In 1878, Edweard Muybridge inaugurated the history of cinema with THE HORSE IN MOTION. So began our 138-year (so far) love affair with watching horses on the big screen. There are so many to choose from, so we can do no more than get our hooves wet with these four greats.

Brave Writer Instructor Nancy Graham, M.A. cinema studies, will host.

Viewing Schedule
• We’ll watch one movie per week.
• We’ll chat about the movie in our online classroom (log in when it’s convenient in your time zone).
• We will talk about the films as explorations of character and theme and as works of cinematic art.
• The best thing? We’ll be so excited about the movies, we’ll hardly notice we are writing!

Participants in our Movie Discussion Club 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!

There are no essays or writing assignments in this club. Participants exercise their writing muscles by thinking and posting in the classroom in conversation with one another. Since none of their writing will be revised, polished, or graded, your kids will have the chance to explore their thoughts by 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 draw on the experience of writing with ease from inspiration.

Pay individual or family price.

Access Your Copies and/or Streaming Options in Advance

All of these titles can be streamed on Amazon; you can find rental and purchase options by clicking on the titles below. You may also find them in your local library system, through Facets Multimedia (—a nonprofit film education and resource center, or online through Hulu, Netflix, or iTunes.

Watch the first film before class starts

1. NATIONAL VELVET (1944, unrated, directed by Clarence Brown)

Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor star in this film about a former jockey who helps a young girl train her wild horse for England's Grand National Sweepstakes.

2. THE BLACK STALLION (1979, G, directed by Carroll Ballard)

Thirty-five years later, Mickey Rooney is back, training a young boy and the wild horse he encounters on a desert island. One of the most beautiful, and nearly silent, passages in film opens this one.

3. THE HORSE WHISPERER (1998, PG-13, directed by Robert Redford)

The mother of a traumatized girl (played by Scarlet Johansson) hires a maverick trainer to help heal both the girl and the horse.

4. WAR HORSE (2011, PG-13, directed by Steven Spielberg)

When his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry during World War I, Albert enlists in hopes of finding him again. With Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch.


In order to evaluate whether or not these movies are appropriate for your family, we recommend watching them first and/or using the Kids-in-Mind website, linked above. It is possible to “sit out” one of the films and participate in the remaining three, though not for a reduced price.

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.