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.

A HOMESCHOOL Documentary?!?

On December 15th, 2016 our family left California in a truck and travel trailer and set out across America to make a homeschool documentary. The irony of this situation wouldn’t be lost on anyone who knew our family just a few years before. You see, like so many other homeschool families, we were NEVER going to homeschool! 

The Backstory

Prior to having children we bought into nearly every homeschooling misconception. Our limited exposure to homeschooling enforced the notion of socially maladjusted, poorly educated kids, taught by ill-equipped and under-qualified moms. We believed that missing out on the classroom dynamic and structure of school would lead to poor academic outcomes, and that without a “real” diploma, college acceptance was a gamble. Not to mention, why would we want to spend all day with our kids? We said many times we would never do that to our kids or our ourselves, but God laughs in the face of “Never”!

After 11 years of marriage we had our first daughter and our perspective began to change. We wanted to do what was best for our kids and for our family. Parenting was a great responsibility that we accepted whole-heartedly.

As our oldest daughter approached school age we began to carefully consider our options for her education. The public schools in our area weren’t even a consideration. We knew that we could not allow our daughter to be subjected to the indoctrination that she would experience there. We didn’t believe that our short time with her at night and on the weekends would be sufficient to uncover and undo the anti-Biblical teaching she would undoubtedly receive during the week. Additionally, we were in an area where the public schools weren’t even safe. At the time, we would have preferred to put her in a Christian school, but we just couldn’t afford this option. As a last resort, we thought that maybe we would give homeschooling a try for a year, and see how it went.

Thankfully, God changed our hearts. Before we even began homeschooling, we met with a pastor and his wife who homeschooled their kids. They began to encourage us and tried to unravel many of the misconceptions we believed. They also encouraged us to attend a homeschool convention; an experience that was both eye-opening and extremely encouraging, as we saw how many “normal” people homeschooled. It was then that we began to learn about the very real benefits of homeschooling.

Six years into our one-year experiment we were huge fans of homeschooling! We were blessed to have participated in great co-ops and a fantastic Classical Conversations community, experienced support and encouragement from most of our family and friends, and our children had benefitted from the excellent academic and social opportunities that were available to them. We were enjoying the freedom to travel and to tailor school to the strengths of our children and to the needs of our family. We savored the blessing and privilege of integrating God’s Word into every subject and weaving a Christian worldview into every aspect of “school.” While we experienced many of the challenges faced by other homeschool families, we were extremely privileged to see the benefits as well, and we desired to share these benefits with others.

Time For Change – BIG CHANGE!

After many years of working in Hollywood, I knew it was time for a change. Heavy travel and long hours on set had cost me precious time with my wife and young daughters, an my health and family were suffering. I loved my job and the people I worked with, but I could see that a continued career in Hollywood would have grave costs. It was not worth trading my family and health for my job, so without a back-up plan, with only the conviction that something had to change, I quit. When I called Yvette to tell her the news, she could only respond, “Praise God”!

In the months that followed, God showed his great power. He provided a perfect new job for me and began to lay the foundation for Schoolhouse Rocked. I would teach film at a local Christian school and produce short documentary content for our church. While it was only a one-year commitment, we knew that this was exactly where God wanted us. He had met our immediate needs, but He was also preparing us for what was to come.

Toward the end of the school year, God provided another opportunity that set the wheels in motion for Schoolhouse Rocked. A well-loved fellow teacher asked if I would film some b-roll for his sister’s student film. As her final project for her film degree at Biola University, she was making a short documentary on homeschooling and needed a few shots of this teacher, himself a homeschool graduate, teaching his AP History class. I gladly agreed, and when I saw the finished film I became excited about the opportunity to encourage prospective homeschoolers through a feature film. I was reminded of what an impact the documentary, Indoctrination had had on Yvette and me in our own decision to homeschool. This young film school graduate had no intention of making a feature-length documentary, but this experience had birthed a desire in me to see this film become a reality.

At the end of the year my contract with the school and church ended and it was time to seek God’s guidance on the next chapter of our lives. Our family had long felt prompted to leave California and believed that this period of transition provided the perfect opportunity. Reluctant to pursue a new job in California, and feeling increasingly convinced that we needed to make a documentary on homeschooling, we laid a fleece before the Lord. We prayed and asked that if it was God’s will that our family make this film He would make it abundantly clear. We knew that we would have to travel to film the movie and we knew we didn’t have the money to travel – let alone make a movie – so we asked for God to answer clearly. If He wanted us to make Schoolhouse Rocked we would need to sell our house. We listed the house and put it in God’s hands. The next day we had a nearly-full-price offer. We took that as confirmation! While that first deal didn’t go through, the house sold quickly and God continued to work. We started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution.

Next, we would have to sell everything in our house. We had a house full of furniture and possessions that certainly wouldn’t fit in an RV. Right away, friends began to call and ask if we were selling things. One family bought most of our furniture. Our cars quickly sold as well. To get rid of the little stuff – dishes, decorations, books – we held an estate sale. We advertised that the sale would start at 7:00 am on a Friday, and by 6:30 there were people lined up on the sidewalk. We opened up our house and moved a few items onto the lawn. By 2:00 almost everything was gone. The next day we had a few tables of odds and ends on the front lawn, and at the end of the day there was nothing left.

With no home and no stuff it would be easy to travel to film the documentary, but now we needed an RV. We had been looking at travel trailers, 5th wheels, and motorhomes for weeks to determine what would suit our family best. Again, God provided perfectly. One day we got a phone call from some friends who asked if we were still looking for a trailer. It turned out that just a few miles away a family had the perfect trailer for us, and a truck to go with it! We had been looking all over Southern California and the perfect truck and trailer were just across town.

Making a Homeschool Movie

Honestly, had God not confirmed his call in so many ways I don’t know if we would have done this. We left family and friends and a church we loved in California. We left our home and a lifetime of stuff accumulated in our 22 years of marriage. We went out not knowing how God would provide, but certain that He would, because he had given so many clear confirmations. He has proven Himself over and over again. Not only has He provided for our family in miraculous ways, He has provided for the movie in miraculous ways.

When we set out to film Schoolhouse Rocked we had a wish list of people we wanted to interview, but almost no connections and no idea how we were going to get in touch with these people. God opened doors! It was only by His amazing power that we were able to get interviews with such an amazing cast. He provided exactly who we needed to tell a great story and to make a strong case for homeschooling.

Filming for the movie has taken place all over the country. This has provided a very broad view of homeschooling across the United States and has allowed us to build a base of support in several different regions. We have also been blessed to have made great friends in several states.

In March we finished filming the last of the interviews for the movie. Now the real fun begins. While we will still shoot a bit more b-roll (shots of kids and families living life and doing school), most of our time over the next several months will be spent editing and fundraising for post-production and marketing. We are planning for a nationwide theatrical release with Fathom Events in 2019, and a release like this takes a substantial budget and network of marketing partners. We are extremely thankful for our great sponsors, generous donors, and the marketing partners who have already provided excellent support.

We are thankful that God has called us to this important task. It has been a privilege for our family to work on this important project, but more importantly, we know He will be glorified by the film and many families will be blessed and strengthened through Schoolhouse Rocked.

Support this important project

Schoolhouse Rocked will encourage new families to homeschool and equip homeschooling families to start strong and finish well. It will break down common myths and misconceptions and answer important questions about homeschooling. We need your help to advance the homeschooling movement through this important film! 

Become a Marketing Partner – Help spread the word about Schoolhouse Rocked while receiving widespread exposure from a nationwide theatrical marketing campaign.

Donate – Your tax-deductible donation goes directly to production on the film.

Become a Corporate Sponsor – Corporate sponsors play a crucial role in the production and marketing of Schoolhouse Rocked and receive valuable benefits.

 

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