25 Must Have Movies for Your Homeschool

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February 27, 2023

"Drama is life with the dull parts cut out of it."

 ~ALFRED HITCHCOCK~ 

This week’s article is about movies— and not just any movies, but my 21 Must Have Movies for Your Homeschool!

I could suggest so many more than this, but for right now, I’ll limit it to these.  I tried to include some movies you might already know and some gems that you might not have discovered yet, so there should be something here for everyone.  So, without further ado…

The mini series Anne of Green Gables (written and directed by Kevin Sullivan and first broadcast on PBS over 30 years ago) is based on the equally excellent book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  In my opinion, any and all adaptations made before or after just don’t even compare to the excellent writing, cinematography, acting, and settings of this one.

And of course, you must finish the story by owning Anne of Green Gables— The Sequel as well.  I love that these adaptations are true to the books (well, almost completely) and pair well with watching them before, after, or while you read the books.  With Anne’s masterful use of vocabulary, these mini series make for a great opportunity to study more about language, writing, and storytelling.  

They are also set in the early 1900s in Eastern Canada and make a great introduction into studying that time period and location.  So to sum it up, in my opinion, if you don't own both mini series as well as the book series, it's excruciatingly unpardonable… 😉

Another beautiful movie that is based on a classic book and may be a little more interesting to the boys is Where the Red Fern GrowsIt is the story of Billy Coleman, a boy living in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression who works hard to save enough money to buy two little puppies that he trains to be hunting dogs.  (There is a remake of this movie, but I like the original.) 

Again, it’s a great movie to segue into studying that time period as well as a beautiful story that teaches some poignant lessons about faith, loyalty and friendship, which can lead to some meaningful discussions with your kids.  It is based on the book of the same name, written by Wilson Rawls, who also wrote one of my other favorite books, Summer of the Monkeys.

This version of Tom Sawyer is... (wait for it...) a MUSICAL!  Plus it’s a great way to entice your kids to read both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, which are thoughtful introductions to a study of the US Civil War.  This movie version is fast paced and fun to watch with the lyrics, music and screenplay all written by the famous Sherman Brothers, who also happened to write the songs for…

Mary Poppins!  What is not to love about this movie?  And you can use it in your homeschool in so many ways, including a study of the time period in which it is set— especially the fight to give women the right to vote, how that related to the social hierarchies of the day, and the events that then occurred to create the societal norms we have today.  (Wait, all this from Mary Poppins?!  You bet!  It’s amazing how many learning opportunities you can find when you start to discover the connections…)

This movie is also a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious introduction to the study of language. (And by the way, when I wrote this article in my word processing program, it recognized supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as a real word, not a spelling error, so the importance of the story of Mary Poppins is officially legit!)  I also highly recommend watching any video clips you can find online of the Broadway stage adaptation, which includes additional new songs and some great new choreography, especially to the song, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” which your kids will love.  The movie is also based on the book series by P.L. Travers, which are actually quite different from what is depicted on the screen, but can still add to your studies.

And the Sherman Brothers get one last nod in this article because they wrote the lyrics and music for my absolute most favorite musical of all time, an adaptation of the Cinderella story called...

...The Slipper and the Rose.  This visually gorgeous movie was shot on location in various places in Europe—making it a great opportunity for a geography/history discussion— plus the costumes are so beautiful and amazingly detailed that they are worth studying just by themselves.  Not to mention that the songs are clever and thoughtful and fit seamlessly into the story, the acting is spot-on, and the script is skillfully written.  And while I won’t spoil it for you, I will say that the plot takes a twist that makes this Cinderella adaptation different from all the rest…

The next movie is one from my childhood. Savannah Smiles is a sweet story about an honest mistake, bad people trying to be good, and a little girl who can bring hope with a simple smile.  Just watch this one because it will help you celebrate the good in the world…

Want to teach your kids about the importance of a positive attitude?  Have them watch Swiss Family Robinson.  This movie appeals to boys and girls alike and emphasizes the value of resourcefulness, creativity, and working together. Plus it’s based on the classic book of the same title, written in 1812 by Johann David Wyss. Both movie and book give you lots of possibilities for integration into your homeschool, including inventing and building clever contraptions that your kids will be proud of and remember forever.

Meet the Robinsons is also an awesome movie that emphasizes resilience, inventiveness, and individuality.  It’s based on a children’s picture book called, A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, which I highly recommend for its original story and clever illustrations.  It is because of this movie that we have a vinyl-lettered wooden sign in our office that says, “Keep moving forward…”

The How To Train Your Dragon animated series are also great movies for instilling a never-quit, can-do attitude.  The main character, Hiccup, is very relatable to kids and the way the character of his dragon (named Toothless) is developed without ever saying a word is valuable to study from a storytelling perspective.  There are so many learning avenues you can take with this one, including studying mythology, Vikings, dragons/dinosaurs, fire, aerodynamics, etc., etc., etc.  

(Note:  These movies are loosely based on a series of children’s books that, while I have not personally read them, I have been told that they include a lot of rude humor and disrespectful behavior, so I would just stick with the movies, which I think are fun and entertaining.)

Before I introduce the next movie, I need to say one thing— don’t let the fact that this is an animated "kids movie" fool you.  The movie Up teaches a lot of grown-up wisdom within its unique and entertaining story.  The main characters are a cranky old widower named Carl and an eager young boy named Russell who travel to South America by way of a house that is lifted into the air by thousands of helium-filled balloons.  Again, so many possibilities for further study including rain forests, South American animals, gases vs. solids vs. liquids, and even just the importance of meaningful relationships.

Immortalizing the real-life experiences of the von Trapp family singers, the beautiful cinematography, the catchy music, and the inspiring story of The Sound of Music make it a must watch.  It was filmed on location in Austria and provides a great segue into studying the time period around World War II.  I also highly recommend reading Maria von Trapp’s autobiography, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers to learn even more about the time period and how one family worked together to make the best of it.

Another great movie based on historical events is Amazing Grace, which tells the story of how the famous hymn "Amazing Grace" came to be.  This movie is a great one to watch because the characters are well developed and the writing draws you in, making you feel invested in the story.  Again, it pairs well with the study of William Wilberforce, John Newton, and the events that led to the end of the slave trade in the British Empire.

The Miracle Worker depicts the true story of Helen Keller, a young girl who is both deaf and blind, and her devoted teacher, a true "miracle worker," Annie Sullivan.  A great example of the power of true one-on-one mentoring…  (I prefer the 1962 original more than the two remakes that came later.)

Loosely based on historical events in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is a sing-along bit of toe-tapping fun.  Use it to learn about the early 1900s, city life vs. country life, child labor, the power of the press, and even politics.

If you have not yet discovered the Chronicles of Narnia books, your family really should see the movie version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in tandem with reading the book.  Just the soundtrack alone is excellent.  The other movies in the Narnia series, Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader are also well worth watching.  Only three of the seven books were made into movies, so make sure to read all of this beautifully symbolic series written by C.S. Lewis.  

I could write a whole page about how to integrate “The Chronicles of Narnia” into your homeschool studies...  If you’ve read this far, I think you’re beginning to see the many learning possibilities that are there for the taking.

Dramatizing the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt, The Prince of Egypt is darn near a masterpiece.  Just the music alone is enough of a reason to watch it and it can act as a great introduction to studying Biblical times, specifically the Old Testament.

Older children might also enjoy watching the remake of Ben-Hur, which is historical fiction set during New Testament times. While the original version of this movie is amazing in its own right, this version stands on its own as a classic.  To incorporate this movie into your homeschool you could study the Roman Empire, how horses have been used by humans throughout history, and/or the geography and climate of the Middle East.  Again, so many possibilities…

And, of course, the beautiful depiction of the lives and ministry of Jesus Christ and his apostles and disciples as told in The Chosen series, which currently includes Season One, Season Two, and Season Three, almost leaves me without words...  

It takes the well known stories from the Four Gospels of the New Testament and presents them in such a way that stays true to the words in the Bible, and yet still makes them relevant to our lives today.  It is brilliantly written, expertly acted, beautifully produced, and appropriate for the whole family to watch together. 

What a beautiful and awesome gift to the world…

So I hope you've enjoyed this fun list and maybe even found a few new movies for your family to enjoy watching together.  If you enjoyed it and want me to give you even more movies to incorporate into your homeschool studies, please let me know— I have so many more recommendations that I’d love to share with you…

Until next time, happy watching and reading!

If you'd like to purchase any of these movies or books through this page, simply click on either the printed title or image of the movie you wish to buy.

Just so you know, this page contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

About the Author...

Leah Stallard

Leah Stallard is the creator of Playing2Learn.com and HomeschoolMomsHub.com and is a teacher, entrepreneur, performer, and speaker. She helps homeschool parents teach more effectively by showing them how to discover and support their children's natural learning abilities. This eliminates contention, whining, and complaining, leading to a love of learning and their children's desire to become self-motivated, mission driven adults with a world class education.

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