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Miyazaki #

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 Johannah Bogart. She 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). 

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 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!

    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 #

    Look for these fanciful adventures at the library, a media store, through Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc.

    You’ll start by watching the first film before class starts.

    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. 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.

    3. Howl's Moving Castle (2004, PG) An 18-year-old hatter transformed into a 90-year-old woman encounters a wizard who lives in a walking castle with a fire demon. Based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones.

    4. Ponyo (2008, G) A five-year-old boy and his adventures with a goldfish princess who longs to become a human.

    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. 

    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. 

    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.