Preparing Thinkers

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Film Critique For Kids

A few years ago I noticed something about my children.  They like movies. ALL MOVIES.  Seriously.  Especially if it’s animated or cleverly marketed to them.  We don’t even watch TV ordinarily and don’t have cable.  But somehow they would know about every new movie that came out.  They would say how much they wanted to see it, quote lines from it, name characters, etc.  And I was completely in the dark!  So they started pointing out billboards or ads at the grocery store that highlighted the movie.  Oh media is a tricky thing!  It slips in everywhere!!!

And so often we’d rent the DVD when it came out.  My husband and I would sit there in disbelief about how stupid or poorly written or unoriginal the film was.  Yet, when it was over the kids would say, “Can we watch it again?!”  *shaking my head*  Disappointing parenting moment every single time.

It was then that we started talking about how we could teach our children to be better consumers of media.  How could we help them to THINK about what they see and hear and not just swallow everything that is colorful, loud, musical or over-marketed?  You know, whether you feel you consume a lot of media or hardly any at all, the fact that you are reading this goes to show that we all consume more media than our parents and grandparents did!  We can try to protect our children from what we feel is vile–or just plain stupid.  After all, we keep them from junk food for their bodies, we want to keep them from junk food for their brains, too!  But they will not always be sitting right next to us where we can monitor everything they watch (or eat!).  Sometimes they will be at a friend’s house, Grandma’s house, school, youth group, or let’s face it, the grocery store!  The more my husband and I talked about these things the more we became aware that our children needed to develop their own filters.  And they needed a better foundation than the one they currently had.

I started looking for a curriculum for my children.  I looked online and in bookstores.  I even asked my friends who have been through acting and film school.  I could find nothing that fit the bill.  Usually these concepts are not taught until high school or college.  As it usually works with us, when we can’t find what we want, we have to create it ourselves!

Thus, Film Critique For Kids was born.  It’s a curriculum designed for grade school students (but could certainly work through Junior High as well!) that teaches the fundamental elements of literary critique.  It is broken down into six sections.  In each section there is a family friendly film to view, a concept to learn (setting, theme, plot, conflict, etc.), and relevant assignments that guide the student into thinking about and dissecting the film, story, and message.  In addition, there are Scriptures to examine and a study in discernment.  We also include a few pages just for fun–activities that go along with the movie.

The films come from a variety of genres from animation to musicals to classics to current blockbusters, chosen with the express goal of broadening the child’s literary tastes and experiences.  No more writing off a film just because it’s black-and-white or doesn’t have a matching plush toy.

We tried out our book with our little co-op of four home school families.  It was a great success!  The children loved it.  They were stretched and learned to not just sit entertained, but to engage with media and think about each film from various perspectives.

Now that our children have been our guinea pigs, we are offering this curriculum for sale as an ebook!  It would be an excellent addition to your home school plans for next year–either with just your family or with a small group/co-op.  Also would be a fun Summer film series as well!  We had the best time last year projecting movies outdoors and watching with friends!

(Free sample chapter? Click here.)

Hugo under the stars.

Hugo under the stars.

 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.

Proverbs 18:15

Would you like a free sample chapter?  Click here.

Ready to purchase?  Click here for our Books and Resources Market.  It is currently available in ebook format, emailed directly to you as a PDF.

NOTE: Our curriculum is fully aligned with: our theology, our convictions about home education, and with what we think are the most important things to pass on to our children.  It is certainly NOT aligned with any Common Core Standards.

(Linked to Hope In Every SeasonFabulously Frugal ThursdayBreaking The Rules PartyHearts For Home HopA Lovely Blog HopThink Tank ThursdayOne Sharendipity Place Pin It MondayMaking Your Home SingMotivation MondayManic MondayMostly Homemade MondayCreative HomeAcre HopYou’re Gonna Love It,  Eco Kids TuesdaysA Little R&RRock-N-ShareWise Woman Link-Up! and Making A Happy Home)

  1. Oh what a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope to see you again today!

  2. What a wonderful resource for families! And so necessary!! What a great idea to make this available to others.

  3. We would like to feature this post on our blog in hopes of generating the biggest audience. If you’d be interested, please email us at and we can then talk specifics!! Love this idea!!

    sue @

  4. I love this idea. I would like to thank you for joining the Pin It Monday Hop Pinterest Party. The party has just started, please come by sometime, if your time permits, to see more what other bloggers are sharing. See you 🙂

  5. This is a fantastic idea! A friend of mine did something similar for homeschooled high school kids, though I don’t think she was as organized as you guys are.

    Thank you for linking up to Motivation Monday!

  6. This looks really great, thank you for sharing it! My kids are just like you described, they’re taken in by ANYTHING that is bright, colorful, or “for kids.” And most of it is really, really bad. :/ I’m really looking forward to your sample chapter!

  7. Marlo - June 14, 2013

    Would love it if you’d put your web link to this product on your free sample chapter. I’ve downloaded that but it will be a few days before we watch it. If I want to buy after we’ve viewed that I’ll have to do some work to find you again. It would be easier if there were just a link at the bottom of the page that I could click on.

  8. Ryan - June 14, 2013

    Is there a kindle version?

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