, or you can supplement it to whatever ELA program that you're currently using. So think of us as a writing component, your child then learns that writing about it, and then they apply it in your ELA program. So it works well together. What else what anything else you're working. But what we do then is we help kids up for you start, don't you don't want to really get a child in academic writing till about second grade because cognitively it's just too much. When they can string two or three sentences together. That's what we do is we then have them start with a paragraph and we use the words claim evidence concepts, concepts of claim evidence analysis claim, meaning the topic sentence, we use the word claim instead of topic sentence, because this topic sentence only shows up in a paragraph. But a claim shows up in a paragraph, and essay, and a memo, and a court of law, and in a report, it's just gonna show up on the news tonight, they're gonna use the word claim. So we want kids to use language they can use throughout the rest of their life. So we use the word claim evidence analysis, and then we give each of those concepts of color. And I understand for your parents that they not sure what that means. But you can behind me there, there's a map that we use, you can see the colors there supporting detail evidence for text, analysis when we use color like that with the concept that really helps kids understand where ideas go. And then through our materials, very simple. Kids do six exercises, they learn the Baran Method. And by the way, the bear method is not just a method, it's a philosophy. You know, we talked about like, is it good? Is it clear instead, or we talk about being gentle with our grammar, that's our philosophy. That's our methodology. So it's not just a methodology, then about writing about teaching, and teaching, writing, or teaching in general. So what's what's important about that is you need to understand the logic because it's real logical, the kids, once kids learn how to write a paragraph confidently, and by the way, don't start essay writing, I really recommend until sixth grade. Cognitively as when they're ready, they'll be able to they'll do it in fourth or fifth grade for you, but just be Copywork. It really cognitively can't come up with creativity until sixth grade. Now, what happens though, is when you have a sixth grader who can or any child who can write a paragraph, confidently, then they can write the hardest thing and an essay, which is the body paragraphs on an essay. And I want your parents to know that essay writing is not really that difficult when you have a framework, it's not easy if anybody tells you writing is easy walk the other way. It's not. But it can be made easier. And when you have a framework that tells kids where their ideas go on the page, and then they follow that framework. Well, I know that because 1000s of students had done this to become successful writers. So that's what the Baran Method does. It takes the struggle out of writing by solving the problem that most parents struggle with is teaching writing, which is helping kids get their ideas on the page in a clear, succinct manner. Thank you for allowing me to share that portion about the Baran Method, appreciate it.

Janna  44:07 Absolutely. And for those who want more information about the Baran Method, we will make sure to link all of the appropriate places that you can find Greg and his method, his website, we are excited to share that with our listeners. And hopefully you feel encouraged after this podcast to help your children be more effective communicators through their written and oral words. Greg, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate the time and the conversation.

Greg  44:35 Thank you. I appreciate for having me here. I want to thank you for your parents for listening. And last final word for me is you can do it. You can do it. So and your kids, they're they're worth it and deserve it and you're doing an awesome job. A lot of parents don't think they are but they're doing an awesome job. So thank you, Janna for this opportunity to share.

Janna  44:57 Well, you are welcome. I think you I I think you parents again, just like Greg said, you are doing a great job. This is a very non-traditional way, it would be a lot more simple to send your kids out of your home and let somebody else do the hard work of educating but you have been their educator from the very beginning, and you can do it. So thank you guys and until next time, bye-bye