God tells us in I Peter 4:9 to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” If you’re like me, you want to obey the Lord and practice hospitality, and we as homeschooling moms know how much we desperately need relationships with other moms. We also know that our kids need healthy, strong friendships, and that all of these relationships are built through the practice of hospitality. We bless others and are blessed abundantly when we offer the gift of hospitality.
But how can we open our days to more people when our homes are already always filled up with children? I tend to feel overwhelmed on a lot of days with completing school and keeping our household running, and it’s not easy for me to be willing to welcome more people into our days. Do you feel this way, too?
One summer evening, my mom invited our family to her home for a gathering that she called Favorite Pie Party. On that night, she showed the love of Christ through simple hospitality, and it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate some of these practices in simple ways.
I wrote all about that evening and what I learned about simple hospitality in my family’s upcoming book The Gathering Table (Revell, October 2020). This is what I wrote:
“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”
After experiencing hospitality from my mom during the favorite pie party and thinking about what the Bible has to say about opening up our hearts to show love, I got to thinking about some practical ways we can bring hospitality into our already full lives. I’m often one to measure things in volume—food, budget, laundry—so I tend to think I have to do something huge to be hospitable. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be big. Guests are actually relieved when it’s quite simple, because it means they don’t have to do something big either. See how good this is for all of us? I take the pressure off you—you take the pressure off me!
There are many ideas you can easily incorporate into your life to offer this type of hospitality.
“I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.”
Keep It Simple
I was recently invited to a book club by a new friend. The hostess texted me the day of the gathering to say, “I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.” That text relieved my anxieties about going to a new group. My friend let me know that it was important I was coming and that she was more concerned about the true me than a perfect outfit. When I arrived, I was greeted with a warm hug and a “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” She proceeded to offer me a cup of coffee and a treat from a plate full of . . . Oreos!
Those Oreos and the fact that the other ladies were wearing favorite yoga pants and hanging out together on the couch made the evening comfortable and low-key. The relaxed atmosphere took the attention off of food, clothes, or home decor and instead helped us to focus on each other and some great conversation. This “come as you are and be yourself” attitude exhibited the love of Christ to me.
In what ways can you show hospitality in a similar, comfortable way?
● Meet at a park and bring a picnic to share. When my kids were little, I invited friends to meet at a community center that had a play structure. We’d visit over a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on the kids. No one will feel any less “loved” because you aren’t meeting at your home.
● Be spontaneous and casually invite people over. Last-minute often works better for some folks than weeks of planning. Intentionally focus more on the people rather than the food and preparations.
● Host a “leisure club,” “informal book group,” or other gathering around a purpose and serve foods you can pick up at the grocery store. When your friends see that you didn’t stress, they’ll feel more at ease and open to conversation.
● Like my friend did, text your guests before arriving to say, “I’m glad you’re coming. Just wear your comfiest clothes!” Your text might also say, “Don’t worry about childcare—come with your kids!” or “Come when you can!” Use texts as an encouraging way to show others you value them and their presence at your gathering.
● Have some light, casual music playing in the background. Music sets the tone for the environment and helps guests (and hosts) feel more at ease.
Most importantly, just ask the Lord for help and ideas to obey him in simple, doable ways. He knows you’re homeschooling, he sees your efforts everyday, and he wants to help you obey and show his love through hospitality.
Annie Boyd is the wife of Shane, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother of five gregarious and adventurous children, whom she homeschools. She loves traveling, spending time outside, reading, and baking bread. Annie received her BA in elementary education and biblical studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She accepted Christ as a young girl and hopes to invite others to know about his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
The Gingham Apron – We are five women from one Iowa farm family who love to find new ways to celebrate everyday life together. Join us as we plan family gatherings, try new recipes, take care of our homes, and educate our kids. We cherish our beautiful family farm, our time spent with our family, and most of all- our faith in Jesus Christ.
The longer I homeschool, the more I realize that establishing a proper foundation for education is critical. While teaching knowledge is important, we are told in Proverbs that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” It is critical that we teach character and worldview, but we know that if character and worldview aren’t based on truth of God’s Word they are worthless.
Hannah Leary is a 2015 homeschool graduate and serves as the cohost of the National Bible Bee competition. As the winner of the inaugural National Bible Bee Game Show and a competitor in the National Bible Bee competition for six years, through it she’s been encouraged to study scripture on her own and has memorized 12 books of the Bible. I had the chance to talk with Hannah about her experiences with the Bible Bee, Bible study, scripture memorization, her homeschool education, and more for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (4/29/2019 episode)
Yvette Hampton: Hannah, I am so excited to talk with you. I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation. I heard you several months ago when you did an interview with Dr. James Dobson. You were talking about the National Bible Bee and I actually looked you up because I was like, “who is this girl?” Such an amazing testimony and you are one of those girls, I’ve met you personally briefly, but just reading through your bio and just doing some research on you, you’re one of those girls that I look at, and I just think, “Oh, if my girls could strive to learn to love God’s Word the way that you love God’s Word…” That is our whole purpose in homeschooling them. So I would love for you to tell your story. I know you have a pretty neat personal testimony, just about how God has used your time and his Word during your middle school years and high school years specifically to prepare you and equip you for your adult life. Tell us your testimony. Tell us about what you’ve done.
Hannah Leary: Thank you for your kind words. Praise the Lord for what he’s done. I guess just to start off, I’ve grown up Christian home my whole life. My dad’s a pastor. I was homeschooled all the way through, and so the Bible and the gospel were nothing new to me growing up. I’m very thankful to have known the gospel and the Word of the Lord at such a young age and to come to know him personally as my savior at the young age of four. Often times people are like, oh, when you’re saved at a young age you don’t have this exciting testimony, but I’m very thankful that, and I’m very excited that the Lord gave me the opportunity to know him while I was young and that he even spared me from a life of hardship and figuring it out later and just giving me that amazing privilege to know him in the days of my youth.
Hannah: That started at the age of four personally for me and really as I was getting into my middle school and high school years, specifically around the age of 11 and 12 is when I really started to understand that I needed to make my relationship with the Lord something that affected all of my life and to surrender the entirety of my life to him. It was around that time when I heard of the National Bible Bee. We just saw an ad a paper and I had done spelling bees and geography bees in the past and I saw this and I was like, “Oh Mom and Dad, I would love to, could we do this, is this something you think our family could do?” And so we signed up, but we didn’t know anything about it or what we were getting ourselves into, but we jumped in. I had just turned 12 and that summer we received all these verses to memorize and these books to study. That was the first year the National Bible Bee was even in existence.
It’s changed a lot since then, but that first year for me, as a 12-year-old young person, I memorized probably 1800 verses in preparation for the competition. It was just amazing to me to realize, and I’m a competitive person so I maybe didn’t have all the right motives at the time, but it was really amazing to me to see through that study how much, how exciting God’s Word can be and how immersing myself into it for such long periods of time the benefits of that could reap. Once the competition finished that fall, I was looking at some of what I had studied and realized, oh, I had a little bit of Ephesians 1 memorized and a bit of Ephesians 2 and some Ephesians 4 et cetera, I was like, oh, I might as well memorize the whole book.
Yvette: You might as well.
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Hannah: Yeah, exactly. I went ahead, in the off seasons of Bible Bee, went ahead and memorized books of the Bible on my own. It just became, it became a passion of mine and the competition and the program of the National Bible Bee as it developed, it was just a really fun, motivating way to get into the Word of God and to develop friendships around it and to study alongside my family and my siblings. It was something that was definitely a huge part of my life for most of my middle school and high school years. Throughout the competition, my junior year of high school I was competing and I advanced to the semi-final round of the National competition and at that time I was really, very motivated by the competition, really wanted to do well, didn’t make it past there and was kind of like, oh, like, I don’t know if I should do this anymore, I’m almost a senior, there’s a lot of other things starting to vie for my time.
During that off-season, I started studying the book of Ecclesiastes and digging into that book and really struggling as a junior in high school with, “okay, what is my purpose in life. What am I here for? What’s this all about? Is the Word of God, is studying his Word worth it? What am I doing with my life?” And Ecclesiastes just has such an interesting answer to that is, Solomon goes through and says everything is vanity and knowledge and wisdom are vanity and riches and wealth and work and all those things, are all vanity and so as I’m studying this, I’m realizing, okay, what am I supposed to do, how is this supposed to affect me in my life and that summer I started working and I was getting close to graduating high school and trying to think, “okay, what should I go into when I’m done” and just had a lot of different questions in my mind and I was kind of getting distracted from the possibility of doing Bible Bee and when that season rolled around again, I was like, I don’t know if this is something I want to do, especially in my senior year. And my dad’s like, “Hannah, you should do it, you should do it one more time.”
And so I decided to sign up and that year, one of the passages we had to memorize was Ecclesiastes 12. Long story short, I ended up in the final round of the National Bible Bee Game Show and I knew it was last time going to be competing and that fall I really had been struggling a lot with like I said, my purpose and what I was here for what the purpose of studying God’s Word was. Like, was it worth it to spend so much time in God’s Word, to know so much of God’s Word if I’m not going to win a competition, or you know, all these different things. My heart was really struggling and I was just asking God, “God please show me what’s the purpose in all this. Why do I need to know your word and what do you have for me next?”
It was in the final round of the game show that year and I knew it was my last passage I was going to be reciting and they asked me to recite Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 and even though I had studied it in the past and of course I had memorized it for the competition, as I started to recite it there in that round, the words just, the full impact of them hit me and the words spoke to me through them. It starts off by saying, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Before the difficult days come and the years draw near where you say, I have no pleasure in them”, and then it goes on to describe some of the hardships that you’re going to face in life and how eventually we’re all just going to die and a lot of this life is vanity, but then it concludes by saying, “This is the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep his commandments for this is mans all. For God will bring every work into judgment including every secret thing whether good or evil.” And as I was reciting those words, the conclusion of my Bible Bee competition, just realizing that that was what it was all about.
I was supposed to remember my Creator in the days of my youth so that I could fear him and keep his commandments, and besides that, that is a very simple answer to a lot of our complicated answers and the weight of those words just hit me and I was in tears just thanking the Lord for the opportunity he had given me. Even though I didn’t always appreciate it in the moments of those six years studying God’s Word, but the grace he had given me and the opportunity he had given me to lay such a foundation in his Word throughout those six years, I was just incredibly overwhelmed with thankfulness. I still don’t know all the answers, I still am asking what’s next and all those different questions that any young person may struggle with, but even though I don’t know my future, I know the one who holds it. I’m just so thankful that I have that foundation and even though I’m not perfect, I feel confident in looking ahead because I know the truth and the Creator, the one who created this life and has my purpose planned out and planned for my life.
Yvette: Wow. That is seriously the most amazing testimony I think I’ve ever heard. That is so incredible. I love what God has done with you and I love your just transparency in that even though in the beginning maybe you didn’t feel like you were in it for all the right reasons, even if you didn’t win, it was okay. It’s one thing my husband, I have an amazing godly husband who leads our family in family devotions every day and I have a 13 year old and an 8 year old, and they’re both girls, and so both of them we really are working to help them to understand that they need to own their faith and their relationship with the Lord. It doesn’t what we tell them, it doesn’t matter what believe, it matters what they believe cause when they come face to face with Christ, he’s not going to ask them what did your mom and dad believe about me, and what did your mom and dad do to serve me, he’s going to say, what did you believe about me and how did you serve me?
We really are working especially with our 13 year old and it’s so funny, I think I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but when she turned 13 she really wanted to start wearing a little bit of makeup. We felt very convicted, not about her wearing makeup, I mean, obviously, just a small ounce like mascara, but we felt like she needed to become beautiful inside before she became beautiful outside. And the way to do that was to be immersed in God’s Word every day and so my husband said, “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, “You read your whole Bible cover to cover and you can start wearing makeup.” And so we let her wear it on occasion if there’s something special coming up or something like that we’ll let her wear a little bit, but before she puts one bit of makeup on, she has to spend time in God’s Word that day. That’s our deal with her. You spend time with the Lord first, become beautiful inside and then you can become beautiful outside.
So even though, there are times I’m certain where she’s not doing it so much to learn about God’s Word, she’s doing it because she wants to wear makeup, that’s okay because God’s Word does not return void. And we know that her being in God’s Word is going to transform her life more than anything else will. More than my husband reading the scriptures with us, more than her hearing about it in church or at youth group or anywhere like that, her being in it personally, is going to be what is going to impact her life the most.
It’s so exciting to hear your story about being involved in the Bible Bee and about what the Lord has done through that and I want to talk definitely more about that and I actually in a little bit want to talk with you about how you have dug into God’s Word. But first, for those who are not familiar with the National Bible Bee, can you kind of walk us through that? What did that look like for you? How do you get involved? What does that whole process look like?
Hannah: Yes, definitely. The National Bible Bee, its mission is to get kids into the Word of God, to know God’s Word, and then to be able to make him known. It starts out with an eight week summer study. It’s a little different then the first year I did it, how it’s developed now, but it starts with an eight week summer study and it’s designed for families to be able to do together. The ages are for ages seven through 18. There’s also a beginner level for ages five and six. But it takes them through a specific passage or book of the Bible. So last years study was in the book of James. Eight weeks you’re diving in, you’re getting an inductive study, teaching you kind of how to study the book, giving them context, allowing them to answer questions on their own and to really think through what it means, how to get into God’s Word and be giving them those tools and then there’s also two memory passages every day, every week I’m sorry. So 14 passages throughout the entire summer that they’re memorizing along with the study that kind of correlates with the study.
The great thing about the summer study program is that families can do it together because there’s three different divisions or age levels of the discovery journal, but they’re all studying the exact same book at an age appropriate level. I know personally in our family, we still use it during the summers for our family devotions and it’s something that we all can do together and read through the book and compare notes about what we’re learning and memorizing the same passages together. If you’re located near a host group, there’s also host groups, hosted by churches or homeschool groups, or just a family who’s like, “hey, I want to do this with other families in my community.” There’s that opportunity for those who are interested in doing it in a group study.
At the end of the summer, for those who are interested, there’s a Proclaim Day where students can come and celebrate what they learned, share some verses that they’ve memorized with an audience, and that’s kind of the start of the competition aspect. They can go on to take an online test, which qualifies them for the national competition where the top 360 across the country come at a national event this year it’s going to be in Covington, Kentucky in November. That’s when the competition kind of kicks into gear a little higher, there’s quite a bit more memory passages given, and another book to study on their own without the guide and discovery journal aspect. At the end of the competition there’s over a $100,000 awarded in prize money.
Yvette: Wow. You basically don’t get the information until summertime? For the November competition? So you can’t spend a whole year studying for it, you have a fairly short amount of time, so like you said, you really have to be dedicated to doing this through the summertime.
Yvette: What better way to spend your summer though?
Hannah: And it works so well, because of course throughout the summer there’s a little bit less structure when it comes to school and so having that structure of a Bible study and memorization program, just a fun and engaging way to keep kids in some sort of structure in one of the best curriculum possible, the Word of God. It’s a wonderful way to spend your summer.
Yvette: So cool. There are 10 kids in your family right? Where are you in that lineup?
Hannah: I’m the oldest.
Yvette: So what a great precedent you’re setting for your younger siblings. That’s so cool. So there’s 10 of you, and you all study this together. How, have other of your siblings participated in the Bible Bee as well?
Hannah: Yes. All of my siblings who are within the age of being able to join the actual study, five through 18, are always in involved in the summer study and then I also have three of my sisters qualify for the National competition as well. I love being able, of course, I’m not competing any more, but I love being able to come alongside them and help them study, encourage them, and we’ve had opportunities to be able to just to recite God’s Word together and church settings and ministry settings and that’s probably the biggest blessing to me, is just the opportunity to take what we’ve been given, what God has entrusted to us and blessed up with and be able to bless and inspire others with it. It’s one of my greatest joys.
Yvette: That is so incredible. I have a friend, I don’t know if I’ve told this story, but I have friend who I grew up with and she really had a hard time after high school. Her mom was very insistent on her learning the Word of God and just memorizing scripture and after high school she kind of went off the rail for a little bit and just made some poor choices and got to the point in her life where she felt like she couldn’t even open up the Word of God. Like she knew that she was living in sin, she knew she was struggling, but because of that she could not physically open up God’s Word and she said she just prayed one day, she’s like, God, you’re going to have to help me through this cause I can’t even open up the Bible right now.
And at that moment, all the scripture she had memorized starting pouring back into her mind and she’s like, I didn’t even know that I still knew that scripture. She had genuinely and literally, hidden it in her heart and it’s so cool, I mean, that was a huge turning point for her and she loves the Lord now and is serving him and it’s just so neat to see how God used what her mom had required of her when she was younger that she probably complained and fussed over, later in her adult life to bring her back to the Lord. It’s just so important to know scripture. We’re a family who’s very, very big on scripture memorization and I think people think that it’s too hard, you know, they, your kids can only learn John 3:16 and you know, or they just have to learn one little piece of scripture at a time and it’s not that hard. How do you go about memorizing all of that stuff cause obviously everyone has different learning styles, so not everyone’s going to do it the way that you did it, but how have you gone about and maybe even some of your sisters, how have you guys gone about memorizing these things?
Hannah: Yeah, that’s a great question. Honestly, for me personally, it’s just the discipline and the consistency of being in it every day. I will often say, your memory is a muscle, and so just like any other muscle in your body, it’s going to hurt when you exercise it the first few times and it’s hard to stretch it out and it’s going to be sore for those first few days or weeks, but then as you get into a consistent habit and pattern, it becomes more natural and it becomes something easy, easier to do as you go along. For me, I didn’t have any specific techniques that I used besides just being it on a consistent basis and reciting it over and over and over again.
Having my family involved was absolutely critical and huge to your point of just getting your family, just the Word of God that’s probably the biggest motivation I had and the support and encouragement that I received. Being able to memorize scripture as a family together, whether that was through family devotions or especially the competition aspect of my memorization, my dad would quiz me or my mom or siblings, but mainly my dad, and he would just listen to me recite. And so having someone there to recite back to, having that accountability, was a huge part of memorizing for me as well. Then I think a lot of those same things my sisters have used. My one sister, she really enjoys writing it out and so that’s one thing that she’s used. She’s a lot more artistic than me so she loves to see it.
My other siblings who, and especially my younger siblings I think, my youngest brother is almost two, there’s quite the range of kids, but I think even just having them hearing us older siblings reciting God’s Word, and so in family devotions, we might have a five verse or a 10 verse passage that we’re working through as a family, and the little ones might not be able to recite the whole 10 verses, but after hearing those first few verses, over and over, and over, and over, and over again, they can recite them just as well. So I think listening to God’s Word and especially for the younger ones, that, even without trying, you’re getting into their hearts and they’re picking up on it. They’re like little sponges.
Yvette: Yeah. You think about how easily kids can memorize songs or even books. You know, if you read them a book and you read the same book over and over and over again, they can read the book back to you without even reading it. They’ve just memorized it and they know every word that’s on every page and if you try to skip a page, you get in trouble cause they’re like, no wait, you forgot this part. But kids have an incredible ability to memorize and we’ve seen that with our girls. My oldest, Brooklyn when she was in fourth grade, I think, she did the AWANA a Bible quiz and it was really a neat thing. She was so excited about it and she and her friend placed second. The way that she ended up memorizing everything was she, she’s not a visual learner, she’s an auditory learner. She can hear a song one time and remember it seems like forever.
She knows songs. I’m like, how do you even know this song cause we don’t listen to this song and she’s like, I heard it in the restaurant. Okay. What I did was, I just recorded all of the things that she needed to memorize for Bible quiz on my phone and I just read through them and then she listened to them and she would be playing Legos or with her dolls, or drawing or coloring, or doing something with her hands and she would just listen to it over and over and over and over. So she didn’t even read it. I mean she could read it, but she didn’t. She didn’t enjoy learning it that way and so she would just continue to memorize it that way and she did great. I mean, it was a fantastic way for her to learn. Let’s talk about your homeschool journey. What was it like for you being homeschooled? Did you enjoy being homeschooled? Did you feel like it was a good thing for you or did you feel like you were missing out somehow on the amazing things that life has to offer to all kids? What was yours like?
Hannah: Honestly, it probably was one of the biggest benefits of my life and I can’t thank my parents enough for the time that they invested into my education through homeschooling and just taking that to a personal level and that they wanted to do that themselves and I am so thankful of, just as a general statement, I loved being homeschooled. Looking back, especially with my middle school years, I don’t know if I would have survived any other way of schooling, spiritually even. Just because being in a more sheltered environment really allowed my faith to flourish and I know God uses all environments and all stories, but I’m so thankful that he allowed my story to include that and being homeschooled. I really in just speaking to the missing out, you know the thing that people talk a lot, especially when it comes to socialization, people asking, “how are you being socialized?” I really appreciated it growing up. My dad’s a pastor and so we are very involved in our local church and community that way.
I’m very thankful for the opportunity that homeschooling gave me to interact with all generations and people and I definitely was blessed with some amazing peer friends, but also to be blessed with being friends people who are five years older than me, 10 years older than me, older people in our church who invested time and energy into informal mentoring and education that they gave me. At the same time, being able, as the oldest of 10, I was able to invest into those younger than me as well and so I’ve always grown up surrounded by kids and infants and babies, and those different things. I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to get a rounded zero socialization and to be surrounded by all sorts of people and given all sorts of opportunities to interact and to learn with so many different variety of opportunities.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s so cool and I love earlier you talked about in your off season from Bible Bee, you got to spend time memorizing God’s Word and if you think through that, you know, if you had been in traditional school and you had this very steady flow of homework that you had to and you were sitting in the classroom all day, you would not have had the time to press into God’s Word like you did and so what a blessing that was and what a gift that was for you to be able to spend that time just studying God’s Word cause that is absolutely amazing.
Ever since teaching film at the middle school and high school level I have loved helping students learn the skills to become great filmmakers. I recently got a pretty open-ended question from one of these students on how to turn 4 1/2 hours of video into a story worth watching. This is a topic that is near and dear to me, as I have to do the same thing (on a much bigger scale) in editing Schoolhouse Rocked. Luckily, the fundamentals are the same, and learning these fundamentals is the key to becoming a great filmmaker.
4 1/2 hours of footage is a lot! This young filmmaker had recently gone on a mission trip and had come back with hours of assorted footage, people talking and sharing their experiences, people working, kids playing, etc. Now it was time to turn this footage into a film – and one that is actually worth watching. This is no small task, but by following some simple steps it can be done.
How long is too long? Filmmakers are usually tempted to think in terms of “how long should the final video be” when approaching projects like this. This is the wrong question to be asking, and will lead to the wrong outcome. Whether a video is fifteen seconds long (most commercials), or four hours long (Gone With The Wind, The Ten Commandments, Dances With Wolves), what really matters is STORY!!! I have seen completely boring 15 second commercials, and have been completely engaged through four-hour epics. Story makes all the difference.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
1) Watch ALL the footage
Sit down with a notebook and pen and watch every grueling minute of footage and take great notes (mark clip names and start and stop times with specific notes about content and story). This makes all the difference in getting this much footage edited.
Look and listen for STORIES! You want to listen to everyone and be looking for unifying threads of story that run throughout the dialog. It is great if you can tell a single story with a start, middle, and end (a 3-act structure). It is better if it has dynamics (rising and falling action, rising and falling emotions), It is best if this single story can be told by several people (not repeated, but multiple viewpoints unified into a single story). Story is king!
2) Once you have your story in mind and have great notes, it is time to start the ROUGH edit. (We’ll get back to that “rough” bit in a minute)
Only bring the clips in to your project that you know you need, and use folders to organize clips. I use the following folders to start every project: Music, Titles, Story (broken into subfolders by character and camera/angle), b-roll, and behind-the-scenes (not always necessary). This way you don’t have to scroll through miles of files to find what you need. I create all the folders first, even if they don’t have content yet, because I know I will need them.
3) Edit dialog first.
Don’t even worry too much about visuals. As long as the footage isn’t a mess, get the dialog edited. Use good headphones and listen critically. Make sure that pauses at cuts are natural (not too long or too short), and make sure there are no pops at the edits (use crossfades or ramp the volume down and then up for the next clip). Make sure that there is no distracting noise (wind, hums, static, etc. – don’t be afraid to use noise reduction, but don’t overuse it. If you can hear the noise reduction you are using too much).
Once you have the story put together in dialog, EQ, compress, and mix the audio to get the levels and sound right. I usually try to get my dialog peaking at about -6db on the meters, and pretty heavily compressed. If you don’t do this viewers won’t be able to hear it on little laptop speakers. You want it pretty loud (get to know your compressor well!)
4) Think about music REALLY early.
This is almost as important as the dialog. While the dialog will make the story, the music will set the mood for the story. Pick carefully. Listen to lots of music and choose something that will set the proper tone.
Drop your music into the edit sequence early and listen to it while you cut. If you can, cut to the music (put cuts on the beat). Cutting to the music is more effective with uptempo songs, but works on slower stuff too.
You don’t need music through every minute of your edit, but all your music should work together, and you should open and close with music.
Watch your levels. Dialog is your primary audio (unless you are doing a music video or montage sequence), so make sure every word can be heard clearly. If not, the music is too loud.
5) Once your dialog and music are edited it’s time to work on picture.
Since your dialog is edited, much of the picture edit should be done. Now it’s time to make it look good. If there is an edit while one person is talking, switch to another camera angle or use b-roll over the cut so that you don’t see the person’s head jerk.
Look for b-roll that enhances your story. Don’t be afraid to slow down b-roll. Most b-roll looks better slowed down (I always try to shoot my b-roll at 120 fps to slow it down in post)
Use “J” and “L” cuts to bring some excitement to the edit. Have someone start talking during b-roll, then cut to them, or start on them talking and then cut to b-roll.
6) Cut rough, then polish! (Here’s the scoop on that “rough” business – This should actually be point #2, but it is a bit easier to understand here. Just remember to implement it at point #2)
This is one of the hardest skills to master. People tend to want to polish every cut as they make it. DON’T! Make a really rough cut first, just to get the story put together, then go back and polish one thing at a time (first dialog and music, then visual edit timing, transitions and effects, then color). This not only helps you get a good story put together more quickly, but it makes your computer run better throughout the edit, because you save the heavy lifting (audio plugins, transitions, effects, and color correction) for last. Learn this well and early and you will thank me for the rest of your career!
7) Less is more!
Nothing screams “amateur: more than a million crazy transitions, weird color correction, bad effects, etc. I used to tell my film students that they could only use cuts and dissolves in their edits. Cuts are appropriate for most edits. Dissolves signal that you are in a new time or place, or that the subject or topic has changed. I use fades to and from black (and occasionally white) for beginnings and endings (when appropriate), Mostly cuts for all normal edits, and dissolves to signal some big change. That’s pretty much it, unless there is a really important stylistic reason to do something different.
Note: I’m not saying you can never use that cool “glitch” transition, or a zoom or wipe transition when appropriate, but they have to be APPROPRIATE and serve the story! Unless you are editing action movies, extreme sports, or music videos you will find that you can get by with cuts and dissolves 99.999% of the time. I challenge you to develop this discipline, master the art of the edit using cuts and dissolves, and when the time is right for that special “page curl” or “star iris” transition you’ll know it (hint: the time will never be right for either).
8) Don’t forget titles and graphics
Us appropriate opening titles and closing credits to put the finishing polish on your edit. This little step takes it from “home video” to “short film”. Remember rule #7 – less is more! Use simple titles and look like a pro.
Our society has changed dramatically in so many ways. One of the most obvious changes in recent years is the creation and use of social media. Just a few years ago, many words that are now common place either did not exist or had very different meanings. For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, posting, tweeting, content, engagement, chat, SEO, AdWords, followers, likes, links, etc. These terms and actions have allowed us to connect with individuals, groups, businesses and long-lost friends. We are connected in so many new ways, but has it all really made us more social? That’s an entirely different conversation…
Many homeschool families are taking advantage of the freedom that comes with homeschooling to create successful small businesses, and from a family business perspective, social media offers benefits that few other tools can claim. Social Media offers powerful new ways to get exposure for a brand, service, product, and the families and personalities behind those brands. It is very unique and something that when done well, offers a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, brands and small business owners. However, we need to be very careful not to use social media platforms as a crutch or an excuse to be lazy. The various platforms that we now have access to are not a quick fix or an excuse to stop marketing. While these channels help with customer retention and relationship building, they can sometimes disappoint when relied on to generate new business.
With that said, how can we use social media to our advantage in business? Here are our top 5 tips to help your family business get the most out of social media:
1) You Can’t Be Everywhere At Once – as you know, there are numerous platforms to consider – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+. You need to determine where your audience lives and which channels will benefit you and your business the most. If you try to master them all, you will drive yourself insane and you will not accomplish anything beneficial.
2) Provide Value – there are “rules” that tend to change every few months as to the best practices for each social platform. At the end of the day, you want to provide your audience great value and consider them when posting content. As an example, for your personal Facebook page, most of your friends and family want to read mostly about you, your family, and your personal activities. Keep business posts somewhat limited. Once or twice a week is sufficient. If you insist on pushing a product or service, you may see a decline in your followers. A personal Facebook page is not where that audience wants to be sold to. Consider starting a fan page or business page instead. With that said, you can offer content that shows you are an expert in specific areas. For instance, if you are a real estate broker, rather than posting your listings, post articles that you have written or links to those written by others on how to stage a home or 5 tips on home inspections.
3) Be Consistent – when followers, or potential new customers, visit your social channels, they need to see current content. Therefore, decide on a schedule that allows you to post regularly. There are analytics available that can show you ideal times for posting so you will generate the highest levels of engagement and “industry standards” for how many times a day you should post. Until you can offer solid and consistent content, do not get too caught up in those stats.
4) Use Video – To help get your content noticed and to obtain a higher level of engagement from your audience, video is a key. I’m not talking highly produced video and scripts. The camera on your smart phone will get the job done. The video needs to match your brand, product and personality. You can talk to your audience on camera or you can narrate off camera while shooting an event or describing a product. Get creative with it.
5) When it Really Matters, Use Paid Posts – By now, you have probably heard that the powers who control the various platforms constantly change the algorithms which effects how your audience sees your messages in their news feed. One way to be sure your posts are getting out there is to “boost” them or pay for them to reach people. It used to be that all your “normal” posts (known as “organic”) would reach all your followers, now it doesn’t work that way. One good thing about paid posts is you can pick specifically who sees the post. You can pick age, regions, states, gender, etc. Keep in mind, you have probably seen these posts from others in your own feed. How many of those posts have you clicked on? How many of those “promoted” products have you purchased? Have any of those posts annoyed you because you have no interest in being bothered by a “digital ad” rather than a normal message? I suggest you limit the use of your paid posts to very important and/or special content. You can’t afford to waste the money or have a negative impact on your audience.
So, there you go. Simple, right? Social media is a moving target. Do not expect to become an expert over night. Just remember to try it at some level, be consistent and offer value. Oh, and you’re allowed to have some fun with it, too!
One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that it allows families to work together and it allows students to learn valuable business and life skills in the process. In fact, Schoolhouse Rocked is very much the business of HOMESCHOOL FAMILIES. God is using these homeschool families to do great work in His name!
Because we know how many homeschool families run home businesses, farms, craft businesses, and even growing companies, we have partnered with Purple Monkey Garage to bring you excellent, practical business and entrepreneurship articles. Josh Tolley is a nationally syndicated radio host, author, and founder of Purple Monkey Garage, where their mechanics are busy “Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.”
A big thanks to our sponsor Classical Conversations for inviting us to show the trailer at their 20th Anniversary Celebration. It was a really fun night, honoring a really great company! Here’s to many more years of Classical Conversations helping students and families to know God and make Him known!
If you are excited about Schoolhouse Rocked Please take a minute to thank our sponsors. Then, please share this post on social media and your own websites and blogs. We need your help getting the word out about the film.
It is our hope that Schoolhouse Rocked will be an encouragement and valuable resource to countless homeschooling families, but we need your help in finishing this important film. Consider donating any amountto help bring this much-needed resource to families like yours.
Finally, If you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter for (semi-)regular production updates, news, subscriber-only content, and giveaways!
(Brittney Howard, voiceover)
“I felt like I was ruining them.”
(Andrew Pudewa, voiceover)
“If I had to spend all day, every day, with my kids I would go crazy.”
(Brittney Howard, voiceover)
“I really thought, ‘I am messing it all up.’”
(Yvette Hampton, voiceover)
“We did not have a very good view of homeschooling families, in general, and so we thought, “we would never do that to our children.”
There’s a revolution transforming education
and it’s not happening in the classroom.
A lot of people homeschool because they believe their children will get a better academic opportunity at home. I for one was a child who was pretty much always just painfully bored in school. I just remember most of school was about how to survive this excruciating boredom, and you couldn’t work ahead, you couldn’t do anything other than what everybody else was doing. It was like life started when school ended.
Hi, I’m Colleen Kessler and I am a homeschool mom.
I’m Sarah Mackenzie.
I’m Christopher Perrin.
My name is S.D. Smith.
My name is Rod Brown.
I’m Rebecca Farris, the Well-Planned Gal.
I’m Robert Bortins. I’m the CEO of Classical Conversations.
I’m Bryan Osborn. I’m a speaker with Answers in Genesis.
I’m Andrew Kern.
… Andrew Pudewa
… Connie Albers
… Mona Weathers
… Kathy Kuhl
… Scott LaPierre
… Janice Campbell
… (Pam Barnhill) and we have been homeschooling since the very beginning.
Homeschooling today is much different than homeschooling 20, 30, 40 years ago. There are so many Co-ops, so many opportunities for kids to interact with other kids.
That’s what the homeschool journey is about. It’s about being there with your kids. It’s about learning with your children. It’s about teaching them the love of learning. It’s about understanding who they are, and how God made them, and what calling does God have on their life.
But recognizing that one of the best ways to do that today, in our particular culture, is through homeschooling.
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