Food, Glorious Food #

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. 

Johannah will facilitate the class, guiding students to explore the literary and cinematic elements of film. She'll bring context, technical terminolgy, and feedback to the discussion so that students come out with complex insights and the language to share them. 

Viewing Schedule

  • We’ll watch one movie per week.
  • We’ll chat about the movie in our online classroom (log in when it’s convenient in your time zone).
  • We will talk about the films as explorations of character and theme and as works of cinematic art.
  • The best thing? We’ll be so excited about the movies, we’ll hardly notice we are writing!

  • Participants in our Movie Discussion Club will develop skills that transfer to the study of literature or any textual or visual analysis. Take advantage of this pleasurable way to expand your child's writing and thinking skills. And remember the popcorn!

    Be sure to tell your kids: There are no essays or writing assignments in this club. They will write, naturally, as they post their thoughts and responses in our online classroom. But since none of their writing will be revised, polished, or graded, your kids will have the chance to explore their thinking using written language, without the pressure to "perform." 

    Later, when students write essays in other classes or at home, they will find they have greater access to their thoughts and ideas; they'll associate sharing their opinions in writing with ease, delight, flying in a cat bus, and running on water!


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

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

    1. Ratatouille (2007, G) A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant.

    2. Chef's Table (2015) We will watch two episodes of this show that highlights chefs around the world. 

    3. Julie and Julia (2009, PG-13 for profanity) Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book.

    4. 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. 

    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. 

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

    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!