Francesca Battistelli 'Resonated' with Homeschool Message in New God's Not Dead Film
Millions of parents changed their outlook on education during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting to homeschool their children instead of juggling virtual and in-person school schedules that could change on a dime.
Christian singer Francesca Battistelli was one such mom.
The mother of five children with one on the way, Battistelli and her husband were sending their kids to a Montessori school when the 2020 pandemic hit, leading to shutdowns in their community.
Battistelli suddenly began considering a change in educational lifestyles.
"I've been gathering curriculum and researching homeschooling and going to conferences for years," said Battistelli, who was homeschooled as a child. "And it was kind of just this, 'I'm finally going to put it into practice.'"
Ironically, Battistelli's embrace of homeschooling happened around the same time she was asked to star in a film spotlighting the subject.
In God's Not Dead: We the People, Battistelli plays a mom whose family faces major government restrictions on homeschooling. Toward the end of the film, Congress hears testimony on the subject.
It is in theaters for three nights: Oct. 4, 5 and 6.
It is her second role in a faith-based film, following her appearance in Woodlawn.
"I just got a phone call out of the blue. And they offered me the role. … It was really hard to say no because I'm a homeschool mom and really value our right as people to educate our children the way we see fit," she said. "And so I resonated with the film and with the role, and it was a really, really great experience."
Battistelli's children are in preschool, kindergarten and grades fourth and fifth. She also has a child who is just under age two.
"It's not so far-fetched to think that this film could be real in our lifetime," she said, referencing European countries that have either outlawed homeschooling or placed major restrictions on it. "It's definitely something that is being targeted. And so it's important to get the word out."
One of her songs, God Is Good, is featured in the movie. It was written for her 2018 album Own It but was pulled at the last minute by Battistelli, who didn't think it fit the album's theme. She believes it was providential that she saved it.
Battistelli wants moviegoers to gain an appreciation for the threats to homeschooling as well as to all freedoms.
"I just want people to ask questions – to leave the film remembering the country that we live in, and what it was founded on and ask themselves some questions, not about what are we supposed to do with schooling, though those are great questions, too," she said.
"The film centers on homeschooling, but it's really a film about freedom, and I can get behind that every day of the week."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.