Your kids will be so excited about movies, they'll hardly notice they are writing!

Film is the literature of the 20th century! Explore a variety of memorable movies with Brave Writer Instructor Nancy Graham, M.A. in cinema studies. She brings passion and expertise to the subject.

Nancy will facilitate the class, guiding students to explore the literary and cinematic elements of film. Students will watch one movie per week and chat about it in Brave Writer's online classroom (log in when it's convenient in your time zone). 

Sessions #

Our Spring Movie Discussion Club is organized into the following sessions, please see the "Class Sessions" tab for more information on each and to find out what movies we'll be watching!

  • Jan 9 - Feb 3: Miyazaki Movie Club
  • Mar 13 - Apr 7: Dystopias and Utopias
  • Apr 10 - May 5: Globetrotters: Iran

Approach #

Participants in our Movie Discussion Club will develop skills that transfer to the study of literature or any textual or visual analysis. Take advantage of this pleasurable way to expand your child's writing and thinking skills. And remember the popcorn!

Be sure to tell your kids: There are no essays or writing assignments in this club. They will write, naturally, as they post their thoughts and responses in our online classroom. But since none of their writing will be revised, polished, or graded, your kids will have the chance to explore their thinking using written language, without the pressure to "perform." 

Later, when students write essays in other classes or at home, they will find they have greater access to their thoughts and ideas; they'll associate sharing their opinions in writing with ease, delight, flying in a cat bus, and running on water!

The club price is a family price. Invite the whole family to join in!

Streaming the Movies #

Follow our affiliate link to Amazon or look for these movies in your local library system, through Facets Multimedia (—a nonprofit film education and resource center, or online through Hulu, Netflix, or iTunes. Please note that the movies for the Miyazaki session (Jan 9 - Feb 3) are not available for streaming, so you will need to purchase them or find them at a library before class begins.

Prescreening Resources #

In order to evaluate whether or not these movies are appropriate for your family, we recommend watching them first and/or using one of the websites below to research titles. It is possible to "sit out" one of the films and participate in the remaining three, though not for a reduced price. 

Miyazaki Movie Club (Jan 9 - Feb 3, 2017) #

Hayao Miyazaki, the world-renowned director of some the best-loved animated features ever made, recently announced that his most recent film, The Wind Rises, will be his last.

Join us in celebrating a career that has spanned more than five decades and witnessed the evolution of animation from hand-drawn to computer-generated techniques. 

Together we will discuss the breathtaking work of this master animator, for whom independent young characters, loving families, the magical life of the imagination, and the health of the planet have been key themes. “I would like to make a film," he said, "to tell children 'it's good to be alive.'” He did just that, many times over.

Movies #

  1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, G)
    Two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother and are introduced to whimsical forest spirits who dwell nearby.
  2. Princess Mononoke (1997, PG-13)
    Ashitaka, a young warrior on a quest to save himself from a curse, becomes entangled in a war waged by humans on the gods of the forest and Princess Mononoke, who was raised by a wolf-god.
  3. Spirited Away (2001, PG)
    In the midst of a move to a new house, a ten-year-old girl and her parents become lost and happen on an amusement park that turns out to be a inhabited by spirits. 
  4. The Wind Rises (2013, PG-13)
    A gorgeous ode to creativity and the wonders of flight, in the form of a biography of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

Movie Club: Dystopias and Utopias (Mar 13 - Apr 7, 2017) #

Movies #

  1. The Lego Movie (2014, PG) directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
    A Lego construction worker may be the key to saving the world from the evil Lord Business.
  2. Pleasantville (1998, PG-13) directed by Gary Ross
    A brother and sister find themselves in a black-and-white 1950s sitcom, where their influence begins to change the world.
  3. The Truman Show (1998, PG-13) directed by Peter Weir
    An everyman played by Jim Carrey discovers he is living in a television show.
  4. Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (2015, PG-13) directed by Francis Lawrence
    The final chapter in the series that made an international hero of Katniss Everdeen. Some familiarity with the story will be assumed (wink, wink).

Movie Club for Globetrotters: Iran (Apr 10 - May 5, 2017) #

Movies #

  1. Children Of Heaven (1997, English subtitled version 2004, PG), directed by Majid Majidi
    When Ali loses his sister Zahra’s shoes, the two decide to share his shoes and keep it a secret from their parents, which proves a challenge in this sweet film.
  2. The Color Of Paradise (2000, PG), directed by Majid Majidi
    While waiting for his father to pick him up for summer break from his school for the blind, Mohamed hears a fallen chick and returns it to the nest by climbing a tree. So begins this movie about a boy trying to connect with his father during a stay in the country.
  3. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999, NR), directed by Abbas Kiarostami
    How about a movie in which you hear some characters but never see them, set in a remote Kurdish village, a movie that moves like a turtle and leaves unanswered questions for you to puzzle over? Called by the New York Times the “funniest and most accessible” of the films by the world-renowned director Abbas Kiarostami, who died last summer at the age of 76. You will feel like you have traveled to rural Iran after this one!
  4. Persepolis (2007, PG-13), directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi and based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi.
    An animated autobiography that pulls no punches in describing life during the Islamic Revolution for a young girl and her politically active family. 

Class Structure Description #

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll test it and agree!

Click here to login to a sample classroom.