Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 06/08/22

Kirk Cameron Presents: The Homeschool Awakening hits theaters for two nights only next Monday (6/13) and Tuesday (6/14) at 7:00 PM (ET). The latest Fathom Event has the former Growing Pains star-turned-film producer and TBN talk show host making the case for homeschooling as a parental alternative to a public school system that Cameron says fails to make the grade in terms of academics while also pushing an objectionable Woke agenda. Our conversation follows the trailer.

JWK: What motivated you to do a movie about homeschooling?
Kirk Cameron: I’m a homeschool parent myself. Chelsea and I have six children. We homeschool them and it was the best decision we ever made for not just our children but for our family. If people want to take back America and recapture the values that made this the greatest nation in the world we first have to take back the family and education. Millions of parents are doing that right now through homeschooling. I call it a Homeschool Awakening.
JWK: How does it actually work to homeschool a child? I mean you are person of some means. A lot of parents have to work outside the home just about every day. How can they be expected to homeschool their kids?

KC: What’s interesting, John, is that for the first hundred years in America everybody understood that education was based in the home and it was supported by the church. The government had nothing to do with it. This was normal for a hundred years in American, so essentially you can do it. It looks different for everybody. It is very affordable and there’s lots of help.

The first question is do you believe that your children belong to you or to the government? And do you want to teach them your values and your faith? Or do you want your values and faith to be replaced by a government school system that undermines the things that are most important to you? That’s what’s happening in our public school systems even despite good teachers like my father and my grandparents trying to teach kids what’s right. They live in a system that doesn’t let them.

JWK: The government plays a role in homeschooling though, right? I mean the government sets certain standards and you need government approval to do it, right? How involved are they? Do they help or are they more of an obstacle?

KC: Every state has different laws regarding homeschooling. You can check within your state to see what they’re like but it ultimately offers you ultimate freedom and flexibility with how to educate the kids. Like I said, there’s so much help in learning how to do this. Most colleges agree that children who are homeschooled are better educated and more well-rounded then the majority of kids who come out of your traditional public schools because they’re taught to be critical thinkers, they have a love for learning and all of that is done in the context of being with your family and other families who want the same things. So, the how-tos and the ins-and-outs and the laws pertaining to homeschooling in your state, all of those things are addressed in the movie that I’ve just made called The Homeschool Awakening. That’s why we want everybody to see it who is interested and wants to find out more.

JWK: So, the movie will give people tips on how to go about doing homeschooling.
KC: Yeah. It’ll give you a beautiful picture of what it is. Some people have a healthy fear of homeschooling because they think you’re trying to duplicate the public school inside of your house and that couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to live on a farm and churn your own butter and become a Quaker. There are families who live in cities, families who live in suburban neighborhoods and on farms who are doing it beautifully and successfully. The movie will show you that, will show you how to do it, answer your questions and inspire you to take back the education of your children so that you’re in control, not a government that is largely rotting the minds and the souls of American children through all of these Woke leftist progressive – which are actually regressive – lessons that they’re teaching them.

JWK: Is concern over Critical Race Theory being put forth in classrooms increasing parental curiosity about homeschooling?

KC: Absolutely. They say that if you want to get rid of the darkness all you have to do is shine the light. The pandemic shined a huge light on all of the garbage that is being fed to children in the public school system because when the schools closed down – and the kids went home and did their school online – the parents got a front-row seat and were horrified at what their children were learning. The sexually-explicit material that little kids are being shown – they’re being taught that men can have babies, they’re being told that they can choose whether or not they want to be a boy or a girl. They’re being told to judge their fellow students by the color of their skin through Critical Race Theory. They’re taught to be embarrassed or ashamed of the United States of America based on The 1619 Project and the rewriting of history.

So parents are saying “We don’t want to stand for this anymore! Being a teacher is a noble profession. We are trusting you with the minds and the souls of our children.” They have broken trust with parents across America. Again, there are good teachers – like my father who is a public school teacher – but they are not in control of what they’re teaching the kids. The federal government is and that’s why parents are saying “Our children are too important to let you just run away with them like this!” and they’re starting to homeschool them.

JWK: So how exactly does it work? Do parents band together and help each other out?
KC: Oh, absolutely! The homeschool community is huge! There are literally millions of homeschool families across the country and it is increasing exponentially since the pandemic. I speak at these conventions, networks and co-ops all over the country. They’re huge! Families are banding together in local networks. Moms and dads are helping one another. Churches are helping. They help teach classes. They have curriculums that are written by educational experts with PhDs. Kids are learning in a way that provides their family with freedom and flexibility. Imagine (that) instead of having your kids (being) trapped in schoolroom (for) seven hours a day – being taught things you don’t want them to be taught – imagine you knock down the walls and now the whole world becomes your classroom and they’re learning about math and science as they’re learning how to cook and fix things in their house and travel with their parents and learn to fly airplanes, how to paint and how to work on a farm and do all kinds of things that allow you to be together as a family with other families in a community.
JWK: But that presumes the parents know this stuff. I mean I’m terrible at math. I wouldn’t want to teach a kid my awful math. I want somebody who understands it better than me teaching it to kids. I think the same goes for science and other subjects. Parents very often don’t understand these subjects properly themselves. Should they really be teaching them?

KC: Exactly. That’s why you have a network. You’re not living on an island all by yourself trying to figure this out. That’s why (you’re) a part of a vast network in a community of other families who are doing this too and educators who you can work together with to teach subjects that you need help with…You’re learning these things together through great textbooks right there along with the kids. You’re staying ahead of them, teaching the lesson. This is grandparents teaching little kids how to read. I mean parents have been teaching their kids from Day One. You taught them how to walk and talk! You teach them how to do all sorts of things. You can just have a natural continuation of that as you learn together as a family and with other families.

Then you also have teachers who have lots of experience and degrees in these kinds of things. You can take online classes through private schools, through public schools that have just good classes. You can even take online classes with colleges and universities that have people that have doctorates in these subjects. So, again, the world – and the entire internet – becomes your classroom. You’re not restricted to Critical Race Theory and Gender/Queer Theory and all sorts of projects that teach a very narrow view of the world that certain public schools are (offering) right now.

JWK: I agree with you. Some of these public school systems have gone a bit off the wall – but parents can be crazy too. Do you think there needs to be at least some kind of oversight or quality control over homeschooling – and wouldn’t the government have to do that?

KC: Well, you know John, this ultimately comes down do who has authority over the kids and who’s monitoring and in control of the government. I think if you did a poll of the people in the United States and you said to them “Do you think that the government school systems are providing quality education for the children of America?” if you look at the test scores and you look at the content of what they’re being taught they would say “Absolutely not! They’re failing miserably!”

There are, again, good teachers in a system that is failing miserably. We have some of the lowest ratings and scores of education in the world (at least in) First World countries. So, this is not good quality control. Depending on the government for that is a bad, bad idea. When you bring that into the private sector – and the family of faith – then there’s nobody who loves and cares about their children more than their parents.

JWK: How about religious schools – Catholic schools and others? Are they a viable alternative to both public school and homeschooling? And how do you feel about school vouchers?

KC: I think school choice is critically important. John, I don’t know if you have kids or not, but if you have kids you want the best for you kids. God gave children to parents not the federal government. To be told what the kids are gonna learn, when they’re gonna learn it, how they’re gonna learn it (and) who they’re gonna learn it with, listen, that’s the kind of stuff that communist dictators do, right? You look at China (where) you don’t have school choice. You go to countries that are not like America where you have educational freedom, financial freedom, political freedom and religious freedom. (In those countries) you have little kids who belong to the state government and they’re training them to become little revolutionaries or little pawns of the government. Not in America!

Vouchers are a great idea because they put the authority and the leadership into the hands of the parents who love the kids most. There’s nothing that’s more important than training up our children. That’s what made America the freest, strongest, most character-filled and blessed nation in the world. It’s parents who love God, love their kids and train them up in the way they should go – and they (do) it together in a community.

JWK: So, to sum up, what do you hope people take from this film?
KC: That, if you are not happy with your kid’s school system, you’re not trapped. There is hope for you and your family. There are options so that you can tailor your kid’s education to what is best for you and your family and there’s a whole world of community and help that is waiting for you to just join them.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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