Regardless of how old your kids are, if they’re still at home then you’re in high gear busy right now. As the school year gears up, both kids and parents are anticipating, dreading, and contemplating the year ahead. It’s stressful and that means that it’s probably time to take a break and relax.
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The benefit to taking a break and watching a “school” movie is that it will give you a chance to get your child talking about how they’re feeling about the school year. Are they excited? Nervous? Is there any particular subject or teacher they’re dreading or worried about? Sometimes kids are reluctant to just say, “Hey, Mom, I need to talk because I’ve got something on my mind.” But something happens when they get relaxed and the topic is naturally in front of them.
So you’re having a good time watching the movie, but it gives you the natural opening to casually ask some questions and make comments. And if your child is like most, they’re be more likely to open up when they don’t feel like they’re being given the third degree.
You’ll also have the chance to tell any stories that relate to issues the movie is exploring. Sharing these experiences in a more casual way will feel less “preachy” to your child and they’re be more likely to hear you out since you’re just relating something you’ve experienced or dealt with as a reaction to the movie. Somehow it feels less personally directed toward your child which helps keep their defenses down and their “receptivity level” up.
There are lots of great movies with a “school” theme or setting. It may be time to pull the whole family together, pop some major amounts of popcorn, fill up the soda glasses, and curl up on the couch for some down time. There are lots of choices to pick from – you’re sure to find one that suits your family’s interest. However, I will state that most of the movies would not be appropriate for younger children as they deal with more mature themes and are PG-13 or R rated. Funny how school movies tend to do that. But if your kids are the appropriate ages then you will likely find lots of issues to talk about after the movie is over.
- Stand and Deliver –
- Mr. Holland’s Opus – One of my personal favorites. The concert at the end with all his former students can’t help but make a teacher cry.
- Teachers – Not your traditional “feel good” school movie but poignant nonetheless. Not for the younger kids though. Have to admit that I love the crazy substitute in this movie.
- To Sir With Love – Sidney Poitier, need I say more?
- Lean on Me –
- Dangerous Minds –
- Good Will Hunting –
- Dead Poet’s Society – Have to admit that I love Robin Williams in anything! His movies would be natural segues to discussing depression. Obviously, a heavy topic, but one that is important. For many kids, the start of a new school year is not a happy time so it’s always good to keep that line of communication open.
- Freedom Writers – Was fortunate enough to hear the REAL Freedom Writer’s teacher give a talk at my school one year. It was a real treat and very inspiring.
- Music of the Heart –
- School of Rock –
- October Sky –
- The Blackboard Jungle –
- The Breakfast Club –
- Up the Down Staircase – I haven’t seen this one but I’ve always heard of it. Need to put it on my viewing list.
- Remember the Titans – I like nearly anything with Denzel in it.
- Grease – While not necessarily about what goes on inside of a school, there is enough of a school setting to include this movie on the list. Besides, if your kids are middle or high school aged they’ll relate to the love story. It’ll spark some interesting discussion about how schools operated then and now.
Don’t forget these items to make your movie night a real treat.
- popcorn bowls
- popcorn machine
- popcorn seasonings – powdered seasonings give each family member the ability to have their own favorite flavor!
- cups with lids – who says sippy cups are just for little kids. I use one all the time so that there will be less of a mess if my drink gets knocked over. Yes, Jungle Jim laughs at me – but I don’t care.
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