A new documentary from actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron will release exclusively in theaters on June 13 and 14. The trailer for the film, “The Homeschool Awakening,” contrasts homeschooling with the public school system and emphasizes the important role parents play in their children’s education.
“The pandemic made parents grossly aware of what public schools are teaching our kids,” said Cameron in a press release for the documentary. “It’s up to us, the parents, to cultivate the hearts, souls and minds of our children, and today’s public-school systems are not working for us, they are actively working against us. Public education has become Public Enemy No. 1.”
Kirk Cameron’s ‘The Homeschool Awakening’
“The Homeschool Awakening” is not Kirk Cameron’s first documentary. Cameron, who is known for playing Mike Seaver on “Growing Pains” and has also starred in “Fireproof” and “Left Behind: The Movie,” produced the 2012 documentary, “Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure.”
The trailer to “The Homeschool Awakening” begins with various public figures, including “The 1619 Project”’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, expressing that parents should not have a say in their children’s education. To this idea, Cameron says, “Give me a break.”
The trailer goes on to focus on parents and families interviewed in the documentary, some of whom said they initially thought of homeschooling as “weird,” “abnormal,” or “somewhat of a cult.” But after parents began questioning why they were keeping their kids in public school, several expressed that homeschooling is worth it because of the freedom it gives their families and because it enables them to fulfill their calling from God to be stewards of their children.
Homeschooling has become more widespread in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic forced students into hybrid or remote learning. In March 2021, the United States Census Bureau published survey data that found a “substantial increase” in homeschooling since the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University did a study on the impact of remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic and found the following:
The shifts to remote or hybrid instruction during 2020-21 had profound consequences for student achievement. In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools. In areas that remained in person, there were still modest losses in achievement, but there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).
In addition to the negative effects on students who went to remote learning, some American parents are concerned about what their children are being taught in schools, particularly on the topics of critical race theory and sexuality (these topics were not specifically mentioned in the trailer for Kirk Cameron’s documentary).