The Homeschool Awakening documentary is a film presented by Kirk Cameron (yes, old school Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains!) who tackles the topic of why more families are choosing the freedom to homeschool and educate their children at home, especially after the pandemic. Here’s my honest review of the homeschooling documentary.
Review of The Homeschool Awakening Documentary
What Is The Homeschool Awakening?
Kirk Cameron presents The Homeschool Awakening as an inside look at homeschooling families, why they chose to homeschool, and how home school provides the opportunities to encourage kids to learn in ways that best suit their learning modes, preferences and styles. Cameron states, that he “dives into the adventures of dynamic American families on a mission to put fun and faith back into learning.”
About The Movie From Fathom Events:
“Families across the nation are experiencing the homeschool awakening, taking advantage of the freedom and opportunities for self-discovery — with the world as their classroom. Join award-winning actor, Kirk Cameron, as he dives into the adventures of dynamic American families on a mission to put fun and faith back into learning. The Homeschool Awakening explores the ins, outs, and honest answers to homeschooling’s most frequently asked questions. ”
Show Release Date: 6/13/2022
Movie Rating: NR
Watch the Homeschool Awakening trailer here
Where To Watch The Homeschool Awakening
So far, they are saying that the Homeschool Awakening will not be streaming as a homeschool documentary Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc., and that it will only be available in theaters. (Search the homeschool awakening near me to find theaters showing it in your area, for movie tickets, and show times.) You might want to see this limited release while available because I’m not aware of any of Kirk Cameron homeschool movie streaming plans.
How long is The Homeschool Awakening?
The Homeschool Awakening movie run time is 1 hour and 40 minutes. This includes a post-movie interview that Kirk Cameron does with homeschool experts about homeschooling resources.
Who Should See The Homeschool Awakening?
- Current homeschooling families
- Kids who are interested in homeschool documentaries (my daughter, age 14, really enjoyed it)
- Those interested in exploring homeschooling as an educational choice / school choice for their kids*
- Christian homeschooling families
- Educators and others interested in how the homeschooling process works
- If you’re interested in why more families across the nation are choosing to homeschool
Who Should Skip The Homeschool Awakening?
If faith-forward messages, Christian viewpoints, and Christian education are not your thing, you’ll probably want to skip this movie. But be aware, there are really good homeschooling tips and information on how to homeschool at home, but everyone in the show talks about their Christian faith and applies it to homeschooling.
If you’re a secular homeschooler and that won’t bother you, then definitely see this movie.
My Honest Movie Review of The Homeschool Awakening
I went into The Homeschool Awakening movie not knowing much more than it was a Kirk Cameron production, so I knew it was going to be a faith-forward Christian message. (Kirk Cameron is a well-known and vocal Evangelical Christian.)
Other than that, I knew nothing else about the event and didn’t even watch the movie trailer. I just saw some people talking about it in a homeschool group and then bought tickets out of curiosity.
Pros of The Homeschool Awakening Movie
MOVIE PRO: An interesting mix of homeschooling families.
Some people have listed this as a con, but I found that it had an interesting mix of homeschooling families — from a mom who decided to homeschool after the pandemic, to seasoned homeschoolers, and even Kirk Cameron’s wife and sister. (Who I thought both gave really genuine and honest input about homeschooling).
MOVIE PRO: Support from educational experts.
The movie includes educational experts, which I always look for in a good educational documentary.
Of particular interest to me was Dr. Kath Koch.
Dr Koch has her PhD and is the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., which “exists to equip and encourage parents to raise Godly children who understand their purpose.” [From Instagram]
In The Great Awakening Documentary, Dr. Koch says that we should have kids asking, “Not how smart am I?” but instead, “How am I smart?”
That really resonated with me, as well as when she goes into her “8 Great Smarts” categories (which is a book you can buy here). It was super interesting and that part of the home school movie alone was worth the weight in gold for me (and I’ve been homeschooling for 10+ years at this point).
MOVIE PRO: Gives good steps on how to start homeschooling.
The Homeschooling Awakening does a good job of tackling common homeschooling myths and providing tips on how to home school for new homeschoolers.
It’s not comprehensive, but it’s definitely enough to calm some fears (like what are the parent qualifications to homeschool) and to give prospective homeschoolers a guide to continue their research.
MOVIE PRO: Good tips, even if you’re a seasoned homeschooling family.
I picked up some homeschooling tips and ideas, even after homeschooling for over 10 years.
I appreciated the different real-world views from the different families and getting a glimpse into how they organize their schedules, what homeschool supplies they use (and how), and even how they do (or don’t) use a homeschool curriculum.
MOVIE PRO: Supportive of different paths.
I was very happy to see how supportive this movie was of kids taking different paths — from college, to high school internships, to dual high school/college credits, to starting businesses as a homeschool kid, and even how one kid is transforming his love of parkour into a career because his parents supported and encourage it!
It was great to see them cover how to allow children to lean into their gifts and interests and how homeschooling is the perfect way to support those.
MOVIE PRO: It calmed some fears / reminded me why I homeschool.
There was a part in the movie where Kirk and his wife talk about fears creeping back in, especially when your kids get to high school age and you start to think that you need to transition to be more like public schools so your kids *have what they need* (whatever that means).
Honestly, we’re at the milestone where my daughter is going into high school and those fears HAVE been creeping in, especially since we do an eclectic mix of homeschooling — including unschooling — that has worked REALLY WELL for my daughter and I’ve been wondering if that’s really enough for high school level.
This movie reminded me to get over myself and my fears and move forward with what has been successful for us.
(*Edited to add this because I forgot to include it from my notes and thought it was an important point.)
MOVIE PRO: Homeschool Freebies!
If you stay after the show, Kirk Cameron does sit down interviews and reveals homeschool freebies that include a Homeschool Success Kit from Teaching Diligently, YIPPEE (faith filled streaming service for kids) one month free trial, and even an American Campfire Revival Guide from Cameron (COMING SOON).
GET THE FREE HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES HERE
Cons of The Homeschool Awakening Movie
MOVIE CON: They missed an opportunity to cast a wider net.
I think they could’ve easily included a secular homeschooling family to add more diversity and a different perspective. There are huge groups of secular homeschoolers or prospective homeschool families who could benefit from the information presented in the movie, but may never give the movie a chance.
MOVIE CON: The sponsored commercials were… a lot.
There was a good 15 minutes of Christian commercials (mostly TBN) before the movie started. IF I were a secular homeschooling mom or just started a homeschool journey / looking to homeschool, this part may have made me leave the theater. (*See my first con about the film missing an opportunity to cast a wider net.)
(FYI: The movie is from TBN, CAMFAM Studios and Fathom Events.)
MOVIE CON: Homeschooling is not perfect.
Some of the home scenes seemed a little much… almost too perfectly curated with intricately rolled meats on Insta-worthy graze boards, top of the line home decor / furnishings, and what seemed like curiously camera direct product placement.
Those scenes didn’t resonate with me and I honestly found them distracting. Instead of listening to what was being said, I found myself thinking, “How do they keep their kitchen that clean with kids while homeschooling at the table????” (and similar thoughts).
I know this may seem like a petty con (and I’m aware that homeschoolers come from all different economic backgrounds), but I’ve seen some comments and complaints about this part online and about how some scenes seemed more like actors and HGTV hosts than homeschool moms and dads.
It was almost like those scenes were trying too hard to make homeschooling seem great / perfect and not the sometimes perfect, many times messy and chaotic homeschooling truth for many of us.
I think for many homeschoolers in the trenches living a day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) existence, those scenes won’t be relatable. (And, if you’re new to homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling, I just want to tell you that you / your house does NOT have to look like that while homeschooling if that’s not your thing!)
MOVIE CON: “How do they afford homeschooling?”
I’ve also seen some rumblings online about how a few of the homeschooling parents in the movie mention they don’t work, or they only work part time, etc., yet they appear (based on their houses and lifestyle) to be doing very well, which is misleading people to think that only wealthy families can homeschool.
I think the movie missed an opportunity to help new homeschoolers by delving a little deeper into the costs of homeschooling and how those different parents deal with costs, expenses, paying bills, etc., while also homeschooling.
One mom did mention the sacrifices she makes (for example, only having one car in the family to save money), which was helpful, but this topic was mainly glossed over, which makes it a con since it’s important information that many new homeschooling families want to know.
MOVIE CON: The preview and intro into the movie makes it seem like public school is bad / that the movie is going to be about bashing public school. (It’s not.)
The preview/intro does make some references that lead you to think the movie is going to be about public school being negative.
I’m a firm believer in families finding that RIGHT path that works for their specific needs. For some, that will be homeschooling and for others that will be public school, private school, public school at home, etc.
While I do think the educational system is broken / needs updating, I think that we, as homeschoolers, need to be careful in assuming the path we’ve chosen is THE ABSOLUTE BEST PATH for everyone. Homeschooling is not for everyone. And, that’s OK. Neither is public or private school.
(*Edited to add this because I forgot about it. Thanks to reader Dana B for reminding me!)
The Homeschool Awakening Summary
All in all, I thought it was a good homeschooling documentary, but it did miss the mark on some parts. I saw online someone said, “The only people likely to see this already homeschool their kids, and they really want to feel good about themselves for making that choice.” Sadly, the main audience probably will be only those who are already homeschooling or Christian homeschoolers. I think there are enough takeaways to see the film, but I wish they would’ve been open to a more diverse message that would’ve brought in a wider audience to hear the message. I mean, if we’re all just talking to ourselves, what good will that do?
With any project, it’s important to keep going back to your purpose/mission statement. I think the movie is specifically for Christians who homeschool or are considering homeschooling. So the cons on your list would not be a part of the purpose of the movie. Other secular homeschoolers can certainly create a documentary on secular homeschooling (this would be fantastic, much needed, and most likely a better production than this one.) But they are certainly not obligated to be inclusive or talk about secular homeschoolers, as that is not their focus or expertise.
As far as how perfect the sets are – well, anytime someone or something is in the minority, they have to prove themselves 10x better than the norm. I think the movie was just a victim of this type of thinking, to show perfection, and a higher almost impossible standard. Plus no-one I know is going to deliberately show their messy house on a national level – even the most cluttered people I know would be stuffing their closets and spare bedrooms full.
As the director of this film, I really appreciate the honest review! The financial part of the equation was a big part that had to end up on the editing floor. Documentaries are a give and take – can’t cover everything as it would make the film far too long. In terms of the “clean” homes, I encouraged the families to be as honest and real as possible, but as Melissa pointed out above, no one would intentionally leave their house a mess. I wasn’t going to “force” anyone to be messy either. ha!
Does anyone know why this movie cannot be viewed by folks who were unavailable for the 2 theater dates? We want to see it!
I don’t have any insider info, BUT I suspect some day it will be offered on streaming services.
I have been homeschooling my daughter for 4 years now. Starting our 5th year now. I am a single mom and would live to see this movie. Dies anyone knows of any way that I can see it. I would gladly buy the movie if I needed to. Thank you in advanced for your help.
Hi Rose, I haven’t seen them say this is being released on streaming yet. Keep an eye out on this post and I’ll update it when/if they release it on streaming.
I believe the movie is now available on Pureflix!