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 winter/spring! #

[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!]

  • Jan 4 - Jan 29 Marvel's Greatest Hits
  • Feb 1 - Feb 26 Food, Fabulous Food
  • Mar 1 - Mar 26 Outer Space
  • Mar 29 - Apr 23 Magical Worlds
  • Apr 26 - May 21 Animal Encounters
  • May 23 - June 18 Music

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 Note: 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.

Check back in late March to see our 2021 offerings. Here's what we watched in 2020: #

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!]

Video Games (Nov 2 - Dec 1, 2020) #

Calling all gamers! This is the movie discussion club you've been waiting for. From movies taking place in a video game to movies based on popular real-life games, we've got you covered. In this club, we'll talk about how easy (or difficult!) it is to make a movie based on a video game, how believable the characters are, and why we can't tear our eyes away from the spectacular action scenes. Game on!

Movies

  1. Tron Legacy (2010, PG) The virtual world created in the first Tron movie gets a revisit 25 years later as a tech-savvy son enters the computerized universe to reunite with his dad. Join them as they fight their way out of cyberspace.

  2. Wreck It Ralph (2012, PG) Ralph is an unlikely hero. After 30 years playing the villain in an arcade game, he's ready to prove he's a good guy. This movie has all the elements of a hero's quest, set in the land of outrageous visuals, kooky sound effects, and all the zaniness we associate with our favorite arcade games.

  3. Tomb Raider (2018, PG-13) Based on the hit video game series, Tomb Raider, this film is a loud, action-packed experience. Here's your chance to discuss how well movie makers can translate video game characters like Lara Croft to film, giving them enough depth to help you want to follow their movie story without taking away what makes the character fun to play in a game.

  4. Rampage (2018, PG-13) It was inevitable that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would end up in a video game movie at some point. This is the moment! Loosely based on a classic 1980s arcade game, Rampage follows a scientist (a primatologist, in fact) as he races to secure an antidote to save the ape that was once his friend as the creature suffers the ill effects of a genetic experiment gone awry.

Completed Clubs #

Superheroes (Sept 8 - Oct 9, 2020) #

We did a deep dive into villains this summer. Now the superheroes take the spotlight! Superhero films are churned out every year, and popular heroes have multiple sequels on the big screen across decades. Why can't we get enough of these movies? What makes this genre so captivating? And what super power would you choose if you got to have just one? ;) Let's talk about it.

Movies

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, PG) This animated twist on the traditional Spider-Man story introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as the latest to be bitten by the radioactive spider. How will Miles react to his newfound abilities? Buckle your seat belts for this ride as you encounter multiple Spider-Men—ahem, make that Spider-People—and parallel universes.
  2. The Mask of Zorro (1998, PG-13) Zorro established his heroic reputation defending peasants and commoners during the Mexican War of Independence, but he has since fallen on hard times after the murder of his wife and kidnapping of his daughter. Zorro now has a chance to set things right, and takes on a new protégé to fight against the current oppressor, the man who kidnapped his daughter.
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, PG-13) Marvel's sci-fi adventure has a new take on the idea of the superhero. First, these characters are in space. Also, their personalities and life choices aren't all that "super" at times. But you'll laugh and enjoy the journey with this band of misfit outlaws as they embark on a quest to save the universe.
  4. Big Hero 6 (2015, PG) A boy genius and his robot companion team up to save their city. And, we promise, you've never seen a cuter robot. Designed to be a cuddly "personal health companion," Baymax joins his creator Hiro and friends to find the masked villain plotting to use the robots for evil purposes.

Villains (July 6 - July 31, 2020) #

Have you ever found yourself rooting for the bad guy? Then this is the movie club for you! Let's see things from the villains' point of view and dig into what makes these characters tick. Join us for four movies that take the traditional notion of the villain and turn it on its head.

Movies

1. Despicable Me (2010, PG) A criminal mastermind hatches an evil plan and ropes in three orphans to act as pawns for his scheme. It turns out that even a criminal mastermind is no match for the transformative love of a child. Curse those adorable tots!

2. Monsters, Inc. (2001, G) We all know to be afraid of the bogeyman hiding in the closet. But what if that monster is just punching his timecard, doing his job like anyone else? Join young Boo as she wanders into the world of Monstropolis where the monsters work hard to perfect their scare skills.

3. Shrek (2001, PG) Here's an ogre who just wants to be left alone in his beloved swamp. Shrek is forced to take steps when an unpleasant lord exiles all the fairytale creatures who then take up residence around him. Join the ogre with a quest and his sidekick donkey on an adventure like no other.

4. Despicable Me 2 (2013, PG) Gru is back, transformed from super villain to super dad. He must now put his inventing genius to work for good as he takes on his new role as secret agent in the Anti-Villain league.

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 2021 #

Marvel's Greatest Hits (Jan 4 - Jan 29, 2021) #

We talked about The Avengers series in 2020. Now it's time to check in with the individuals. Let's discuss some of our favorite films. Are these stories better than The Avengers? Do they deserve as much attention? More? We know you have opinions about how the special effects evolved over time, how the characters evolve, and how well the directors succeeded in their mission to tell such a range of stories. Join us for the ultimate Marvel binge watch!

Movies

  1. Iron Man (2008 PG-13) Multi-millionaire and arms dealer Tony Stark is caused to re-evaluate his life choices when he is captured and nearly killed in enemy territory. The inventor creates a life-saving device to keep his body alive—oh, and also a pretty spectacular suit of armor. Is wise-cracking Iron Man "save the world" material?
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2104 PG-13) Captain America already had to adjust to life in the new century after spending time in World War II being experimented on and then frozen for decades. But that was the last movie. Now he's navigating confusing orders from a new organization (S.H.I.E.L.D.), rumors of evil HYDRA infiltrating that organization, and the existence of a mysterious Winter Soldier who doesn't wish him well. All in a day's work, Cap.
  3. Thor: Ragnarok (2017 PG-13) For arguably the most comical installment of the Thor films, director Taika Waititi sends Thor out of his element, away from Asgard and his source of power. The son of Odin discovers life-changing truths about Asgard and the true threat to its continued existence. He recruits friends both new and old for an epic confrontation against the most powerful forces he's ever faced.
  4. Black Panther (2018 PG-13) This story centers on a hidden land deep in Africa (Wakanda) and a mysterious substance that extends special power to the inhabitants there. The leader, King T'Challa, must inhabit his alter ego, Black Panther, to save his homeland when he encounters an old foe.

Food, Fabulous Food (Feb 1 - Feb 26, 2021) #

Your kids will be so excited about movies, they'll hardly notice they are writing! We eat food every day but do we really understand it? In any given moment, a meal is our heritage, our way of connecting to others, and our most basic need. This month, Brave Writer Instructor Johannah Bogart invites us to eat our way around the world. From the great chefs in Paris to bloggers in tiny kitchens, we are getting up close and personal with food: what makes it fancy, what makes it cultural, and most importantly, what makes it delicious.

Movies

  1. Ratatouille (2007, G) A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant. Join us for this unforgettable story of an unlikely chef with a dream and those who support him despite their initial prejudices and misgivings.
  2. The Lunchbox (originally DABBA, Hindi, 2014, PG) Mumbai’s dabbawallahs are a community of 5,000 lunch box deliverymen. Harvard University analyzed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This film is the story of that one lunchbox. A charming romance, a sociological look at the dabbawallahs, and a mouth-watering tour of Maharashtrian cuisine.
  3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011, PG) A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu. If you've ever suspected food is in fact an art form and were curious to get a peek behind the scenes of those seeking food perfection, this is the film for you.
  4. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994, not rated) A film about love, life, and family. Taiwan's most famous chef, Master Chef Chu, is semi-retired and lives at home with his three unmarried daughters. This tale of a father having difficulty letting his daughters find love is told through the lens of family dinners and gorgeous food preparation scenes. A visual delight.

Outer Space (Mar 1 - Mar 26, 2021) #

What is life like out there, beyond the reaches of our galaxy? This is a question many directors have attempted to answer ever since the movie industry began. In this class, we'll explore the first and last films of one of the largest space sagas (Star Wars). Spoiler alert! In between, we'll detour into two completely different worlds full of mystery, space exploration, alien antagonists, and some 70s rock n roll. ;)


Movies

  1. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977, PG) This is the original movie that sparked an attention-grabbing series that spans decades and movie makers have been imitating it ever since. Follow farm boy Luke Skywalker on his journey from Tatooine to engage in an intergalactic civil war.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, PG-13) Marvel's sci-fi adventure has a new take on the idea of the superhero. First, these characters are in space. Also, their personalities and life choices aren't all that "super" at times. But you'll laugh and enjoy the journey with this band of misfit outlaws as they embark on a quest to save the universe.
  3. Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013, PG-13) Captain James T. Kirk is in a familiar state—in trouble for breaking the rules. ;) The idea of the "crew" is central to every story, and watching Sulu, Uhura, Bones, Chekov (and who can forget Spock?) bring their unique talents into play as they battle the villain is a thrill.
  4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019, PG-13) Spoiler alert! The last film in the series. Ah, what a satisfying journey. Full of exciting scenes, tense relationships, themes that extend across films, and—let's be honest—some film making flaws. Let's discuss it all!

Magical Worlds (Mar 29 - Apr 23, 2021) #

Here's the movie discussion club for those who enjoy superb animation and fantastical tales. The magical system varies from film to film here, but you'll see and discuss common threads as you explore worlds unlike any you've experienced before.


Movies

  1. The Princess and the Frog (2009, G) Tiana is a girl who grew up loving fairy tales but not believing in the power of magical wishes. Opting for hard work as the path to success, Tiana dreams of one day opening the finest restaurant in New Orleans. Her dream takes a slight detour when she meets Prince Naveen, who has been turned into an amphibian by evil Dr. Facilier. In a reverse twist of the traditional tale, there's a kiss, but the wrong person is transformed. Now the pair of frogs must hop along on an adventure through the bayou to seek the help of a powerful voodoo priestess.
  2. Moana (2016, PG) Moana is in training to become the leader of her village. While Moana's people used to be seafarers, a tragic accident has resulted in a ban on all sea travel. And yet, Moana yearns to explore. When an illness overtakes her island and threatens to destroy the villagers' way of life, Moana breaks the confines of her life on shore to seek out a cure.
  3. Brave (2012, PG) Merida is the free-spirited and courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus and Queen Elinor. This is a girl who shuns traditional female roles, preferring archery, adventure, and carving out her own path in life. Her defiance of an age-old tradition angers the Highland lords and leads to chaos in the kingdom.
  4. Coco (2017, PG) Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. He tries to prove his talent but ends up transported to the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. Can he make his way back and unlock the mystery hidden in his family history?

Animal Encounters (Apr 26 - May 21, 2021) #

As long as we have told stories, we have told stories about animals. We delight in animal adventures, all the more so because the trials and tribulations of our animal heroes seem to mimic our own struggles. Somehow, they also teach us how to be better humans. Join us in this exploration of four classic animal tales.


Movies

  1. Life of Pi (2012, PG) A boy and a tiger stuck on a small boat. What could possibly go wrong? That's the premise of the lush tale told in the novel Life of Pi. The movie adaptation follows the travails of Pi who struggles to survive at sea on a lifeboat. Pi is not alone; a fearsome Bengal tiger has also found refuge aboard the lifeboat. As days turn into weeks and weeks drag into months, Pi and the tiger must learn to trust each other if both are to survive.
  2. Madagascar (2005, PG) The animals at the Central Park Zoo are comfortable in their life of luxury where food is plentiful and visitors adore them. A yen to explore the world leads to a zoo escape and a trip halfway around the world. Will these animals survive in the wild?
  3. Jane (2018, PG) An intimate and exclusive documentary about Jane Goodall, featuring restored footage from the National Geographic Archives that has not been seen in 50 years.
  4. Whale Rider (2013, PG-13) Whale Rider reveals the struggle between Koro, the old chief of the community, and Pai, his young and determined granddaughter. The stern and traditional grandfather tirelessly searches for his successor among the young boys of his village. Although none of the boys live up to his expectations, Koro refuses to accept that a girl, his own granddaughter, may in fact be the most capable new leader.

Music (May 23 - June 18, 2021) #

Okay music fans, here's the club you've been asking for. From early rock n roll to music under the sea, we've got a little something for everyone. Join this club to discuss how music is almost a character in these stories, moving the narrative forward in its unique way. And enjoy some good tunes while you're there. :)

Movies

  1. La Bamba (1987 PG-13) Based on the true story of rock-n-roll musician Ritchie Valens. The Los Angeles teenager becomes an overnight rock 'n' roll success in 1958. But as his star rises, Valens has to resolve family conflicts and navigate a sane path to fame.
  2. That Thing You Do (1996, PG) A young band from a small town produces a hit, and the big question of the movie becomes "Can they make it big or will they be a one-hit wonder?" Follow the hilarious and poignant story of four men and their manager as they travel across the country performing with fellow artists and try to survive life on the road.
  3. The Little Mermaid (1998, G) Young Ariel has a beautiful voice and a splendid life under the sea with her father Poseidon and lots of sisters. The problem: she yearns to meet the people who live on land, much to the dismay of her father who knows men only as killers of fish. She trades her voice to Ursula the sea witch for a chance to meet Prince Eric on land, and must get him to fall in love with her or be cursed to a half-life under Ursula's power.
  4. A Monster in Paris (2011, PG) A wonderful animated tale set in Paris. Raoul and Emile accidentally release a monster from an eccentric scientist's greenhouse and vow to track it down. They soon realize that the beast may not be as menacing as it appears and try to save it from a corrupt police chief.

Streaming the Movies #

Follow our affiliate links to Amazon or look for these movies in your local library system or online through Hulu, Netflix, or AppleTV.

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.