For details on the films in each session, click above on the tab for "Summer/Fall" or "Winter/Spring"

The more learning is like play, the more absorbing it will be. -William Reinsmith

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

Movie Discussion Club takes the popular movies that your kids love and provides the spark for

  • writing practice
  • critical thinking
  • Big Juicy Conversations
  • sharing their thoughts with peers

Play used to involve blocks and dolls. Now conversation is the exciting new playground for your tweens and teens. Let's harness that desire to talk about all. the. things!

In this class, we bypass the pain associated with formats, mechanics, and writing assignments and open the door to playful exploration of

  • new ideas
  • new puzzles to solve
  • new connection
  • new points of view

Psst! Don’t tell your kids—while they are exploring and sharing with their new friends in class, they are gaining transferable thinking skills and growing their writing proficiency! (I know!)

How it works #

  • Each club lasts one month. We watch one movie per week.
  • Students dissect each movie with other fans in our online classroom
  • Our coach leads specific discussions to
    • explore character
    • uncover themes
    • dissect plot points
    • examine cinematic technology and art

Students discover fun new movies and appreciate old favorites. You get to see them composing, exploring, researching and engaging in critical thinking. What’s not to love?

Here’s our pop culture must-see list for fall! #

Sept 5 - Sept 29 Shark Month

  • Shark Tale
  • Finding Nemo
  • Soul Surfer
  • Finding Dory

Oct 2 - Oct 27 Gamers Unite!

  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Oct 30-Nov 28 Animation Exploration

  • Inside Out
  • Castle in the Sky
  • Corpse Bride
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Nov 27 - Dec 22 Aliens

  • Arrival
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Men in Black
  • The Iron Giant

Note: We choose movies ranging from rating G to PG-13. Be sure to evaluate all movies to determine which are appropriate for your family. And remember to check movie availability in your country/region before signing up!

There are no essays or writing assignments in this club. Kids 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!

Take advantage of this pleasurable way to expand your child's writing and thinking skills. And remember the popcorn!

Important: In Brave Writer®, we watch movies that address a wide variety of perspectives and that include time-bound references. Please be aware that you may experience strong reactions to what you watch. By using film as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, we have the opportunity to discuss evolving ideologies.

We encourage you to preview movies to determine their appropriateness for your family and to prepare to have discussions on these topics with your students as they participate in the class.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Summer/Fall Movie Clubs #

Before the club begins, line up your copies or streaming sources of the movie through your local library, Amazon, Netflix, AppleTV, or YouTube rental.

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

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.

[This page contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer® receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Clubs for Summer/Fall 2023 #

Shark Month (Sept 5 - Sept 29, 2023) #

Forget shark week—we've got a whole month of shark action on tap! Join this club to discuss some of our favorite underwater adventures.

  1. Shark Tale (PG 2004, violence, mafia references)
    Oscar is a little fish who dreams of fame and fortune. When his blowfish boss, Sykes, says he needs the $5,000 Oscar owes him, pretty receptionist Angie gives him her family heirloom pearl, which Oscar sells, but then loses the money gambling. Sykes' Rasta-jellyfish henchmen take Oscar out to rough him up, but a mix-up occurs in which Sykes' henchmen believe that Oscar has killed a shark, and the little fish returns home to be celebrated as "the Shark Slayer." Oscar enjoys the high life until the sharks come searching for him. -
    Common Sense Media
  2. Finding Nemo (G 2003)
    Clownfish Marlin is a fond but nervous dad -- understandably so, since a predator ate his wife and all but one of their eggs. When it's time for Marlin's surviving son, Nemo (Alexander Gould) -- who has an underdeveloped fin -- to start school, the little guy is excited, but Marlin is terrified. Marlin has done a good job of making Nemo feel confident and unselfconscious, but he's still overprotective, which makes Nemo anxious to prove that he can take care of himself. But Marlin's worst fears are realized when Nemo is captured by a deep-sea-diving dentist who collects fish for his aquarium. On a journey that will introduce him to extraordinary characters and teach him a great deal about the world and even more about himself, Marlin must go literally to the end of the ocean to find his son and bring him home.
    - Common Sense Media
  3. Soul Surfer (PG 2011, shark attack)
    Based on true-life events, Soul Surfer chronicles the life of Bethany Hamilton in the weeks leading up to the shark attack that resulted in the loss of one of her arms -- and the months of healing that followed. Her parents struggle to keep her strong even as they learn how to process the overwhelming feelings. Bethany ultimately has two challenges to face: getting back on the board with confidence and joy and coming to peace within herself over the tragedy.
    - Common Sense Media
  4. Finding Dory (PG 2016)
    The story takes place only one year after clownfish Marlin -- with a lot of help from Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss -- found his missing son, Nemo. Everything is going well for the friends/neighbors until Dory has a flashback to her life as a little fish and remembers something about her parents for the first time. Realizing she and her parents used to live on the California coast, she asks Marlin and Nemo to help her find her family. Thanks to their pals the sea turtles, they quickly arrive at the Marine Life Institute in California, but they're separated when scientists rescue and tag Dory. She must befriend new sea creatures, like an octopus named Hank, to help her locate her parents, while Marlin and Nemo desperately find a way into the institute to look for her.
    - Common Sense Media

Gamers Unite! (Oct 2 - Oct 27, 2023) #

Board games, video games, parlor games, car games... Give us all the games. Homeschoolers love 'em, and we love talking about them. A great way to let your kids' passions count as school!

  1. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (PG-13 2023, language, romance)
    This film introduces viewers to imprisoned best friends Edgin, a disgraced harper, and Holga, a disgraced barbarian, who are pleading their case for early release to a judicial board. Edgin explains that they were caught after being double-crossed by a villainous wizard, Sofina, during a heist that they only agreed to do in order to raise Edgin's late wife from the dead. After escaping from prison, the friends try to reunite with Edgin's tween daughter, Kira. But they discover that their former partner-in-crime, Forge, now lord of Neverwinter, has been acting as Kira's adoptive father and has kept all of the old gang's stolen riches, including the much-needed resurrection amulet.
    - Common Sense Media
  2. Wreck-It Ralph (PG 2012, first-person shooter footage, drinking, potty humor, language)
    After 30 years of playing the villain in the arcade game Fix-It Felix, Wreck-It Ralph decides he needs to prove that he has what it takes to be a good guy. He sneaks and stumbles his way into other consoles -- specifically, an alien-invasion, first-person shooter game and a Candy Land-esque racing game -- in search of a hero's medal, which he believes is his one-way ticket to being accepted within the arcade community. With the help of new friends, Ralph's journey becomes much more than a quest for peer validation. - Common Sense Media
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog (PG language, violence, drinking)
    Iconic Sega video game character Sonic is on the run in rural Montana from Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Robotnik wants to steal Sonic's supersonic speed powers to take over the world. With the help of local cop Tom "Donut Lord" Wachowski, Sonic takes off to evade his captor. Naturally, he gets into plenty of mischief along the way.
    - Common Sense Media
  4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13 language, violence, sexualization)
    This film is an updated adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's picture book, this time turning the life-changing board game into a video game. The movie opens in 1996, when a teenager's father gives him the Jumanji board game. When he bemoans aloud that nobody plays with board games anymore, it magically transforms into a video game, which he gets sucked into. Fast-forward to the present, and four high schoolers are sent to detention on the same day: self-absorbed "hot popular girl" Bethany, bookish Martha (Morgan Turner), nerdy Spencer, and his childhood friend turned football star Fridge. While serving detention, Fridge and Spencer find the Jumanji game in an old donation box and convince the girls to play. After they each choose an avatar, they're immediately pulled into the game... To get out of the game, the foursome must work together to save Jumanji from the control of the evil Van Pelt -- before any of them lose all of their three assigned lives.
    - Common Sense Media

Animation Exploration (Oct 30 - Nov 28, 2023) #

We're diving deep into animation styles with this offbeat club. If you love art, animation, or just a great story, you'll have fun discussing these titles.

  1. Inside Out (PG 2015)
    When baby Riley is born to her loving parents, so is her first emotion -- Joy, who's soon joined by Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The quintet live and work in Headquarters (aka HQ), the part of Riley's brain that experiences feelings and makes memories. With Joy as their leader, the group helps their girl through toddlerhood (ick, broccoli!) and childhood (hooray, a hockey goal!). But everything changes when 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco after her dad gets a new job. As Riley tries to cope with a new house, a new school, and her parents' increased stress, things get out of control back at HQ: Sadness and Joy tussle over Riley's core memories and end up getting sucked into long-term storage. Can they make it back to HQ in time to help Riley get back in touch with all of her feelings?
    - Common Sense Media
  2. Castle in the Sky (PG 1986 violence)
    Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's first film released by animation giant Studio Ghibli. Castle in the Sky's steampunk setting is a vaguely European early 20th century. In this world exists a legend of a fabulous flying fortress called Laputa that's laden with treasure, robots, and powerful weapons. Sheeta, a farm girl with an heirloom amulet crystal that points the way to Laputa, is chased by both government forces and a family of sky pirates. Briefly escaping into a mining community, Sheeta finds an unselfish ally and protector in a brave boy named Pazu. Together they try to outwit their enemies while on a journey leading inevitably to Laputa.
    - Common Sense Media
  3. Corpse Bride (PG 2005, references to dead bodies, death, decay)
    Tim Burton's unique animation style is on display in this magical film. Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglott are to be wed in an arranged marriage. Their parents and recently poor gentry expect the marriage to leave both families better off, either by means of money or class status. When a nervous Victor flubs the ceremony rehearsal, Pastor Galswells sends him off to practice his vows. Stumbling around in the dark woods, Victor finally seems to get it right, slipping the ring onto what seems a twig. But no: the wood is really the skeletal finger of the Corpse Bride. Victor is transported immediately to the Bride's netherworld. Though Victor wants to get back to Victoria he is also sympathetic to the sweet Bride's lonely plight, and he waffles, lies, and generally watches his life and possible death go on around him.
    - Common Sense Media
  4. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G 2005, drinking, violence, sexual references)
    Wallace and Gromit run a pest-riddance company, Anti-Pesto. Each night, they're alerted by the elaborate security system the townspeople have attached to their prized vegetable gardens, and go forth in their well-outfitted truck to capture (but never kill) the offending creatures -- typically rodents and rabbits. Wallace then deposits the animals in cages in his basement, where he keeps them supplied with carrots and lettuce. Wallace's desire to reprogram the bunnies so they won't desire veggies leads to an experiment that goes awry, and soon a giant were-rabbit is stomping through the town at night, ravaging the squashes and pumpkins, and threatening to shut down Tottington Hall's annual Giant Vegetable Competition. Wallace and Gromit are on the case.
    - Common Sense Media

Aliens (Nov 27 - Dec 22, 2023) #

They are coming. Or are they already here? Alien life in all its forms leads to some rousing discussions via these classic films.

  1. Arrival (PG-13 2016, language, drinking)
    Professor of languages Dr. Louise Banks is headed to work when news of an alien landing spreads. Twelve alien pods are now hovering in different spots all over the world. Before long, she's approached by Colonel Weber. He asks for her help in translating the alien language, in hopes of learning the purpose of their visit. Paired with scientist Ian Donnelly, Louise ascends into the spaceship and meets the aliens face-to-face. After several trips, she finds she can communicate with them through writing. As the world waits and starts to panic and talk of war begins, Louise and Ian may have discovered the secret that could save them all -- if it's not too late.
    - Common Sense Media
  2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG 1982, language, racial slur)
    A young boy named Elliott discovers an extraterrestrial being who was left behind when his spaceship departed without him. After Elliott brings E.T. home, it becomes clear that the benevolent otherworldly creature can't survive in Earth's environment and must return to his home planet. While hiding E.T., Elliott develops a close friendship with the alien and a connection that binds them to each other. With the help of Elliott, his siblings, and their pals, E.T. sends a rescue message to his planet, but they must face government scientists who want to capture and study E.T. instead of allowing him to return home. - Common Sense Media
  3. Men in Black (PG-13 1997, violence, language)
    The central premise of Men in Black is that aliens have been living among us for years, monitored and controlled by a secret government agency that must keep the human population unaware. New recruit Agent J joins up and learns the ropes from veteran Agent K, just in time to save the world from a brand-new threat.
    - Common Sense Media
  4. The Iron Giant (PG 1999, violence, language)
    Set in rural Maine during the late 1950s, The Iron Giant centers on 9-year-old Hogarth Hughes, who lives with his waitress mother, Annie. One night, he discovers a huge robot in the woods, munching on whatever metal it can find, including the town's electric substation. Hogarth is frightened but takes pity when the robot is enmeshed in wires and turns off the power so that the robot can escape. The robot turns out to be the world's best playmate, whether cannon-balling into the swimming hole or acting as a sort of amusement park ride. His origins remain mysterious, but his reaction to Hogarth's toy ray gun suggests that he may have served as a weapon of some kind. Local beatnik Dean McCoppin lets Hogarth hide the robot in his junkyard, but government investigator Kent Mansley thinks the giant is part of a Communist plot and presses Hogarth to turn him in. Mansley calls in the army, and suddenly the robot and the surrounding community are in real danger.
    - Common Sense Media

Completed Clubs #

Marvel vs. DC (June 5 - June 30, 2023)

**This club is recommended for teens only

  1. Wonder Woman (2017 PG-13 sexual references, language)
    Young Diana desperately wants her aunt, warrior General Antiope, to train her -- but her mother, Queen Hippolyta, forbids it. Eventually the queen relents, and Diana becomes the strongest warrior on the island, embracing the Amazons' responsibility of protecting humanity against Ares, the god of war. One day during World War I, an airplane crashes in the sea, and Diana saves the pilot -- the first man she's ever met.
    - Common Sense Media
  2. Captain Marvel (2019 PG-13 misogynistic innuendo, language)
    Captain Marvel's origin story begins as Kree warrior Vers visits Earth on a mission to stop a shape-shifting alien infiltration. She teams up with Nick Fury to save the planet from a war between two alien races. As she regains lost memories, she realizes the extent of her own powers and develops into the universe's most powerful superhero.
    - Common Sense Media
  3. Shazam! (2019 PG-13 sexual references, language)
    Troublemaking 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson gets a last-chance placement with a large, diverse foster family. One day at school, Billy protects his new foster brother, Freddy, who has a physical disability, from bullies and ends up in the secret lair of a powerful but aging wizard. Suddenly the wizard gives Billy the ability to transform into an adult superhero by saying the word "Shazam!" - Common Sense Media
  4. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021 PG-13 language)
    Shang-Chi is the son of two supernatural people: superstrong (and basically immortal) Wenwu, possessor of the Ten Rings, and Ying Li, a fellow martial arts master who hails from the secret powerful community Ta Lo and is the only rival to ever defeat Wenwu. When Shang-Chi's mother dies, Wenwu, who had given up the Ten Rings to devote himself to his family, goes back to building his criminal empire and training Shang-Chi to be the best killer/assassin and successor; he eventually escaped. Years later, Shang-Chi is trying to lead a normal life when danger comes calling.
    - Common Sense Media

Taking Flight (July 10 - Aug 4, 2023)

It's summer, time to take flight! These four movies explore the particular lure and challenges associated with taking to the sky.

  1. Top Gun: Maverick (PG-13 language) Tom Cruise reprises his role as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who's found his niche in the Navy as a test pilot, pushing the limits of new aircraft. When his friend and former rival Adm. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky reassigns Maverick to train a new group of Top Gun graduates for a special high-risk mission, he must return to Miramar. But when he learns that the class includes Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Maverick's late best friend, Goose, he must find a way to resolve the past -- for the sake of Rooster's future. —Common Sense Media
  2. Apollo 13 (PG language, smoking, sensuality) Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks plays real-life astronaut-hero Jim Lovell in this true story of the APOLLO 13 mission to the moon that almost left three astronauts stranded in space when an oxygen tank exploded. Mission Control, thousands of miles away from the stranded astronauts, must figure out a way to get the men home in one piece. —Common Sense Media
  3. Amelia (PG sensuality) July 2, 1937: Pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, make their way home after circling the world. But instead of refueling on Howland Island, a speck of land in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, they drop radio contact and are never seen again. AMELIA chronicles this fateful journey and the years leading up to it. —Common Sense Media
  4. Devotion (PG-13 war, smoking, sensuality, racial slurs) The story of how Ensign Jesse Brown, the United States' first Black naval aviator, forged a close friendship with his white wingman, Lieutenant Thomas Hudner. At first, Jesse, who's originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is apprehensive about Tom, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. But as they get to know each other, Tom proves that he's not a racist officer... In 1950, as part of the Navy's Fighter Squadron 32, they find themselves training with an F4U Corsair, a difficult-to-land plane. As they train and prepare for eventual deployment to the Korean War, the two form a trust that leads to a remarkable sacrifice in battle. —Common Sense Media

Winter/Spring Movie Clubs #

Before the club begins, line up your copies or streaming sources of the movie through your local library, Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV, or YouTube rental.

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

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.

[This page contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer® receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Clubs for Winter/Spring 2024 #

Spider, Ant, Iron, or Bat? Favorite Superheroes! (Jan 29 - Feb 23, 2024) #

Superhero fans have OPINIONS, and we are here for it. What makes for a good superhero? Which films portray their stories best? We've collected four famous "-Men" (Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Batman) to go head to head in a rousing discussion.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018 PG)
    14-year-old Miles Morales is reluctantly enrolled in an elite New York City boarding school but would rather hang out with his Brooklyn friends. After he's accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles starts to experience changes he can't explain. Retracing his steps to a mysterious underground lab, Miles discovers Peter Parker/Spider-Man trying to stop greedy crime boss Kingpin from opening a hole in the space-time continuum, which could destroy New York. (Spoiler alert!) Spider-Man is mortally wounded, but Kingpin's experiment results in another Peter Parker (this one older and more haggard) from a parallel universe showing up and bumping into Miles, who asks him for mentorship and advice. Together they encounter four more "Spider-people," including teenage Gwen Stacy, an anime-style girl from the distant future, a cartoon pig, and a black-and-white 1930s noir Spider-Man. After getting over their shock, everyone understands they must work as a team to defeat Kingpin and return to their own universes. - Common Sense Media
  • Ant-Man (2015 PG-13)
    Scott Lang is a Robin Hood-like burglar who's just been released from San Quentin prison. With few legitimate prospects and a young daughter and ex-wife to pay child support to, Scott agrees to go in on a heist with his former cell-mate, Luis, and two other pals to rob a rich old man's safe. The target turns out to be Dr. Hank Pym, who set up the robbery opportunity to recruit Scott as the new Ant-Man -- a suit-wearing superhero who can shrink down to the size of an ant and also communicate with insects to make them do his bidding. Hank and his skeptical daughter, Hope, want Scott to help them keep megalomaniacal Dr. Darren Cross from perfecting his own Ant-Man-like suit -- which he wants to sell as a military weapon to the highest bidder. - Common Sense Media
  • Iron Man (2008 PG-13)
    Brilliant billionaire industrialist/inventor Tony Stark is abducted during a weapons demonstration tour in Afghanistan. Grievously wounded by the very weapons his company manufactures, Tony is forced by his captors to build a missile; instead, he designs a high-tech suit of armor to make his escape. Returning to America, he wonders how his company's products fell into the wrong hands and vows to set things right with the help of a rebuilt, stylish new iteration of the powered exoskeleton that makes him Iron Man. - Common Sense Media
  • The Lego Batman Movie (2017 PG)
    Batman/Bruce Wayne is pretty sure he's got it made -- sweet Batcave, awesome tuxedo wardrobe, endless Bat-vehicles and gadgets. But without anyone to share it with (other than long-suffering butler/minder Alfred, of course), what does it all mean? Even Gotham City's biggest bad guy, the Joker, can't break through Batman's "I don't need anyone" defense mechanisms. Things start changing when Batman accidentally adopts earnest young orphan Dick Grayson and meets Gotham's new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon. She wants Batman to work alongside the cops, rather than as a solo vigilante. He's skeptical, but after the Joker engineers a mass breakout from the galaxy's most secure prison, the Caped Crusader may have no other choice than to finally give teamwork a try. - Common Sense Media

Monster Mash (Feb 19 - Mar 15, 2024) #

Calling all fans of the monster under the bed! ;) We don't think that fan club has many members, but we do love a good monster flick. Here are four diverse offerings that ask the essential question "Are monsters really all that bad when you get to know them?"

  • Monsters Inc. (2001 G)
    The monsters are more afraid of kids than kids are of monsters. But monsters need to collect kids' screams to fuel their world, and children are getting so hard to scare that the monsters' world is suffering from rolling blackouts. Top scarer John "Sulley" Sullivan and rival Randall Boggs work as hard as they can to break the scream-collection record. But when Randall inadvertently lets a human child into the monster world, the monsters find out what being scared is really like. - Common Sense Media
  • The Water Horse (2007 PG)
    Angus, the lonely, nature-loving son of a Scottish WWII soldier missing in combat finds an egg by the water, and it hatches into a small, mischievous, dragon-like creature. When the family's mansion is commandeered by British soldiers to establish a defense against possible German submarines in the loch, Angus hides his baby beastie with help from his older sister Kirstie and Scottish handyman Lewis, who identifies the creature as a "water horse" of Highland folklore -- a fabulous, fast-growing, androgynous lake- and sea-monster of which only one exists at a time. Now named Crusoe, the creature grows huge in just a few weeks and the heroes scramble to keep their new pet hidden. But glimpses of the monster create a stir in the area, and Angus and Krista need to think fast when Crusoe becomes the target of heavily armed British soldiers. - Common Sense Media
  • Monster House (2006 PG)
    You know that scary old house down the street? Turns out, it's a real live monster! This animated family horror movie –- yup, that's what it is -- centers around three kids who discover that a neighbor's house is actually a living, breathing monster. It all begins when DJ looks out his window at the creepy house across the street. It's old. It's run-down. And it's owned by "Old Man Nebbercracker," the meanest guy in town who loves terrorizing the neighborhood kids. And heaven forbid any toys should land on his lawn or he'll snatch 'em away forever. DJ starts keeping track of all the lost items, so much so that he becomes a bit of an outcast. Right before Halloween, DJ's parents head to a convention and leave him home with a Goth babysitter, Zee. Zee's slacker boyfriend, Bones, knows all about the house. DJ's friend, Chowder and neighbor Jenny join in the house observations. On their watch, the kids discover that Nebbercracker isn't the only thing that's creepy about the house. The house, it seems, has a life of its own. - Common Sense Media
  • Monsters vs. Aliens (2009 PG)
    Susan Murphy is about to marry one of Modesto, Calif.'s, biggest catches -- egotistical local weatherman Derek Dietl. But right before she walks down the aisle, a meteorite mysteriously endows her with intergalactic superpowers, and she suddenly shoots up to nearly 50 feet tall. The military immediately ensconces her in a secret prison; there, Susan (now known as "Ginormica") meets fellow internees BOB, a sentient blob-like mass; Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D., a mad scientist who morphed into a roach; The Missing Link, a half-man, half-fish show off; and a humongous grub called Insectosaurus. When an evil alien unleashes a destructive robot on San Francisco, the government releases the monsters to take down the massive threat to humanity. - Common Sense Media

Is the Sequel Better? (Apr 8 - May 3, 2024) #

Is it true what they say? Is the sequel always worse than the original? Let's get into it! This club has a lineup of Part Two movies that take beloved characters on fascinating new adventures. Are you Team "Sequels forever!" or Team "Stop at one"? Here's your chance to weigh in!

  • Toy Story 2 (1999 G)
    Woody is stolen by devious toy store owner Al, who recognizes Woody as a valuable collectible. With Woody to complete his full set of toys from a 1950s TV show, Al can sell the collection to a toy museum in Tokyo. Woody is delighted to discover his origin and value -- and to meet up with Woody's Roundup co-stars Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, Stinky Pete the Prospector, and faithful steed Bullseye. They tell Woody that he'll be better off in a museum than waiting for Andy to outgrow him -- and he starts to think they may be right. Meanwhile, Woody's friends organize a rescue mission led by Buzz Lightyear -- a series of hilarious and breathtaking adventures naturally ensues. - Common Sense Media
  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019 PG)
    Cheery Lego everyman Emmet is pretty much the only resident of Bricksburg who's still smiling after ongoing hostilities with mysterious invaders have turned their once colorful town into a Mad Max-style wasteland now known as Apocalypseburg. Emmet dreams of a cozy domestic future with Lucy/Wyldstyle, but she thinks he's too cheerful and unrealistic for his -- or anyone's -- own good. Then masked General Mayhem arrives, loads Lucy, Unikitty, Batman, MetalBeard the Pirate, and Benny into her ship, and makes off for the faraway Sis-tar system, where Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi reveals her plan for her special "guests." Determined to rescue his friends, Emmet sets out to find them -- but can he make it alone? And, if he does, will they even want to come back? - Common Sense Media
  • Incredibles 2 (2018 PG)
    The Parr family -- Bob/Mr. Incredible, Helen/Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, and baby Jack-Jack need to rescue the city of Metroville from its newest threat, the Underminer. But instead of being grateful for the supers' help, the Metroville authorities resent the Incredibles and their good friend Frozone for being destructive. Telecommunications CEO Winston Deaver and his tech-genius sister, Evelyn, offer the supers a chance to make themselves relevant and indispensable again. Winston convinces Elastigirl to wear a new suit outfitted with a body camera so everyone can see how much she does for the community. As Elastigirl tracks down Screenslaver, a mysterious new villain who hypnotizes people, Mr. Incredible stays home to take care of the kids: Moody Violet, who's dealing with her first broken heart; spirited Dash, who needs help with homework; and little Jack-Jack, who suddenly comes into some super-potent powers. - Common Sense Media
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011 PG)
    Po, the out-of-shape panda who was improbably tapped to become the Dragon Warrior in the original Kung Fu Panda, is now a well-trained martial arts hero who must defeat a powerful villain armed with an unstoppable secret weapon. Backed up by the Furious Five and his teacher, Master Shifu, Po realizes that to defeat the evil Lord Shen, he must uncover a long-hidden secret about his own childhood and learn to attain inner peace. - Common Sense Media

Classic Murder Mysteries (May 13 - June 7, 2024) #

**This club is recommended for teens only

Agatha Christie was a prolific mystery writer. Her books have been adapted into countless movies and television shows. This club is for fans and non-fans alike as we explore Christie's favorite trope of the "murder in a secluded location" and see why so many are fascinated by this kind of whodunnit. We've even included a popular updated spin on the Christie mystery in our lineup!

  • Murder on the Orient Express (2017 PG-13)
    Master detective Hercule Poirot has just solved a case in Jerusalem and is looking forward to a vacation. Unfortunately, he's summoned to another case in London and must board the Orient Express. A boorish passenger, Ratchett, whose business appears shady, tries to hire Poirot for protection. Next thing anyone knows, Ratchett has been murdered, and there's a whole train car full of suspects. Poirot interviews them one by one, including Ratchett's secretary, his valet, a society lady, a princess, a professor, a governess, a doctor, and a missionary. But the more Poirot learns, the less the clues seem to add up; they even seem to contradict one another. He comes to realize that this case will lead him to question everything he knows. - Common Sense Media
  • Death on the Nile (2022 PG-13)
    Renowned detective Hercule Poirot is vacationing among the affluent passengers of the S.S. Karnak, on a river cruise touring Egypt's famous river. When a fellow passenger is found murdered on board, Poirot is appointed to suss out the killer before they can strike again. - Common Sense Media
  • See How They Run (2022 PG-13)
    A 1953 West End production of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is hosting a Hollywood entourage working to adapt the play into a film. When a murder occurs backstage, a detective and his trainee work to solve it quickly, before the killer can strike again. - Common Sense Media
  • Knives Out (2019 PG-13)
    Wealthy, successful crime novelist Harlan Thrombey celebrates his 85th birthday with his family. But at the party, he argues with just about everyone over money, business, or other things. Later, he's found with his throat slit, and children Linda, Richard, Walt, Joni, and Ransom are among the suspects. Master detective Benoit Blanc is called in to solve the seemingly impossible case. The key to the mystery, Blanc realizes, lies with Marta, who was Harlan's nurse and caretaker and who has a condition that causes her to vomit whenever she tells a lie. The reading of the will sends a shockwave throughout the family, and Blanc finds his final, elusive clue when the murderer prepares to strike again. - Common Sense Media

Completed Clubs #

Brave Writer® online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind.

Class Structure Overview #

  • Class is held in a private discussion board with 20-25 other participants.
  • Class is asynchronous—you log in when it is convenient for you each day of the week at no specific time of day.
  • It is text-based—no video.
  • Student writing assignments are posted in a text box, published to the classroom, and all students are able to read student writing.
  • Class is a writing workshop format, with all coaching feedback available to be read by all families.
  • Class work, student writing, and coaching feedback can be downloaded and saved in a PDF format.

Class Length and Time #

Classes last anywhere from three 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.

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.

Private Classroom Space #

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.

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.

Safe Community #

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 dialogue 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 agree!

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.