If you were in any theater over the holiday season, you most likely saw the trailers for “A Dog’s Purpose”. The heartwarming story told from the perspective of a family dog is based on the book of the same name, written by W. Bruce Cameron.

Were you just a little too busy to make it to the theaters? Here, take a minute, sit back and relax, and enjoy the trailer:

As we were sitting in the theater, on Christmas Eve, waiting for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to begin, we saw that very trailer and our kiddo immediately turned to us and said, “We need to see that!”  

We pretty much agreed with her on the spot, seeing as the movie had so many themes woven through it that really resonate with her.  

  • The special bond between animal/human
  • Reincarnation and the never-ending cycle of one’s energy
  • Learning lessons one lifetime at a time
  • AND…it had cute, melt your heart puppies and dogs!

So, it was obviously a no-brainer for us when she asked to go see “A Dog’s Purpose” as her birthday present. (Yes, it just so happens that her birthday coincides with the release date)

Now, you would think that with the calendar marked for the opening day of the movie, that our kiddo would be content to sit back in anticipation and merely look forward to the day –  Nope, not a chance!

On Christmas morning as she was holding an Amazon gift card in her hot little hands, she was already proclaiming that she needed to buy “A Dog’s Purpose” for her kindle and wanted to make sure to read it before seeing the movie so she could compare and contrast the two versions. (Yes, this is a very common scenario with our literature buff – she always wants to know what the writer wrote before seeing what the movie makers choose to present to the world.)

Now, being homeschoolers, we try to take every opportunity to turn daily life into learning lessons (I am pretty sure that this is not just something homeschoolers do – as I know many families that don’t homeschool, yet still create teachable moments around everyday life) and I set out to look for a way to incorporate “A Dog’s Purpose” into our school day.

This is where I totally lucked out! I found Homeschool Movie Club; they were not only promoting a Homeschool Movie Day Matinee on January 27th, but they also had a week’s worth of fabulous curriculum for “A Dog’s Purpose” on their website ready for us to use – FREE!

Now, this curriculum will not replace our reading of the book and our own analysis and discussion of the similarities and differences between the written word and the performance played out on the screen, but it will most definitely add to our teachable moments around this movie.

Oh, and did I mention…they are FREE?!!??  Download them here: http://www.homeschoolmovieclub.com/a-dogs-purpose

2017-01-16_1431Lesson One incorporates Science, Math Standards, Biological Classification [anatomy], and Sorting. The activities offered are centered around basic dog/canine knowledge, with hands-on sorting and classification activities geared towards the younger students, and deeper scientific classification activities aimed at those in the higher grades. And all students regardless of their age will enjoy the adorable masks and the imaginative play that will inevitably follow.

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Lesson Two incorporates Creative Writing, Event Sequencing, and Math. The activities in this lesson are centered around a fun and engaging board game as students explore the stages of a dog’s life and the various purposes that a dog may have during its lifetime. Again, there are modifications outlined for younger and older students.

2017-01-16_1436Lesson Three incorporates Social Studies. The activities in this lesson allow students to transfer their knowledge from the previous lessons as the explore Life’s Purposes. In the prior lesson they contemplated the many purposes of a dog’s life, and now they look inward at their own lives to identify their own special skills, traits, and gifts; helping them to understand that everyone has a purpose.  This is definitely a deep thought lesson and is geared for the older grades, with a printable themed Student Planner. However, there is also a fun hands-on activity that engages the younger students in a craft, and they can draw images of what they imagine may be their future careers or passion projects.

2017-01-16_1437Lesson Four incorporates History and Geography. The activities in this lesson take a deeper look at service and work that dogs have been asked to do over the years, and how their physical attributes have developed to make them better at their “careers”.  Students will map the dogs of the world and will come to understand that a dog’s unique body type and features benefit them in their region, and in the jobs they are suited for. And, as a culminating activity, kids (and parents) of all ages will enjoy whipping up a batch of Puppy Paw Sugar Cookies!

Isn’t it cool that the movie studios are teaming up with homeschooling groups to help turn some of these family friendly movies into learning opportunities?!  Collaborations such as these are a win-win for the studios and for us homeschoolers. Our homeschooling ranks are growing, and our collective voice is being heard louder and louder. Family friendly movies with deeper themes give us something to sink our literary teeth into as we go through the process of teaching our children about all aspects of media and entertainment.

A movie can be so much more than just a movie, and with the reading of the novel, and the incorporation of the free curriculum and lesson activities, we are certain that “A Dog’s Purpose” will be so much more than just a cute movie.

Wait!!! There is one last clip I want to share with you. Britt Robertson, star of “A Dog’s Purpose”, and former homeschooler has a few words to share.

To read more about “A Dog’s Purpose” and The Homeschool Movie Club, look for the following hashtags on all your social media outlets: #ADogsPurpose     #4Homeschoolmovieclub