Ten Movies to Watch for School

10 #educational #movies to watch during a day off from school @mylearningtable.com

If you’re feeling like you’re in a slump, especially on a cold gray day, or if the kids are out of school with “nothing to do,” watching a movie might be just the thing. Pop some popcorn and spend the afternoon taking a break from the books. Movies can add another elements to your studies, especially if you read the book version first. Discuss the similarities and differences, how seeing the story visually adds or detracts from it, and which version you like better. Check out your kids’ reading list and see what has a movie version — and don’t forget to see what’s available at your library.

Here are some of our favorite “school” movies:

The Help. Lots of discussion afterwards. I found a teacher’s guide that gave us some things to talk about and think about.

Empire of the Sun, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring a young Christian Bale, in what I think is one of his best performances. Set during WWII, this movie shows the harsh realities and horror of war through the eyes of a child. I dare you not to cry at the end.

Our Real Teens Read group watched Empire of the Sun after we read The House of Sixty Fathers and Farewell to ManzanarClick here to see these in my shop, under Favorite Reads.

Shane, directed by George Stevens, starring Alan Ladd. A homestead family at the mercy of a wealthy cattleman. Retired gunfighter Shane shows up and you’ll have to watch to see what happens. Great western classic.

Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks. “Houston, we have a problem.” Studying space, rockets, and flight in science made my boys want to see what it might be like to go into space. Now my middle son is even more convinced that duct tape is a necessity for life.

Dolphin Tale, based on a true story. Favorable portrayal of a homeschool family. Read Dolphin Adventure, Dolphin Freedom, and Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover. Click here to see these in my shop, under Favorite Reads.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Read the books first, then see the characters come to life on-screen.

Treasure Island, by Turner Network Television, starring Charlton Heston and Christian Bale. We read the book first, and this was a fun and well-done movie version.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939 version), starring Mickey Rooney. Campy, but fun.  We discussed how certain aspects of the movie were so different from the book and how the movie might be made differently today.  My oldest was inspired to look at how society influences film as a research paper topic after seeing how Twain’s biting satire was handled in this early film.

Swiss Family Robinson (Classic Walt Disney). We read the book first and enjoyed this fun adventure. I remember seeing it in theaters as a kid!

The Hobbit. We took a field trip to see it in theaters after reading the book. So fun!

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Comments (2)

  1. L. E. Mastilock

    great list! I’ll have to keep some of these ideas for when my kids are a bit older.

  2. Crystal Green

    This is my favorite kind of learning style. I know my kids are visual learners and they learn a lot through movies, games, and hands-on activities. We’re huge movie nuts in our home. I have to start learning to think out of the box like this since we’re changing the way we homeschool our kids soon.

    Thank you for sharing these ideas with us. It will come in handy for people like me this year.


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