by Annalisa Pesek, The New American:
Since the COVID-19 lockdowns began in early 2020, parents have been made fully aware of what their children were really learning in both public and private schools. Zoom classes were especially effective in exposing teachers telling students of the growing problem of white supremacy, and that schools were built on stolen land. Educators have even gone as far as to abandon the advice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — to judge people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin — in favor of the “anti-racist” views of propagandist Ibram X. Kendi.
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Yet despite the best efforts of teacher’s unions, school boards, and classroom instructors to turn children into leftist activists separated by race, parents are waking up. Despite fears about homeschooling, many moms and dads feel they have no choice but to pull their kids out of the public schools.
The good news is that to date, more than three million American children have been liberated from state-sanctioned schools seeking to indoctrinate rather than educate, and the number of households educating at home is steadily increasing, as the massive exodus from the public-school system into homeschooling continues to gain momentum.
Offering a uniquely personal and in-depth look at the rise of the homeschooling movement, married filmmakers Garritt Hampton (Interstellar, Furious 7, The Twilight Saga: New Moon) and Yvette Hampton (Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast) have released an illuminating and authoritative new documentary titled Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution.
This hopeful, eye-opening film begins with the Hamptons selling their California home, along with most of their possessions, as they prepare to travel across the country with their two young daughters, Brooklyn and Lacey.
What starts as a plan to be on the road for a year ultimately turns into a remarkable three-year journey that introduces the family to hundreds of homeschooling parents as well as some of the most prominent voices advocating for this growing alternative form of education.
The film’s producer, Yvette Hampton, sits down with luminaries such as actress and homeschool mom Sam Sorbo (TV series Hercules), professor and author Dr. Carol Swain (Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House), and U.S. Congressional candidate and homeschool mom Heidi St. John (founder, Firmly Planted Family Homeschool Resource Center), among many others.
Inspiring and encouraging, the film urges parents to “get off the bench and onto the battlefield” and to take their children back. As St. John remarks in an interview with Yvette, “Our children have been held hostage by a school system that is telling them that their parents are not the authority in their lives, and parents have not known what to do with it.”
“Your children are your responsibility,” advises St. John, “and the very hearts and minds of the children hang in the balance. It is time for parents to take back what the public school has stolen from us, which is the education of our children, and realize that we have already been equipped, and we can do it!”
On the Road
In late 2016, when the documentary opens, the Hamptons had packed up an RV with whatever possessions they hadn’t sold and were heading south toward Georgia, which was to serve as a home base for the Christmas holiday. Along the way, they encountered the stunning desert canyons of Arizona, the rocky hillsides of New Mexico, and the vast, rugged prairies of Texas, allowing viewers an arm-chair tour of the expansive American Southwest. Later, they crisscross back west and up to towns surrounded by forests of evergreen trees in Washington State.
In an interview with The New American, director Garritt Hampton, now happily settled with his wife and children in Oklahoma, said leaving California was hardest on their 11-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, who missed her school and her friends. But noting the resilience and adaptability of children, Garritt said his daughters did wonderfully, and that their family grew immensely closer to the Lord and to one another during their travels.
The family attended dozens of homeschool conventions and visited the homes of families who have bravely pulled their kids from government-run institutions. During this part of the journey, Yvette met a number of parents who expressed real fears in performing the dual role of educator and parent. Their feelings mirrored hers when she and Garritt first decided to teach their girls at home rather than send them to school.
“We said we would never do this homeschool thing but only because we didn’t really understand it,” says Yvette at the beginning of the film. “We had all the reasons why not to homeschool: Our children would be socially awkward; they won’t be well-educated. We were not trained as educators and we could not give them everything they needed.”
Having conquered those anxieties, Yvette and Garritt set out to dispel these common homeschooling myths in their documentary. This goal, without a doubt, was achieved.
Prepared for Battle
Viewers may be surprised to learn that not until 1993 did homeschooling become legal in all 50 states. The filmmakers devote an entire segment to those pioneering homeschool families who faced extreme hardship and pushback from the government and from other families who believed education at home was detrimental to children.
In the film, trailblazer and advocate Zan Tyler describes losing all her friends after having made the decision to homeschool. “They were vicious,” Tyler says. “This was 1984, and when I say we knew nobody when we started [homeschooling], we knew nobody when we started.”
J. Michael Smith, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), who started homeschooling in California in 1981, said that he didn’t have any idea that the government would vehemently oppose the idea of homeschooling. “I found out pretty quickly that homeschooling in California was not legal for our family because the California Department of Education was of the opinion that you had to be a certified teacher,” said Smith in an interview.
“Homeschool moms are America’s greatest heroes,” exclaims Smith. And we can’t forget the dads, such as Garritt, who remain the pillar of the home.
“We had to fight,” declared Robert Bortins, CEO of Classical Conversations, recalling his initial homeschool experience. “We knew people who were being threatened with jail time, fines, maybe having their children taken away from them when they were just trying to give their children a great education.”
But now we live in 2022, and while parents are well aware of the damaging impacts of education focused on Critical Race Theory and gender studies as well as all day mask-wearing, they still possess a wealth of phobias about removing their children from these schools and making the leap to homeschooling.
However, there is hope. During the 2020-2021 school year, homeschooling rates in the United States doubled, with black households seeing the highest rate of increase, from 3.3 percent (April 23-May 5) to 16.1 percent in the fall (September 30-October 12), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
As today’s younger generation moves up through the public school system, parents who have chosen to enter the battlefield have recognized, as Dr. Carol Swain observes in the film, “that the quality of education has steadily deteriorated in America.” Dr. Swain further asserts, “there is a plan to steal our children,” to turn them away from the firm foundations rooted in family and American values.
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