Interest Led Learning for High School

#filmmaking for #teens @mylearningtable.com

Interest Led Learning: Teaching to Their Interests

This blog uses affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

My eighth-grader has become passionate about filmmaking, from script writing to directing to camera-operating.

He started with a flip camera, then added a camcorder and a stop-motion animation program with a webcam. He’s been working all summer cutting grass to save money for a “really nice” camera. And, everything on his Christmas list is related to filmmaking (boom mic, lights, reflectors.)

Most of his free time is spent writing scripts–pages and pages of scripts.

Stop Motion Animation

My son has already produced both live-action and stop-motion movies to the delight of all of our family members (grandparents make an especially appreciative audience.)

Stopmotion Explosion: Animate Anything and Make Movies- Epic Films for $20 or Less has been a great jumping off point into the live action stuff that he really wants to do.

Follow Learning Table ‘s board Film Club on Pinterest.

For part of his literature/language arts and elective studies this year, we are incorporating film into our curriculum. It hasn’t been easy to find resources appropriate for teens. But, I have managed to put together some things that are working so far.

Free Resources

Educational guides and lesson plans for movies such as Because of Winn Dixie, Hoot, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Terabithia, Narnia, Holes, City of Ember, and more are available as free downloads from Walden Media. We have used these guides along with the novels and the movies as “going beyond the book” studies.

Filmmaking @mylearningtable.com

Scriptfrenzy by NaNoWriMo featured a young writer’s program, where participants write a complete script in one month. Their site is also full of resources for writers and teachers. You can download workbooks and a writer’s “bootcamp” for elementary, middle, or high school students. Sadly, Scriptfrenzy is no longer held, but the site still has some excellent free writing resources.

 

Other free filmmaking resources:

Filmmaking Curriculum


After checking out and reviewing some books from the library, I ordered Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts for us to use throughout the year, and it has turned out to be a great resource.

This book is one that you can hand over to your student for independent reading and project ideas. It is one of the best beginning filmmaking books we’ve found and could be used as a textbook for filmmaking.

 

Movies for English Class

I also found Movies as Literature curriculum from Design-a-Study. This will be the base for our coursework, with all the other above-listed resources as supplements to this course.

The Movies as Literature course is an intensive study of movies as short stories.

This program is not just about watching movies.

Each of the 17 movies studied includes 25 discussion questions, including topics for compositions and extended activities with either reading assignments, history research, or other movies related to the one being studied.

We use the discussion questions as conversation starters, and then my son chooses one topic to write about for each movie. This is giving him practice not only in film criticism, but also in literary analysis as he treats each film as literary art. He is also reading several works that correlate to the films, including Henry VTo Kill a Mockingbird, and A Raisin in the Sun.

Movies include both classic and modern selections:
  • Shane
  • The Quiet Man
  • Rear Window
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • E.T.
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Friendly Persuasion
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • The Music Man
  • Emma
  • The Journey of August King
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Henry V
  • A Man For All Seasons
  • Chariots of Fire

For Shane, we are reading the novel before watching the movie.

The topics studied in the Shane lesson include:
  • Character development vs. stereotypes
  • Film techniques
  • Plot development
  • Character motivation
  • Foreshadowing
  • Setting
  • Mood
  • Symbolism
  • Underlying messages about: what makes a man, what makes a hero, whether or not the end justifies the means, whether ‘A man who lives by the sword, dies by the sword,’ the positive contributions of God-fearing families to settlements in new territories.

The student workbook isn’t required for the program, but I bought it. I can make notes in my book and my son can have his own book to follow along in as we discuss the material. Although this is a high school level course, language arts is my son’s strongest subject, so we are using this for eighth grade.

Enthusiasm for Learning

Above all, I want my kids to be excited about learning, If I can incorporate their interests into our curriculum, a huge benefit of homeschooling, they will be more enthusiastic and motivated.

I love it when they ask me to “do school.”

What you do for interest-led electives for high school!

Related Posts:

Filmmaking for High School Fine Arts

Homeschool Fine Arts

Ten Movies to Watch for School

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Comments (81)

  1. Kyle Suzanne McVay

    I’d love to see you link up to Finishing Strong Homeschooling through Middle & High School at Aspired Living. http://aspiredliving.net/2014/10/22/finishing-strong-16/ These are just the kinds of posts we hope to have as an encouragement to others. Thank you! Blessings, K

    Reply
  2. Anne Campbell

    Thanks so much! I just added some links. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Jamie

    Great tips!! My son is into video game creation, so we’ve found a bunch of stuff online. I’ll have to check out your links, though – thanks!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      My middle son is interested in video games, too. I’d love to see some of your resources, Jamie.

      Reply
  4. Bakari

    Great to read about what your son is doing. I can relate some because I used to do wedding and event videography. It’s always good see young people who have goals and a passion for something they’re really interested in.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Bakari. Since I wrote this post, my son has filmed one wedding and is currently working on a new short film. It’s so fun to see him pursuing his passion.

      Reply
  5. Stephanie Suire

    Love that you are encouraging him to follow his passion and making it part of your home schooling curriculum! We also encourage our kids to pursue their passions/talents – especially in the creative arts.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      When I taught in the public school system, the arts were not a priority. It’s one of the luxuries of homeschooling, but anyone can do this. It’s great that you are encouraging your kids in their endeavors!

      Reply
  6. Pamela M. M. Berkeley

    That sounds really awesome. I hope to homeschool but my oldest is 9 months old so not quite there! This reminded me of a French class I took in college where we watched both a French movie and the American film based on it (I remember three men and a baby was one of them) and we discussed what the differences between them meant about both French and American cultures. Might be an idea if you want to incorporate whatever foreign language he is studying, Hollywood adapts lots of films from international hits.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      What a fun idea, Pamela. He’s learning French right now and loves to watch foreign films. Thanks so much!

      Reply
  7. Jeana Walz, CAP

    My grandson is being home schooled. I’ll have to share your info. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That’s great, Jeana! Thank you!

      Reply
  8. Morgan

    Wow! I admire your son’s passion – and at such a young age! In high school, I was most passionate about making straight A’s and my friends, never giving much thought to what I hoped to do for a living. Good for him! Also, I admire and applaud your support of his passion. He has found something he loves, and having your support and encouragement is the very best thing you can do for him! Well done!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks for your kind words, Morgan. My priorities when I was in high school were definitely not as “mature” as his are. I want to encourage him to explore and learn while he has time.

      Reply
  9. Grady

    This is so awesome! As a person who went to an interests-based college, AND a person who studied education, I think this is so great! You are doing your son such a service by helping him to love educating himself! So cool!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you, Grady! I am encouraged by your comment. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Debbie

    Glad to hear what your son is doing. I think that sparks ideas for me when my son gets older. It’s amazing what you can do in education these days. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you, Debbie! I sure am having fun teaching my boys at home, but there are so many options out there now.

      Reply
  11. Lerie

    This is the great thing about homeschooling. You can really focus on your child’s strength and interests. I was a kinder teacher and I plan to homeschool my child as I’ve seen first hand that no matter how good the teacher is it’s still not the same. You have great resources here.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Lerie. I hope you will find some resources you can use. My teacher training has helped me a great deal, but the bottom line is that as a parent, you know your child best.

      Reply
  12. Bonnie

    Thanks for posting! I was homeschooled through high school and loved it. At this point we are planning to homeschool our son and I definitely want him to have his own interests incorporated into his schooling!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you, Bonnie. Best wishes on your journey!

      Reply
  13. Alexander Vasquez

    Good morning Anne!

    I think it is incredibly awesome how you are incorporating your son’s super passion into your home schooling curriculum. Children need the core subjects, but I have always been a firm believer in supporting your child’s dream in whatever that may be (as long as it isn’t destructive, obviously).

    Creative people such as your son have something in them that is trying to express itself, and this desire to express, mixed with passion and the right tools, is a way to catapult him to success in his personal life. Don’t be surprised if his production company brings home an Oscar one day 🙂
    Good mom! Good job!

    Thanks,

    Alexander

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      I’m hoping he’ll invite me to walk the red carpet with him! 🙂 Thanks so much, Alexander!

      Reply
  14. Glenda Cates

    I loved homeschooling my daughter as like your son I was able to build school around the things she was interested in. So if my son was a little older I can tell you he would want to take this class with your son as he loves taking pictures and if truth be none I should take it as well as I stink at taking pictures and this is horrible for a blogger to admit.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Haha, Glenda! I can relate. I call on him to spruce up my blog pics all the time. He’s awesome at making title headers for me. He just rolls his eyes and fixes all my goofs!

      Reply
  15. Heather M

    Such a timely post. We homeschool and I have been leaning toward incorporating my oldest one’s interests into his schooling with a little more focus.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That’s great, Heather! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  16. Benita

    Very interesting information. My kids were not home-schooled and I applaud your desire to go into such depth for this class! I would be intimidated!!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Well, my son is becoming very knowledgeable in this area, so he’s pretty much teaching me! Thank you, Benita!

      Reply
  17. Dawn

    My husband and I are having to decide before this fall if we’re going to homeschool our oldest, reading this is encouraging and definitely highlights the benefits of keeping her home, I know I’d never regret it but it is a big commitment 🙂

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      It is a big commitment, Dawn, but I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve been at it for 12 years now, and it’s been a joyous journey. If I can help in any way, give me a shout! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Cortney

    Love how many resources you have made available through this post. Will definitely be checking many of them out in the near future. I love the idea of interest-led learning.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Cortney. I hope you’ll find them useful!

      Reply
  19. Pam

    Yes – “enthusiasm for learning” – that is what I want most for my kids!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you for stopping by, Pam. If my kids can learn to love to learn, I will feel like I’ve done my job.

      Reply
  20. Karen W.

    It is so encouraging to see what you are doing with your son and that you are sharing your journey with the world!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Karen! 🙂

      Reply
  21. Morena

    This is a great list! My ten year old is interested in this topic so I’ll be going over these resources to find ideas.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That’s great, Morena. If we can help, let me know!

      Reply
  22. Laine

    I admire anyone who home schools. Your son is very impressive. Whether a child is home schooled or not, it’s a parents job to help their children find their passion and guide them in their decisions. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That’s so true, Laine. When I taught in the school system, I tried to instill a love for learning in my students, and I encouraged their parents to get involved in what we were doing in the classroom. All kids benefit from parental involvement and guidance. Helping them discover their interests and giving them the tools to succeed are the best we can do.

      Reply
  23. Jess

    My kids are still really little, but this is one reason I’d love to homeschool. Let them choose what they are passionate about and really having the time to study it. He’ll be ahead of all his peers interested in the same thing.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Jess. Enjoy these years!

      Reply
  24. Tanya

    This sou very interesting. I’m glad your son found something he’s so passionate about. My daughter loves photography. She is a freshman in college and has a job taking photos for the college.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Oh, that’s cool that she’s working doing what she love! Thanks, Tanya.

      Reply
  25. Julie S.

    Interest-led learning is such a great idea! Really helps kids find the positives in working hard.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you, Julie!

      Reply
  26. Debra

    Great tips. We are in our 18th year of homeschooling. I joke that we are in the short rows now. We have tried lots of different programs through the years, because we have seen what works well for one does not for the other.
    I love it when I see motivated young people 🙂
    Thanks for sharing
    Debra
    http://www.ncborn.com/

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Wow, 18 years! That’s wonderful, Debra. Yes, each of my boys has a completely different learning style. At least I have built a good library!

      Reply
  27. Michal @ Life in Simple Words

    This is so great! When our kids show interest in a topic we also try to find more and add knowledge and activities so they would benefit from it. It gets the whole house interested and active- it’s great!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      It’s so fun when the whole family jumps on board. Thank you, Michal!

      Reply
  28. Debbie

    This is a fantastic concept. What a huge difference to filter lessons through interests. This would help such a huge amount of kids who don’t learn through rote fact gathering and memorization. How wonderful for home schooled children to have the flexibility to learn as individuals. I wonder how our public education system will evolve to a point where it’s more tailored to each student?

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      I hope the schools will start to realize a better way of reaching kids as individuals and move away from the “herd” mentality. That was so discouraging to me as a teacher. Thanks for leaving your thoughts, Debbie! 🙂

      Reply
  29. Lana

    Great info, will forward it to my son, he mentioned something about making movies with his friends, so hope it will be helpful to him. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      I hope this will help, Lana!

      Reply
  30. Jeryl M.

    My highschool never had interested based electives. I wish they had. However, in the years since I have graduated, they have introduced special schools for kids interested in different area like the arts, sciences or whatever. There are six different ones because there are six different high schools in the district and each one has one of the special schools.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That sounds neat, Jeryl. I hope this framework will become more wide-spread so more kids can benefit.

      Reply
  31. Diane

    It’s wonderful to see a mother help her son with his passion. So many parents can only see what THEY want for their child and never pay attention to what makes their eyes light up. Kudos to you! I also home schooled my children when they were young and it is not an easy task. I was not able to school them into high school due to health issues but I wish I could have. I think the worst thing that happened to them was having to go back to main stream schools!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Diane. I’m sorry you weren’t able to continue homeschooling. I hope you are doing better now health-wise!

      Reply
  32. Diane

    It’s so great to see a mother who takes interest in their child’s passion. Kudos to you! I also home schooled my children when they were young and it is not an easy job. This sounds like such a fun course. Something I wouldn’t mind doing myself!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks so much, Diane!

      Reply
  33. Katrina

    Wonderful idea. Courses like this are how you get a kid to go to college. They need to be inspired in high school and find the special talent they have before they become free to choose to continue schooling and go or not go to college. This can also keep kids from dropping out of high school by engaging them with something they have NOT already been studying for 9 years.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks for the encouragement, Katrina!

      Reply
  34. Pam Russo

    I have to confess that I do not know the first thing about home-schooling. However, I can tell you that in most public schools extra curriculum activities have been eliminated due to budget cuts. I think it is absolutely admirable how you incorporated your son’s passion into your homeschooling. You should be very proud of both your son and yourself for a job well done. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  35. Jebbica

    That’s awesome! I always wanted to learn how to do stop-motion. You have your very own little Dawson Leery! Can’t wait to watch his movies one day!

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Jebbica!

      Reply
  36. Caroline

    A fantastic list of resources, for any age. I did some stop-motion work with one of my classes last year and they loved it. When you can help children feel a passion for the work they are doing it is half the battle won. It’s great to hear your son is so enthusiastic for his studies … it will stand him in great stead in later years.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      I’ll bet your students really enjoyed that, Caroline. Learning should be fun, shouldn’t it? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  37. Betty Bite

    I love how you have incorporated something that your son has a true passion for in your curriculum. I don’t have any children, but many parents home schooled or not, could find great information in this posting. It is so important to bring activities such as this into the classroom. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thank you so much, Betty. It has been fun for me to see what each of my kids is passionate about. I appreciate your kind words!

      Reply
  38. Shelbi

    Love how you are encouraging him to follow his dreams and what he wants to do! Wish more parents would do this for their kids!

    Reply
  39. Lalia Frolick

    I only recently heard of this concept for schooling. One of the most recent ones being the TEDtalk with a speaker who was about 12-years-old! I think there is a great value in helping children further their interests, since it’s a great way to make them passionate about schooling and their education, and helps them feel that they are actually playing a part in their choices. I think it would also be beneficial though for children to have rotating courses that allow them to try out every type of activity or interest at least once, because you never know what will spark their imagination, and then they could say they at least tried it!

    Reply
  40. Nikki Renee

    That’s great that you’re helping and supporting your son’s passion. Who knows, we might see his name out there someday, as an award-nominated director, screenwriter, etc.

    Reply
  41. Jozi

    It is so great that he has found his passion at such and early age and that he has so much support in realising his dreams. Is he home schooled?

    Reply
  42. Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health

    What a great way to add a fun elective to your curriculum!

    Reply
  43. Marie

    These are awesome ideas and resources! That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s interests and passions. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  44. Andrea Kruse

    Fantastic! Love when a child can take their own education by the horns. My son loves filming right now, too. I have been trying to encourage him in his interest and will see where that leads him.

    Reply
  45. Lesley Thomas

    Love this! My daughter is still young but already loves to learn. These are great ideas.

    Reply
  46. Marissa

    I wish public schools would do such a thing. Kids would be so much more into learning, and you can incorporate all of the subjects into the lessons!

    Reply
  47. June

    Great ideas and resources. I believe in supporting the directions our kids lean towards. My daughter is only 3 but when she shows an interest we dive in fully.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *