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 summer! #

June 27 - July 22 Musical Mayhem

  • Moana
  • Hairspray (2007 version)
  • Annie (1982 version)
  • Into the Woods (1991 version)

August 15 - September 9 Tim Burton Fans, Unite!

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Frankenweenie
  • Alice in Wonderland

And you'll love our clubs for fall! #

September 5 - September 30 Passionate about Pets

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • How to Train Your Dragon

October 3 - October 28 Dystopian Worlds
**This club is recommended for teens only

  • The Maze Runner
  • The Hunger Games
  • Divergent
  • The Giver

November 14 - December 9 Disney+ Deep Dive
**These films are available with a Disney+ subscription

  • Encanto
  • Turning Red
  • Luca
  • Onward

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 2022 #

Musical Mayhem (Jun 27 - Jul 22, 2022)
#

Who's ready for a musical? We're always ready! There's something about stories set to song that enchants. Let's do a deep dive this summer!

Note: Musical productions abound! Be sure to check the links to ensure you're watching the correct version.

  1. Moana (2016 PG) In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek out the Demigod to set things right.

  2. Hairspray (2007 PG) Teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

  3. Annie (1982 PG) A spunky young orphan is taken in by a rich eccentric, much to the chagrin of the cantankerous woman who runs the orphanage.

  4. Into the Woods (1991, stage version) A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

Tim Burton Fans, Unite! (Aug 15 - Sept 9, 2022)
#

Tim Burton is a director with a particular style. From somber color tones to offbeat humor to whimsical (and somewhat creepy) storylines, Tim Burton films stand apart. We'll go deep into his methods as we examine four fabulous films. Join us!

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 PG) Based on the novel by Roald Dahl. This fantastical tale follows a boy who wins a tour of a magical chocolate factory.

  2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993 PG) Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion.

  3. Frankenweenie (2012 PG) When a boy's beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.

  4. Alice in Wonderland (2010 PG) Nineteen-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

Clubs for Fall 2022 #

Passionate about Pets (Sept 5 - Sept 30, 2022)
#

Animal movies tug at our heartstrings while they make us laugh—much as our beloved pets do every day. What do moviemakers have to consider when telling a story with animal protagonists? Let's talk about it!

  1. The Secret Life of Pets (2016 PG) The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes. Find out what your pets do when you’re not at home.
  2. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993 G) A fun-loving American bulldog pup, a hilarious Himalayan cat, and a wise old golden retriever embark on a long trek through the rugged wilderness of the Sierra Nevada mountains in a quest to reach home and their beloved owners.
  3. Lilo and Stitch (2002 PG) A young and parentless girl adopts a 'dog' from the local pound, completely unaware that it's supposedly a dangerous scientific experiment that's taken refuge on Earth and is now hiding from its creator and those who see it as a menace.
  4. How to Train Your Dragon (2010 PG) Hiccup, a young Viking, defies tradition and befriends his deadliest foe—a ferocious dragon he calls Toothless. Together, they fight against the odds to save their worlds in this feel-good hit.

Dystopian Worlds (Oct 3 - Oct 28, 2022) #

**This club is recommended for teens only

Based on best-selling novels, these movies pull us into imaginary worlds we'd never want to inhabit. We root for these unlikely heroes even as we are grateful not to be in their shoes. Who's ready to delve into the dystopian genre?

  1. The Maze Runner (2014 PG-13) Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.
  2. The Hunger Games (2012 PG-13) Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.
  3. Divergent (2014 PG-13) In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.
  4. The Giver (2014 PG-13) In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.

Disney+ Deep Dive (Nov 14 - Dec 9, 2022) #

**Unlinked films are available with a Disney+ subscription only

These coming-of-age stories are told in the way only Disney and Pixar can do it. If you love your Disney+ subscription, you won't want to miss this club!

  1. Encanto (2021 PG) This movie tells the tale of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family living in a magical house in the Colombian mountains. But when Mirabel, the only ordinary family member, discovers the magic surrounding their home is in danger, she may be her family’s last hope.
  2. Turning Red (2022 PG) The typical difficulties of becoming a teen are the least of 13-year-old Meilin's problems. Her big concern: she turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.
  3. Luca (2021 PG) Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, this is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares these adventures with his friend, Alberto, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world below the water’s surface.
  4. Onward (2020 PG) Even a fantastical world has its share of everyday problems. Two elven brothers must put aside their sibling rivalry to embark on a quest to bring their father back for one day.


#

Winter/Spring Movie Clubs #

We'll announce clubs for 2023 in mid-October. Check out what we watched in 2022 below!

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 2022 #

Animated vs. Live-Action (Jan 3 - Jan 28, 2022)
#

  1. 101 Dalmatians (animated) (1961 G) The beloved animated masterpiece 101 Dalmatians is a spot-on, fun-filled and thrilling adventure. Join a heroic cast of irresistible tail-wagging characters as they embark on a dramatic quest to rescue Pongo and Perdita's puppies from Cruella De Vil, a fabulously outrageous villainess.

  2. 101 Dalmatians (live-action) (1996 G) Live action remake of the animated Disney classic.

  3. Aladdin (animated) (1992 G) Climb aboard the magic carpet in Disney’s animated masterpiece Aladdin, now part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Experience the timeless tale featuring Academy Award®-winning music (1992: Best Original Song, Best Original Score), nonstop action and unforgettable characters. Let Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie show you a whole new world!

  4. Aladdin (live-action) (2019 PG) From Disney comes the thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of the animated classic Aladdin, the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous, self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future.

    Musicals (Jan 31 - Feb 25, 2022) #

    1. Pocahontas (1995 G) A musical version of the story of the legendary Indian princess.

    2. Les Misérables (2012 version PG-13) The critically acclaimed adaptation of the epic musical phenomenon that is a timeless testament to the human spirit.

    3. In the Heights (2021 PG-13) Hamilton creator and Crazy Rich Asians director invite you to where streets are made of music and little dreams become big, as a bodega owner hopes and sings about a better life.

    4. The Greatest Showman (2017 PG) Hugh Jackman stars in this bold and original musical — inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum — celebrating the birth of show business and dreams coming to life.

    Pixar through the Ages (Feb 28 - Mar 25, 2022)
    #

    1. Toy Story (1995 G) Woody, a cowboy doll, is Andy's favorite. But when Buzz Lightyear arrives the space hero takes Andy's room by storm! Their rivalry leaves them lost and in a nightmare with Sid, a toy-torturing boy next door. To escape they need to work together.

    2. Finding Nemo (2003 G) Nemo, a young clownfish is captured and taken to a dentist's office aquarium. It's up to Marlin, his father, and Dory, a friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish, to make the epic journey to bring Nemo home from Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    3. Coco (2017 PG) A boy who dreams of becoming a great musician embarks on a journey to uncover the mysteries behind his ancestor's stories and traditions.

    4. Luca (2021 PG) Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares these adventures with his friend, Alberto, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world below the water’s surface.

    International Film Festival (Mar 28 - Apr 22, 2022)
    #

    1. Wadjda (2013 PG) The story of a fun-loving 10-year old girl determined to turn her dreams into reality. A groundbreaking film that is hilarious, heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.

    2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000 PG-13) An epic set against the breathtaking landscapes of ancient China, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon combines the exhilarating martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo-Ping (The Matrix) with the sensitivity and classical storytelling of an Ang Lee film. The result is something truly unexpected: romantic, emotionally powerful entertainment.

    3. The Red Balloon (1956 G) Albert Lamorisse's exquisite The Red Balloon remains one of the most beloved children's films of all time. In this deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale, a young boy discovers a stray balloon, which seems to have a mind of its own, on the streets of Paris. The two become inseparable, yet the world's harsh realities finally interfere.

    4. Kirikou and the Sorceress (2000 G) This animated film exquisitely recounts the tale of tiny Kirikou, born in an African village on which Karaba the Sorceress has placed a terrible curse.

    The 90s (Apr 25 - May 20, 2022)
    #

    1. Stuart Little (1999 PG) E.B. White's family classic about the mouse who came to supper...and stayed.

    2. Anastasia (1997 G) A young girl heads from Russia to Paris, hoping to learn if she really is the long lost princess Anastasia, only to find unexpected love complicating matters of identity.

    3. The Sandlot (1993 PG) During a summer of friendship and adventure, one boy becomes a part of the gang, nine boys become a team and their leader becomes a legend by confronting the terrifying mystery beyond the right field wall.

    4. Space Jam (1996 PG) Basketball superstar Michael Jordan and cartoon favorite Bugs Bunny team up with other basketball greats and Looney Tunes characters in this combination animated/live-action feature.

    Everything Tolkien (May 23 - June 17, 2022) #

    1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012 PG-13) The adventure follows Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim Erebor with the help of Gandalf the Grey and 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield.

    2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013 PG-13) In the company of thirteen dwarves and the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo enters the Lonely Mountain in possession of Gollum's "precious" ring and his keen blade, Sting.

    3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014 PG-13) The epic conclusion to the adventure of Bilbo Baggins, who joins the Wizard Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and his company of Dwarves, in the clash of the Battle of the Five Armies.

    4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001 PG-13) In the first part, The Lord of the Rings, a shy young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a simple gold ring that holds the secret to the survival—or enslavement—of the entire world.

    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 agree!

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