Dr. James Dobson Said What?

It isn’t every day you get a letter from Dr. James Dobson, but by the grace of God, recently we received a really encouraging letter from him congratulating us on the release of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. You see, Dr. Dobson is a huge fan of home education and was very excited to see a powerful new tool to encourage parents to take back their children and train their hearts at home.

Schoolhouse Rocked is excellent and a wonderful testimony to the growing popularity of home schooling and the superior education that it provides young people.”

Dr. James C. Dobson

Here’s a short quote from the letter: “I’ve been concerned for decades with the effect the public education system is having on our nation’s youth. And it has only gotten worse in recent years. Our precious children (and grandchildren) are much too important to entrust to a system that seeks to indoctrinate them with the radical ideology of the Left. Schoolhouse Rocked is excellent and a wonderful testimony to the growing popularity of home schooling and the superior education that it provides young people.”

We couldn’t be more grateful for the encouragement and endorsement from Dr. Dobson, but in everything we want to turn all the attention and glory back to the one who actually deserves it. God has been good to allow us to make this movie and he has been good to use it to impact families around the world. Even more, God has been good to use people like Dr. Dobson and families like ours to serve him, to grow his kingdom, to demonstrate his goodness to the people he loves. To him be all glory and honor forever!

You can find excellent resources from Dr. Dobson here.

End of Summer, 2019 – Production Update with Aby Rinella

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited to have my guest, and I want to say kind of new cohost, on with me today. This is Aby. And many of you who have listened to the podcast know who she is. She has been a great friend, and just an incredible encouragement to my family and I over the past year or so, as we’ve been filming Schoolhouse Rocked and working on the podcast and doing all things Schoolhouse Rocked. And God has just done amazing things in our friendship.

Yvette:                         So, Aby, welcome back to the podcast. I’m excited to have you on. Because we’ve been talking a lot about just kind of the future of Schoolhouse Rocked and the podcast and what the Lord is doing with all of this stuff. And so you’re kind of jumping on board with me, right?

Aby Rinella:                  I am so excited to do so. Yes, absolutely.

Listen to Yvette, Aby, and Karen on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in a special two-part interview. (5/23 and 5/30/2019 episodes)

Yvette:                         I love this. We got to do an interview together. It was me, you, and Karen DeBeus. And this was several months ago. And the three of us just had a great connection with one another, and then you and I have done several podcast interviews together. And we’ve just become good friends outside of the podcast. And we’re so like-minded. God has really brought us together clearly on purpose. And so I love your heart for homeschooling. I love your heart for family. I love the encouragement that you have given to me. I feel like you have just done an incredible job of standing beside my family and I as we’ve been on this crazy journey, which is what we’re going to talk a little bit about today, right?

Aby:                             And I am so excited to talk to you about this crazy journey and this incredible journey that you guys have been on. It is a story that needs to … Maybe there should be another movie of the making of the movie. It has been an amazing journey. And we connected about a year ago. And I was so captivated by you guys. And not only what God was doing through you guys but what you guys were willing to do for God. And it was just incredible. It’s incredible to see. The verse Matthew 4:19 just hits me when Jesus says, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

And he asked the men to drop their nets and walk away from everything that they knew, everything comfortable, everything that they kind of had figured out. And he said, “Let it all go. Leave it all behind, and follow me into the unknown. But know that I’m with you.” And I just feel like that is what I see with your family, is that’s exactly what you guys have done. And I feel super privileged to know the story. And I know that the podcast listeners have heard bits and pieces of it. But I’m just hoping that you will share with us from the moment Jesus said, “Come and follow me.”

Well, that was way before he called you to the movie. You followed him. But when he said, “I want you to leave behind everything you know and everything that’s comfortable and I want to do something incredible through you guys for my kingdom.” So will you share that journey with us?

Yvette:                         Sure. Yeah. It has been an incredible journey. As we’re recording this right now we are in California, which is where we’re from. This has been home to our family, to my husband and I and to our kids pretty much our whole lives. So we have lived in other places for a few short periods of time, but for 40-some years this was home and it was all we knew, and so I guess I can kind of start it a little bit at the beginning, for those who don’t know the whole story.

Garritt used to work in the Hollywood film industry and he did that for many years, and he was very good at what he did. He loves filmmaking. God has just gifted him in that area, and so many other areas as well. But he really felt like the Lord had called him to do this. But he didn’t want to do it in an industry that he didn’t believe in. And so he quit working in that industry, went on to work for our church and teach film in a Christian school for a year. And this was in 2015 through 2016 school year.

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So, he was teaching for that year and working for our church. And through that year we knew it was just a one-year commitment and we knew that at the end of that year it was going to be time for him to figure out what next. They wanted him to come back and teach. But he just didn’t feel like that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. I don’t know if I’ve actually told you this part of the story, but I vividly remember it was April of 2016 and we were sitting in church, and I can still picture it perfectly. We’re sitting in the middle of the service, and we have a great pastor, so usually I was really interested and engaged in what he was talking about.

And I don’t even remember if he had said something that triggered this idea in my mind, or if the Lord just put it on my heart. Either way it was certainly from the Lord. But I thought, “You know, we should …” We knew his job was ending and I thought, “We should just sell our house and sell all of ours stuff and go travel around the country.” And at that time we had felt like the Lord was leading us out of California, but we didn’t know where we would go. We had family in a couple of other states, but we just didn’t have any idea where we would end up.

And so, I wrote on our church bulletin, and I said, “I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff and get an RV and go travel the country.” And I passed it over to him, and he kind of looked at me like, “Are you crazy? That’s insane.” And so after church he just said, “We can’t do that. That’s insane.” So I just let it go, and I thought, “Okay, well whatever. Clearly if the Lord’s not going to put that big idea on his heart then it’s probably not the best idea.”

Well, fast forward several months and the school year ended and so his job was ending. And he had so many options for work at the time. The economy was really looking a lot better. And he’s a very talented man, very gifted in many areas. He has tons of experience. He’s got his marketing degree. So it would have been easy for him to go out and find a job. And there were so many people who were saying, “Weil, you should go and do this,” or, “You should do that. And I’ve heard about this job opening or that job opening.”

He also was in the Air Force, so he also has a background in aircraft. And none of it sat right with him. He just didn’t feel like that was the right thing for him to pursue. Like any of those things were right for him to pursue. And so we just prayed through that summer, “Lord, just show us where you want us to go. Show us what you want us to do.” And I don’t remember exactly what month it was, but it was probably somewhere around July, maybe the end of July or so.

And I remember him just kind of sitting on the edge of our bed and he just said, “I don’t know how to tell you this.” He said, “But, I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff, load up in an RV and go travel and see where the Lord takes us. And I think we need to film a documentary on homeschooling.” And instantly, without hesitation, I said, “Yes. Let’s do that.”

And it was just incredible that the Lord had put that on my heart many months before that. Because I think had he come to me and just said, “I think we should do all this, I have this crazy idea,” I would have followed if I knew that that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. But I don’t know how excited I would have been about that. But I didn’t just say yes. I was excited about it. And understand, California, like I said, was home. It was where our family is. It’s where our church is, all of our friends, our homeschool community. Our whole life was in California.

And so, the idea of just driving out aimlessly should have been a really scary thing for us. But it wasn’t. Because we knew the Lord was in it. So we just prayed, and we said, “Okay Lord. We’re going to trust you to just orchestrate this. And if this is really what you want us to do then we’ve got to sell the house first.” And we had a really nice five-bedroom house and had the minivan, because of course we’re a homeschool family. So every homeschool mom must have a minivan.

And so, we had our comfortable life. And we said, “If this is what you want for us then you’re going to have to just open the doors. And He did. I mean, we put our house up for sale. The very next day we had an almost full-price offer on it. We sold the house. All of our stuff sold. I mean, it was amazing. It was really cool, because we had friends and family who just came over to our house and they were like, “Okay, we’ll take this, this, this, this and this.”

And then we had a huge estate sale and pretty much sold everything that we didn’t absolutely need to keep. We got rid of all of our childhood trophies and camp pictures, and I mean everything we’d been toting around for 20-some years of marriage. And so the Lord gave us such peace about it. So we in December of 2016 … It took obviously a few months to pull all of this together. Actually, we started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked in August I think. So it was almost three years ago.

Started in August and then it took until December for us to actually leave. But in December, on December 15th of 2106 we got in our RV, pulled by our Excursion, and even through the process of that there were so many answered prayers. We wanted a very specific travel trailer. That was the kind of RV we decided that we wanted. And the Lord provided exactly what we wanted. Even more so actually. And it was a mile down the road from us. We wanted a Ford Excursion. He provided the Excursion that came with the travel trailer. You know, they were already attached, and it was perfect.

And so just there were so many answered prayers through that time that we just saw the hand of God move. And so we set out to film this documentary and to really just explore and see where the Lord would take us. And we ended up going straight to Georgia, because we knew that we wanted to be with family for Christmas. And so half of our family is in California. The other half is in Georgia. And then we’ve got kind of other extended family scattered throughout the country.

So, we ended up in Georgia, and that was where we kind of parked ourselves for the past two and a half plus years. And through the process of just being obedient to God we have had to rely on him and depend on him for everything. Everything. It sounds crazy when we tell people that Garritt has not had a steady paycheck, as you will, for over three years.

Aby:                             Amazing.

Yvette:                         And the Lord has provided our daily bread. I mean, it’s been incredible to just see the hand of God move and provide for us because we’ve answered this call that he’s put upon us to film this documentary. And so-

Aby:                             Can I interject really quick?

Yvette:                         Please, yes.

Aby:                             It wasn’t, from my understanding, that you guys were not like on the homeschool speaking circuit, and you knew all these homeschool people to interview. And you didn’t have one foot in to the whole … You were just a normal guy, a normal mom, and normal kids. And so it wasn’t like we kind of have this figured out and the Lord-

Yvette:                         Right.

Aby:                             It was totally into the unknown. And share a little bit about just God’s incredible hand on … I mean, you’ve interviewed … This movie has the top, the cream of the crop, the most inspirational, wisest, incredible cast. And that, share a little bit about how God put that all together.

Yvette:                         Sure. Yes. Well, as you say, we were just your typical homeschool family. I didn’t know anyone, and Garritt certainly didn’t know anyone in the homeschool world. We’d been to a couple of conventions and we’d heard some speakers that were really encouraging to us. But there were a couple of people whose names we knew. And Andrew Pudewa was one of them. And he was one that I said from the beginning … We had used IEW, which is his company, we’d use their curriculum. And I just really respected him, and I really liked his style of teaching. And I just knew he was very well respected in the homeschool community. And so I thought, “I want to interview him.”

And the Lord worked out the details of that. Before we left California we contacted him. He was the first homeschool expert that we contacted and we just said, “Hey, we’re making this movie.” At the time I don’t think we even had a title for the movie. We didn’t even know what we were going to call it. We just said, “We’re making this documentary on homeschooling.” We thought it was going to be kind of a small direct-to-DVD type documentary. And he said, “Oh, I’d love to be a part of that.”

And he lives in Oklahoma. He said, “But I’m coming to California in a few weeks. If you’re still in California I would love to just do the interview while I’m there.” And we said, “Well, that would be fantastic.” So that’s what we did. He actually drove out to us from … He was in Long Beach and we were way south of him. We were north of him actually. So he drove to where we were, and we got to interview him and just, I mean, we were blown away by his wisdom and his knowledge and his incredible interview.

And then he went on after the interview and he just said to us, “You know, I really believe in what you guys are doing.” He said, “Here are some suggestions of people that you may want to interview.” And he listed off a whole bunch of names. And it was really funny because he said, “All these people are great. I highly recommend trying to connect with these people. I’ll be more than happy to connect you with them, because I know all of them,” he said, “But if there’s any one person that you really need to get in this movie it’s Heidi St. John.”

And I was familiar of course with her. Interested read a couple of her books. But I had never actually heard her speak at that time. So I was like, “Okay. Well, yes, I know who she-

Aby:                             You really were in the dark, weren’t you?

Yvette:                         Yes. I was in the dark. And so we just prayed about it and I guess it was about a year and a half later or so the Lord opened the door for us to be able to interview Heidi. And so she’ll come in a little bit later in this story again, as you know. But having Andrew Pudewa in the movie, and having interviewed him, just opened up the door to all of these other people. Because we were able to contact these people and we would say, “We’re making this documentary. This is why we’re making it.” And it was we really want to encourage and equip the homeschool community. We want people to understand the great benefits and blessings of homeschooling and debunk all of the myths and misconceptions that people have of homeschooling. And we would say, “And we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa and several other people.”

And as soon as they would see his name they would say, “Oh, well, if Andrew’s in this movie then certainly it must be legit. And so we would love to do this.” And that’s how the Lord opened up the doors for us to interview so many of the cast members that we have since interviewed.

Aby:                             Obviously God’s movie.

Yvette:                         Obviously God’s movie, because it’s not anything we’ve done. I mean, we’re not these amazing people that anyone even knows. No one knows our name or anything. So we were able to go to a couple of homeschool conventions where they were speaking. So that spring we hit a few of them and we were able to interview a bunch of people all at one time. I mean, not together, but while we were at the conventions. And that was a great blessing that the Lord just allowed us to be able to do that.

When we started interviewing people for the movie, one of the people that we wanted to interview was Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis. So we called Answers in Genesis, and we said, “We would love to interview him for this movie.” And we were going to be in Cincinnati, which is near where the Creation Museum is. And we said, “We’re going to be there on these dates. Would he be available?” And they said, “He’s not going to be available,” but Bryan Osborne, who is one of their speakers and he is one of their curriculum developers, they said he would be available and he would be happy to be interviewed for the movie.

And we said, “Okay, great. We don’t know who this Bryan Osborne guy is. But yes. If this is the door the Lord is opening then let’s interview him.” So we got to go and interview Bryan. And he was just fantastic. He was a public school teacher for 13 years and just an incredible, wise, godly man. And so the Lord just kept orchestrating all of this and bringing people to us who we didn’t even know that we needed to interview. And God just would say, “Here you go. Interview this person.”

And again, through the course of this God kept providing for our family in just the most amazing and miraculous ways. We’ve had several families who have just come alongside us and just said, “We’ll support you monthly.” And some of them have been just a little bit per month. Some of them have been a couple hundred dollars per month. And the Lord has just put that on their hearts. And other people have supported us by donating large amounts at a time. We had one family who they donated $5,000 and just sent a really sweet note with it. And she said her husband had been homeschooled and his mom had passed away before she was able to see the fruits of her labor. And so they wanted to just bless this ministry that God had called us to.

And that has just happened over and over again where God has just put it on people’s hearts to support it. Because it’s really not our ministry, as you know. It’s the Lord’s ministry. And so, anyway, as we’ve been on this journey and seen God open the doors for us to pull this whole movie together, he brought us to a point about a year ago where we were almost done with filming but we needed just to finish the narrative of the movie. And when you have a documentary you can’t have just a bunch of interviews with a bunch of talking heads. You have to actually have a storyline through the movie.

And so, we got in contact with another production company and we were talking with them and working with them for several months. Actually it was about I think seven or eight months that we were working through trying to solidify a partnership with them. And the Lord closed the door on that, and there’s a whole story behind that that I won’t get into. And it was not anything … There was nothing wrong with them or with us. It’s just the Lord just said, “This is just not the direction that I want you to go.”

So, we actually walked away from that deal. But before we had a signed contract with them. And at that time, that was just in April, this past April, it had set us back several months because we had spent all that time working through that potential partnership. And so April came around and we were like, “Well, what do we do now? We still need to finish the movie.” We still need to have the narrative of the movie filmed, and then we were going to be all done with it. And the Lord over and over again kept putting Heidi St. John on our hearts and said, “She’s the one.” She’s the one that he wanted us to do it with.

So, I called Heidi. We had interviewed her before for the movie in Tennessee. And her interview was excellent. But it was just a regular interview. It wasn’t the storyline of the movie. So I called Heidi and I said, “Here’s the deal. We need to finish this movie and we need a storyline. And we would like to do that with you.” And it was going to by myself and another homeschool mom talking through our journey of homeschooling. And she just said, “I’m in. Let’s do this.” But as you know, Heidi lives in Washington. She lives in-

Aby:                             On the other side of the country.

Yvette:                         On the other side of the country. We were in Georgia. She’s in Washington state. So we just started to pray again and say, “Lord, we’re going to just trust you to get us there. It’s not like we have all this extra money to travel across the country. It’s very expensive, obviously, to do that.” And so we just prayed. And again the Lord provided for us to be able to do that. And you were an exciting part of that, Aby, because as we were traveling across the country, you are in Idaho, and you and I … You know, you talked in the beginning a little bit about how you had reached out to us over a year ago and just said, “Hey, I’m excited about what you’re doing. How can I pray for you? How can I help?”

So, the Lord has just formed a really good friendship between you and me. So when I realized that you were on the way we were able to stop by and meet you and your family and stay with you for a few days. And that was such a huge blessing. Clearly a friendship and relationship orchestrated by the Lord. So we got to spend time with you and then we went on to Washington. And we got to go spend time with Heidi and her family. We were there for about two and a half weeks. So that was towards the end of June.

So, we got to finish filming the movie with Heidi. And we filmed the narrative with her, and then we filmed also, she and her family about two years ago opened the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center. And this place is absolutely amazing. It is exactly what every homeschool mom would dream of having. It’s this huge warehouse. It’s set up with classrooms and a theater and an art studio and a science lab, and they’ve got music rooms, and they’ve got beekeeping, and they have a recording studio where Heidi records her podcasts. And they’ve got a computer lab. I mean, a coffee shop so the moms can go hang out while their kids are doing classes.

It’s just amazing what the Lord has done with their ministry. And so we were able to film there with a bunch of their families who are part of the Homeschool Resource Center as well. And it was just incredible to see how God, again, opened those doors, provided for us to get to Washington, film the rest of the movie with Heidi and with her family, and at the Homeschool Resource Center. And then bring us to the place where we are now.

So last month, we finished in July, so last month we finished filming the whole movie.

Aby:                             That’s amazing. That’s incredible.

Yvette:                         It was amazing. Yes. Yeah. It was an amazing day when we finished. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait till the movie comes out because there was this one part where we needed to kind of tie up the whole message of the movie. And Heidi and I were sitting in the coffee shop and Garritt’s filming, and we’re talking with one another. And Garritt is saying, because he’s directing the movie of course, and he says, “Here’s the message that we need in order to just bring it home.”

And I was trying to get it out. And I just couldn’t do it. I could not form the words together properly in order to get the message across that we were trying to get through in this movie. And so he looked at Heidi, he said, “Heidi, do you think you can do this.” And I’m like, “Of course Heidi can do it.” And ironically she wasn’t even feeling very good that day. She was just having one of those days where she was just feeling kind of crummy.

And so, she didn’t even know what she was going to say exactly or how this was all going to end. But we had prayed beforehand and Garritt just said, “Okay, Heidi. It’s you. It’s on you now. Bring it home.” And it was literally like the Holy Spirit just came down on her. And she just gave this amazing … And it was probably three minutes of just bringing the whole movie together in one beautiful kind of speech, if you will, to the point where we were all about in tears. Actually I think Garritt was in tears at the end of it. And it was so funny, as soon as he cut he was like, “Yes.” And he screamed really loud and kind of Heidi and I jumped and we were like, “What?”

And he said, “That was it. That’s the end of the movie.” And that was it. And it was done.

Aby:                             Three years wrapped up in three minutes.

Yvette:                         Three years wrapped up in three minutes. Exactly. It was absolutely incredible, and it was only-

Aby:                             And it’s incredible because God knew from the very beginning, from the moment you wrote that little note to him on the church pew. God knew that that powerful last three minutes of the movie was where it was going to be delivered, who was going to say it, in exactly the time and place that he had planned for it.

Yvette:                         Yes. Yeah. It was a beautiful thing. So that’s where we are right now with the movie. We are done filming. It has been really neat. As we’ve been here in California we’ve been able to meet with a lot of friends and family and just kind of share the journey of where God has taken us over the past few years. And I think three years ago had God laid out for us, “This is what your life is going to look like,” I don’t know that we would have been so quick to sign on the dotted line. Because it’s been a huge blessing. But it’s also been a really difficult three years, because for this whole time we haven’t really been settled anywhere. We’ve been traveling a lot. We have not had a real solid homeschool community. We’ve gone to church in Georgia when we’re there, but we travel so much that we haven’t had a solid steady church community.

It’s been difficult for our whole family. But there have been so many blessings that have come from it. And we know that we are exactly where God wants us to be.

Aby:                             And he knows exactly where you’re going. So the movie’s wrapped up, and if anybody has not seen the trailer to this film, it will … If that didn’t give you chills, what the story the Yvette just told, the trailer will. So we’ll link to that at the bottom of this, because you’ve got to go watch that trailer. And then it needs to be shared everywhere so that you can get just what’s behind this film. And just as a side-note, because you would never plug this, but I will. That trailer won an incredible award, right? Didn’t that trailer win some award?

Yvette:                         Yeah. It won best film trailer at the Christian Worldview Film Festival just back in March. So yes. That was really exciting.

Aby:                             Which just shows you what kind of film this is going to be. This is going to be a top-notch film. So tell me now, it’s August 17th. I know God knows the plan-

Yvette:                         When we’re recording this.

Aby:                             So, the plan… Oh, sorry, yes.

Yvette:                         This is not live.

Aby:                             Right. So what is it going to take for me to see this movie on the screen?

Yvette:                         Well, that’s a good question. It’s going to take the Lord, obviously. The hand of God continuing to move. As we have filmed, about a year ago we went and we got to stay with a couple who had invited us to stay in their home overnight. They knew that we were going to be traveling through their town and they said, “We’d love to just have you guys over,” which that’s actually one of the amazing things God has done over the past several years is that people have just opened up their homes to us. Hospitality has been amazing. And people have just loved on our family and randomly they’ll just invite us in, and it’s been incredible because we have friends now all over the place.

But we stayed with them overnight, and the morning that we were leaving the husband, he said, “I really, I just want to pray over your family.” And when he prayed for us he prayed … Do you remember the story of course of the Israelites and Moses is leading the Israelites into the promised land. And there’s the one part where they’re fighting the Amalekites. And the Israelites are winning as long as Moses is holding up his staff. And as soon as his arm gets tired and he starts to fall, then the Israelites start to lose.

And so, Aaron and Hur come alongside Moses and they hold up his arm, and the Israelites end up winning this battle. And so that was what he prayed over us. And he said, “Lord, just bring people around the Hampton family as they fight this battle and get this movie done. Bring people alongside them who will help hold up their arms and encourage them.” Because there’s been several times where we’ve just been weary. We’re tired. We are overwhelm. It has for the most part been I’ll say a four-man show, because we’ll include our girls in that. They’ve done a lot with this movie. And so it’s just been our family who has done most of this.

But the Lord has brought alongside us people who have supported us through prayer, through encouragement, through finances. And writing blogs for us. Just podcasting with me. I mean, so different things that people have done to encourage and support us. And it’s not anything that we’ve done on our own. We are, to be quite honest, we’re totally lame on our own. We are not capable of doing any of this without the grace and mercy and power of God. But the beautiful thing about that is that in the end, and we talk a lot about this as a family. Because it’s been such a difficult journey in many ways and a journey that we couldn’t do on our own, in the end all we’re going to be able to say is, “Look what God did.”

It’s not because we’re such amazing people and so gifted in a million different areas. It’s because God has equipped us to be able to accomplish what he’s called us to do in making this movie. And so he gets all the glory for it in the end.

Aby:                             Well, and I think too, it is a movie, but it is so much more than a movie. And I think that that’s maybe the message that also needs to get across, is this isn’t just a movie. I mean, look around our culture and see what’s going on. We are in a whole new set of times that we’ve ever been in, and we are raising children in, they’re not scary times because we know who’s in control and we know the end of the story. But they’re difficult times. And our culture is going down fast. And our families are being torn apart. And our children are having to fight things that we never thought they would.

And so, this isn’t just a movie. This is a message that God has placed on your guys’ hearts. But the reality is it’s a message that every one of us who has chosen to homeschool, and even those that haven’t, this is a message that’s on the hearts of the people. And this is a tool. This movie is a tool for all of us. I’ve said so many times, if I could just pay someone to answer all the ridiculous questions people ask me about homeschool, if I could just hand someone a movie and say, “Check this out,” that they would be as inspired and passionate about not just homeschool, but about the design that God made for parents to teach and train their children in his righteousness.

I mean, that sounds like a cop out for me, but I’d love to just hand someone something that they could watch. And that’s what this is. This isn’t just a movie. This is a message to God’s people and to people that wonder and question and aren’t sure. Because more now than ever this message needs to be heard.

Yvette:                         Yes. Oh, I could not agree more. It’s interesting, because we’ve talked a lot about this over the last even just couple months, in that since we started filming three years ago, the time has gone by so quickly but so much has happened in the last three years in culture. I mean, we have seen a drastic change in the way people are responding to God’s word, in the way that the church is responding, in the way that public schools are responding, and that the deeper their indoctrination is going and what they’re teaching these kids. It was bad three years ago. It’s worse today. And it’s gotten so out of control that parents, they need help, and they need hope. They need to know that there’s another way, another alternative to homeschooling, or I’m sorry, to public schooling or private schooling.

And so that’s why God’s called us to make this movie. But we can’t make it alone. I mean, we are the body of Christ and we are not meant to do this on our own. And we haven’t done it on our own. We’ve been kind of the daily hands and feet who the Lord has called to do this. But we certainly cannot do this without the help of people. I was reflecting recently on … I don’t know, I’m reading a lot of the Old Testament, as you can see. Our family’s actually reading through the New Testament, but in my quiet time I’m actually reading through Joshua right now.

And I love reading about the Israelites because it’s amazing to see what God has done with them. And I was thinking recently about, you know when God brought them out of Egypt and they’re standing at the edge of the Red Sea, and they’re standing in front of this huge sea, and they don’t know how they’re going to get through it. Because what are they going to do? If it had been a little stream or if it had been maybe even like a larger river there were enough of them that collectively they could have said, “You know what, if we just stack these rocks just right or if we lay these logs just so we can figure out a way to get across this stream or across this river.”

But God didn’t bring them to a stream or river. He brought them to the sea. And so they’re standing there and they could not at that point even have said, “Well, we’re just going to stand here and wait, and clearly God’s going to split the sea and we’re going to walk through on dry ground.” Because that had never been done before. And so all they could do was stand and wait. And they were scared. And now the enemy’s chasing them. And again, God just said, “Moses, you hold up your staff and watch what I do.” And he parts the sea. And they walk through on dry land. I mean, that’s an incredible story.

Aby:                             It’s incredible. Yes.

Yvette:                         And the same God who can split the sea for the Israelites to walk through is the same God who will provide everything that we need in order to get this movie done. Because again, it’s his movie. It’s not ours. And we, as far as budget-wise, I know you didn’t ask this, but I’ll just say anyway, just so people know where we are, as far as budget-wise it’s going to take close to about $500,000 to get the movie into theaters.

So now that we’re done filming, we’re done with production, we now are moving into postproduction. And post production is where we bring in a composer and a colorist, and probably a second editor, and all the other names that you see in the end credits of the movie who will make this movie excellent. But we have to hire all those people and then all the resources that we need in order to complete this. So post production is about, I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $198,000. So that’s what we need to finish, post-production on the movie.

And then another, well, whatever the difference is of that. So close to $500,000 total to get it actually into theaters. So the rest of that budget is for marketing the movie, which I know that sounds like a big number, but if no one knows about the movie then no one’s going to see it. So it’s not too big for God, though. You know, we realize that [crosstalk 00:38:29]-

Aby:                             It’s not. And I know a lot of people are probably thinking, “Okay, why would I get behind … There’s a million movies out there. There’s 100 movies out there. There’s lots of movie makers out there.” But what I want to say is getting behind this, we’re not getting behind a movie. We’re getting behind a message that needs to be heard, and God has a message that he wants heard in a culture that desperately needs to hear it. And you know, when we send missionaries out into a strange world where people aren’t following Christ to spread the gospel, missionaries don’t go without people sending them. And there are people sending the missionaries, there are people praying for the missionaries and encouraging and supporting them financially, and in many ways.

And that’s how I want people to see this, is this is a mission. This is a mission that has been put on your guys’ heart. And as parents who have already answered the call to homeschool, we need to get behind this mission. We need to have a heart for the lost. We need to have a heart for parents. They were once probably where we were, that said, “Yeah, I would like to but there’s no way I could.” And they have all the reasons as to why they don’t think they’re equipped. Or even maybe aren’t sure that it’s even the best, the right way to do it. So we need to spread this message. And the way to do that, because not everybody’s an eloquent speaker. Not everybody can make a movie. But God has placed those gifts in the speakers that you have in the movie, and in you and Garritt to make the movie. And so we need to get behind you, homeschool families.

I want to get behind you guys to do this because I look around my neighborhood and I cry for the children. And I cry for the families who they know that they don’t, they don’t want to send their kids out every day, but they don’t know another way. And so this is for those families. This is for our neighbors, this is for our church families, this is for ourselves to be encouraged and our parents and the naysayers, or the people that want to do it but just don’t know how.

So, getting behind this movie isn’t just funding a movie. Getting behind this movie is supporting missionaries who have answered the call to go out into a culture that rejects God and give hope and a message that just must be spread right now. So how can we do that? So now what? I’m on board. What can we do now?

Yvette:                         Yeah. Thank you for your encouragement with that. There are a couple of ways that people can help. The quickest way is to just go to schoolhouserocked.com. If people want to donate they can click right on the front page. There’s a blue button that says, I think it just says, “Donate now.” But then there are also several different ways that people can help. So I think on the front page there’s a button that says, “Support Schoolhouse Rocked.” I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s labeled. And they can go on there and they can see how they can partner with us. Homeschool friendly organizations can sponsor the movie. That’s a huge way that organizations can help and get on board with us.

People can donate. People can invest. We’re actually looking for bigger investors, and donors. Bigger donors as well. Though honestly, I mean $10 or $10,000, it doesn’t matter. It’s all God’s money and it’s all the same in his economy anyway. But that shows the different ways that people can be involved in helping the movie. And then also, obviously, just praying for us. Pray for us as we go about doing this. We have several people who are on our prayer team and they will send us regular text messages or phone calls or emails and just say, “Hey, how can we pray for you. How are things going.” And that means the world to us.

I think people don’t realize how much we need that encouragement and how much that keeps us going. And, I mean, Aby, you’ve been one who the Lord, I am certain he has placed you in our lives exactly at the right time because you … I think I shared this with you, but a couple weeks ago Garritt and I were out to dinner and just talking through, “Okay, what now? What are we going to do? How are we going to move forward with this? Which direction is the Lord leading us to get this movie done?” And you had sent an email, no, a text message to me that morning and just said, “I’m so excited. I can’t wait till the day that we get to actually see this movie completed, and I don’t care if it takes 10 years for it to get done. It will get done in God’s perfect time.”

And at the end of it you said, “Stay the course.” And as Garritt and I were talking he was sharing with me, he just said, “You know, I just, I know that this is what God’s called us to. There’s no doubt in my mind.” And I know it too. “Because we’ve seen his hand move in so many different ways.” But we need people to remind us of that. To just stay the course, just keep going, don’t give up, keep going, keep going. Have you ever seen Facing the Giants? That’s the Kendrick brothers’ movie.


The Death Crawl Scene from Facing the Giants

Aby:                             No.

Yvette:                         Oh, you need to watch it. It’s so good. For those of you who have seen it, you may remember there’s this part in there where Alex Kendrick is a football coach. And you need to see this part because I don’t know that I can do it justice. But there’s this part where he’s got this football player and this big football player has another of this smaller football player guys on his back. And he’s getting him to crawl across the field. And he’s blindfolded, the one who’s crawling with the other one on his back, he’s blindfolded. And he’s trying so hard to get across the field, and he’s exhausted. I mean, he gets halfway across and he’s just so tired. And he’s like, “I can’t go one more step.”

And Alex Kendrick is on the football field on the ground with him. And he’s down on his hands and knees with him, and he’s like, “Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going.” And I often feel like people like you and our family members, you know our parents have been incredibly supportive of this and what God is doing here. There are so many people who are just on their hands and knees with us and just saying, “Keep going, keep going, stay the course, keep going.” And so when people leave reviews on the podcast, when they email us, when they text us or call us, that is a huge way that people can support and encourage us as well.

Aby:                             Awesome. Well, I cannot wait. I cannot wait. I keep thinking about sitting in a seat and watching it on the big screen, and hearing a message that is so important to be heard and bringing my friends and my family. And this is going to be wonderful. And there’s been another big movie that’s just been released that is just, it’s changed lives and it’s addressed things that are happening right now that are against God’s word in the culture. And it reached peoples’ hearts. And that’s what I can’t wait to see this movie do, is reach peoples’ hearts for the kingdom of God.

And I can’t wait. And I’m so blessed to be with you in this journey. And I just keep thinking, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And I think this movie is going to give parents the encouragement they need and the tools that they need to not hinder their children from coming to Christ. So I just, I’m so thankful for what you guys are doing. I want to encourage everybody listening to this to get behind this, to get behind this film. It’s for all of us. It’s for God, but it’s for all of us to share and to use. And then share it. It’s just, get on, if you’re on social media share the trailer, share the movie, and share the need that it’s going to take people getting behind this movie to see it in the theaters and to have it in our hands. So-

Yvette:                         Yeah. Thank you. And I want to just throw out there too, it’s not just the movie. Schoolhouse Rockedis a ministry that God has called us to. And we’re building this whole kind of ecosystem around the movie, which is why we have the podcast, it’s why we have the blog, it’s why we have the Facebook page. It’s not just here’s a movie, now leave and go figure out how to do it on your own. It’s the movie is the base of it, but then you’ve got all of these things that go along with it to help continue to encourage parents in their journey of homeschooling. And that’s really what we feel like the Lord has led us to do, is to build a ministry to homeschool families to help them to stay the course, to help them homeschool with excellence. Because anything we do for the Lord it should be done with excellence, including this movie, including the podcast, including everything that we do, we do it for the glory of God.

And so, it’s not just the movie, it’s the whole package. So when people support Schoolhouse Rockedthey are supporting everything that we’re doing with this ministry.

Aby:                             Yeah. A ministry to encourage parents and equip parents who homeschool. And for such a time as this. All we have to do is look around and this message is one that needs … And we all need the encouragement. I need to get on to Schoolhouse Rockedand get encouraged. So thank you for answering the call. Thank you for letting us all be a part of it.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Thank you, Aby. It’s so fun talking to you. And I appreciate you being on with me. This ended up being kind of a reverse podcast where I feel like you were interviewing me, but I love being able to share of God’s faithfulness, and again, it’s all for his glory.

Aby:                             Absolutely.

Yvette:                         Only by his grace. So thank you, Aby, for loving our family, and loving us through this journey. And thank you guys for listening to the podcast today. I know we went way long today. But please pray for us, and please consider supporting us in any way you can, whether it’s through prayer or through a financial contribution or donation or investment, or whatever it is. Just pray about that, and we would love for you to just partner with us in this important ministry. So have a great day you guys, and we will be back next week.

Aaron Burns on Christ-Centered Filmmaking

You may not know his name, but you’re probably familiar with his work. Aaron Burns is a movie producer who has worked on some movies that I’m sure many of you have seen before. He is the producer of Beyond the Mask and Pendragon: Sword of His Father. He was also the associate producer on the Kendrick Brothers film, War Room, and he recently finished work on their next release, Overcomer, which was released on August 22nd.

Yvette Hampton:           I am excited to be talking to you today Aaron, welcome!

Aaron Burns:                 Thank you. It’s a real pleasure to be here today.

Yvette:                         Yeah, thank you so much. We got to meet you back in March at the Christian Worldview Film Festival in Tennessee, and you’re a riot!

Listen to Aaron on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (8/20/2019 Episode)

Aaron:                          Yes. We have a lot of fun at that event. For people who are interested in filmmaking and storytelling, we encourage any families or kids who want to get involved in that come down every March to the Nashville area, to the Christian Worldview Film Festival.

Yvette:                         Yes, it is one of our favorite events. We have been the last two years to that event. We are always so incredibly blown away by just the speakers, the encouragement, the training, everything that comes with that. Then at the end of the week, you guys a big award ceremony and it’s fun and flashy, and it makes everyone feel a bit like a Hollywood star. So you got to emcee that, that was a lot of fun. By the way, Schoolhouse Rocked won “Best Film Trailer” this year. So that was really exciting.

Aaron:                          Congratulations.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Thank you. It was very exciting. We were surprised to win that, and very honored to get that award. So anyway, tell us about you. Because you were Homeschooled growing up. You now have three little ones yourself. Tell us about you and your family.

Backstage Pass members can watch this full interview, which includes 20 minutes of bonus content not included on the podcast.

Aaron:                          Yeah, well that’s always, an interesting question where to begin. But I was Homeschooled, and really enjoyed that journey. So my parents were both first-generation believers who wanted to just raise us in a way that would be honoring to the Lord. So back then Homeschooling was kind of a newer thing and now it’s very much more established. Because you say well, George Washington was Homeschooled. So it’s been around for a while. But it was more cutting edge, we didn’t have all the resources that we had today.

But had a lot of fun with it. My mom loved history and loved teaching us, and in literature and reading. So that’s something that we spend a lot of time reading great books and studying characters in the past and my dad is a storyteller. So he’d constantly be telling us every night, come on Dad, could you tell us more stories?

So that influence on me growing up with history and literature, and reading and storytelling, is a huge part of what shaped my passion to tell stories to reach a generation today with the medium of film. Honestly we didn’t watch that many movies or really hardly any TV shows as kids. But it was a curiosity around those things and awareness of the power of storytelling that led us to want to get involved.

When we were in high school, junior high, that age, started playing around the backyard. We started off with the giant VHS camcorder and you’d have a little mini DVD camera that our mom used to film our birthday party. We’re off in the backyard shooting superhero movies, and cowboy and Indian stories and all kinds of adventures like that. So I just had a great time with my cousins and siblings. I think that the nature of us being Homeschooled, and being thrown together all these times encouraged us to be creative and do things like that.

Yvette:                         That’s so cool. So your cousin, Chad and you, you have your own production company, correct? Okay, and you and what have you done with your company? I know you did Beyond the Mask.

Aaron:                          Yeah, so our family made our first feature film, Pendragon, and we released that back in 2009, I think. So it’s crazy, that’s 10 years ago. But that was what was our first feature, and it was literally a probably 10, 12, 15 of us Burns working in that movie. I played the lead actor in it. It was an adventure for sure. We were making our own costumes, and we built a giant Roman hill fort in the woods behind my dad’s house. We built a real 20 foot trebuchet launching fire bombs and all of these things. Wanting to tell a story about inspiring a generation to follow God’s call on your life. What God calls you to do He gives you the grace to accomplish.

It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of challenge and a lot of learning. It was our version of film school where we had literally no idea what we were doing when we got started, and it’s trial and error. You’d shoot a scene, you’d be like, huh, that does not look good.

Yvette:                         Doesn’t look like it looked in your head, huh?

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Aaron:                          Yes, and so you try again and trial and error. We wound up shooting our movie like one and a half times over the course of three years. Then we finished that and said, okay, well let’s move on with life. I went off to college to, was working on my Masters of business. When we started distributing it, my cousin Chad was working on his PhD in engineering. All of our other cousins and siblings were heading their different directions.

A couple of things happened. One, this little movie we made, Pendragon, started to pick up some steam in distribution and Christian bookstores and TV here in the states and overseas. It’s also in 12 countries, in four or five languages. We’re getting letters back from kids all over the world said, “hey, your movie’s different.”

It’s a faith-based adventure story that exalts Christ, and we loved it. When are you going to your next movie? We’re like, kind of hit us by surprise in a way. At the same time, God had put a mentor in my life who’s discipling me and encouraging me and pushing me to really flesh out this faith, this religion, this God that you’ve grown up with. What does that really mean for you? What does it really look like?

So, I started to really grow in my personal relationship with the Lord, and then want to start sharing that with others. So all these things were happening at the same time that God just really put a burden on our hearts. I was in an entrepreneurial marketing class, and the professor put up what he called a unique space map. It would have these different quadrants and different projects and ideas. He said, “hey, if you’re going to start a business, you have to find a way to compete differently.”

I was thinking of what business I’d want to start, and then just realized we were already doing this. These Christ-centered adventure stories that wouldn’t just reach Christian women. Or wouldn’t reach just a secular audience that would be gospel centered, Christian worldview adventure stories that the whole family and particularly young people would enjoy.

So, all these things were swirling, and we felt a clear call from the Lord back into pursuing filmmaking. Beyond the Mask was birthed out of that adventure. Then from there we went on to help the Kendricks with a couple of their projects, War Room and, Overcomer. I’m shooting a project right now with some friends from Texas, you guys should check out called Washington’s Armor. It’s a new series about the life of young George Washington. Then we have our couple of other big projects that we’re developing and would love your guys’ prayers for.

Yvette:                         Yes, so where are you in production on those?

Aaron:                          We have two feature films that are in development. One we’ve been developing for a couple of years and we’re almost done. We’re kind of in the pitching to studios and potential investors, see who wants to get involved with it, frankly, those decisions. But it’s ready to shoot, we finished our location scouting and hundreds of pages of set designs and the script and all of these creative elements are all done.

So, we’re in the pitching phase for that project. Then the other one is a little bit earlier in development. So those are both feature films. Then we have, like I said helping a friend shoot Washington’s Armor. We’re In production right now, which is a tv show about George Washington.

Yvette:                         Okay. So cool. So this is what you do for a living. You’ve got your Master’s in business administration and I know, being a producer, really is that. You administer all the business of the filmmaking.

Aaron:                          In many ways, yes.

Yvette:                         So how has that coupled together with your education, with Homeschooling and now with filmmaking, how have you worked all of that together?

Aaron:                          Yeah, it’s really a fun question. Because the role that I have as a producer, you’re really very split between creative and business and logistics. So an executive producer is specifically focused on the money side and the distribution side. But with my role as producer, I get to look very much on both sides. So you kind of take an idea, this is the story we want to tell.

It’s my privilege to shepherd that story all the way through concept, and all the way through distribution to getting in front of an audience. So we have about five phases of filmmaking. So the first one is development. It’s, hey, I’ve got this idea. I want to make a movie about this theme. Okay, well who are the characters going to be? Let’s get together an outline. Let’s get together the script. Then you sit there and you go, well where in the world are you going to shoot it?

What is the budget you’re going to shoot it for? Is this going to be animated or live action? Are you going to build all the sets? Is going to be CG heavy. What kind of actors, and who’s the target audience. All those questions, creative fun questions happen in development. It’s one of my favorite phases because that’s where the most creativity occurs. You’re just throwing mud at the wall and dreaming and framing plans.

Yvette:                         Yeah.

Aaron:                          So, once you finished development, you say this is exactly what the goal is. You have your financing and hopefully your distribution lined up. You move into the second phase, which is pre-production. That’s relatively short, just a couple of months that you’re getting the project rolling. You’re hiring the actors, you’re building the sets, you’re making the costumes. You’re getting all the gear and gathering your crew.

In the shortest phase of the project is actual production itself. Where you’re all on cameras. That might be just 30 to 60 shooting days, depending on the scale of press. A lot of projects, for instance, War Room, we shot in 30 days. Over time, it was like 32 shooting days. So you’re only on set for six weeks and then you jump. There’s a massive team, 120 depending if you pay extras. So you might have 300 people, 400 people working for you for a day of shooting. Then they all go home and you’re left with a pile of hard drives.

Yvette:                         Yeah.

Aaron:                          Then that starts post-production, which is the editing. You spend several months editing and then you get to fix you get to picture lock and you start doing the score and the visual effects and the music. All those elements, your team kind of grows again. Then you get to distribution and that’s taking the audience or taking the movie and getting it out to your audience.

So those are kinds of phases, and it’s been neat from, definitely my Homeschool background. Being forced to collaborate with all of your different siblings in all different situations I think naturally set me up to be comfortable with all the variety of different situations that we encountered when we first started doing movies. So it never was something that was really stressful or freaked us out.

Yvette:                         At the beginning, we just did this, and we just started running these teams. Which were basically, or getting our siblings, our cousins and our friends to work for us, before it just transitioned back. I think also one of the values of Homeschooling for us is translated into filmmaking. Particularly with the way our parents raised us, with that critical thinking along moral and spiritual issues.

Just spent a lot of time about and exploring. Also for us, it was a passion for history and literature and those things, and then storytelling. Valuing all of those out. So there’s the practical side of interacting with teams and then getting to do bigger projects and stuff at an earlier age. Then the academic focus as well, the way it mentally, emotionally, spiritually shaped us to be storytellers. So we give my parents a lot of credit and a lot of gratitude for that.

Yeah. So cool. How many siblings do you have?

Aaron:                          I’m one of four. Then Chad, my other kind of set of cousins who did a lot of movies with us, they’re five. So those were our core families that we started with. Many of us are still involved in creative endeavors. But we’ll jump together to work on projects at different times. It’s really, fun.

Yvette:                         That is so cool. We often talk about life schooling and the advantage of Homeschooling because you get to just do real life. We have some friends, the McCoskeys, and Matthew, their son, he’s working on a film right now. Basically this whole school year, he has directed this film with a group of other friends of his and his siblings. Very much like you did with Pendragon. Where they’ve done the costumes, they’ve done the sets. I mean it’s just incredible what these kids have done.

I was talking to his mom a few weeks ago and she said, you know, sometimes I think, man, you know, we haven’t really done very much spelling or math or writing this year. I’m like the kids making a movie. I mean, it’s incredible. These kids together, they’ve written this script, they’ve acted it out. They’ve had to do all the business behind it. They’ve had to do all the funding and financing behind it. It’s just amazing.

When you think about education, whether it’s Homeschool, public school, private school, whatever. The whole goal of education is to raise up these children to become, productive, successful adults in the adult world. Well, when you get that firsthand experience, that hands on experience, you don’t need a classroom to do that. You get to actually do it in real life. What an incredible blessing. How old were you when you did Pendragon?

Aaron:                          So, I started writing Pendragon when I was a senior in high school. We’d been working for several years to make several big projects before that. That was the first feature.

Yvette:                         What an amazing opportunity you have had to do that. Our girls are very much in that same boat. We’ve been traveling and making this movie for the past two and a half years. So they’ve been able to see the business side of this and the filming side of it as well. Our 13 year old, she’s actually done some of the filming for the movie. So she’ll have a camera credit on the movie, which is really cool.

Aaron:                          That’s great.

Yvette:                         Yeah, it’s just so much fun and we get to just be a family and be together.

Aaron:                          It’s something that I really enjoy being a family and being able to be together. That’s a huge thing to learn together, and to learn in those real life situations and to get to see what you’re … Get to interact with your kids in a variety of different situations and talk through those life issues.

Yvette:                         Yeah.

Aaron:                          In the context of doing something together is something that we loved. We really enjoyed it.

Yvette:                         Talk about your relationship with your siblings now. So now you, you grew up together, you got to do all kinds of fun projects together. You Homeschooled together. What are your relationships look like now as adults?

Aaron:                          Yeah, so my oldest sister, Marilyn, lives in Ireland now. She went on a missions trip several years ago to Ireland, and then married the camp director. So we lost her over there. She actually just had her first baby and so my parents are in Ireland this week visiting them. So that’s more challenging to keep in touch and work on things together long distance. But then my younger brother Mason … So when we did Beyond the Mask, she was our wardrobe designer, so she did that for us.

Of course, my younger sister Shannon is a photographer and a writer. So she also managed the doctor’s office between writing gigs. So she is working for me now on Overcomer, doing their behind the scenes book. Then she did the same thing for us. She’s our onset photographer, and did all the behind the scenes for me on Beyond the Mask. Then my youngest brother Nathan, he is an engineer. So he did all our props and all our mechanical work on Beyond the Mask. Then when he finished, he went to engineering school and that’s what he’s doing now. I definitely enjoyed working with my siblings, having a chance to work through some of those things, and have a chance to spend time together in doing it. So yeah, they all depending on the project and depending on their availability, they’ll all jump back in to help us at various times with different elements of it.

Yvette:                         So, it’s really a lot of fun just to have that community. We have our family WhatsApp thread, which we keep touch. Keeping us that way, sharing updates and answered prayers and prayer requests and challenges for the project and for family things. So that’s something that we’ve really tried to use even as our family is spread around the globe to still stay connected using our smart phones for some things that’s actually positive.

Yeah, they can be good sometimes. Looking back in your journey of being Homeschooled as a kid, what would you do differently if you could’ve changed something about how you were Homeschooled or something with your, I don’t know, your family life or whatever. Is there anything that you would change?

Aaron:                          Ouch, now you’re asking me to rat out my parents.

Yvette:                         No, no, no, nothing that’s going to offend your mom or your dad.

Aaron:                          Let’s see-

Yvette:                         Maybe even something like for yourself, like I don’t know, maybe-

Aaron:                          Something I’ve found is each kid is different. So for me, I really, so I compose the score. We did music lessons all growing up and playing orchestral stuff, which I loved. But for Pendragon, I composed a score for it with my sister. I found myself getting depressed after working on it for 12 hours a day in the basement.

I’m like, I love music. I love music theory. I love composing. What is wrong with me? Why do I feel so sad right now? I realized it’s just, I’m wired as an exhorter. I’m as a people person, so some of that for me, I just don’t do well by myself spending days and days at a time.

So, looking back, most of my siblings could go either way. You know, they’re not as much super hard drivers. Like my younger brother, he’s very comfortable to spend the whole day by himself and work on things and be productive and get stuff done, he’s fine that way.

But for me being Homeschooled, one of the things was, hey, I want to be talked to and do more things. So in the later years of Homeschooling, my parents put me on a basketball team at a local Christian school. Put me in orchestras and choirs and things so that every day I was doing outside interaction.

It’s something that I would encourage parents, and my parents were great about listening and having these conversations throughout. By saying each kid is different, and just because it works for one kid doesn’t mean it’s going to work for another. Being able to shape, and that’s one of the values of Homeschooling, you can do whatever is possible for your kid.

So that’s something that, I think whenever we ran into one of those bumps, then we’d say, okay, well what is an adjustment that you make that will help you with your learning and those kinds of things.

Yvette:                         Yeah.

Aaron:                          I’m thinking back to some of the old curriculums that we used were pretty outdated. Some of the phonics memorization books that we had back when I was a little kid. Then you see, you’re other siblings have these fun games and songs and prizes. I would say, what’s up with that, I had to learn it the hard way. But overall we did have a good experience.

I think once we recognized the differences between different kids, that was a strength. Something else I’ll say, and this is something that we learned. With what was standard, and how do you decide, okay, as a Homeschool, you’re teaching your kids out of Homeschool. Okay, why did you decide to do that?

Well, you know, lots of different reasons, but one element is we want to keep them protected from the world. I would encourage parents to really think about the choices they make in that category. As you have high standards of what you will and won’t watch, also remember that where does evil come from?

Evil doesn’t come from without it comes from within our own heart. So we are our own greatest danger to ourselves. I think that’s something that I wouldn’t blame anyone but myself for this. But I grew up through high school and into college with more of a self-righteous bent, it’s fine. I’ve kept myself clean from these different kinds of things that other bad people do. No, that’s not how it works. Yes, God cares about our actions in terms about our holiness and those things, but first of all, He cares about our hearts. He wants us to live and walk in humility in line with Him. Have that relationship with Him, and out of our hearts flow what we do with our hands. So that’s something that I think is something that we’re talking about with my wife and I with our kids and processing through. Again, it’s a new generation, everything’s changed. You can’t even try to apply the same standards from a generation ago to today.

So, thinking through those things and making sure that as we pray through what should those decisions be like. Recognizing that no matter how we organize and structure things, it’s often the Lord that has to rule in our hearts and our lives.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Let’s park on that for a minute because I think that’s a really great point. Oftentimes, Homeschool parents can become kind of self-righteous in the idea of, well we Homeschool. So we’re obviously so much better parents than other people who might put their kids in school. Obviously that’s not true. Parents love their kids unconditionally with everything in them. But teaching our kids, we want our girls to grow up to love Jesus with all their hearts. As you were growing up, when did you really recognize in yourself that your faith was becoming your own and not what your parents wanted it to be because you were Homeschooled?

Because that can often happen where, I mean we’ve seen it happen a whole lot where kids are Homeschooled and so parents are like yep, box checked, kids are Homeschooled. We’ve done all the right things, we’ve checked all the right boxes. We’ve raised them up to love Jesus. Then they go out into the world and they just go off the rails. I mean they don’t know what to do with this whole world around them. At what point did your faith become your own?

Aaron:                          I would say it’s a gradual process. I think some people will go and put like this an exact moment where you just say, I look at Peter, and did Peter become a believer of Jesus when he left everything to follow him? Was it when he made the profession that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God? Or was it in the fish fry on the beach or where Jesus said, I forgive you and I want you to feed my sheep? Which one of those moments was it when his faith became real?

I know for me it was, it was a process over time. But I think until, as long as you live under your parents’ rule, you don’t know for sure in a way if your faith is yours or it’s their rules. So there’s this kind of transition where all of sudden you realize you’re not under their rule, and you can make whatever decisions you want.

Then you have to ask, okay, what do I really believe. My kids are little, I’m so much a learner in the parenting category and it’s something I’m eager to get advice and input from others. But something that we’ve been praying about and thinking about is, okay, what can we do to give our kids more rope, as it were, to let them fail earlier. Let them try and learn and make mistakes while they’re still, while we still have a voice that we can speak into their life.

What can we do to expose them to the world and expose them to these things in a way that there’s not just this huge curiosity mic as they’ve been held back from all those things? But that we can expose it to them in a context that we can have a discussion about it and say, you see how these decisions or words set up the world.

If you make these decisions, this is where it leads. Those kinds of questions and those kinds of things. So that they’re not “sheltered” in such a way that when they leave, the curiosity is so strong or the hatred of the way that we run things is so strong that they want to go out and explore it for themselves. But that we can experience that with them. So that’s something that I don’t know practically how to execute on that. That’s something that we’ve talked about and thought about before.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I think it’s constantly a learning process. You know, our oldest is 13 right now and we’re hitting those teen years. I feel like every day there’s just a new excitement about the teen years, and then new challenge that comes with it. But it’s really fun because if we’re intentional as parents and really paying attention to our kids and to their needs. Like you said, in your family you were able to talk through stuff with your parents.

I think being open with our kids and being able to really talk with them and talk, dig deep into their hearts and see how are you really feeling about this? What are your thoughts on this? Let’s walk through this together.

Aaron:                          Yeah.

Yvette:                         It’s such a joy to be able to do that, and sometimes it’s a little bit scary, I’ll be honest. Because sometimes my girls will say something and I’m like, that’s not at all what we’ve taught you. That’s not what we believe. That’s not what God’s Word says. Where did you even get that from?

Aaron:                          Something that I would add to that. I was just talking with a good friend of mine who’s a pastor, a youth pastor. We were talking about standards versus God’s Word. I think that it’s easy in young people’s mind or for all of us to blur, okay, what does the Bible really say about that? There’s a huge hot button topic of what you watch, what you listen to, what you wear, what you consume.

Does the Bible really prescribe what kind of clothing we should wear? I don’t think that it does. There’s no verse that you can judge and say that clothing pleases God or not based on God’s Word. He gives us principles to apply.

Yvette:                         Sure, modesty.

Aaron:                          Yeah, exactly. Modesty, and appropriate and those are things you can have a conversation. But when it comes down to applying this, and He doesn’t give us specific standards for what kind of music to listen to or even what to consume.

So, you can say for my family, these are the principles. Be very clear about where the … now there are some things that are right and wrong, God says always tell the truth, and God says never cheat. God says that marriage is between a man and a woman. God says that, all these things that are very clear, very unequivocal. But then there’s also this moving out from there. How are you going to apply these things in your context?

That’s where wisdom and all those other things that come in. But making it a clear distinction between this is what the Bible says, and this is how to apply it. Then I think that was something that was a challenge for me in some of the church context and family context. Because then you say, so that’s a rule, that’s something that they made us do or made us avoid.

The Bible doesn’t say anything about that. So if we teach as doctrine the commandments of men as Jesus warns against. Then I think you can be in danger and say well, that’s just your opinion. I’m throwing out the whole baby with the bath water. So I mean I think people should land and have very strong standards and know exactly why they believe what they believe. Why they have certain rules in their home. I don’t think rules in your home are a bad thing at all you should actually have them.

Be careful what we communicate in them that we make sure that we discussed … The Bible actually says this, this is actually God’s World. No, this is our application of it, and this might vary. You might come to disagree with us some day. That’s okay, because while you’re in our home this is how we want to do it.

Yvette:                         Right.

Aaron:                          That’s something that I think can be helpful as well.

Yvette:                         Yes. I agree with you wholeheartedly. We are unfortunately out of time for the Podcast. But if you have a few more minutes, I would love to continue the conversation. Because I have a few more points that I want to talk about. I want to talk about advice that you would give to any aspiring filmmakers. I know that there are a whole lot of Homeschool kids out there who really want to use the gifts that God’s given them through film. Also, I want to talk about that specific thing about using the gifts and talents that God’s given us for His kingdom. So you good to stand for a few more minutes.

Aaron:                          Yeah, that’s fine.

Yvette:                         Okay. All right. So we will continue on for Backstage Pass members. For those of you listening to the Podcast, if you are not familiar with the backstage pass membership, it is the Schoolhouse Rocked backstage pass membership gives you access to bonus material from the Podcast. It gives you all kinds of behind the scenes footage from Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie that we’re in production on right now. Lots of fun interviews and things like that. It’s a really great way to support the film right now.

We would love that. We would also love your prayers. If you guys would just continue praying for our family as we work through production on this movie. God is doing amazing things right now, and we are so grateful for those of you who have just stood by our sides and prayed for us over the last couple of years. We are so grateful for that. So please continue to do that.

If you have not yet signed up for the newsletter, please do that. It’s so funny, I talk to people all the time and they’ll ask me questions and I’ll say, well, did you get our latest update? They’ll say, well, no, I don’t think I get your updates. I’m like, well, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll know what’s going on with us. So if you just click here and fill out the form that just goes to us and you’ll get our updates. But Aaron, thank you for your time today. Where can people find out more about you and what you’re doing?

Aaron:                          We have a website, Burns & Co Productions.

Yvette:                         Okay.

Aaron:                          Then our Facebook page, I fear it’ll be on the mass Facebook page and probably post updates there.

Yvette:                         Okay. Okay. Sounds great. We’ll put those links in the show notes, so thank you so much for being on today and we will continue this conversation.

Find out more about Aaron Burns at BurnsandCo.productions

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival Facebook Page

Films mentioned in the article:

Pendragon– Watch on ChristianCinema.com

Beyond the Mask on Amazon Prime Video – Beyond the Mask on DVD

War Room on Amazon Prime Video – War Room on DVD

Overcomer (In theaters August 23, 2019)

The Stolen Life: Currently in production and being directed by homeschool student, Matthew McCoskey. Watch The Stolen Life Behind the Scenes

 

Kickstarter Wrap-Up – “Plan B”

It has been a little more than a week since the Schoolhouse Rocked Kickstarter campaign ended and we wanted to post a quick note to let you know what’s going on with the film. It has taken most of the week to just catch our breath, as we had so much going on throughout the campaign – from Facebook Lives, to radio interviews, to the HSLDA National Leaders Conference – that we are just now able to take a few minutes and write this.

We have been extremely blessed by your continued support and encouragement with all that the Lord is doing through Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you to those of you have sent very kind messages, made donations, and asked about “Plan B”. As of now, here’s the plan…

This is not the end. We are not giving up. We are not done. We will continue to work to make Schoolhouse Rocked a powerful tool to grow homeschooling and to strengthen families.

From the beginning of production we have prayed and trusted that the Lord would provide in whatever way He best saw fit. He has provided well throughout production (the filming of the movie) and we are certain that He will provide all that we need to get through post-production and finish Schoolhouse Rocked with excellence.

We, along with our prayer team and many of you, prayed fervently about the Kickstarter and He chose not to fund the movie that way. That’s ok. We know without a doubt that He has called us to this and that He will provide exactly what we need, when we need it, and however He choses to provide it, in order to accomplish His perfect plan. That way He gets ALL the glory!

We are not able to share specific details yet, but we are still seeing the hand of God move in big ways and hopefully soon we will be able to share more with you. God is the perfect author of this story and only He knows how it’s all going to unfold. So, Plan B is for us to continue to move forward with post-production, continue seeking support and trust God fully!

Again, thank you for your prayers and support! We couldn’t do this without YOU!

Soli Deo gloria!
The Hampton Family
Garritt, Yvette, Brooklyn, and Lacey

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Important Kickstarter Update

Dear friends,

“Thank you” doesn’t quite express how very grateful we are for your support of Schoolhouse Rocked. Your financial pledges to the Kickstarter campaign, notes of encouragement, and phone calls over the past month have been a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.

If you’ve watched the campaign, you’ve seen that it doesn’t look like we are going make the Kickstarter goal. However, there is still a bit of time (plenty of time for God to work, if it’s His will). If we don’t reach the goal, you won’t be charged and we won’t receive any of the money pledged. However, we have total peace about this! God has been faithful to take us through production and we are certain that He will see this project through to the end. We’ve prayed and trusted that He would provide however He best sees fit. So we are continuing to pray and trust!

That said, we still have a great financial need to get us through the next several months of post-production. If you feel led to do so, here is how you can still support Schoolhouse Rocked:

1) Please consider making a donation to support post-production on Schoolhouse Rocked. While we plan to bring many of the perks offered through this Kickstarter campaign (Film downloads, DVDs, t-shirts, etc.) to our online store soon, you can make a donation today to help finish the film and feel really great, knowing you are supporting a great cause! Click here to donate.

2) Please subscribe to our mailing list. If we don’t meet our Kickstarter goal, we don’t receive any contact information for our backers. Even if you are already subscribed to the Schoolhouse Rocked newsletter, please take a minute to update your contact information. Kickstarter supporters who fill out this form will receive a special gift in the next few weeks.

Again, THANK YOU, for being an important part of the making of Schoolhouse Rocked. We believe that homeschooling is good for families and culture and that the Lord will use this film will impact the lives of many.

Finally, please continue to pray with us and for us. And please let us know if there is anything we can be praying about for you and your family.

Sincerely,

Garritt Hampton, Director

Soli Deo gloria!

Photo by Fabien Bazanegue on Unsplash