What About Secular Homeschoolers?
A few months ago I received an email from a woman wondering if Schoolhouse Rocked was appropriate for secular homeschool families. I appreciated the question and felt like it warranted a sincere and thoughtful response, so I sat down and gathered my thoughts and emailed her back. The question continued to gnaw at me, so I kept my response, knowing that at some time I should address the issue in a more public way.
As I am sure you have noticed, many of the posts on the Schoolhouse Rocked website and Facebook page emphasize a Christian worldview. This will continue to be the case, as my wife and I are Christians. We are in our seventh year of homeschooling our own daughters, and one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool was to provide a great Biblical education for our girls. Schoolhouse Rocked is an outgrowth of our love of homeschooling, our belief that it is important and beneficial, and our desire to support and encourage other homeschooling families. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to make the movie and because it is such a personal project it will obviously be colored by our beliefs and values. Additionally, many, though not all, of the cast members are Christian leaders in the homeschooling movement and their faith has influenced their contributions to the film.
While the film will have a Christian point of view, the majority of the content will benefit all homeschoolers, as it will break down many of the misconceptions about homeschooling and will provide practical advice and encouragement for homeschooling families.
In Hollywood, “faith-based films” is a politically correct catchphrase for movies like Schoolhouse Rocked. There is no doubt that the film is faith-based, but even more to the point it is a Christian film. Schoolhouse Rocked will hold up Biblical values and will encourage parents to train up their children in Christian morals, values, and ethics. These are many of the same universally beneficial principles that our country was founded on (love your neighbor as yourself, don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t covet, don’t lie, etc.), and that for several generations have been the foundation of a prosperous, safe, and truly “tolerant” society – one which allowed for secular families (and families from every other religious background) to prosper alongside Christian families. These same values have been largely abandoned in the past 50 years in society, leading to widespread cultural decay, unchecked immorality, and rampant violence in spite of ever-increasing government legislation. Public schools have reflected this great societal shift and have become unsafe, academically ineffective, and intolerant “safe spaces” so obviously lacking in value that secular families are now pulling their kids out in droves.
It is our goal to empower all homeschool families to better enjoy the benefits of homeschooling by clearly outlining the common challenges and then providing real-world advice and access to resources to overcome these challenges. In an effort to encourage the support of family and friends of homeschoolers, the movie will also dispel many myths that can lead to opposition to homeschooling. Finally, the movie will provide heart-felt encouragement from real people who have experienced the common struggles and blessings of homeschooling. We believe that by providing a realistic picture of the benefits, challenges, and real-world outcomes of homeschooling, by disseminating wise advice and valuable resources, and by offering heart-felt encouragement we can effectively carry out our mission.
Schoolhouse Rocked doesn’t just give lip service to the homeschool revolution. We believe that we are at the leading edge of a very real revolution in education, which will provide enormous societal benefits. Therefore, we want to provide valuable tools for current homeschoolers and encourage the next wave of families to join the revolution. Along with the film, SchoolhouseRocked.com will offer many hours of free and subscription content, including videos, articles, product reviews, and recommendations to equip the next generation of world changers.
It may surprise you to find out we didn’t set out to make a Christian homeschool movie. When we started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked we were excited about the opportunity to advocate for homeschooling and point families in the right direction to get started, knowing that a large majority of homeschooling families were Christian, but that there was also a very large contingent of secular families and families from other religious backgrounds who were a part of this revolution in education. The reasons for choosing to homeschool are many and varied. Each homeschooling family exhibits a commitment to training their own children that is no less resolute and requires no less sacrifice or determination than that of any other family. While the worldview, educational philosophy, and goals of every homeschool family are different, every homeschooling family can benefit from heartfelt encouragement grounded in experience, excellent resources, and the generously shared wisdom of experts. That is what we set out to share, and while we did not initially set out to make a Christian film, we were never opposed to it. Like many documentaries, we were not sure how the story would evolve over time. As filming progressed it quickly became apparent that Christian principles would be central to the story, as they figured so heavily in many of the interviews we conducted, as can be seen in the example below.
Andrew Kern – Seek Ye First
I hope that Schoolhouse Rocked will be a valuable resource and encouragement for you. Our mission with the film, website, and Facebook page is to encourage and equip homeschooling families to start strong and finish well. We believe that homeschooling is one of the most practical ways a family can invest in their children’s future, and we are encouraged to see the growth in the homeschooling movement and the wealth of resources available to homeschooling families. While many may consider the growing homeschool movement to be a simple response to the decline of public schools, we believe that it signals something more important and valuable, namely a desire for families to take personal responsibility for the training of their children. It is one thing to complain about public schools, it is another thing entirely to make the great sacrifices and investments of time and effort to homeschool your children. We believe that this change of hearts and commitment to our children will yield great results for our society and culture as these kids become adults and leaders.
That said, we (Garritt and Yvette Hampton) are Christians and we are committed to working for the glory of God in all we do (knowing we fail many times, but thankful he uses unworthy and unqualified people to do His work). When we started we dedicated the project to the Lord, set out to make it for His glory, and asked for His blessing and supernatural provision. He has provided and continues to provide in miraculous ways. He is being glorified!
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash
Photo by London Scout on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash