Homeschool Book Discount

Ask any librarian and you’ll quickly discover that homeschool families are some of the most ardent supporters and frequent users of the library system. In our own survey of 5,500 homeschool families, we found books to be the #1 resource for education, followed by libraries. 85.3% of homeschool families use libraries compared to only 56% for the general public (according to PEW research).

A company named ThriftBooks recently reached out to us to get our thoughts on improving their children’s book section and their homeschool section. We were pleased to see they are an excellent option for buying used books at very low prices. And we were happy to see they recognized homeschool parents in their teacher discount. However, most homeschoolers aren’t buying 20 books at a time.

After receiving our feedback, we are pleased to announce that Thriftbooks is now offering a discount specifically to homeschool families. Every homeschool family can now get 15% off one order (whether or not you already have an account), using the coupon code¬†“homeschool15″ during checkout.¬†

ThriftBooks also has a free shipping discount if you spend $10 or more.

Hopefully this will save you money on your next book order. If you have any feedback on their children’s book section or homeschool section, let us know in the comments and we’ll pass them along.

Class Dismissed Seeking Interns

The filmmakers behind Class Dismissed are looking for up to two interns for each state in the US and two from each country outside the U.S. The internship will be great exposure in online research, community building, marketing, and film distribution. You will be working with one of the leading web marketers and a film editor with over 25 years of experience (plus dozens of other interns).

The primary goals of the internship are:

1) Research potential groups to work with in your state/country.
2) Identify education influencers and press who should know about the film.
3) Help organize movie screenings in your state/country.

We are looking for interns who can commit to working with us for a minimum of one month, but preferably for three months with up to 10 hours of work a week. The internship is unpaid, but the experience will be valuable and you’ll be helping out a very important cause. For interns outside of the San Francisco or Seattle areas, we will be collaborating online. Parental permission is required for all interns under 18.

To apply, simply fill out the form below and click on the submit button.

That’s A Wrap!

Just a few days ago, we were in Los Angeles again filming with the family we’ve been documenting on and off for almost a year and a half. And after 3 long days of chasing them around, and filming their final interviews, we can safely say:

“That’s a wrap!”

It’s been an incredible journey both for them and for us. When we first met them, they were just pulling the girls out of school and really had no idea what they were going to do next. Along the way, they’ve tried many different approaches, had some ups and downs, and have learned what it means to be homeschoolers.

We leave them in a place where they’ve found what works for their family (at least for now) and with the confidence they need to move forward in their journey into independent learning.

We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to them, for trusting us and allowing us into their lives to document what was a challenging transition. It’s one thing to jump ship from years of public schooling with 2 pre-teen girls, but quite another to allow a camera crew to follow you around and document it. We’re confident their experiences will serve as inspiration to other families who are considering similar choices.

Where do we go from here?

Finishing our filming in Los Angeles was a huge accomplishment, and aside from some smaller pickup shoots, we’re basically done with production. But all that work has also depleted our funds. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, what lies ahead is editing, editing, editing and all the final elements that go into finishing a film. So as much as we hate to ask, you can still donate to help us reach the finish line. Neither myself or my co-producer Dustin have received any payment, so every dollar ends up on screen and that’s exactly the way we want it. Please do what you can. You can use this paypal button:

or if you want to make your donation tax-deductible, we are still being sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society and you can use this link instead.

Thank you so much for your support.

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed team.

Class Dismissed Seeking Volunteers

Some say it takes a village to raise a child and those in the film industry know it takes an army to make a film. If you don’t believe us, just look at the credits at the end of nearly any film. Until now, we’ve managed to get by with a small team, but it’s time for us to grow. We are excited to announce we are recruiting homeschoolers to help with research and marketing of the film.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in helping us reach out to homeschool groups and the masses and can spare a little time, we’d like them to fill out the form below. Depending on their efforts, volunteers will be rewarded with various perks and prizes, including various levels of credit in the film, sneak previews of footage, signed DVD copies, private screening invites, and exclusive phone calls and communication with the filmmakers. They’ll also be rewarded with the knowledge that they helped paint a better & more accurate picture of homeschooling to the general public.

Please share this page with your friends and followers and consider volunteering yourself as this effort can benefit from even small contributions of time. Volunteers can be anyone 13 and up from any type of homeschooling background – in fact, the more diverse the volunteers in location, skills, & homeschool ties the better.

Thank you for your consideration. We promise it will be a fun & fulfilling experience!
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the form and click the submit button. If it doesn’t load for you correctly, use this link.

Production Update from L.A.

We just got back from Los Angeles and another successful shoot with the main family in our film. This trip we spent time in a cool looking downtown warehouse at a video game company where the girls got to design their own characters and play on the software used to create the art for video games. In a time when many schools are cutting art programs altogether, it was an amazing opportunity for the girls to hone their creative skills in a professional, high-level environment, using real-world tools.

We also spent time in Hermosa Beach at “Beach Day” which is LA’s equivalent of park day. In the summer, Beach Day is a regular event and there were lots of other homeschooling families present from many areas of Los Angeles. It was a great opportunity for the family to meet other homeschoolers, have fun in the waves and yes, dare I say the “S” word, socialize! Here’s a shot of a quick interview we did on the beach, and contrary to popular belief, the sun doesn’t always shine in LA. It actually got cloudy and a little cold and the girls were shivering!

We’ll continue to check back in with the family over the next few months, but in the meantime, we’ve got a few other things to accomplish, namely beginning the massive task of sifting through what we’ve shot with them so far so we can start putting together parts of their story. And we still have a few other people to track down and interview. More on that soon. Thanks for following our progress. We appreciate your support.

 

Unschooling Summit & Production Update

As I type this, the Unschooling Summit interview of our Director, Jeremy Stuart, is underway. Included in the PDF emailed to summit attendees is a tip on how to receive credit on the website and in the film credits via the donation button on the upper right corner of this site.

Last week we were in LA filming the family for a 2nd time. The shoot went very smoothly. For the first time we got to spend time with the father of the two girls, plus had a great in-home consultation with Michelle Barone who happens to live nearby.

As expected, the story continues to unfold. We’re looking forward to a third shoot in about a month, which will be interesting as traditional school will be out of session.

1st Shoot With the Homeschool Family Complete

Last week we started the homeschool journey with a family who pulled their kids out of one of the best public schools in Los Angeles. This family will drive the narrative story of our film. Their reasons for pulling their kids out of school wasn’t what you might expect.

They did not pull them out because of grades, bullying, bad teachers or administrators. It was the recognition that their two daughters were losing interest in learning and what was being taught in the classroom was not being absorbed, nor was it useful in real life.

With our limited shooting budget, we can’t afford to film several families, nor have a family back out after starting the filming process. So we had to be very careful in selecting the right family. Months ago Jeremy & I both met with the family separately and we both came away knowing this was the perfect family for our film.

We only had three days to shoot last week and there were a few unknown variables that we had to contend with:

  • Airplane noise: this family lives close to LAX & there are plenty of planes flying overhead. Would we be able to capture great audio?
  • The family: would they interview well, would they be comfortable in front of the camera, would they get comfortable with us being in their home?
  • The DP: Knowing we would be filming in LA, we needed a director of photography based there. Jeremy knew Billy from work decades ago, but had never worked directly with him (Jeremy had edited some of Billy’s footage back in the day). And I had never met Billy. Would the three of us make a good team?

Homeschool Mom shotMonday morning we found out the answers to all these questions. The family was great on camera, Billy was a great match, and the airplane noise wasn’t a problem. Over the next couple days our relationship with the family grew as did the mutual trust. The camera became invisible and the story unfolded.

The only thing that went wrong was a single piece of hair. Reviewing footage Monday evening, we noticed a strange line in the footage from one of our cameras. Turns out a single piece of hair was lodged inside the camera’s housing. The good news is that it was not critical footage (not an interview or important moment that could not be recreated). We were working together so well together that recapturing the footage the next day wasn’t a problem.

They say the most important thing to keep in mind when starting a business, or hiring a film crew is to pick people you like, because you’ll be spending a lot of time with them! I’m happy to say both the crew and the family are fantastic! We can’t wait to film again in May.

 

Our next post will be about our NY trip that is wrapping up today. Let us know if you enjoy hearing how the production is going. Thanks again for your support in this adventure!

James Arnold Taylor Talks Homeschooling

I had a chance to catch up with professional voice-actor James Arnold Taylor, who is one of the larger backers of our film project, Class Dismissed. Chances are you’ve heard one, or many of his voices before. Some of his work you might recognize:

  • Obi-wan Kenobi of the Clone Wars (Movie and TV series)
  • Leonardo – TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Johnny Test – Cartoon Network hit series Johnny Test
  • Green Arrow – Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Plus many, many other TV shows, movies, video games, TV & radio spots.

But, more importantly, James and his wife Allison homeschool their 7-year old daughter in Santa Barbara. During my visit James was kind enough to say a few words to the homeschool community:

To learn more about James Arnold Taylor, visit his site, imdb profile, or check out his new stage show:

Class Dismissed Funding Update

As we near the end of our Fundraising Campaign (only 9 days left!), it’s interesting to look at where the funds have come from. Below you will see a map of the states donations have come from. If your state isn’t colored green, you may want to represent your state by donating to our cause (it’s tax deductible & includes perks). I’ll update the map before the campaign is over.

States Supporting A Homeschool Documentary:

As you can see, there’s a slight West-coast bias, which is probably due to Jeremy living in California, and myself in Washington state. There’s still a few states with high homeschool populations who either haven’t heard about the film, or aren’t ready to donate yet (hopefully this changes over the next 9 days).

Not shown on the map are two international donations: one from England and one from Germany. The Germany donation is most surprising because homeschooling is illegal in Germany. We hope our film will help German regulators rethink their stance on homeschooling!

Thanks to all who donated or helped spread the word. It’s crunch time for our fund-raising campaign. Our goal is to at least raise $5k to fulfill NHEN’s donation matching challenge. We appreciate any help you can provide in raising funds over the next 9 days!

Site Soft Launch

Shhh…. don’t tell anyone, but we’ve quietly “soft launched” the HomeSchoolFilm.com site, which is the homeschool community site for the upcoming film, Class Dismissed.

If you are looking at the site now, chances are we are still filling out some of the pages of the site. Please bear with us as we prepare for the official launch!