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

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 instructors.

Johannah Bogart (who has been facilitating our book and movie clubs for the past five years) will be your guide on this journey of cinematic discovery. She first fell in love with cinema while studying French film in Paris.

Students will explore the literary and cinematic elements of film. They can expect to learn about context and technical terminology, as well as enjoy discussion that helps them build complex insights.

Sessions #

Our Movie Discussion Club is organized into the following sessions; please see the "Summer/Fall" and "Winter/Spring" tabs above for more information on each and to find out what movies we'll be watching!

  • Summer/Fall 2019
    • July 8 - Aug 2: All about Animation
    • Aug 5 - Aug 30: Marvelous Musicals
    • Sept 3 - Sept 27: Growing Up
    • Sept 30 - Oct 25: Sci-Fi Mania (Recommended for teens only)
    • Oct 28 - Nov 22: Fantasy Fans, Unite!
  • Winter/Spring 2020
    • Feb 3 - Feb 28 Discovering Documentaries
    • Mar 2 - Mar 27 Jane Austen
    • Apr 6 - May 1 Shakespeare in Film
    • May 4 - May 29 Sports Aficionados
    • June 1 - June 26 TBA

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!

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!

  • 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!

    Streaming the Movies #

    Follow our affiliate links 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.

    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, iTunes, YouTube rental, or Facets Multimedia.

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

    [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!]

    All about Animation (July 8 - Aug 2, 2019) #

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

    Calling all animation lovers! This is the club for you. Animated movies are not only entertaining to watch, they also represent a vibrant cinematic art form. This month, join Brave Writer Instructor Johannah Bogart on an exploration of four stylistically rich animated films with gripping stories that will have you chatting animatedly in Movie Club!

    Movies #

    1. Up (2009, PG) Seventy-eight-year-old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

    2. Persepolis (2007, PG-13 for violence, drug use/smoking, and language) A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution.

    3. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, PG) An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers' retaliation.

    4. The Land before Time (1988, G) An orphaned brontosaurus teams up with other young dinosaurs in order to reunite with their families in a valley.

    Marvelous Musicals! (Aug 5 - Aug 30, 2019) #

    Okay musical fans, here's the club you've been asking for. Selections range from classic musicals of the 60s and 70s up to the modern era. How has the musical evolved? And what makes this form of storytelling compelling and unique? Let's talk about it!

    Movies #

    1. The Sound of Music (1965, G) A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

    2. Les Misérables (2012, PG-13 for violence, prostitution, and suggestive lyrics) In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.

    3. West Side Story (1961, not rated) Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but can love flourish in the midst of intense friction between the warring Jets and Sharks?

    4. Dreamgirls (2006, PG-13 for drug/alcohol use and language) A trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way.

    Growing Up (Sept 3- Sept 27, 2019) #

    Awkward. Funny. Emotional. Ridiculous. Hopeful. Terrified. These are all words that characterize the feelings associated with growing up. They don't call them "growing pains" for nothing!

    Yet we love these coming-of-age stories. These four films are sure to grip your attention and have you cheering for these protagonists as they struggle to find their identities and place in the world.

    Movies #

    1. Dead Poets Society (1989, PG) An English teacher in a private boarding school sets out to teach his students to live life to the fullest, but when tragedy strikes, his approach is questioned.

    2. Children of Heaven (1997, PG) In this funny, heartwarming Iranian tale, a boy must go on a grand adventure after losing his sister's only pair of shoes.

    3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012, PG-13) The gripping story of two 12-year-olds who run away together and the search party from their peaceful New England community that sets out to find them.

    4. The Sandlot (1993, PG) A young boy new in town tries to adjust to life with new friends and a new stepdad. His summer quest: to conquer the sandlot and learn how to play baseball.

    Sci-Fi Mania (Sept 30-Oct 25, 2019) #

    Note: Due to mature content in some of these films, please review them carefully to ensure appropriateness for your family before enrolling your student. We recommend this particular movie club for teens.

    Here's the movie club for all you adventure lovers. Dystopian societies reign here as our characters try to survive in the most difficult of circumstances. These movies help us see potential futures and to question our present day actions as we seek to craft a better outcome for our society. What great fodder for discussion!

    Movies #

    1. The Hunger Games (2012, PG-13) In this dystopian tale, Katniss Everdeen is forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition where winning is a question of life or death.

    2. WALL-E (2008, G) Proving you don't need dialogue to captivate an audience, this movie features a robot designed to clean up a polluted Earth. In an unexpected twist, WALL-E must embark a space adventure that will decide mankind's fate.

    3. The Giver (2014, PG-13) A young man who lives in a seemingly perfect community, one without suffering, learns his community's dark and deadly truths.

    4. Divergent (2014, PG-13) Tris lives in a world divided into factions based on a group's human virtues. Tris doesn't fit neatly into any category in her world, however, since she is one of those labeled Divergent. And Divergents, Tris soon learns, are dangerous.

    Fantasy Fans, Unite! (Oct 28-Nov 22, 2019) #

    If you love fantasy, you probably can't get enough of it. You're sad when a favorite book series ends, and you cheer when the movie version comes out (only if the movie promises to live up to the delight of the book, that is!).

    We've chosen four unique fantasy tales to discuss in this club. How does magic work? What do the fantastical beings bring to the story? How similar is the world to the one we inhabit? Is the story believable? These are some of the questions you'll discuss as you explore these films.

    Movies #

    1. Frozen (2013, PG) Queen Elsa, the young newly-crowned monarch, must leave her home when she accidentally uses her power to turn the country into ice. Her optimistic sister Anna teams up with mountain man Kristoff and his adorable reindeer Sven on a quest to bring Elsa home.

    2. Alice in Wonderland (1951, G, animated Disney version) Alice falls down the rabbit hole and stumbles into the world of Wonderland. In this topsy-turvy land full of curious creatures and mad monarchs, Alice will have to keep her wits about her if she wants to find her way home.

    3. The Princess Bride (1987, PG) When a grandfather opens a yellowed book called The Princess Bride and begins to read, his ill grandson fears it will be a story about true love—blech. But this adventure story includes pirates, giants, torture, fighting, and fantastical creatures. Oh, and true love, too.

    4. How to Train Your Dragon (2010, PG) A young Viking chooses an unlikely course when he befriends one of the creatures most feared in his village, a dragon. While humans and dragons are usually mortal enemies instead of buddies, this duo must pair up to save both their worlds.


    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.

    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, YouTube rental, or Facets Multimedia.

    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!]

    Discovering Documentaries (Feb 3 - Feb 28, 2020) #

    We've chosen some powerhouse documentaries that are sure to provide fodder for rich discussion in this movie club. The documentary format, when done well, isn't stilted or boring. On the contrary, watching actual events unfold—captured through the lens of a talented director—transport you into the world of the story unlike any other film genre.

    Travel back in time or reflect on issues of today with these fabulous films. Your students will definitely have an opinion to share about what they see!

    Movies #

    1. When We Were Kings (1997, PG) This documentary captures the famous "Rumble in the Jungle," the World Boxing Championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Set in the former African country of Zaire, the film explores not only the world of boxing, but also the racial policies and political implications of the event, all while documenting the growing influence of Muhammad Ali as a celebrity figure.
    2. Man on Wire (2008, PG-13) Tightrope walker Philippe Petit dreamed of doing something daring and illegal. In 1974, he achieved his goal by walking between the World Trade Center towers on a high wire rigged between the two buildings. Follow this story to discover the careful planning, intense practice, subterfuge, and teamwork needed to achieve this incredible feat.
    3. Food, Inc (2009, PG) You'll never look at your food the same way again after watching this documentary. This hard-hitting expose aims to show how the rise of fast food has changed farming, the food industry, and even the way we eat. Special note: disturbing scenes of factory farms and slaughterhouses, while an important part of the story, may be difficult for sensitive viewers to watch.
    4. 20 Feet from Stardom (2014, PG-13) We love it when a documentary shines a light on a previously unknown part of society. Go behind the scenes to meet the background singers whose commitment to making good music have resulted in fame for the greats of rock and roll, all while these singers have remained mostly anonymous. Meet them now in this compelling documentary.

    Jane Austen (Mar 2 - Mar 27, 2020) #

    Jane Austen wrote only six major novels which have resulted in over 20 film adaptations. Why so many? Because the stories are not only riveting when situated in their historical context, but they also lend themselves to fascinating modern interpretations!

    Whether they've read the book or not, your students will love watching and discussing these movies. We bet they'll become ones you return to again and again in your family. In fact, you may want to plan on watching these movies with your students this month. Bring the popcorn (and maybe the tissues).

    Movies #

    1. Pride and Prejudice (2005 version, PG) Austen's most famous novel features the unforgettable Elizabeth Bennet, a self-directed and stubborn member of a family full of daughters needing to marry for money. Elizabeth will do anything to support her family, but she'd also like to marry for love. Enter Mr. Darcy, the vexing man whom Elizabeth initially despises. Will she overcome her prejudice to see Mr. Darcy's finer qualities?
    2. Bride and Prejudice (2005, PG-13) One of several modern adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, this Bollywood-style musical romance will delight you with vivid colors and sparkling choreography. Follow Lalita, the second oldest daughter of a well-to-do Indian family, who meets Darcy, an American having trouble adjusting to his new cultural setting. Notice how their romance unfolds and be sure to compare it to the movie you just watched in the previous week!
    3. Emma (1996, PG) This sweet-natured period piece is one of our favorite Austen films. Emma Woodhouse thinks she knows all about romance. Having played the role of matchmaker successfully in the past, she turns her attention to her new friend Harriet. Although she intends Harriet to marry Reverend Elton, problems ensue, and she may find that she isn't as knowledgeable in the ways of love as she believes.
    4. Clueless (1995, PG-13: sex and drug references) The setting is modern-day Beverly Hills where the wealthy Cher sees herself as the queen of matchmakers. This contemporary Emma targets the new girl at her high school and tries to fix her up with the perfect guy (with disastrous results, of course).

    Shakespeare in Film (Apr 6 - May 1, 2020) #

    It's often been said that Shakespeare is best experienced "on its feet." We agree. Reading a play and analyzing the language, themes, and characters is a valuable exercise, but nothing helps us see Shakespeare's genius like watching a live staging or film version of his plays.

    Declare this the month of "movie school" and dive in with your student to watch these films. We've got movies that stay true to the Bard's original text and ones that provide a modern interpretation. You'll have fun deciding which ones you prefer!

    Movies #

    1. She's the Man (2006, PG-13) A modern spin on Twelfth Night, this film features a girl determined to prove she's just as good as the boys on the soccer field. Viola disguises herself as her twin brother (who is conveniently away on vacation) and joins the boys' team. Misunderstandings ensue as Viola must layer deception upon deception to carry out her plan.
    2. Much Ado About Nothing (1993 version, PG-13: brief nudity) Don Pedro is bringing his group of weary soldiers for some rest and relaxation at the villa of the welcoming Leonato, governor of Messina. Leonato's daughter, Hero, is destined to marry the prince, but she'd much rather have the handsome soldier Claudio. Her cousin Beatrice isn't marrying anyone any time soon, especially Benedict. That pair engages in a merry war of words as the rest of the company wonders if they can be persuaded to fall for each other.
    3. Love's Labour's Lost (2002 version, PG). The King of Navarre pledges, along with three of his noblemen, to avoid women and romance for three years. This plan is put to the test with the arrival of a French princess and her three handmaidens. This production is framed in the style of a glamorous and fun 1930s-style musical. Who doesn't love a little Shakespeare and a musical number?
    4. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, PG-13: sex references) Bianca longs for a social life, but her father has declared that her older sister, Kat, must start dating first. The problem is, Kat is unpopular and rebellious. Her strong, individualistic feminism doesn't lend itself to the idea of "finding a man." Set in modern-day Tacoma, Washington, this twist on Taming the Shrew will undoubtedly leave you rooting for that feisty Kat!

    Sports Aficionados (May 4 - May 29, 2020) #

    The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. Sports stories have captured our imagination for generations. Even if you don't consider yourself a sports fan, you'll love these films. There's something about the quest for sporting excellence that tugs at our hearts. Intense competiton, deep inner struggle, and a need for perseverance in the face of adversity—these characters are putting it all on the line. Pass the popcorn! We're ready to dive in.

    Movies #

    1. Free Solo (2018, PG-13) This film created a lot of buzz when it was released, and for good reason. It's a documentary about Alex Honnold, a rock climber who is one of a tiny percentage of humans who can free solo—scale mountains or cliffs without any kind of rope or safety gear. Alex has set his sights on the daunting El Capitan, the 3,000-foot rock face in Yosemite, California. He aims to be the first person to free solo this climb. The team documenting his journey is concerned—will they film their friend falling to his death on this climb? The high stakes of this quest make for compelling viewing.
    2. Invictus (2009, PG-13) This is the story of how newly elected President Nelson Mandela became a supporter of the South African national rugby team. This support was controversial since the rugby team was made up of nearly all Afrikaans players and was considered a bastion of apartheid. Mandela lobbied to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup anyway, and managed to help his country begin to bond over the sport.
    3. Rocky (1976, PG) An Academy Award winner for Best Picture, this film tells the story of Rocky Balboa, a sweet-natured (if not overly bright) boxer and small-time enforcer for a local loan-shark. When a heavyweight champ's upcoming fight is cancelled, promoters decide to give an unknown a shot at the title, and Rocky is chosen. This is a classic underdog boxing tale that includes plenty of boxing violence.
    4. Bend It Like Beckham (2003, PG-13) Here's a sweet story that will capture your heart. Jess is the obedient daughter of tradition-minded parents who see her future as one that includes law school and marriage to an Indian husband. Jess really just wants to play soccer as well as her hero, David Beckham. Just as her parents are urging her to give up soccer and "get serious," Jess gets the opportunity to take her playing to the next level. Will she be allowed to follow her dream?

    To Be Announced (June 1 - June 26, 2020) #


    Movies #

    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 agree!

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