Our kids are watching movies. Of course, they’re not wasting time. They’re busy learning. But will the education authorities agree when it comes to homeschool registration time? How do we turn movies into acceptable homeschool records notes?
This is how I do it:
Label the Movie with a School Subject.
Some movies appear to be more ‘educational’ than others. Pride and Prejudice is definitely English. This is easy to see. It could also be History. And how about Creative Arts? We could discuss the movie setting, the casting, how the movie was adapted from the novel. What about fashions and architecture? Could we also label it PDHPE (Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education.) The book contains a wealth of things to ponder: the role of women, marriage and love, virtues and values, class and wealth. Maybe Pride and Prejudice is Geography as well. I’ve only quickly touched on some possibilities. I bet there are endless notes we could make after watching this movie.
But what about movies such as Finding Nemo or Frozen? Even though I think everything is ‘educational’, surely those in authority aren’t going to accept these animated movies as ‘school work’? Or will they? My husband Andy is a school teacher and I’ve been watching over his shoulder. I’ve observed the movies he borrows from our family’s collection to share with his class. And Finding Nemo and similar movies are indeed used in schools as part of the curriculum.
So Finding Nemo can be ‘school work’. (Don’t you hate those words? My girls refuse to say them!) It’s Science and PDHPE. It’s also English, Geography, and Creative Arts. How did I work this out? I guess I’ve got used to classifying movies, but if you’re not so confident at doing this, I have a suggestion:
Consult a Study Guide
If you google the movie title and the words ‘study guide’, you might end up on a website such as Film Education. That’s how I found a study guide for Finding Nemo. (There’s also one for Pride and Prejudice if you need it.) The Finding Nemo guide gives us the Key Learning Areas or school subjects that this movie might cover. Easy! The Shmoops website also has a movie section. Of course, you might not be able to find a study guide for every movie you watch, but after reading a few of the available study guides, you’ll get the idea. It won’t be difficult to work things out for any movie.
Find the Themes of the Movie
Next, I make a list of the themes of each movie. How do I find these? Usually, they emerge as my children and I are discussing the movie. But if you don’t discover the main ideas this way, you could take a look at a study guide to see what themes someone else has assigned to the movie. Or you might like to google the movie title and the word ‘themes’. Here’s an article I found after googling ‘Frozen themes’: Deep Freeze: Themes in Frozen. Of course, you might disagree with certain people’s analysis, but their words might be a starting point.
List Any Topics That Were Discussed After Watching the Movie
In our house, a movie generates all kinds of interesting conversations. Yes, we might ponder the movie themes, but it’s just as likely we’ll talk about something completely different. One thought leads to another, taking us far and wide from the original idea. Don’t you love how that happens?
Note Down Any Additional Articles, Links, Activities or Other Information
The movie study guides (and online lesson plans) contain lots of suggested activities and further research for extending learning. But we’re very unlikely to take any notice of them. I guess we don’t like to be told what to do! I don’t even show the guides to my children. But this doesn’t mean we won’t do additional research and activities of our own. Our activities will happen quite naturally. For example, after watching the BBC miniseries, Pride and Prejudice, we wanted to know more about the actors. We ended up on Youtube watching the cast interviews. After watching Finding Nemo, I wanted to know if there is really such a thing as an East Australian current, so I did some googling. Frozen led to some retold fairy tale novels.
So one movie may lead to a great deal of visible learning. They’ll be lots to record in our homeschool records books.
But what if a child watches a movie and that’s it? It doesn’t lead to other things. Nothing else happens. You can still list the ‘school’ subjects and the themes associated with the movie. Our kids take in so much without us being aware of it. Even if they’re not willing to discuss a movie, it doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about it and absorbing lots of new ideas and information.
Related Post and a Podcast
I spoke about movies and record-keeping in my podcast, Episode 63: Wasting Time Watching Too Many Movies?
I tell the story of how Frozen led to lots of additional learning experiences in my blog post, Everything is Educational Even Disney Princesses
Now I’ve finished writing this post, I think it’s time to relax and watch a movie.
“Hey, girls, what movie shall we watch?”
“Beauty and the Beast?”
Is that educational? Will I be able to make some homeschool records notes about it after we’ve seen it?
So what’s the last movie you watched together as a family? What would you like to see? We plan to watch the original Star Trek movies next. They’re Science, Creative Arts, English…!