Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Documentary Challenge

We’re rebooting Corde’s Documentary Challenge!  Here’s the documentaries Corde’s been watching and highly recommends.  (Some of these we watched years ago, just for the heads up.)  She’d love to start influencing a wider audience, and she’s a smart kid!  She’s realized that the best place to start is with you!  If she watches a documentary that gives some really good information and tells someone about it, she’s passing the info on.  She’s got an opportunity to influence other people.  She might be able to make a positive change in the world.

Thinking like a logically minded child, she thought about all of you.  If she can influence all of you to educate yourself, you can then share your knowledge with other people.  That extends her reach by an incredible amount, doesn’t it?  She’s such a smart girl!

So here’s what you do.  Check out one of these videos (or check out all of them!)  The list is made up of documentaries we’ve watched together.  When you’re done, talk about what you’ve learned at least one person that didn’t watch the documentary with you.  After that, leave us a comment with which documentary you watched, and what you learned from it (or at least what you found interesting).

Now on to the documentary list!  We’ve broken it down to a general category and a “Parental Discretion” category.  This is because some of the documentaries have caught us off guard by adult content (some more adult than others) or violence that some families may not be so comfortable with. In one case, it deals with the whole Santa issue, and I don’t want that to unexpectedly be a spoiler for any families.

(Please note, this isn’t a complete list.  It’s a work in progress, simply because I can’t remember them all!

Since not all of them are coming up as image links, I’ll throw down some text ones here to kick it off.

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Hungry for Change, Make Believe: The Battle to Become the World’s Best Teen Magician, Dive

General Audiences

Parental Discretion Advised


20 thoughts on “Documentary Challenge

  1. I just watched Craigslist Joe and I discussed it with my husband, Rachel, Rebekah, and her boyfriend! Good idea Corde. You’re gonna get everyone unschooling!

    • Excellent! I’m glad you liked it. Corde will be so excited when I tell her about it tomorrow. This is kind of a social science experiment for Corde, and she’ll be thrilled to know that it’s already taking off!

  2. Awesome list! I just downloaded “wal-mart”. It is a fantastic idea. I took a course in college last year “Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethical Conduct” (CSR in the real world) and my prof was a firm believer that if you have to sit there and listen to someone preaching at you, one will obviously tune out, then come test time you memorize intricate details which you will forget 30 minutes after the test. However, he had to mark us on something so he had us individually come up with how we wanted to be marked. I chose to watch 5 documentaries and write reports on them (amongst other things); ones passion for these topics evidently flourish this way.
    An example is “The business of being born” – was a phenomenal film. I absolutely adored it. However, it did not change my views on birthing. It is a personal choice, and personally I find comfort in a hospital atmosphere. Although I would not choose the home-birth route, it illustrated options. And ultimately I am a very firm believer that Knowledge is Power.

    • That one should totally be on the list! Corde and I watched that and we’re starting to watch “More Business of Being Born”. I think she only half paid attention because it’s not a subject that really interests her.

      Like you said, it’s awesome because it illustrates a choice. All of my kids were born in hospitals. Corde’s birth was a miserable experience. Beekee’s was beautiful, even though it was supposed to be a birth center birth (they had a problem with the elevator at the birth center, so for safety reasons I could only be seen in the hospital). Sander was an unpleasant experience of being transferred from the birth center to the hospital, and the whole experience (birth center and hospital) was a little mentally scarring. Then the little guy I showed up at the hospital just in time for him to be born, but the brief time I spent at the hospital was nothing short of wonderful. “More Business of Being Born” talks about some wonderful hospital birth experiences too. I love that it introduces options, as well as the following mini-series has a beautiful focus on all births being beautiful and fulfilling, no matter what you choose.

      You’re right, documentaries (at least a well done documentary) can really captivate you and put the information in your head in a memorable way, especially if it’s a topic that interests you. Some of them offer a portal to the world, allowing you to visit places you wouldn’t be able to visit on your own, or to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. I love that you were able to use this for your marks, especially in college. I’ll have to tell Corde about that. I’m sure she’d love hearing about it!

      • Another one I watched which may be of interest to her (she seems so compassionate of others – although I would use your own discretion as it deals with child slaves and trafficking [not for sex]), it was done by the BBC and is called “The dark side of chocolate” I believe you can watch the full documentary on there. It essentially is about the africian children and the hardships which then endure for the rest of the world to snack on their chocolate. At one point the BBC offers a child a piece of chocolate – something they slave for, yet have never had one taste of it.

        Lastly – “Waiting for superman” is a completely eye opener to how failing the US school system is. This will completely validate your choice. I live in Canada, I thought this was completely mind boggling. We are told how similar our countries are, yet when it comes to education there is absolutely no comparison.

        There is a website which uploads a bunch of documentaries and you can watch for free ” “, they are all categorized by topic. Something you both may also be interested in!

      • We’ve been looking at “Waiting for Superman”. I just hadn’t committed yet. I think she could handle the other documentary too. She’s a pretty tough kid. Thanks so much for the recommendations! And we’ll totally have to check that site out. Thanks!

  3. ive been interested in watching that food inc you had mentioned a while back and now we finally have netflix. im in cananda so im sure we wont have all the same documentaries that you have on yours but i did notice last night that food inc was on there.
    Thanks lifefullof jules for that link. i will def have to check it out.

    • I’m glad you found one of them. If you see any ones in your area that we should check out, let us know. I’ll see if we have them down here too!

  4. Pingback: Documentary Challenge Participants « homeschool hijinks

  5. This is such a good idea! 🙂

    Grace and I watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead today. I let Grace do most of the sharing (practicing those summarizing skills), and she shared what she learned with Daddy. I wrote a little bit about your challenge and what we watched on our blog, too. I hope some of our friends and family will check it out. 🙂


    • I just read that. It’s so exciting! I can’t wait until tomorrow morning to tell Corde about it. She really wanted to do something like this so she could inspire change in the world. It’ll be even more meaningful knowing that the domino effect really does work and that learning love can be shared so easily. Thank you for participating. I know Corde’s super excited at the number of people who are already getting in on it.

      • You’re welcome! Thanks for putting the idea out there. 🙂

        I know some friends of ours are also going to accept the challenge, so tell Corde it’s spreading. 😀

      • Corde said earlier, “It’s spreading! It’s the most infectious disease ever!” Yes, I think knowledge and learning is an incredibly infectious disease!

  6. Pingback: Prestidigitation, Sleight of Hand, and Other Cool Tricks « Trailer Park Unschoolers

  7. Just got turned on to your blog from a mutual homeschool friend (Homeschool Hijinks). We just got through watching Hungry for Change and were so excited to see the juicing guy from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead in it. My big takeaway was to completely eliminate aspartame from my diet. Aside from some minor withdrawal and craving, I am aspartame free for 25 days.

  8. Okay, we watched another one today…Becoming Santa. We watched the documentary, and Grace told her dad all about it. 🙂 We had a good time talking about who would make the best Santa (definitely *not* me) and how difficult Santa-ing would be. Thanks again to Corde for such a fantastic idea!

  9. Jeremiah is watching, “Fat, sick, and nearly Dead” and “Stephen Fry’s America”. I need to let him know about this challenge!

    • We’ll have to check out Stephen Fry’s America. Haven’t heard of that one yet, I don’t think. We’re always open to suggestions too!

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