June 29, 2022

SMH

Santa Maria History

Kirk Cameron’s New Documentary Film Explores World of Homeschooling

Thanks to virtual schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents were horrified to discover the radical lesson plans their children’s activist teachers were teaching. Lessons on critical race theory and on sexual orientation and gender identity caused parents to realize they would have to take their kids’ education into their own hands.

Post-pandemic, the homeschool boom hasn’t let up, as parents realize they can effectively teach their children and guide their education in a way that aligns with their values.

Christian actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron wants to demonstrate how freedom-loving Americans can best start their own homeschool journeys with his new documentary film “The Homeschool Awakening.”

“No one loves [your kids] more than you do as a mom and dad, and no one’s better positioned to teach them. You’ve been doing it since Day One,” says Cameron. “You taught them how to walk. You taught them how to talk. At the end of the day, whoever controls the textbooks has possession of the future, either for good or for evil.”

Cameron joins the show to discuss his new documentary, and help parents understand how they can best embark on their own homeschooling journey.

We also cover these stories:

  • The House votes mostly along party lines to pass a red flag gun-control bill aimed at preventing individuals thought to be a danger to themselves or others from keeping their firearms.
  • Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is furious that no one was arrested for protesting outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home on the same day an armed man came to his house with the intention of killing him.
  • PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announces that 17 golfers participating in a Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament are now banned from competing in PGA Tour events.

Listen to the podcast or read the lightly edited transcript below.

Doug Blair: My guest today is Kirk Cameron, a Christian actor and filmmaker. His newest film, “The Homeschool Awakening,” is only in theaters June 13 and 14. Kirk, welcome to the show.

Kirk Cameron: Douglas, my man. How are you?

Blair: I’m doing great, Kirk. Thanks so much for coming on.

Cameron: Good to be talking with you.

Blair: Absolutely. So let’s just get started then. I’m really excited to talk about your movie because right now, what we’re seeing is this resurgence in parents looking to homeschool their kids. Where do you think this sort of renewed interest in homeschooling is coming from?

Cameron: Oh, man. Well, homeschooling has been on the rise for decades. Parents are waking up to the fact that you only have so much time with them to shape their little hearts and minds. And no one loves them more than you do as a mom and dad and no one better positioned to teach them, you’ve been doing it since Day One. You taught them how to walk. You taught them how to talk.

At the end of the day, whoever controls the textbooks has possession of the future, either for good or for evil. Hitler said stuff like that. He said, “If you don’t agree with my ideas, I don’t really care because I got your kids in my schools and in 40 years you’ll be gone and this is the only community that they will have ever known.” And so parents are waking up.

But since the coronavirus pandemic and kids were sent home, when their schools were shut down, parents got a front-row seat and discovered that their children are being taught from a moral cesspool and being pumped with sexual chaos, inappropriate explicit material, and ideas like critical race theory and others that caused them to fundamentally back away from the very principles that created the freest, strongest, most prosperous and blessed nation on the Earth. And parents are saying “No way, not anymore.”

So they’re pulling them out in droves and millions of families are discovering the world of homeschooling to be a fantastic option.

Blair: Right. So you make this movie, “The Homeschool Awakening.” And what is the objective in this film? Why did you make it now?

Cameron: I’m making it now because millions of parents are going, “Man, what do I do? I don’t want my kids in public school, it’s not like it was when we were kids.”

And for the record, my dad’s a public school teacher, my grandmother and grandfather were, and there are good teachers in a public school system. But this ain’t your grandma’s public school anymore. This isn’t even your public school anymore.

In the last two or three years, there has been a massive shift away from education of things that are true and beautiful and good, and toward indoctrination that is turning our children into little revolutionaries and undermining the things we really want to teach them.

So, what I’m hoping to accomplish is to say, “You’re not stuck, mom and dad. You’re not stuck. There’s hope and there are options.”

And if you’re at all curious about homeschooling, check out my movie “The Homeschool Awakening,” because what we do is we take a deep dive into the everyday adventures of American homeschool families who are on a mission to put faith, family, and freedom back into learning. It explores the ins and outs, the how to’s, the commonly asked questions.

And you’ll discover that, no, you don’t need to be a Quaker to homeschool. You don’t need to own a cow, have a head covering, and churn your own butter. You can be an amazingly thriving family right where you are in community with others who have like-minded values and you can create an educational path that is flexible, passing on your values to your kids, that produces better educated kids with character to go into the world and bring light into the darkness.

Blair: Absolutely. And I think that’s such a great message to have for homeschooling parents, that it’s something that you can do yourself. I’m curious, did you homeschool your kids?

Cameron: Yeah. My wife Chelsea and I have six children and we did homeschool our kids. Part of our journey was through a great little private school, then we weren’t happy with the options after sixth grade. So we pulled all our kids and began to homeschool.

We had a healthy fear of homeschooling, like many other people, but we learned it’s an amazing thing and it was the best choice that we made for our family. And then some of our kids went back to a private school and some of them stayed and graduated through homeschooling.

But “The Homeschool Awakening” is going to take you on this journey with 17 families—some live on a farm, some live in the city—and shows you that you’re in charge of your kids’ education, you choose curriculum, you choose methodology, and you’re not doing it alone. There are online courses, there are networks, and co-ops, and conferences, and other families right in your community who are wanting to do the same thing, and the results are phenomenal.

You just have to think outside the box and break the mold and develop a spirit of curiosity about other options. And I’m here to tell you that there are beautiful options, tons of hope. And “The Homeschool Awakening” documents all of that.

Blair: I wonder if you could give us maybe an example of something that happens in your movie. Could you document maybe one of the families, what they go through, kind of what the experience of homeschooling is like?

Cameron: Well, for instance, there’s many, but one of my particular favorites is this couple who has a special needs child and she’s this beautiful young girl. They go move into this new community and they’re looking at the public school system and ultimately, they sit down and they take a vote about how this child will be schooled, what she’ll learn, where she will learn it when she goes to school, and with whom she will be learning these things, because she’s special needs and they got to vote.

So the parents got a vote, the principal got a vote, the teacher got a vote, and the special needs teacher got a vote. So they were outvoted 3 to 1 with what they wanted their child to learn and how she was going to learn it.

And they said, “Why are we not going with what we know she really needs and what we want her to learn?” And they say, “Because you’re not qualified. You’re not a special needs teacher. We have the license, we’ll decide how they’re going to be educated.” He said, “You know what? I checked out homeschooling and I finally realized after we dove in, I don’t need to be a special needs teacher, I just need to be a teacher of my daughter.”

They are flourishing and they’re thriving in “The Homeschool Awakening.” So make sure you check it out.

Blair: That’s a great story. And it actually reminds me, one of the things that you highlight in the trailer for the movie is a statement from former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who said something along the lines of that parents really shouldn’t have that much control over what their kids learn.

Do you find that that attitude toward homeschooling and what parents should be involved in in the education process has affected how many parents are now moving in that direction to homeschool their kids?

Cameron: Yeah. They say that in North Korea, too. They say that in China, too. They said that in Nazi Germany, too. “Parents, you’re not qualified. It’s too hard. You can’t do this. Don’t you care about your children’s education? Leave the hard stuff up to us. We’re the experts.” No, no, no, no, no, no.

If you do an inventory of all the things your kids are learning in their high school or in their elementary school, it’s horrifying. It’s gotten so bad that I even went so far as to say that the public education system today has become public enemy No. 1 for many parents with regard to what they want their kids learning seven, eight hours a day. And it’s really more than that when you add on homework. It’s very little time with your kids.

You are the expert. There’s nobody who can better teach your children. You’ve been teaching them since Day One. And there’s no one who knows your children. Your children are not special needs, they’re just special, they’re just beautiful, they’re just unique, and God has made them in such a way that they’re going to be able to do things and influence people in ways that nobody else can.

But that’s not of interest to people who don’t share your faith or your moral values and your mission in life. If you want to pass that on to your kids, it doesn’t just happen in the bloodstream. Just like freedom, it’s something that must be taught, it’s something that must be fought for, something that must be sacrificed for. And if we really want to step into the role of being a parent, we cannot outsource the most important part of parenting, which is teaching our children values.

… Even before academics, we’ve got to be people of moral character who love God and our neighbor first, otherwise, as C.S. Lewis said, we’re just creating more clever devils. We’re creating really smart people who are pursuing darkness rather than that which brings human flourishing.

Blair: Right. Faith seems to be a really important part of this equation for homeschooling kids. If you are a person of faith and you want to raise your child in that faith, it’s a lot easier to do it from the comfort of your own home. Do you view public schools nowadays as being actively hostile to people who want to raise their children in faith?

Cameron: Yes, with a caveat and that’s got to be nuanced a little bit. Faith is an inescapable component of every human being’s worldview. So I used to be an atheist, but it is false to say I had no faith. In fact, I had more faith as an atheist, I’m going to phrase this, as I do now as a Christian.

Why? Because you have to have faith that nobody times nothing equals everything. You have to have faith as an atheist that there is not a creator who intentionally, amazingly designed your circulation system and your immune system and your reproductive system and your skeletal system; not to mention positioned the world in such a way that it orbits around the sun just right on its tilt, its axis, to support life, unlike anywhere else that we know of exists in the entire universe, and the list goes on and on. It requires massive amounts of blind faith to embrace that worldview.

So public school systems heavily promote faith in atheism rather than faith in the very principles that our founding father said were necessary for a free and just republic.

Let me end with this quote, Noah Webster, somebody that we should know, he’s really important, he’s really smart. He was not only a founding father who gave us Webster’s Dictionary, he was also known as the father of American scholarship and education. And he said the purpose of education is—wait for it—to teach our children the principles of Christianity.

Why? He said it’s the most important thing they need to learn and the first principles that they should learn, because those are the principles that even the most irreligious founding fathers like Ben Franklin and others knew produced personal integrity and character, families that flourish and provide the civil government principles that allow for a free republic.

Without it you devolve into a dictator, a king, a czar, an emperor, and we know how that goes. We can look around and see what communism does, which is, it’s sort of the group dictator that sort of controls the peasants. And there is no private property. There is no religious freedom. There is no economic freedom. There is no educational freedom.

If we love that stuff, whether you’re an atheist or not, invest in the principles of Christianity, our founders said, or you’ll lose all of it, and history proves it.

Blair: Sure. Now, as we begin to wrap-up here, I kind of want to understand what you want a viewer to take away from this movie. Do you think it’s something important for them to be, “I can do this, too”? Is it ways that they can go and start their own homeschooling commune kind of deal? What do you hope that a viewer is going to take away from this film?

Cameron: Yeah, like start their own little cult out in the middle of Texas somewhere with a cow and a head covering, churning your own butter, sequestered from the rest of the world. No.

What I want you to get away from watching “The Homeschool Awakening” in theaters on June 13 and 14 is, if you’re not happy with what your kids are learning in school and you want something better for them because you know that you’ve only got one shot at this as parents, there is hope, and there are options. Check out “The Homeschool Awakening,” and you’re going to see how millions of families are doing this successfully.

Blair: That’s great. Well, that was Kirk Cameron, a Christian actor and filmmaker. His newest film, “The Homeschool Awakening,” is only in theaters on June 13 and 14. Kirk, very much appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

Cameron: Hey, man, great to talk with you and thank you for having me on your program. I’m honored.

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