Garritt and Yvette Hampton, director and producer/host of Schoolhouse Rocked were recent guests on Israel Wayne’s excellent Family Renewal podcast, where they got to talk about homeschooling and the production of this important homeschooling documentary. Listen to the show here.
Yvette Hampton recently appeared on the Common Sense Conversations podcast with Professor Carol M. Swain, Ph.D. to talk about homeschooling. Dr. Swain is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Dr. Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her new podcast features conversations with thought leaders from around the country about the issues we face, and how we can use common sense to solve them.
We met Dr. Swain on our recent trip to Nashville. We were privileged to spend many hours getting to know her, then we were able to interview her for Schoolhouse Rocked. You will be blessed by her wisdom.
I was invited to speak at the Annual Home Educators’ Day at the Capitol. Following are three encouragements I passed along to homeschooling families…
Homeschooling Encouragement 1: The responsibility to teach and train children is on the parents’ shoulders.
It’s not on the shoulders of the government, public school, or even the church. Three verses to support this conclusion…
Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The “You” is parents, and this teaching is supposed to go on all the time, when you: ● Sit in your house… ● Walk by the way… ● Lie down… ● Rise up.
When I taught elementary school as soon as the bell rang I sent students home for the day, but as homeschooling parents educating is never done. God wants us teaching and discipling our children around the clock, every day, all day. When I was an officer in the Army they told us, “You always have to have a hip-pocket teaching available.” Our uniforms had large pockets on our hips, and the idea is we had to have a teaching we could pull out at any moment to share with the soldiers.
The same is true with our children. We should look for teachable moments throughout the day to disciple them on forgiveness, generosity, service, joy, appreciating God’s creation, etc. As our children encounter day-to-day situations, we want to regularly say:
What does the Bible say about this?
What does God’s Word tell us about this situation?
How should Scripture direct our thinking regarding this decision?
With our children growing up in Christian homes and churches they learn so much Scripture, but how does this benefit them if it isn’t affecting their day-to-day lives? If it isn’t affecting their relationships and decision-making?
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Is this addressing the public school system, the government, or even churches? It’s clearly speaking to parents.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
This verse is interesting because understandably with fathers working, mothers perform most of the teaching; therefore, how do we obey this verse? While mothers might deal with much of the day-to-day academics, it seems much of the [spiritual] training and admonition rests on the father’s shoulders. Fathers can never sit back and say:
Well, my wife has it under control.
Their mother will handle the teaching.
Whatever my kids need to learn, they can learn it from Mommy.
I’m too busy working to worry about teaching my children.
Whether fathers have to get up earlier or clear the table as soon as dinner is over we need to make sure we gather our families around the Word of God. Consider what God said about Abraham:
Genesis 18:19 [God said], “I have chosen him, that he may [direct] his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
This is exactly what God could say to every father: He has chosen [us] as fathers. He wants us to direct our children and our households that we may keep them in the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.
Homeschooling Encouragement 2: The amount of time we have with our children is limited and valuable.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average number of hours in a public school day is 6.64, and this doesn’t include the time spent walking, driving, or riding the bus to and from school. The average number of school days per year is 180, which adds up to a little under 1,200 hours per year. This means by the time public school students graduate high school they have spent over 15,500 hours away from their parents.
We have seven children. Our oldest is eleven and we’re recognizing just how little time we actually have with each of them. As parents, we should be selfish. We shouldn’t be willing to give up so much of this time to others. When we consider just how much time our children would be in school…
It’s a lot of time for them to be taught and trained by someone else when God has put that responsibility on parents’ shoulders. Some number of the teachers might not be Christians, might not have the same values we want our children to have, might teach academics that conflict with our teaching, etc.
It’s a lot of time for them to be surrounded by hundreds of students that could have a strong negative influence. Some number of those students aren’t Christians, don’t have the same values, exhibit behaviors or hold beliefs we wouldn’t want in our children.
Homeschooling Encouragement 3: Move beyond teaching academics and morality.
When I taught elementary school, I found the teachers I worked with to be hardworking, and genuinely concerned about their students. They taught their students important academics, and they’re moral people who also taught an amount of character. In classrooms across the nation students learn important subjects like math, reading, writing, science, etc. as well as important morals: do not lie, cheat, steal, be kind, etc.
So what homeschooling parents need to consider is if we don’t move beyond teaching our children academics and morality, we’re not moving beyond anything public schools teach. If we’re homeschooling we need to make sure – like Deuteronomy 6:7 and Ephesians 6:4 command – we’re teaching the Word of God, teaching the Gospel, teaching a biblical worldview, etc.
If we taught our children the academics that could get them into the most prestigious schools in the nation but they weren’t committed to using that education for Christ, what good have we actually accomplished? Why do we teach our children…
To read? So they can read Scripture.
To write? So they can write about the Lord.
Music? So they can worship the Lord and help others do the same.
Sciences? So they can better know the Creator of creation.
Art? So they can produce works that bring glory to God.
History? So they can learn about our Christian Heritage and the sacrifice many were willing to make to freely worship God, and learn from the mistakes of those who rejected that same God.
Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy, grew up to be a wonderful, godly young man. He was so impressive, even at a young age when Paul met him he wanted to bring him along (Acts 16:3). What made Timothy so exceptional? Paul gives the answer…
2 Timothy 3:15 From childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
From a young age Timothy knew the Scriptures, which did two things for him:
First, they [made him] wise; Scripture is where true wisdom comes from.
Second, they provided him with salvation; they taught him how to be saved through faith in Christ Jesus.
This is a great example of what we should desire for our children: that they know the Scriptures at a young age, that they’re wise for salvation, that they know to put their faith in Christ.
And where did Timothy receive this instruction? Did he receive it from his 4thgrade teacher, wonderful coach, the government, or even the church? He received it from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5). And this is where our children should receive the same wisdom and discipleship.
What has encouraged you in your homeschooling?
What would you pass along to other homeschooling families?
Ever since teaching film at the middle school and high school level I have loved helping students learn the skills to become great filmmakers. I recently got a pretty open-ended question from one of these students on how to turn 4 1/2 hours of video into a story worth watching. This is a topic that is near and dear to me, as I have to do the same thing (on a much bigger scale) in editing Schoolhouse Rocked. Luckily, the fundamentals are the same, and learning these fundamentals is the key to becoming a great filmmaker.
4 1/2 hours of footage is a lot! This young filmmaker had recently gone on a mission trip and had come back with hours of assorted footage, people talking and sharing their experiences, people working, kids playing, etc. Now it was time to turn this footage into a film – and one that is actually worth watching. This is no small task, but by following some simple steps it can be done.
How long is too long? Filmmakers are usually tempted to think in terms of “how long should the final video be” when approaching projects like this. This is the wrong question to be asking, and will lead to the wrong outcome. Whether a video is fifteen seconds long (most commercials), or four hours long (Gone With The Wind, The Ten Commandments, Dances With Wolves), what really matters is STORY!!! I have seen completely boring 15 second commercials, and have been completely engaged through four-hour epics. Story makes all the difference.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
1) Watch ALL the footage
Sit down with a notebook and pen and watch every grueling minute of footage and take great notes (mark clip names and start and stop times with specific notes about content and story). This makes all the difference in getting this much footage edited.
Look and listen for STORIES! You want to listen to everyone and be looking for unifying threads of story that run throughout the dialog. It is great if you can tell a single story with a start, middle, and end (a 3-act structure). It is better if it has dynamics (rising and falling action, rising and falling emotions), It is best if this single story can be told by several people (not repeated, but multiple viewpoints unified into a single story). Story is king!
2) Once you have your story in mind and have great notes, it is time to start the ROUGH edit. (We’ll get back to that “rough” bit in a minute)
Only bring the clips in to your project that you know you need, and use folders to organize clips. I use the following folders to start every project: Music, Titles, Story (broken into subfolders by character and camera/angle), b-roll, and behind-the-scenes (not always necessary). This way you don’t have to scroll through miles of files to find what you need. I create all the folders first, even if they don’t have content yet, because I know I will need them.
3) Edit dialog first.
Don’t even worry too much about visuals. As long as the footage isn’t a mess, get the dialog edited. Use good headphones and listen critically. Make sure that pauses at cuts are natural (not too long or too short), and make sure there are no pops at the edits (use crossfades or ramp the volume down and then up for the next clip). Make sure that there is no distracting noise (wind, hums, static, etc. – don’t be afraid to use noise reduction, but don’t overuse it. If you can hear the noise reduction you are using too much).
Once you have the story put together in dialog, EQ, compress, and mix the audio to get the levels and sound right. I usually try to get my dialog peaking at about -6db on the meters, and pretty heavily compressed. If you don’t do this viewers won’t be able to hear it on little laptop speakers. You want it pretty loud (get to know your compressor well!)
4) Think about music REALLY early.
This is almost as important as the dialog. While the dialog will make the story, the music will set the mood for the story. Pick carefully. Listen to lots of music and choose something that will set the proper tone.
Drop your music into the edit sequence early and listen to it while you cut. If you can, cut to the music (put cuts on the beat). Cutting to the music is more effective with uptempo songs, but works on slower stuff too.
You don’t need music through every minute of your edit, but all your music should work together, and you should open and close with music.
Watch your levels. Dialog is your primary audio (unless you are doing a music video or montage sequence), so make sure every word can be heard clearly. If not, the music is too loud.
5) Once your dialog and music are edited it’s time to work on picture.
Since your dialog is edited, much of the picture edit should be done. Now it’s time to make it look good. If there is an edit while one person is talking, switch to another camera angle or use b-roll over the cut so that you don’t see the person’s head jerk.
Look for b-roll that enhances your story. Don’t be afraid to slow down b-roll. Most b-roll looks better slowed down (I always try to shoot my b-roll at 120 fps to slow it down in post)
Use “J” and “L” cuts to bring some excitement to the edit. Have someone start talking during b-roll, then cut to them, or start on them talking and then cut to b-roll.
6) Cut rough, then polish! (Here’s the scoop on that “rough” business – This should actually be point #2, but it is a bit easier to understand here. Just remember to implement it at point #2)
This is one of the hardest skills to master. People tend to want to polish every cut as they make it. DON’T! Make a really rough cut first, just to get the story put together, then go back and polish one thing at a time (first dialog and music, then visual edit timing, transitions and effects, then color). This not only helps you get a good story put together more quickly, but it makes your computer run better throughout the edit, because you save the heavy lifting (audio plugins, transitions, effects, and color correction) for last. Learn this well and early and you will thank me for the rest of your career!
7) Less is more!
Nothing screams “amateur: more than a million crazy transitions, weird color correction, bad effects, etc. I used to tell my film students that they could only use cuts and dissolves in their edits. Cuts are appropriate for most edits. Dissolves signal that you are in a new time or place, or that the subject or topic has changed. I use fades to and from black (and occasionally white) for beginnings and endings (when appropriate), Mostly cuts for all normal edits, and dissolves to signal some big change. That’s pretty much it, unless there is a really important stylistic reason to do something different.
Note: I’m not saying you can never use that cool “glitch” transition, or a zoom or wipe transition when appropriate, but they have to be APPROPRIATE and serve the story! Unless you are editing action movies, extreme sports, or music videos you will find that you can get by with cuts and dissolves 99.999% of the time. I challenge you to develop this discipline, master the art of the edit using cuts and dissolves, and when the time is right for that special “page curl” or “star iris” transition you’ll know it (hint: the time will never be right for either).
8) Don’t forget titles and graphics
Us appropriate opening titles and closing credits to put the finishing polish on your edit. This little step takes it from “home video” to “short film”. Remember rule #7 – less is more! Use simple titles and look like a pro.
We learn about the importance of money from a pretty young age. Whether the lessons come from our parents when we’re young (“money doesn’t grow on trees!”) or when we get old enough to make purchase decisions and realize how much money it really takes to get things we need, want, and desire. As homeschoolers, it is our responsibility to transfer this wisdom to our kids, and while “money doesn’t grow on trees” is a start, raising financially literate, faithful stewards is the goal.
When it comes to business, money plays a vital role. Without it, just like in our personal lives, we are unable to purchase things we need to move our businesses forward. The need for money can range from product inventory, office equipment, machines for manufacturing, or funds for a marketing campaign.
Most of the lessons we have been taught regarding money revolve around banks. Banks were established in this country back in 1791 and are usually housed in large, robust buildings that exude a powerful mystique about them. These institutions tend to make us feel confident that the banks will keep our money safe due to the fact they are FDIC insured, but did you know banks only have 1-2% in reserves to cover deposits? That means, if the banks really were to go under, they are roughly 98% short on covering the loss. Is it just me or could that be a problem?
We are taught that our money grows when we utilize bank products. Is that true? What is the current interest rate offered by a bank savings account these days? Somewhere under 2% as of this writing. So, with inflation being around 10% rather than the 3-4% we’re usually told, that means our money is losing between 4% and 8% of its value in this scenario – and the longer we save, the more we lose! Even the magic of compounding interest can’t beat this sad reality. That just doesn’t sound like a good idea. Well, at least we can rely on banks for loans when we need to make a large purchase or to adjust cash flow in our business. Unfortunately, that’s not a great option either as 50% of bank loan applications get denied.
Here’s the reality, once we deposit our money into a commercial bank, we no longer own that money. Wait! What? That’s right, at the moment we deposit our money into a commercial bank we become a creditor to the bank. Our deposit turns into a short-term unsecured loan to the bank. Then, because of fractional lending, every dollar deposited into a bank tends to get loaned out twelve times. What? The only logical definition for that is making money out of nothing.
Before you completely come unglued, there is another option for storing your money where none of these challenges exist. It’s an option that’s actually existed for many years, but has not been readily available. It offers control over your money, avoids market volatility, provides a financial legacy for your family and allows you to earn interest on your money while you use it.
Just like education options for our children, we are trained to think within a particular box (traditional school) and it takes a great deal of effort to see what lies outside that box (homeschool). Teaching our kids financial freedom and controlling our money falls into that same scenario. We have been trained to fully rely on the banking system to store and grow our money. Once we learn there is another way, it opens up a world of new possibilities for our families and businesses.
To learn more, contact John Robinson at Purple Monkey Garage at 704-870-7318.
On December 15th, 2016 our family left California in a truck and travel trailer and set out across America to make a homeschool documentary. The irony of this situation wouldn’t be lost on anyone who knew our family just a few years before. You see, like so many other homeschool families, we were NEVER going to homeschool!
Prior to having children we bought into nearly every homeschooling misconception. Our limited exposure to homeschooling enforced the notion of socially maladjusted, poorly educated kids, taught by ill-equipped and under-qualified moms. We believed that missing out on the classroom dynamic and structure of school would lead to poor academic outcomes, and that without a “real” diploma, college acceptance was a gamble. Not to mention, why would we want to spend all day with our kids? We said many times we would never do that to our kids or our ourselves, but God laughs in the face of “Never”!
After 11 years of marriage we had our first daughter and our perspective began to change. We wanted to do what was best for our kids and for our family. Parenting was a great responsibility that we accepted whole-heartedly.
As our oldest daughter approached school age we began to carefully consider our options for her education. The public schools in our area weren’t even a consideration. We knew that we could not allow our daughter to be subjected to the indoctrination that she would experience there. We didn’t believe that our short time with her at night and on the weekends would be sufficient to uncover and undo the anti-Biblical teaching she would undoubtedly receive during the week. Additionally, we were in an area where the public schools weren’t even safe. At the time, we would have preferred to put her in a Christian school, but we just couldn’t afford this option. As a last resort, we thought that maybe we would give homeschooling a try for a year, and see how it went.
Thankfully, God changed our hearts. Before we even began homeschooling, we met with a pastor and his wife who homeschooled their kids. They began to encourage us and tried to unravel many of the misconceptions we believed. They also encouraged us to attend a homeschool convention; an experience that was both eye-opening and extremely encouraging, as we saw how many “normal” people homeschooled. It was then that we began to learn about the very real benefits of homeschooling.
Six years into our one-year experiment we were huge fans of homeschooling! We were blessed to have participated in great co-ops and a fantastic Classical Conversations community, experienced support and encouragement from most of our family and friends, and our children had benefitted from the excellent academic and social opportunities that were available to them. We were enjoying the freedom to travel and to tailor school to the strengths of our children and to the needs of our family. We savored the blessing and privilege of integrating God’s Word into every subject and weaving a Christian worldview into every aspect of “school.” While we experienced many of the challenges faced by other homeschool families, we were extremely privileged to see the benefits as well, and we desired to share these benefits with others.
Time For Change – BIG CHANGE!
After many years of working in Hollywood, I knew it was time for a change. Heavy travel and long hours on set had cost me precious time with my wife and young daughters, an my health and family were suffering. I loved my job and the people I worked with, but I could see that a continued career in Hollywood would have grave costs. It was not worth trading my family and health for my job, so without a back-up plan, with only the conviction that something had to change, I quit. When I called Yvette to tell her the news, she could only respond, “Praise God”!
In the months that followed, God showed his great power. He provided a perfect new job for me and began to lay the foundation for Schoolhouse Rocked. I would teach film at a local Christian school and produce short documentary content for our church. While it was only a one-year commitment, we knew that this was exactly where God wanted us. He had met our immediate needs, but He was also preparing us for what was to come.
Toward the end of the school year, God provided another opportunity that set the wheels in motion for Schoolhouse Rocked. A well-loved fellow teacher asked if I would film some b-roll for his sister’s student film. As her final project for her film degree at Biola University, she was making a short documentary on homeschooling and needed a few shots of this teacher, himself a homeschool graduate, teaching his AP History class. I gladly agreed, and when I saw the finished film I became excited about the opportunity to encourage prospective homeschoolers through a feature film. I was reminded of what an impact the documentary, Indoctrination had had on Yvette and me in our own decision to homeschool. This young film school graduate had no intention of making a feature-length documentary, but this experience had birthed a desire in me to see this film become a reality.
At the end of the year my contract with the school and church ended and it was time to seek God’s guidance on the next chapter of our lives. Our family had long felt prompted to leave California and believed that this period of transition provided the perfect opportunity. Reluctant to pursue a new job in California, and feeling increasingly convinced that we needed to make a documentary on homeschooling, we laid a fleece before the Lord. We prayed and asked that if it was God’s will that our family make this film He would make it abundantly clear. We knew that we would have to travel to film the movie and we knew we didn’t have the money to travel – let alone make a movie – so we asked for God to answer clearly. If He wanted us to make Schoolhouse Rocked we would need to sell our house. We listed the house and put it in God’s hands. The next day we had a nearly-full-price offer. We took that as confirmation! While that first deal didn’t go through, the house sold quickly and God continued to work. We started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution.
Next, we would have to sell everything in our house. We had a house full of furniture and possessions that certainly wouldn’t fit in an RV. Right away, friends began to call and ask if we were selling things. One family bought most of our furniture. Our cars quickly sold as well. To get rid of the little stuff – dishes, decorations, books – we held an estate sale. We advertised that the sale would start at 7:00 am on a Friday, and by 6:30 there were people lined up on the sidewalk. We opened up our house and moved a few items onto the lawn. By 2:00 almost everything was gone. The next day we had a few tables of odds and ends on the front lawn, and at the end of the day there was nothing left.
With no home and no stuff it would be easy to travel to film the documentary, but now we needed an RV. We had been looking at travel trailers, 5th wheels, and motorhomes for weeks to determine what would suit our family best. Again, God provided perfectly. One day we got a phone call from some friends who asked if we were still looking for a trailer. It turned out that just a few miles away a family had the perfect trailer for us, and a truck to go with it! We had been looking all over Southern California and the perfect truck and trailer were just across town.
Making a Homeschool Movie
Honestly, had God not confirmed his call in so many ways I don’t know if we would have done this. We left family and friends and a church we loved in California. We left our home and a lifetime of stuff accumulated in our 22 years of marriage. We went out not knowing how God would provide, but certain that He would, because he had given so many clear confirmations. He has proven Himself over and over again. Not only has He provided for our family in miraculous ways, He has provided for the movie in miraculous ways.
When we set out to film Schoolhouse Rocked we had a wish list of people we wanted to interview, but almost no connections and no idea how we were going to get in touch with these people. God opened doors! It was only by His amazing power that we were able to get interviews with such an amazing cast. He provided exactly who we needed to tell a great story and to make a strong case for homeschooling.
Filming for the movie has taken place all over the country. This has provided a very broad view of homeschooling across the United States and has allowed us to build a base of support in several different regions. We have also been blessed to have made great friends in several states.
In March we finished filming the last of the interviews for the movie. Now the real fun begins. While we will still shoot a bit more b-roll (shots of kids and families living life and doing school), most of our time over the next several months will be spent editing and fundraising for post-production and marketing. We are planning for a nationwide theatrical release with Fathom Events in 2019, and a release like this takes a substantial budget and network of marketing partners. We are extremely thankful for our great sponsors, generous donors, and the marketing partners who have already provided excellent support.
We are thankful that God has called us to this important task. It has been a privilege for our family to work on this important project, but more importantly, we know He will be glorified by the film and many families will be blessed and strengthened through Schoolhouse Rocked.
Schoolhouse Rocked will encourage new families to homeschool and equip homeschooling families to start strong and finish well. It will break down common myths and misconceptions and answer important questions about homeschooling. We need your help to advance the homeschooling movement through this important film!
Donate –Your donation goes directly to production on the film.
Recently I received a call from an exasperated mother who was desperately trying to find a way to teach her son. After homeschooling for 14 years and graduating her oldest who was also a struggling learner due to a brain injury, she felt she had exhausted her teaching arsenal and was still coming up short in being able to teach her younger autistic son.
Our conversation started with this mother asking if I knew of any different curriculum options she could try. But, instead of offering my best advice on curriculum, I led her through a series of questions to find out what teaching techniques had worked with her son and what his main interests and hobbies were. At first, her responses to my questions centered around all the curriculums she had bought in the past that were now filling her shelves but no longer being used for one reason or another. But, as I continued my questioning she started deviating from talking about curriculum to talking about her son and the success he had experience through their homeschooling endeavors. Eventually, our discussion moved into ways she could use the curriculum she already had, employ the services of her local librarian to find books focused around her son’s interests, and start to build learning around those interests.
As our conversation came to an end, this mother confessed to me “Maybe I just need to change how I teach my son instead of trying to find another curriculum.” Of course, this conclusion had been the main goal of my questioning, but if I had just told her to change her way of teaching at the beginning of our conversation, she wouldn’t have understood what I was talking about. It was only after leading and letting her discover the importance of individualizing her son’s education, that she truly understood how teaching her son was more about what she did instead of what she used.
Did you know in asurvey done in 2002 of special education homeschooling parents “the majority of survey parents (58%) designed a curriculum for their children.” As a matter of fact, this same study reported that “All the parents in the case studies designed the curricula for their children based upon their ability and interest levels” And, “most of the mothers criticized packaged curricula.” Now, you must understand that back in 2002 when this survey was conducted, there weren’t many homeschool curriculum options specifically targeted to children with learning challenges.
It is interesting to note though, that in 2012 when special needs homeschooling curriculum was starting to abound across the country at homeschool conventions and book fairs, Dr. Brian Ray ofNHERI summarized in anexploratory study of homeschooling outcomes the main advantage of homeschooling both learning disabled and gifted children was“The informal environment that homeschooling provides allows ‘differentiated instruction,’ not a one-size-fits-all version that is typical in public schools where teachers must meet the varied needs of twenty or more students in the classroom. The personal approach of schooling at home provides a natural environment to customize the curriculum for learning disabled and academically gifted children alike.”
In looking over many studies and surveys, including those cited above, as well as drawing from my decade of experience in consulting with special needs homeschooling families, it’s clear that differentiated instruction utilizing student specific accommodations and modifications is not only the best way to homeschool a struggling learner but a homeschooling freedom that’s particularly advantageous to utilize with children who do not adapt well to traditional teaching methods.
I apologize ahead of time to anyone I may offend with my following remarks, but the reason I feel many special education homeschooling parents have moved away from implementing specific differentiated instruction has to do with special needs homeschooling curriculums marketing products towards a specific diagnosis or learning disability. Now, I love curriculum and do feel parents can benefit from using both regular and special needs homeschooling curriculum, but when a parent believes a specific curriculum will teach to their child’s specific need to the point the curriculum itself provides the necessary differentiated instruction, that is a problem.
Too many homeschooling parents have reasoned themselves out of providing specific and individualized instruction for their child because they believe their special needs curriculum is providing enough learning variation on its own. Unfortunately, with the vast spectrum of learning disabilities and challenges confronting special needs homeschooling families, it’s impossible for curriculum providers to create materials able to meet the specific needs of all these unique children.
Ultimately, parents who homeschool children with special educational needs will find the most effective way to teach their child doesn’t come in a package. Rather it comes from being a student of their child, learning how to implement specific teaching strategies and methods and figuring out which ones work best in teaching to their child’s needs, locating resources that work with their child, and coaching their child one-on-one through the learning process.
Why pray for your homeschool? It is one of the most important acts that we could do in order to be able to have a successful homeschooling life. There are so many reasons to pray. From the impact that it has on you as the parent and then the impact that it has for your children. What are these reasons? Here are some for you to consider.
1. We will not have the strength to move on.
Without praying for our homeschool our children and ourselves will not have the strength that is needed to move on. We will not be able to move on with learning and teaching which in the end will make the learning experience end as unhelpful.
2. It will help us better plan what to do for lessons.
When praying we are able to pray for what would work better for our children in what they are learning. This something that is important. After all we are here to teach our children what they need to know and what God wants them to know. Without praying about what to teach them we wont fully know what will suit them best.
3. Over what curriculum will be right to pick.
Along with planning out lessons for our children. Praying for the right curriculum is important. Without praying for their curriculum there is a chance of not finding what is right for them. Instead we are going to be constantly going through a bunch of different curriculum that will not work for them. Praying for the right curriculum and really paying attention to it will bring a much outcome for their education.
4. That we will focus on our relationships with our children.
Praying for our relationships with our children will help strengthen them. It will also help us encourage them and help us remember when they need us as a teacher or whether they need us as just their parents. Praying for that discernment will make us more successful together and will make a better life for our children.
5. That you will teach in the name of Jesus.
Wow a big one! Teaching in the name of Jesus will be the right place to be. It will provide you with the right knowledge to teach your children. It will help them learn easier and will help that relationship needed to move on with your homeschool journey.
If you don’t already pray for your homeschool I encourage you to start doing that today. Praying for your homeschool will help you all in the end making it a better success!
While homeschooling provides numerous tangible benefits, the opportunity to build a family business together and to teach business, management, entrepreneurship, work ethic, and good stewardship to our children provides immediate and long-lasting benefits that are hard to beat. After teaching our kids how to live in light of eternity and in relation to the God of creation, teaching them how to thrive (not just survive) in this world may be our most important job. Every subject should be taught in light of God’s word, with an eternal and a temporal perspective, and applied to real life. For example, when math is taught as a nebulous theory of numbers working together to make bigger or smaller numbers it is worthless. When math is taught as giving insight into an ordered universe, created by a God of order it becomes divine. When it is taught as the key to managing a household (basic math, algebra), to building and creating (geometry), to engineering (geometry, trigonometry, calculous), to managing a business (accounting), to teaching your own children, it becomes practical. Business, by it’s very nature is practical and divine. God has given a wealth of instruction on the subject in the Bible, and our failure to understand these principals directly affects our daily standard of living.
As we teach our children business and as we build our own businesses, one of our first considerations should be branding. Branding is integral to marketing and advertising (separate, but related fields), and even the most sound businesses are guaranteed failure if they do not master marketing and advertising. A business that fails to establish a brand fails! A quick side note: anyone who thinks that the unnamed fruit stand at farmer’s market, which has a hand-painted sign that says “fruit”, or the lemonade stand on the corner doesn’t have a brand doesn’t understand branding.
What do you think of when you hear the word brand or branding? A company logo or a tagline of sorts? How about this… what do you think of when you hear the word “apple?” Chances are good your first thought is not a piece of fruit but instead, you think of the tech company and maker of the iPhone. Why is that? Truth be told, they have spent millions of dollars so that you would not think of the fruit. What other worlds come to mind when you think of the company Apple? Maybe lattes, expensive, virus-free, cutting edge?
A brand is an expression of your company’s beliefs. It is not a logo, tagline or slogan. A brand captures the heart of what your company is about, what you represent. Everything you do that’s connected to your company should run through your “brand filter.” Everything from where and how you advertise, how you market the products or services within the brand and even what it is the brand offers. Everything circles back to how it reflects on the brand.
For instance, if you pull up to a restaurant and see “reservations suggested” you automatically generate an expectation about that establishment and assume that the meal will cost more than $10. At the same time, your expectations for the quality of food and service rise as well. It’s all a reflection of the brand for that restaurant.
Proper branding tends to be one of the most expensive elements of business and the importance of it is often overlooked by business owners and entrepreneurs. When a company is sold, the contract will include a paragraph or two about the product or service. However, when it comes to the brand, there may be two or three pages on how to protect the brand.
When done well, a brand can take on a life of its own. For instance, if you have a cold and stuffy nose, you may ask for a “Kleenex.” Everyone knows what you really need is a tissue, but the brand is so powerful, you call the item by a brand name.
If you cut your finger, you usually ask for a “Band-Aid.” Technically, you need an adhesive bandage, but who says that?
In some regions of the country, usually the South, when you ask for a Coke the waiter/waitress will ask what kind since all soda is considered a Coke. That’s a brand.
Another way to know when a company has done a good job on branding is when the public will spend their own money or make an effort to promote the brand for free. How often to you see people wearing a hat with “YETI” or “Ford” or “Costa?” How about decals on the back of their vehicle – “NASCAR,” “Glock,” or a favorite sports team?
A brand is what your business is, the product or service just happens to be what you do today to build that brand. If you keep it that way, you can be fluid. For instance, do not put what you do in the name of the company. For example, if “Bob’s Plumbing” ever wanted to add roofing or pressure washing to his services as a result of a chance in the economy or personal desire, it will take more time, money and effort for him to adjust the brand image that has already been established. It’s more challenging for Bob to pivot with “plumbing” in the name. A better name to use would be “Bob’s Home Solutions.” He would then have the flexibility to add additional services without completely changing the brand.
Think about Google. That wasn’t even a word 20 years ago. Now it’s used a verb. Google is not only a search engine but they are now providing smart phones and other products with no pivoting issues. If Apple wanted to start making smart cars next week, it would fit their brand since they did not go the route of Apple Computer Systems.
So, keep these concepts in mind when you are branding your business and when you are teaching branding to your kids, and remember, whether it be the name you choose for your homeschool, a co-op, a blog or even your personal brand, a brand is an expression of core beliefs.