has anyone used this program with their kids. DS will be 13 and I was going to try it next year (fall 2013) for English 2 credit. he is rapidly collecting high school credits and this looked interesting to both of us.
I considered doing something similar with my ds two or three years ago -- he would have been 13 I think. He didn't want anything as formal as a curriculum, so we just spent the year doing an informal survey of classic cinema -- just watching movies, and talking about them, comparing, analyzing informally.
From the reviews, Movies as Literature seems pretty solid and well-liked. I like the movies they've chosen. I had a look at bits of it at GoogleBooks and thought the questions were well-thought-out and appropriate for the movies I knew. I think it would be easy to leave out the biblical stuff if, like us, you prefer a secular curriculum.
My problem with it would be with the movies that are based on novels: I have a pretty strong opinion that one should read the book first and with this curriculum it is only a small paragraph in "extended studies" that suggests that the book be read and compared. I'd love to see the book come first, and more detailed compare-and-contrast analysis.
I'd also love to see a bit more of a "film studies" flavour to it at times: not just "what film techniques give us a sense of isolation?" but a discussion, say, of how camera angles and casting and lighting and the use of dialog and motion and sequence-lengths play into the way the story is portrayed.
Still, it looks like a great starting point! I hadn't heard of this book before, so thank you! I will hold it in my mental list of possibilities for the future for my 10-year-old.
Of course I would be 'tweaking' the programme to meet my needs. Secular and reading the book THEN watching the movie. Kiddo always reads the book before watching the movie anyway.
He isn't strong in the language arts side, he is def. STEM strong. He loves to read but that whole 'dissection of a book' isn't his thing. I think we are going to give this a try. Heck he read 'To Kill A Mockingbird' last year FOR FUN!
I have no idea how DS got to be almost 13. Early sept is his birthday. He is almost as tall as I am. His feet are bigger than mine. He is skinny again (no more husky sizes, his waist is down 4-5 inches in the past few months).... got me a tall, lean swim team kiddo. He can still pack away the food like there is no tomorrow. Metabolism like nothing i've ever seen... I need to buy investments in the grocery store.
I'm not familiar with that particular curriculum, but I wanted to applaud you for doing some film studies. I think it's an oddly neglected area considering how pervasive film medium is today. It significantly impacts people's lives and use continues to increase, while a lot of print is disappearing from people's lives. It would be helpful if people were more alert to how film (not just movies but also television news, Youtube videos eg. that Kony video that made the rounds a year ago, commercials etc.) can manipulate their reactions.
Both DS and DD have done film studies in high school. Their courses focused on different aspects of the art. It's a lot to pack into a single course but in case your DS enjoys film studies and wants to pursue it further, he may be interested in how their courses were set up.
The first aspect is probably similar to the focus of the "Movies as Literature" curriculum - analysis of how the film presents specific themes, plot and character development, use of metaphors, symbolism, and so on.
The second was history and development of film and the different movements and genres. I was a little surprised how much they enjoyed this aspect. They loved watching silent American slapstick, saw the influence of German Expressionism in the Tim Burton movies they watched, had their eyes opened watching Italian Neorealism and French New Wave and Asian film and so on. They now recognize these influences when they watch modern movies. It has added depth to their appreciation of movies, in the same way that studying Greek drama and Shakespeare add depth to literary studies of modern novels.
The final aspect was critical studies of film techniques and production - camera angles, use of zoom and wide-angles and point of view, lighting, cross-cutting and Soviet montage and jump cuts, the use of sound and music and so on - and an analysis of how these techniques can manipulate audience reactions.
BTW, I wouldn't be too rigid about reading novels before seeing a movie. I once espoused this principle until I realized that it was kinda self-defeating. There are lots of movies I've seen without reading the book first - The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings (Book 3), Adaptation... I could go on. I would have missed out on a lot of good films if I was still waiting to read the book first. Maybe I would have enjoyed them more or understood them better, but frankly, I think often it detracts from the movie experience if I do read the book first because then I am constantly comparing them and a movie cannot include every aspect of a 300 (or more) page novel. These days, I listen to fans of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire howl in rage about the t.v. adaptation Game of Thrones and I pity them because they don't seem to be able to enjoy the show thoroughly. I don't think that they are better off for reading the books first. I also understand the concern that film images are so powerful that they will be an overwhelming influence on the reading experience. That's actually a good discussion to have with your DS about the power of film and the use of technique to manipulate the audience.
I think it's better to approach the book and the movie as different art forms. Experience them both to gain an appreciation for different interpretations and presentations but relax, if your DS sees the movie first, he'll still be able to enjoy the book. BTW, if you do a search, there are quite a few lists of "Movie Adaptations that are better than the Books that they are Based On".
I don't always read the script of a play before I go to the theatre. When I do, I accept that I'm seeing one director's vision - and version - of the written page. I think it's helpful to approach a movie adaptation with the same attitude.
If your DS does decide to study "Movies as Literature", I hope you'll update us on how he likes it and what he finds good and bad about it.