17 Favorite Books for Homeschoolers

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome back to the podcast.

Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Yvette Hampton: This is one of my favorite questions. I love being asked this question and getting to answer it, because I always have a ton of resources to offer. The question is 

“What are your favorite homeschool books?” 

We’ve actually done several podcast episodes with authors of various homeschool books. And that’s a broad question. Because we could talk about books that are related specifically to homeschooling, like how to homeschool, or books that relate to things that are related to homeschooling, or parenting, because that falls under the umbrella of homeschooling.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: Or…

Aby Rinella: Marriage.

Yvette Hampton: Marriage, or homeschool books could also be, “What kind of books do your homeschoolers read?”So, it’s a really broad question. So, I’m going to talk through some of my favorite homeschool books, meaning those that I think have been really helpful in teaching me how to homeschool, or at least given me some guidance. My… One of the new ones actually that I have, and we did a podcast with her recently, it’s by Aimee Smith, and it’s called The Restful Homeschool Resolution, and it’s a 21-day journey that she takes you on through scripture and through just thinking through like, “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How is God working in your homeschool and in your heart?” And it’s just fun.

Yvette Hampton: It’s a book/journal, and it’s very well written. You can listen to that conversation with Aimee if you want to know more about that book, but that one’s fantastic and it’s a brand new book. It just came out, I don’t know, some time in the last six months, I think. So, that’s a great one. Another one that we’ve talked about on the podcast that I really love is by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover, and we have had both of these homeschool moms on the podcast, and this one’s called Homeschool Basics. This is a fantastic book for  any homeschool mom, even those of us who are seasoned in homeschooling, but it’s a great one for those who are just getting started.

Yvette Hampton: And it’s actually called, Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids. And I love that last part, “Bring out the best in your kids,” because it’s not just about checking the boxes and having the right curriculum and doing it all the right way. But it’s really like, how do you make that connection with your kids, how do you build that relationship with them? We talked with Kristi about these concepts on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and it was a great conversation. 

Tricia Goyer recently wrote another one called The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members, and One Impossible Goal, which is also excellent.

Yvette Hampton: In our homeschooling. This one, I read this one a couple summers ago and loved it, it’s called Mere Motherhood, and it’s by Cindy Rollins. This one is not talked about a lot, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it, but it is such… It’s like one of those gems that if you have it and you’ve read it, it’s… I almost feel like I’m in this secret club of moms in the know who have read this book.

Aby Rinella: Ooh. I want to be in that club.

Yvette Hampton: It’s fantastic. So, it’s called Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification. So, it’s Cindy’s… It’s a story of her journey of getting started in homeschooling, homeschooling her kids, and her kids are all adults now and grown. So, it’s written by a veteran homeschool mom, and it’s not really a how-to book, but she gives so much… This book is just full of wisdom. And it is very well-written, it’s entertaining because she tells some really funny stories in the book, and then she has a ton of resources, but it’s interesting because the resources are interwoven through the book. And so, as I was reading it, I was highlighting like crazy, like, “Oh, I need to read that book. Oh, oh, I need to check this thing out, or check that thing out!”

Aby Rinella: I’m just sitting here putting things in my Amazon cart as we’re talking. This is an expensive episode. [chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: I know, it is going to be an expensive episode. But, Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. The next one. This one’s by Heidi St. John, and it’s called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. And this one I read early in my homeschool journey, probably within my first one or two years of homeschooling, and it’s managing your days through the homeschool years, so talking about time management. [chuckle] Apparently, I need to read this one again. It’s been a while. Since we were just talking about time management. But, yeah, it’s The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John, and it’s a fantastic book. Just another must-have. Another one, we recently did another podcast on this one, and I’ll link back to all of these, so you can actually just hear from these women yourselves, but this one is called, MOM: Master Organizer of Mayhem, by Kristy Clover. Another new book that just came out. And you’ll want to listen to that podcast, because Kristi is the master of organization.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: She’s just wired that way and gives some really, really practical advice on how you can organize your day. So those are my how-to-homeschool books that I love and recommend. Two others that I think every homeschool mom should own, or every homeschool dad, is, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And… That’s so good. And there’s also Honey for a Teen’s Heart. And it’s just a book about books. And it’s about the imaginative use of books in family life. It’s a book that will help you figure out what books you can read to your kids, what books your kids can read on their own, and she gives little descriptions of each of them and has them broken down by category and tells what age groups each book is good for. And they’re just… It’s just a fantastic resource to have, so that one’s more of a resource book. And she talks about reading. And then there’s also Books Children Love, and that’s basically the same thing, it’s a guide to the best children’s literature. So, as you’re looking for good books for your kids, because we know with homeschooling, one of the most important things is good books. Read to your kids, read to them. Every day.

Aby Rinella: Right. And we also know that you can no longer just browse the libraries like you used to.

Yvette Hampton: Right. Yes.

Aby Rinella: And let kids pick out books. And I know so many homeschool moms are asking what books we can or cannot read. So, what an incredible resource that you can just trust to go to.

Yvette Hampton: Yep. Yep. And both of these books were written many years ago, and so you’re not going to find books that have been written in the last, even 10 years. Let’s see, Books Children Love, the first printing of it was 1987.

Aby Rinella: Oh, wow.

Yvette Hampton: So, we’re talking about books that have been around for quite some time. And not just classics, but just really good children’s literature, fantastic books. And Honey for a Child’s Heart, this came out in 1969 originally, and then the copy that I have was… Is dated 1989. So, these are just great resources that, really, I think every homeschool family should have those. And I know I’m going fast here, but again, I’ll link to all these. My two absolute favorite books on parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Aby Rinella: Yes. You’re stealing all of mine.

Yvette Hampton: I’m sorry, Aby.

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: You’re going to have to make up some others. Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, and then Ginger Hubbard, who’s a very, very sweet, good friend of mine, she’s got two. I Can’t Believe You Just Said That! is her newest one and that’s been out for about two years.

Aby Rinella: And if you say Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, you have stolen almost my whole list.

Yvette Hampton: Okay, then, I won’t tell you my second, but from the same author, Ginger Hubbard.

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: You can. No, say it. Tell us. Tell us.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, it’s called Don’t Make Me Count to Three! .

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: This is how you know these are quality books because our lists look almost exactly alike.

Yvette Hampton: Are they? And we didn’t even talk about this beforehand.

Aby Rinella: I know. Isn’t that crazy?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Yeah, that is awesome. So, yeah, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, that’s a book I read early, early in my… When my oldest was probably one or two years old, and she’s now 14. So, that’s an absolute must read. That, and Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, those two, if you could pick any two books on parenting.

And Israel Wayne has a new parenting book that just came out as well, called Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians is what it’s called.

Aby Rinella: And we just did a podcast with him.

Aby Rinella: That is another phenomenal parenting… Those were definitely my top two parenting books, Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Alright, do you have more on your list or can I give the measly two I have left that you haven’t stolen from me?

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: Well, okay. This… I don’t know, I’m just bragging about this because I’m really excited, I just discovered for free… Well, I didn’t discover them for free. We had a book sale for our local homeschool support group. And I have wanted for years to get the McGuffey’s Readers, and someone put the entire box set on the free table for someone to just be blessed by them. And I felt like I had won the lottery, literally, because I got this whole boxed set, which I have wanted these… I’ve wanted this set for years and years and years.

Yvette Hampton: And these are the original McGuffey’s Readers. These were written in the 1800s. And the funny thing is, is we rarely watch TV, we don’t have cable to watch, but on Amazon, we will sometimes watch Little House on the Prairie, and these are what the kids read on Little House. And so, my daughter, she was so excited because she was like, “Those are the books that they read on Little House.” And literally, she’s reading them now and she’s loving them, and you know what’s so amazing is, guess what, they talk about God.

Aby Rinella: Oh, constantly.

Yvette Hampton: And they have Scripture.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they’re all about morals and values in the Bible. And these are the books that they actually used.

Aby Rinella: For school.

Yvette Hampton: To learn how to read. They used them for spelling, for everything. And so, anyway, so those are great. If you guys can get your hands on them, you should.

Aby Rinella: That’s exciting.

Yvette Hampton: McGuffey’s Readers, they’re amazing. So, that’s the end of my list. Aby, do you have anything left? [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: Well, do I have anything… That’s the question, do I have anything left? because you… She took that one first. No, it’s actually, I kid you not, of my whole entire list, I only have two left.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, no.

Aby Rinella: That means those are amazing books. One is Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, and it is… I read this book before the beginning of every single school year.

Yvette Hampton: Love it.

Aby Rinella: And I just keep re-reading it because it puts you back where you need to be when you start. 

And we have talked about about time management. So many homeschool moms, “Let’s talk about time management, let’s talk about curriculum, let’s talk about this,” but this book will put you back to where your heart needs to be before you even start looking into those things. And last but not least, the one I have on my list that you didn’t, but you’re going to go, “Oh yeah, that one too,” is by Todd Wilson, called Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, yeah. I haven’t read that.

Aby Rinella: And that’s a fun one because it’s written from a dad’s point of view, and Todd Wilson is absolutely hilarious. And what’s really great about it is you read these things and you’re like, “I’m not the only one that believed that lie?” So, it debunks a lot of the lies that we as moms tell ourselves. So, that’s another really great one. So, that’s really… That’s really all I have on my list after you stole all of those from me.

[chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: And I thought of one more.

Aby Rinella: Oh, you… Okay.

Yvette Hampton: Just one more. By Durenda Wilson, The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Aby Rinella: Oh, that is a…

Yvette Hampton: That’s another good one.

Aby Rinella: That was like the precedent to teaching for… Yeah, absolutely. The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And that’s a short one too. That’s a super easy read.

Aby Rinella: Yes. I would say that one would be one that you read every single fall too, or in the summer. That’s a yearly and annual reader to get your heart back where you need to be.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: In fact, put that one almost to the top… I mean, put it to the top, Durenda Wilson’s Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. So now, go out and buy all of these books and read them all before the next school year!

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: No pressure.

Yvette Hampton: You will be blessed. I promise. [chuckle] You may not…

Aby Rinella: Manage your time well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, manage your time well. You may not get to make dinner or do laundry or anything, but you will be well read, and you will know all you need to know about home homeschooling. 

Aby Rinella: You won’t have time to homeschool, but you’ll know all about it!

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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.

The Fight for Homeschool Freedom

“We have got to educate people, as to what freedom and liberty is all about, what the constitution is all about, parental rights, and who our kids belong to. That’s very elementary. Socialism and Marxism would have us believe our kids belong to the government.” – Zan Tyler

While we were at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, in Vancouver, Washington to finish filming interviews for Schoolhouse Rocked, homeschool pioneer, Zan Tyler stopped by for a surprise visit. Zan was instrumental in the fight to make homeschooling legal in South Carolina, in the early 1980s. She was in Oregon to speak at the Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork) homeschool conference, in Albany, Oregon and wanted to visit Heidi St. John and get a tour of the homeschool resource center. Because her story of the legal battles and persecution that she endured to pave the way for homeschooling families in her state provided such important historical perspective and cautionary advice, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to interview her for the movie and for the podcast.

Zan Tyler (right), Heidi St. John (center, and Yvette Hampton at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center

Following her dramatic battle for the right to homeschool her children, Zan went on to teach them through graduation and all three of them attended college on a variety of scholarships. Gaining resolve during her battle, she went on to fight for other homeschooling families in South Carolina and across the United States, founding the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools in 1990, Speaking at homeschool conventions around the world, and writing several books, including Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential and the forward for Heidi St. John’s Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years. She has also worked to develop Bible-bases homeschool resources as the director of Apologia Press. Here is her story.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette, and we are back with the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. This is a really fun one, because we are actually on the set filming for Schoolhouse Rocked the movie. It’s so neat to see how the Lord provides just different guests and people for the movie and for the podcast as well.

You are going to love my guest today, her name is Zan Tyler. She is just a sweet, sweet homeschool mom whose kids are grown now. She has an amazing story and I know you are going to be so encouraged by what God has done in her family and through her family, for the homeschool world.

Listen to Zan Tyler on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (7-30-2019 episode)

So Zan, welcome. I am really excited to talk to you today!

Zan:                              Oh, thank you, Yvette. It’s great to be here.

Yvette:                         Thank you. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

Zan:                              Well, we have three grown kids, six grandchildren, and we homeschooled for 21 years, from 1984 to 2005, and homeschooled each of the kids from kindergarten through high school.

Yvette:                         So that was back in the day.

Zan:                              That was back in the day for sure.

Yvette:                         You are truly considered, in the homeschool world, one of the pioneers, who really got homeschooling kind of off the ground, and you are very instrumental in homeschooling becoming legal. Not just your state of South Carolina, but in many states, in addition to that. So, let’s talk about that, because there’s so much to tell in your story. Tell us, kind of from the beginning, how this whole story unfolded for you.

“When she said the word homeschool, I just felt like the walls of her little home at Columbia Bible College were closing in on me. I thought, ‘Lord, if you will just get me out of here, I never want to hear the word homeschool again.’ I just thought it was the strangest thing I had ever heard. Our family was extroverts, and I just couldn’t imagine.”

Zan:                              Well, it was 1984, which I just always think is so George Orwellian, and my oldest son was in kindergarten. He was very bright and gifted, but not reading. He was the only one in this little kindergarten of eight that wasn’t reading. So I was looking for answers, because I had no educational background. I wasn’t sure if it was a problem, or what he was going through.

A friend of mine recommended that we hold him back a year. That was normal for boys, they needed a little more time to mature. But another friend of mine, she and her husband were getting their masters degrees at Columbia Bible College, getting ready to go to the mission field said, “Zan, I taught in the public schools for many years before I had Nat and I’m going to homeschool, and I think you should homeschool Ty.”

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You know the scene from Star Wars, where the walls – it’s really a trash compactor – and they start closing in? When she said the word homeschool, I just felt like the walls of her little home at Columbia Bible College were closing in on me. I thought, “Lord, if you will just get me out of here, I never want to hear the word homeschool again.” I just thought it was the strangest thing I had ever heard. Our family was extroverts, and I just couldn’t imagine.

But she gave me a book, Homegrown Kids by Dr. Moore. I took home that book, and all the way home I’m telling the Lord, “Well, I’m never going to homeschool.” I get home and I start reading that book, more as a courtesy from my friend than anything else, and it was like the Holy Spirit was just wooing me, and softening my heart, and showing me what a glorious way to educate homeschooling really is.

Watch Zan Tyler’s full interview for Schoolhouse Rocked at our Backstage Pass members website.

The only problem was, this was 1984, and we didn’t know one person in the world who homeschooled. There were no organizations, no HSLDA. I think it had actually started on the West Coast, but we certainly didn’t know of them on the East Coast. No state organizations, no support groups, no, nobody. So I really had nobody to turn to.

I used to walk in the morning early and pray and listen to the Bible on my Walkman, and I really just felt like the Lord was saying, “Okay, I really want you to homeschool your boys.” I just remember saying, “No, I just can’t do this.” So I ran inside. We went to the public school district in our area, I showed them the testing that Ty should be held back a year, even though he was six, and they said, “Okay.” That was that, and I thought that was the end of the story.

Until others, people in the school district, were getting their orientation packets for kindergarten and I didn’t get one. I called the school superintendent, he said, “You can’t put your first grader in our kindergarten program. We’ve put him in first grade.” I said, “Well, private schools are filled at this point, I have no choice.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry, you cannot do this.”

So, I called my old high school principal, who is now associate superintendent of instruction in the district, and just asked him to write a note to hold Ty back. He said, “Well, Zan, I just can’t do that.” Which, they did those kinds of things all the time. I said, “Well, I guess I’m just going to have to homeschool Ty.” It was a threat, it was my trump card. He said, “Oh, the school district’s gotten so lenient with that kind of thing.”

Later I found out they had approved one person in the history of the district, and she was a certified teacher. I had been an economics major in college. I had planned to go to law school, until Joe proposed and we got married and had children instead. I mean, I did not have the educational background they were looking for. So we had to hire an attorney just to find out what the law was. The local school district, nor the State Department of Education, would give us the law. There’s no internet, no Google, no organizations, no other way to find it out.

So, we hired him, we submitted our application. It’s about, oh, I mean, it was about five inches thick, everything they wanted from me at that point, and they denied my application. So we had to call our attorney again. He said, “Oh, now you appeal to the state board. They will deny you, they will uphold whatever the local school board did.” I said, “What then?” He said, “You’ll end up in family court.” I said, “What then?” He said, “Well, I don’t know, honey.”

“He looked at me and he said, ‘Well, if you continue down this path, Zan, I’ll have you put in jail for truancy.’ So, that was sort of the watershed moment for me. I said, ‘Well, then you’ll just have to put me in jail.'”

Zan Tyler, a homeschooling pioneer

So, I’m telling the Lord, “I told you this was not a good idea.” So, in the middle of all of this, I had a thought. The State Superintendent of Education had actually observed my mother’s classroom. She was a fourth grade teacher when he was getting his PhD. I was in the fourth grade, so I saw him every day after school for several months. I called Dr. Williams, said, “Dr. Williams, this is Zan Tyler. I’m Sybil Peter’s daughter. I have a problem, can I come see you?”

So, I went up there, and just explained my predicament, all I wanted to do is hold Ty back a year. The school district said, yes, then they said no. Private schools were filled, and they denied my application to homeschool. What am I going to do? He looked at me and he said, “Well, if you continue down this path, Zan, I’ll have you put in jail for truancy.” So, that was sort of the watershed moment for me. I said, “Well, then you’ll just have to put me in jail.”

Yvette:                         Which at that point, I would say most parents would probably just say, “Okay.” They would throw their hands up, give up and say, “All right.”

Zan:                              You know, I think that was just when the Lord took over for me. There’s the verse in Acts that says, “Don’t fear when you’re brought before governors, because I’ll tell you what to say.” It was really an out of body experience, because I said, “Then Dr. Williams, you’ll have to put me in jail.” I’m thinking, “Who just said that?” It was really like an out of body experience. But I knew the Lord had been calling me, and in that moment he, I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but he confirmed that to me.

Yvette:                         It’s so neat to have just a piece of God when he asks us to do everything. We’ve talked a whole lot about this on the podcast, is that when God calls you to something, he’s going to provide everything that you need, and he is going to pave the way for you. Whether it’s homeschooling, or, you know, a new job, or a move across the country. Whatever it is, he’s going to provide the way, and he’s going to pave that road.

So I love that you were just obedient and you were willing to listen to what God was telling you, because you have, now since then, impacted so many families. So, continue on. Well, let me ask you this first. How did your husband, Joe, how did he respond to this whole idea of homeschooling? Was he all in favor of it? Was he a little resistant? What was his response?

Zan:                              Well, I’ll tell you now that Joe does a workshop called, You Want to What? Confessions of a Reluctant Homeschool Dad. So, we’ve always had a great marriage. Joe’s a great communicator, and so we could always talk. Basically what he said to me was, “I know how much you love the Lord, and I know how much you love the kids. So I totally trust you, but I think this is the craziest thing we’ve ever done.”

He finally said, “Well, if it’s numbers and colors, you can’t mess up a kid too much in kindergarten.” Then we laughed, because low and behold Ty was color blind, and we didn’t know it yet. I mean, he was very supportive of me, he just thought the idea of homeschooling was nuts.

Yvette:                         So what was his response when you started to get into a little bit of legal trouble?

Zan:                              You know, then we were just all in it together.

Yvette:                         Which is how it should be.

Zan:                              Yes, yes. So, he tons of pizza. I should say this, no man should have to eat as much pizza during those early years of homeschooling as Joe did.

Yvette:                         Yep. You are one busy mama.

Zan:                              Yeah.

Yvette:                         So, how did the rest of the story transpire from there?

Zan:                              Well, it was interesting, because being the brave noble person I was, we had decided not to tell either set of parents we were going to homeschool. Joe said, “You know, you’re going to have to tell them at some point, it’s kind of like being pregnant. People will recognize, at some point, that something is going on.” I said, “Well, when the time comes, I’ll talk about it.” I just had no more emotional bandwidth.

So, when I was threatened with jail, then that forced the conversation, because my parents were very involved in the whole fabric of Columbia. Not social life, but just community life. Dad was, in addition to his profession and being a lawyer, he was chairman of the board of the Baptist hospital system. I knew that the newspapers would not say, “P on homeschool mothers and Tyler goes to jail.” It would say, “John Peter’s daughter goes to jail.”

I knew I needed to tell them. So, I go by to tell them, and I hold it together, “Mom, dad, I’m going to homeschool Ty.” Of course, they don’t know what it is, I barely know what it is. “I’ve been threatened with jail, and my hearing is on Tuesday. I didn’t want you to read about it in the newspaper.” Then I just lost it. I was hysterical, and I left. My daddy, we’ve always been so close, he just went to be with the Lord. But he was just so mad I had been treated that way.

As God, in his very kind of providence would have it, he was speaking at a hospital function the next night with Nancy Thurman, who was the wife of Senator Strom Thurmond, who was a legend in South Carolina politics, served in the Senate for 50 or so years. I had worked for him when I was in high school. It was the first year of the 18 year old vote, and I was female to boot. So I did television commercials with him and toured the state with fundraisers with him and his team. So I knew him, and I had called his office and gotten no response.

Dad said to Mrs. Thurman that night, “Zan needs help from the Senator now.” So she called his chief of staff who said, “We’ll overnight a letter to Charlie Williams, the State Superintendent of Education, telling him to approve the program.” But the next day we got a call from his chief of staff saying that the Senator was actually going to fly down and meet personally with Charlie Williams, who was the State Superintendent of Education.

So, when Senator Thurmond, the legend, walks in and tells Dr. Williams, “Her program is legal, we’ve looked into it, you need to approve it.” Then everything changed. So, the threats of jail averted, and the State Board approved my program. We homeschooled that first year. It was still very tough, we had policemen riding up and down our streets of a very quiet neighborhood. We assumed to make sure that we were inside having school and at home, and we had threatening phone calls, and neighbors.

Yvette:                         From the school board?

Zan:                              Well, you know, at first, we didn’t know. This is before caller ID and cell phones and all of this. So BellSouth had just come out with this very expensive callback system, you could see who called you. I told Joe, I said, “I want to pay for this.” We had no money at this point, legal fees and all. He said, “Okay, you’re paranoid, but we’ll do it.” It was school districts, and it was not just my own. It was other school districts in the state calling me, wanting personal information, seeing if I answered the phone.

It was crazy. But that year, our goal was just to get Ty ready for first grade. But the things that we saw happening in our home, even with all the pressure, the legal pressure outside of the home, there was just this, not magic, that’s the wrong word, but this just incredible depth building in our home that we had never had before, even though I was a stay at home mother up until that point.

So, our vision for homeschooling began to grow a little bit, and legal threats were starting to pour in, and the State Department of Education was getting ready to promulgate very negative regulations. So, it just grew into an eight year struggle, really, or battle, where for eight years our family was, either in court or in the legislature, fighting for good homeschool laws in South Carolina.

Yvette:                         At that point you knew you weren’t just fighting for yourself; you were fighting for others who would come into homeschooling.

Zan:                              Yes, that’s right.

Yvette:                         Through that time, did you start to meet other families who were homeschooling?

Zan:                              Yes, yes. I remember we went to the first conference in Atlanta, and I think there were seven families from South Carolina there. Which I had no idea, we were delighted to see seven. But everybody was so nervous, nobody would give out their phone numbers or their last names, because we were so afraid that there was somebody from the government there. They were scary times.

But during that first year, Joe and I began to keep a database of people who were starting to call us then from all over the country, it was kind of strange. It was think tanks and attorneys, and people looking to move to South Carolina, who may have already started homeschooling in another state where there was no threat. So, we just started collecting names of people who had heard of homeschooling. We weren’t necessarily looking for homeschoolers, just people who had heard of it.

So we started growing this database, which came in handy then, in December of 1985, a year later, when we got the information that the State Department was getting ready to promulgate the regulations that would require teaching parents, and to have a college degree, and only use state-approved tax. So that gave us a little bit of list to begin building that grassroots movement with.

Yvette:                         So how did homeschooling change your family?

Zan:                              Oh, my goodness, I feel like Shakespeare, “let me count the ways.” It just, this closeness. We were close to begin with, I can’t explain it. Just a deeper intimacy. It made the kids closer. The most dramatic change for me is I began to notice my boys’ spiritual gifts. There was no time for that kind of observation before, but even though they were young, I believe that the Lord gave me insight into things that the boys were capable of spiritually, and the way they thought.

For instance, we had been praying, just for our neighbors, that we’d have a chance to witness. One day, during our first few weeks of homeschooling, they were out playing and I called them in, they were riding their bikes in the driveway, and he didn’t come. I said, “Ty, honey, you have to obey me the first time, or homeschooling is not going to work.” He said, “Well, mom, did you see that little boy on the bicycle?” He said, “We’ve been sharing Jesus. I’d never seen him in our neighborhood. I was afraid I’d never see him again, and I just needed to tell him about Jesus.”

Yvette:                         Wow.

Zan:                              It was through instances of being together so much, that I began to see his heart to really share the Gospel, even as a young little boy. Then my other son, who is now an attorney, was always very thoughtful. When Joe and I went to our first homeschool conference, in Atlanta. Conference, I use that word very lightly, there were maybe 60 people there from 10 states or five states or something. My sister took John and Ty up to Stone Mountain, and they were six and four. We’d been learning the children’s catechism, and they found this footprint that looked like a huge footprint in the mountain, and Ty said, “John, look at this. This is so big, it must be God’s.” Four year old little John says, “Ty, God is a spirit and have not a body like man.”

Oh, my goodness! So, I began to see their spiritual depth really blossom. That has always been one of the greatest parts of homeschooling to me, is that we can prepare our kids to take their place in the world, not just academically gifted and other gifts, but their spiritual gifts. The church just needs mature believers now, people who can speak truth.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. So, kind of take us down the road of what homeschooling looked like. You say you went to these conventions, and there were about 60 people there, you know, to what it is today. Because now you go and you’ve got 6,000, 7,000 people or more at some conventions. It has changed dramatically, obviously.

It’s really interesting, because we’re going into our ninth year of homeschooling, but when we came into homeschooling nine years ago, it was very similar to what it is now. It was a very acceptable culture, it’s not awkward for us to go to the grocery store in the middle of the day. When people say, you know, “Oh, are you off of school today?” My girls say, “No, we’re homeschooled.” Then typically people will respond with, “Oh, wow, that’s great. I wish I could homeschool, or, you know, my sister homeschools, or my daughter home schools.” I mean, everybody knows somebody who homeschools.

Zan:                              Yes, that’s right.

Yvette:                         But obviously, it wasn’t that way for you.

Zan:                              That’s right.

Yvette:                         So, take us through what it was like for you in those beginning years, and other families, to what homeschooling has become today.

Zan:                              I have such a vivid memory of having homeschooled for about six months, and being in tears one morning during my quiet time, just saying, “Lord, remember me, this person you made so extroverted? I now have no friends.” There were people in the neighborhood who would no longer speak to us, people in our church who were suspicious. I mean, this was 1984, and like I said, when I said we knew nobody when we started, we knew nobody when we started. So, there was just no support and nobody for the kids to share that experience with.

Now, as the year progressed and we went into the second year, then we found friends. I mean, it wasn’t unusual for us to drive to Greenville to see another homeschool family, which was 100 miles away, or Charleston. Then we began to develop a few friends and a little bit of a community. I will say this, that the community that developed was very, very close. Then when we were threatened in 1985, with those regulations from the State Department, we started pulling the group together and sending mailings out.

Then somebody gave us an organization that had already the 501(c)(3) status they weren’t using anymore. We took that over and then formed the first homeschooling organization in South Carolina. So, it was definitely hard. It was just hard. But we knew the Lord had called us, and then to watch it grow step by step. We had the first public hearing in South Carolina in 1986, and we actually had about 400 people show up for that, which was really amazing. We had no idea. We just sent out this blind list, this list we had been mailing, and we had all these people show up. It was pretty amazing. That was a ton of people.

Yvette:                         That is a lot, because that’s before the days of even email-

Zan:                              That’s right, oh, no, email, no. That was the days before fax. It was by phone or mail. So, it was very interesting. So, it was the Lord, and then eventually we started going to the National Leadership Conference. It was people from a lot of other states who had … everybody was going through their own set of circumstances. Some people were very free, like in Georgia or North Carolina, other people were like us in South Carolina, where we were very threatened, and it was very hard. But that was our peer group, and that sort of was what the Lord gave us, just to keep us going, and that fellowship we needed to keep going.

I can remember the first time Joe and I were asked to go to Japan to speak at a conference there, and it wasn’t for expats, it was for Japanese. I sat on the plane, and all of a sudden I just started crying, because I looked at Joe and I said, “You remember when we first started homeschooling? All people wanted to do was shut me up. You know, make her be quiet, stop talking about this, go away.” The fact that somebody was paying us to fly halfway across the world to talk to them about homeschooling, it was just overwhelming.

It’s one of those moments that will just always be emblazoned in my mind. But it was like a revival movement, the Lord just kept raising people up and up and up, and it got bigger and bigger, and it was this grassroots ground swell. That was one reason you know it’s really the Holy Spirit, because there’s no other explanation for it.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So, you’ve been through the whole process of helping to make it legal. Where do you see homeschooling going in the future? Do you see that our freedoms are in jeopardy at all? Or do you think that we will be able to continue on with our freedom? And how can people make sure that our freedom stays?

Zan:                              Joe always says, “It’s not that the grass is greener on the other side, it’s the grass is greenest where you water it and fertilize it.” So we shouldn’t ever take our marriages for granted, we should never take our freedom for granted. I know what it’s like to be an innocent person who was threatened legally. I will tell you that is not fun. I never want another mother to go through what we went through. It was horrible. Wandering at night if somebody was going to take my kids, if a neighbor was going to turn us in to the Department of Social Services for something. It was extremely stressful.

So, my love for freedom is very, not guarded, but it’s in the context of knowing we can lose it, and knowing what that feels like. Ronald Reagan said, “It only takes a generation to lose our freedom.” Then there’s the quote, “All we need to lose our freedom is … for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.” So I think it’s very easy to become complacent, when it seems so easy.

But we need to remember we have enemies, whether it’s the National Education Association or the School Administrators Association. There are people out there who think that the fact that we can homeschool our children is the worst thing that has ever happened to the culture. We think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the culture.

Yvette:                         Right, of course, but they want control over our children.

Zan:                              We were talking earlier today about this, I was speaking at a leadership forum sponsored by Clemson University in South Carolina, but this was the education segment, I was the homeschool spokesman. After it was over, this woman asked me, she said, “Don’t you feel guilty for homeschooling?” I said, “Well, I have felt a lot of emotions over homeschooling, but guilt is not one of them, why?” She said, “Because you’ve robbed the school district of all the money the state would have given them for your children, you’ve robbed the school district of kids who probably would have good test scores, because you’ve also robbed the school district of involved parents, all of these things which we need.”

So I got real quiet, and I said, “Well, who do you think my kids belong to?” Well, she had no answer. So I read her this, this shows what my life was like. I used to travel with this in my purse, I had no idea what I’m going to talk about at this day. So I read her this statement, I’m going to read it to you, just because this is where my life was.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize his children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state. Those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

So she looked at me like, “Where did you get that right wing Christian propaganda?” She said, “Where did you get that?” I said, “From the United States Supreme Court, Pierce vs Society of Sisters, 1925.” I remember thinking then here is the problem with our society, nobody knows anymore that children don’t belong to the state. When you have to tell an audience that the child is not the mere creature of the state, and that is news to them, we are in trouble as a culture.

So, we have got to educate people, as to what freedom and liberty is all about, what the constitution is all about, parental rights, and who our kids belong to. That’s very elementary. Socialism and Marxism would have us believe our kids belong to the government.

Yvette:                         That’s right, that’s right. We have a couple minutes left. In these last few minutes I would love for you to talk about, because I know you’ve been very involved in your state organization. How can people get involved in their own state organization, or in, you know, the United States as a whole, to keep the freedoms that we have for homeschooling? And why do these state organizations even exist?

“The state organizations have done the homeschooling community such a great service in watching each state, legislature by legislature, and knowing where the threats come up. So, I would invite and encourage every homeschooler to join their state group, and their state group will be the legislative watchdog. Then go to your state day at the capitol. Most states have that, some states don’t. Start one if you don’t. I would tell you to get to know your legislator and your state Senator, and that is not hard to do, they want to know you as a constituent.”

Zan:                              Well, the state organizations have done the homeschooling community such a great service in watching each state, legislature by legislature, and knowing where the threats come up. So, I would invite and encourage every homeschooler to join their state group, and their state group will be the legislative watchdog. Then go to your state day at the capitol. Most states have that, some states don’t. Start one if you don’t. I would tell you to get to know your legislator and your state Senator, and that is not hard to do, they want to know you as a constituent.

Homeschooled kids are the best thing we have going for us, because they’re polite and articulate, and well-educated. It’s like one representative said to me, “Zan, now that I see the artwork, I want to know the artist.” So, we need to do that, we need to take our kids with us to vote, we need to get them involved with pro-life, pro-family candidates. My boys started working campaigns with me when they were little, we would hold out signs in the rain. You know, politics is not glamorous, but it is really necessary.

Then, you know, during the presidential election, every presidential election, we would have a blank map of the states, and we would color a state red if it went to the Republican candidate, blue if it went to the Democrat, and we’d mark in the number of electoral votes. So, explain to your kids the electoral college, there’s a great movement afoot to get rid of it. It would destroy our Republican form of government. So I would just say be involved. If it’s uncomfortable, just decide you’re going to live out of your comfort zone.

Heidi’s podcast is a great podcast. She keeps us up politically with what’s going on, and your state organization will do that. Join HSLDA as well, they’ve been a great safeguard for homeschooling parents.

Yvette:                         Yeah, absolutely. Yes, you’re right. Heidi St. John, her podcast, the Heidi St. John Podcastis excellent. She often talks about just things that are going on in the culture. I get all my news from her.

Zan:                              Yeah, that’s fabulous.

Yvette:                         I listen to it every day. But, yes, people can actually go to the Schoolhouse Rockedwebsite,and there’s a dropdown that talks about state organizations, and people can easily find their own state organization on there. So you don’t even have to go anywhere else, you just go straight to the Schoolhouse Rocked website.

Zan, thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done, everything that you and your family have sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy today as homeschoolers. You are a homeschool legend, and I am so excited to be sitting here with you. So thank you for your time today.

Zan:                              It has been my privilege. Thank you so much.

You can find out more about Zan Tyler at ZanTyler.com.

Read Zan’s book, Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential

Read Heidi St. John’s book, Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years

Photo by vivek kumar on Unsplash

Photo by Garritt Hampton

 

 

We’re Almost There…

 

Countdown to the final shot…

We are so excited! Today, our family packed up our big ol’ Ford Excursion and headed out across this great land to finish filming Schoolhouse Rocked with Heidi St. John, in Vancouver, Washington.

Please pray for our family and for the film as we travel. We always feel a bit anxious and lose several hours (or days) of sleep as we prepare for these trips, but it is always AMAZING to see how God works while we are out. We are thankful and humbled that He has called us to this, but we also recognize it’s not because we are worthy or qualified, but because HE is. In the end, we will only be able to say, “look what GOD did!”

We promise to post Facebook Live videos and send emails as we travel, to let you know where we are, who we are with, and how God is working. The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast will also continue, uninterrupted. We have some GREAT episodes already recorded and we will be recording a few more on the road. Look forward to interviews with filmmaker and homeschool gradate, Aaron W. Burns, Jamie Erickson, from The Unlikely Homeschool, Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, Faith Berens, of HSLDA, listener favorite, Aby Rinella, of His Calling. My Passion, and several more!

Here are a couple of general observations as we leave:

1) I will never play Tetris again. This is what it looks like when you beat the game. ↑↑↑ By the end of this trip I will have packed and unpacked the truck approximately 786 times, and I will have earned (but not received — oh, the injustice!) a doctorate in Physics. If the matter in the truck condenses any further, a black hole will be triggered and the universe will collapse into a singularity.

2) We are thankful for hospitality. It has been a huge blessing to be able to make new friends across the country, as people have opened up their homes to us. I am excited about the new friendships we will make on this trip.

3) Learning doesn’t have to stop when we travel. We will spend hours listening to great books, studying God’s Word together, observing His great creation, studying maps and geography, and visiting important and historic locations. Roadschooling is awesome (and REALLY effective)!

4) God is FAITHFUL! We (that “we” includes you) have prayed that God would guide us through the making of Schoolhouse Rocked. We have prayed that he would provide the cast, the story, even our daily bread. He never fails, and He has shown his faithfulness and power, over and over, in the past few weeks – and in many cases, he has use YOU to answer those prayers. Thank you for praying with us. Thank you for supporting the film. Thank you for standing with us.

We are in this together and can’t wait to update you on God’s amazing provision!
Sincerely,
Garritt Hampton, Director

Soli Deo gloria!

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Schoolhouse Rocked Production Update – Summer, 2019

For those of you who have been keeping up with production on the movie, you know that last month some big decisions were made about the direction we would take in finishing the film. We asked you to pray for the Lord to guide us, and He has! We are SO excited to tell you that in a few weeks, we are driving west from Georgia to Washington to complete the filming of Schoolhouse Rocked with Heidi St. John! Here’s the scoop…

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton and I am here with my oldest daughter Brooklyn for this update.

Brooklyn Hampton:       Hi, guys.

Yvette:             She’s 13. I love having a teenager. It’s so much fun. Most of the time.

Brooklyn:          Ouch.

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Yvette:             No, I’m loving it. It is so much fun. So far not at all as scary as I thought it would be. I love being a mom of girls and I love being a mom of a teen. God’s doing great things in her life. Speaking of your life, what are some things that God is doing with our family right now?

Brooklyn:          Well, we are going to travel across the country and finish filming the movie with Heidi St. John in Vancouver, Washington. Yeah. It’s very exciting.

Yvette:             It’s very exciting. Here’s the update. We are heading to Greenville. We’ll be there for about a week. We’re going to have some meetings with some people there and do a few things there, maybe a little bit of filming, but then we are trekking across the country in our big, blue Excursion and we’re really excited.

Yvette:             On the way there we’re going to get to stop and see the Rinella family who we’ve gotten to know pretty well over the last year but we haven’t actually met them in person, right?

Brooklyn:          No.

Yvette:             If you listen to the podcast you’ve heard Aby Rinella for sure on the podcast a few times and so we’re really excited. We’re going to get to meet their family. Then we are going to go all the way to Vancouver, Washington, which is right outside of Portland. We’re going to finish filming the documentary with Heidi St. John. We are super excited about this.

We’ve filmed all of the interviews for the documentary but what we have left to film is the actual storyline that weaves throughout the documentary to pull all of the interviews together. That is going to be myself and Heidi are going to do that together and basically talk as homeschool moms about our journey of homeschooling and all that God has done.

For those of you who don’t know who Heidi is, which most of you do, but for those who don’t she is a homeschool mom of seven kids and she’s got a couple grandkids now but she doesn’t at all look like a grandma.

Brooklyn:          No.

Yvette:             No.

Brooklyn:          She really doesn’t.

Yvette:             She’s very young looking. She’s just amazing. She has a great platform. She has a podcast, she speaks, she writes lots of books, and she and her husband and her family run a homeschool resource center in Vancouver, Washington. We’re going to do a bunch of our filming there. We’re going to get to meet some of the families there in Washington and film some B-roll. Then from there we’re going to head to?

Brooklyn:          California.

Yvette:             California.

Brooklyn:          Yay!

Yvette:             California is home for us, for those who don’t know. We have not actually really been home for the past two and a half years. We went home for a couple of weeks. My mom was really sick and so we went to help take care of her. We haven’t been back there to actually get to spend time with friends and family and so we’re going to go back to do that and finish filming.

Between Vancouver, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and then our treks south from there to California – and in California we will finish filming the whole documentary, which we are really excited about.

Brooklyn:          Yes. We are.

Yvette:             It’s been a very exciting few years for our family but we are definitely ready to be done with filming and to get this movie out to encourage homeschool families.

Brooklyn:          Yes.

Yvette:             Here are some things that you can do to help us. We are in need of lots of prayer. There’s just a whole lot that goes into filming a feature length documentary like what we’re doing. God has been so faithful. I mean, do you want to tell some of the stories? I know that’s totally putting you on the spot because we didn’t talk about this beforehand.

Brooklyn:          We didn’t.

Yvette:             What are just a couple of things that God has done to provide for our family and to just show his power through the whole process of making this movie?

Brooklyn:          I mean, there’s so many.

Yvette:             I know.

Brooklyn:          I honestly don’t know where to start.

Yvette:             How about hospitality?

Brooklyn:          Hospitality? All right. When we were coming to Georgia to start really editing the movie and all of that we had so many families just offer up their home to us and just welcome us in and be so hospitable and it was a huge blessing.

Yvette:             Yeah. We’ve had that happen all across the country really. I mean, it has been absolutely incredible because, as you can imagine, of course, staying in hotel rooms and stuff can get really expensive. We have sometimes reached out and just said, “We’re coming to this particular area. If there’s anybody there who is willing to host our family we’ll be there from these dates …”

Every single time, without fail, God has provided a place for us to stay and then sometimes people just know where we’re going or … Last week, or I guess it was a couple of weeks ago, there was a family who just sent us an email and she said, “We live in the Modesto area in California.” She said, “If you’re coming through this area we would love to host you and have you stay the night at our house.”

These are people that we don’t even know but it’s such a neat way to just see the tangible hand of God working through the body of Christ to support this documentary because we can’t do it on our own. There’s just so much that goes into this. It really is a team effort of the whole homeschool community. That’s been great.

Brooklyn:          While you were talking I thought of a story.

Yvette:             Oh, tell a story.

Brooklyn:          Yes. All right. It was about a year ago and we were going to head to Tennessee. We had nowhere to stay. We were just trusting God to provide a place and this family opened up their barndominium to us. We got to stay there for about five weeks.

Yvette:             Yeah.

Brooklyn:          They were just amazing. Yeah.

Yvette:             Yes. We didn’t even know until I think it was two weeks before we left for that trip …

Brooklyn:          We had been planning this trip for like months ahead of time.

Yvette:             Yes.

Brooklyn:          Like we had this trip, we were going to Tennessee, and we didn’t know where we were staying.

Yvette:             We didn’t know but we trusted that because God was leading us there he was going to provide a place for us to stay. Two weeks before we arrived in Tennessee he provided the most amazing place for us to stay on this farm. The White family, is just so incredibly hospitable and gracious. We have been the recipients. That has happened over and over again. The McCosky’s and … I can’t even list all of people because there are so many of them.

Brooklyn:          So many.

Yvette:             We have literally stayed in many, many houses, which has really stretched our family and our comfort because it’s kind of awkward sometimes, especially in the beginning, to just go stay with people that you don’t know.

Brooklyn:          Yeah.

Yvette:             But we have made friends. We have friends now across the country. Like really good friends.

Brooklyn:          Yeah, that we now text with everyday and they just say, “Hey, how’s it going? We’re praying for you.” Those are friends we didn’t even know before.

Yvette:             Right. We are learning that where God guides he provides. Our pastor gave a sermon on that years ago, before we left California. This was probably just a few weeks before we left. I remember him giving a sermon and he said, “Where God guides, he provides. That really stuck with Garritt and I. We were like, “Okay, God is guiding us on this trip. He’s guiding us to make this movie. He is going to provide everything that we need” and he has unmistakably and miraculously provided for us in ways … The boxes.

Brooklyn:          The boxes. Yes.

Yvette:             Do you want to tell the story about the boxes?

Brooklyn:          I was going to tell the story but I didn’t know if you were going to go into that whole thing.

Yvette:             No. Tell the story of the boxes.

Brooklyn:          Yes. Okay. We recently sold our trailer and we are heading across the country, as you guys already know. We just needed totes.

Yvette:             Those plastic Rubbermaid tote boxes.

Brooklyn:          Earlier that day we had gone to Sam’s Club and we saw these … I don’t even know how much they were like.

Yvette:             I think they were like $8 a piece.

Brooklyn:          $8. They were like top quality totes. We put them in the cart. We just were walking through and my dad was like, “I don’t think we should buy these right now.” We put them back. We had two of them. I don’t know if I mentioned that.

Yvette:             We had two of them. That we needed.

Brooklyn:          That we needed. We really did need them. Later that day … Oh my gosh.  Later that day we went to my grandpa’s house and we were unloading some stuff and loading up some stuff.

Yvette:             To store at his house.

Brooklyn:          Yeah. He said, “Hey, I have two totes. Would you guys possibly be interested?” We were like, “Two totes? What?”

Yvette:             Yeah. I mean, it was just amazing because it seems like such a small thing but it was one of those moments where I realized once again that God cares even about the little things. He provides for us in amazing ways. He provides for us even in the little things. He provides for us in big ways but he knows when we need plastic boxes and he provides those for us as well. He is a faithful, faithful God.

Just as we have gone to Tennessee and God provided a place for us we’re now trucking across the country to finish filming with Heidi. Heidi is excited about it. We are super excited about it. We know absolutely that this is God’s plan for finishing the story of Schoolhouse Rocked. We have prayed a lot about it. We’ve sought wise counsel. This is just absolutely the direction God is leading us.

It costs a whole lot of money to do this. We’ve got to hire a crew of people to help us finish filming. We’re going to be filming for probably five solid film days with Heidi but we’ll be filming for probably about 10 to 12 days in Vancouver and Portland area and then a few more days in California.

Brooklyn:          Yes.

Yvette:             It costs a lot of money to do that. We would love your help. We don’t very often ask for this. We would love it if you guys would be willing to come alongside of us and just help support us financially so that we can get to Washington, hire the crew that we need to finish filming, get the movie done, and then we can move into post-production.

We’re looking at some investors, talking to a couple of investors, but those people will come in for the post-production part to fund that part of it because that’s a big huge chunk of money.

If you would be willing to just pray about it and just see if the Lord might put it on your heart to help support the rest of filming for the movie so that we can get this part of it done and then move into post-production. We would love that.

Brooklyn:          That’d be a huge blessing.

Yvette:             That would be a huge blessing. We know God is going to provide. He provides miraculously. I mean, again, we have so many stories of what he’s done and how he has provided. Where can people go to find out more about helping with Schoolhouse Rocked? Schoolhouse Rocked dot com.

Brooklyn:          Schoolhouse Rocked dot com. She totally likes those lines.

Yvette:             I did. Though, you would have known that if I hadn’t said that, right? Would you have known to say that?

Brooklyn:          Yeah.

Yvette:             Go to Schoolhouse Rocked dot com. Right on the front page you’ll see a button that says support … I think it says support.

Brooklyn:          Yeah.

Yvette:             Just click on that. You can actually make a tax-deductible donation to Schoolhouse Rocked. Then, of course, pray for us. There is just so much more to be done. We continue to be in awe of what God has called us to do. We feel very honored that God has called our family to make this documentary and very humbled. It’s all for his glory.

It’s not for our recognition or our glory but it’s really to change the hearts of parents and call people to bring their kids out of the public school system, out of private schools, if that’s where they’re called to, and bring them home and disciple their children. Homeschooling is a blessing.

Brooklyn:          It is.

Yvette:             It’s fun. Do you enjoy being homeschooled?

Brooklyn:          I love being homeschooled. I love being homeschooled.

Yvette:             I didn’t pay you to say that either.

Brooklyn:          No. She didn’t. I really genuinely love being homeschooled. Real fast, while you were saying the support thing, the other thing you can do to support is send us emails. Send us encouraging emails. That really helps keep us going.

Yvette:             Yes.

Brooklyn:          It’s like send us texts, send us emails. Those are really a blessing. I don’t think people know how much of a blessing that is to us. That really lifts our spirits and it helps us keep going.

Yvette:             Yes. Well said, Brooklyn. That is true. People will randomly just send messages either on Facebook or email or sometimes they’ll leave reviews for the podcast.

Brooklyn:          Do that too.

Yvette:             Do that too. Yes, that is an easy way that you can just let us know that you’re praying for us, that you’re standing with us. Sometimes people can’t afford to support us financially but you can certainly afford to support us through prayer. We would love that. Thank you for saying that.

Brooklyn:          You’re welcome.

Yvette:             I appreciate that. Yeah. That’s where we’re at. Keep up with us this summer. If you are on our Facebook page it’s The Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page. You can keep up with us there and we’ll keep up to date on where we are and what we’re doing. We’ll be doing Facebook Lives, especially while we’re filming because that’s just fun.

Brooklyn:          Oh, yeah.

Yvette:             We’ll give you updates on what God is doing and how he’s providing. If you would like to just be part of that we would love to have you on our team and just have you to be part of the Schoolhouse Rocked crew by being some of the prayer and financial backing that we need.

Thank you, guys, for listening and if you’re watching this on video thank you for watching. We are praying for you guys. We pray all the time that the Lord would use this movie to be a blessing to you and that it would just honor him and serve his kingdom well.

We love you guys. Thank you for your support. Thank you, Brooklyn, for being my guest today.

Brooklyn:          I kind of asked for this.

Yvette:             You did ask for it. She keeps asking if she can record something with me.

Brooklyn:          Yeah. Be on the podcast.

Yvette:             Be on the podcast. Here you have it.

Brooklyn:          Yay!

Yvette:             I’m glad that we get to do this together.

Brooklyn:          Me too.

Yvette:             All right, you guys. Have a great day. Bye.

Brooklyn:          Bye.

The Best Accident Ever! Listen the Heidi St. John Podcast, featuring Yvette Hampton of Schoolhouse Rocked

On Episode 656 of The Heidi St. John Podcast, Heidi had a great conversation with Schoolhouse Rocked producer, Yvette Hampton about being an “accidental homeschooler”, and how homeschooling was the best accident that ever happened to them. Don’t miss this encouraging show!

For those of you who can’t get enough of Heidi St. John, don’t miss her on next week’s episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. She will be appearing, Monday, September 10th in episode 11.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can see Heidi St. John’s full interview for Schoolhouse Rocked. Subscribe for free and get immediate access to great video clips, featuring helpful homeschooling tips and encouragement from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked. You will also get a free gift when you subscribe! Download 90 minutes of exclusive videos from Heidi St. John, Sam Sorbo, Andrew Kern, and Colleen Kessler – yours to keep!

Schoolhouse Rocked Production Update – Nashville, 2018


Happy Easter!! We pray that you’re enjoying Spring so far. Our family just returned from a month-long trip to Franklin, Tennessee where we got to watch God work in amazing ways. While we were there, we were able to finish the interview process for Schoolhouse Rocked and had the privilege of interviewing Heidi St. John, Carol Swain, Ginger Hubbard, Israel Wayne, Rachael Carman, Mary Jo Tate, Leslie Nunnery, and several others. We also did several Facebook Live interviews which you can see on the Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page (we’d love for you to follow us there if you haven’t already).

Most of our filming took place at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, where we were blessed to witness thousands of families eager to gain wisdom and training on how to reach the hearts of their children through homeschooling. We’ve attended many homeschool conventions over the past 8 years and this was definitely one of our favorites.

We were also incredibly to be able to attend the Christian Worldview Filmmakers Guild and Film Festival where we received excellent Biblical teaching from the Kendrick Brothers, as well as several other experts in the Christian filmmaking industry. Our girls were so excited to meet Mike Nawrocki, the voice of Larry the Cucumber from VeggieTales. He was incredibly nice and didn’t hesitate to speak in his Larry voice! If you are interested in participating in any aspect of the Christian film industry, this event is a MUST!

I’d love to share with you just a few ways in which we saw the mighty hand of God move on our behalf…

While we were planning for our trip to Tennessee, we knew we needed to be there for a little over four weeks, but we didn’t have a place to stay and renting an Airbnb or hotel for that length of time was out of the question. So we prayed…and God answered! An incredibly sweet and hospitable family offered for us to stay in their two-bedroom apartment that they have built into a building on their 4-acre farm. So, for a month, we city folk got to live on a farm. It was a BLAST! We cannot thank the White family enough for their generosity. And, more importantly, God developed a beautiful friendship between our families!

Prior to going, we still had several important interviews that we really needed to capture in order to complete the filming portion of the documentary. So we prayed…and God provided! We got them all, and then some. We are so blessed by the wisdom, experience, and transparency that these people provided. We are certain that many lives will be changed because of them.

There were still several people we needed to have join our team and work along side us in order to complete this movie with excellence and ensure a successful theatrical release. So we prayed…and God directed! (are you seeing a theme here?!?!) We met with several experts and companies specifically within the Christian film industry who we are very excited to be working with.

Whenever we return from being on the road and filming, we always come home with a huge list of things that need to be accomplished. This time was no different. We are working with a great deal of enthusiasm as we continue to take steps toward completing this important task that God has entrusted to us. At the top of our list now is to launch our crowdfunding campaign. Please pray with us as we work with our team to put this campaign together. We are anxious to see how God will work to provide.

We are so grateful for each one of you. Thank you for the continued encouragement, prayers, and support. We are still more than a year away from the release of the movie, but each day we move one step closer. Enjoy these few pictures that will give you a small glimpse into our time in Tennessee.

Soli Deo gloria.

Yvette Hampton, Host and Producer