Homeschooling and Adventures in Filmmaking

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Homeschooling and Public Education. Read other perspectives here.

1) How do faith choices shape this conversation?

Faith choices have everything to do with this conversation. Our primary reason for homeschooling was to teach our children Christian values and a Christian worldview. As Christian parents, our greatest joy is to see our children embrace a strong faith in Christ.

2) Is public education a threat to family values?

Liberalism and anti-Christian bias has been creeping into our schools for a long time. In my opinion, it's not creeping anymore; it seems to have taken over completely, and has become a serious threat to family values.

3) Is homeschooling a choice of opportunity or fear?

When we made the choice to homeschool our children back in 1990, we saw it primarily as a choice of opportunity, but also as a protective measure. Children are little sponges and will soak up everything, believing all they are taught as fact. Before we sent them out into the world, we wanted to be sure they were grounded in the truths of the Christian faith. But with homeschooling, the educational opportunities are endless; the sky is the limit. Just imagine being able to design a curriculum according to each child's needs, allowing for adjustments whenever necessary. Imagine how children could progress if they had a private tutor for every subject—that's how homeschooling works, and it works well. Imagine being able to make use of all the time wasted traveling to and from school, standing in line, doing busywork, etc., and instead use that time for creative learning. Imagine having the time to build relationships with your children and for them to build relationships with their siblings and with others, irrespective of age. Imagine having the time to work on projects together to serve the community or to influence the culture. What an opportunity!

For our family, and for my husband's brother's family, the homeschooling opportunity eventually led us into great adventures in uncharted territory—the making of historical Christian adventure films. Burns Family Studios was born, not out of parental recommendation, but was completely conceived of, developed, and driven forward by the Burns cousins. Every family member played a part (usually several parts). We parents were like a board of advisors, but were often conscripted for various roles both in front of and behind the camera. For the first few films, we drew in extended family and friends to fill all necessary roles. But with Pendragon, Sword of His Father, we began to reach out to the filmmaking community for technical support, and to the community at large for the four hundred some volunteers that were needed as extras or crew members.

Continually praying for God's wisdom, direction, and provision, we stepped into deeper waters with our latest film, Beyond the Mask. Our goal was to make an excellent, God-honoring film that would impact the culture. Working together toward this goal strengthened the bonds between us. We chose our lead actors from Hollywood, and hired a professional crew (mostly homeschool graduates). Yet each Burns family member continued to play an important role in Beyond the Mask, nearly all of us working full-time during the twelve weeks of production in late 2012.

Beyond the Mask was released in theaters across the country in June of 2015. Early in 2016, Sony purchased the rights to translate and distribute Beyond the Mask to sixty countries around the world. Imagine, two homeschooling families working together to create something that could potentially influence the culture—worldwide. Homeschooling provided just the opportunity!

Stay tuned for the next adventure!