Get out the popcorn; it’s time for today’s history/language arts/science lesson.
Movies and all forms of visual media can provide a depth to your lesson plans and make life easier and more fun. This is the guilt free way to broaden your children’s view of the world and to gain a virtual experience that brings life to their studies. Additional benefits include freeing up your time to work with another student, bringing the whole family together in the evening, and also providing struggling readers with the necessary content.
First, choose films that are historically accurate and relevant to your children’s ages and maturity. There are websites that list these types of films. A good way to find them is to type in “Movies used in college history classes”. That is a good place to start for your middle and high school students. World History can be taught through watching movies that put you in India, China, or 1940 Germany. American History comes alive with movies, such as “The Last of the Mohicans”, or the more recent History of the Cuban Missile Crisis in “Thirteen Days.” In addition, there are many well done biographies of statesmen and scientists, both for the United States and the world.
Once you have picked your movie list, take a trip to your local library. If they do not have the movie in question, you can usually have them do an inter-library loan.
Next, determine whether you want to have your students watch the movie alone while you are working with other students or whether you want to make it a family event. One of the best reasons for including films in your curriculum is that you can watch them as a family which also brings in the parent who traditionally isn’t part of the hands on home schooling.
Additionally, for older students who are struggling readers, the films can provide them with the knowledge base to help with the reading and give them the depth and breadth of knowledge that their reading ability prevents. Students will still be expected to read and write responses, but much less than in a traditional class.
So, what do you think — How have you used movies in your home school journey? What movies would you recommend?
by Leslie Jones, FPEA Ambassador, MA in Special Education. Leslie has home schooled her three children on and off for over 15 years. Her husband and sons have watched all of the Jane Austin films and loved them.