I was at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura last October 17, 2015 to attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World event by Manila Workshops, HAPI and The Learning Basket. It was my first time in the venue and I was quite impressed. There were many people filling up the seats by 8:45AM. And soon, the conference started with Mr. Edric Mendoza, president of HAPI or Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands welcomed everyone to the venue.
The first keynote speaker is Mr. Michael Donnelly, Director for Global Outreach of HSLDA and GHEC 2016. He shared how homeschooling in such a time as this is not only helping your own families but answering a call to be part of a homeschool movement globally. His message was encouraging as he reminded us that nothing is really neutral, either they are used for God’s purposes or against him. He also reminded the audience to defend their families and culture and not to lose the right to teach their own children, as some countries like Germany and Sweden have banned homeschooling already.
He summarized what homeschooling means to parents. He said “Homeschooling is the most effective way for parents to fulfill the role of stewards of our children to help them understand who they are and to be able to serve God.”
Then I went to SMX Convention Center Rooms and attended the workshop “Getting Your Children Ready for the World Through Independent Homeschooling” by Ms. Ched Arzadon. I arrived a bit late as I passed the exhibit hall to check out what items were being sold and had to look for the venue. It was a very informative talk. She gave a brief history of mass schooling, alternative to mainsteam schools and last half of her talk was all about independent homeschooling. She gave examples of varied approaches and even discussed how and where to get Dep Ed accreditation tests and exams. She mentioned the A&E Test, PVT and PEPT.
For someone who is interested to know more about independent homeschooling in the Philippines, it was a must-attend workshop! I am so glad that she gave out hand-outs to the participants, so I can go back to the details if needed.
He shared a fun list of reasons you’d want to homeschool your children which includes never missing the bus, cooking can count as learning, reading the Bible and praying aloud is allowed, wearing pajamas all day, student can do school work with their pets close by, kids can play outside, Lego playing is counted as learning…. but then he also shared a more serious list of reasons why you’d want to homeschool your child.
It’s a walk of faith. Teaching from a Christian worldview. Kids can explore creation outdoors and it births a love of learning in the kids. The family can do a lot of reading together. Individualized instruction. Positive social context of family and academic excellence.
Though I have been homeschooling for the past 6 years now, I am thankful to have attended this workshop. It reminded me why we are doing what we are doing and that we should carry on until God leads us otherwise.
The last workshop I attended was a forum facilitated by Mr. Edric Mendoza and the guest panelists are from Dep Ed and the principal of The Master’s Academy. The guests from Dep Ed were undersecretary Umali and the NCR deputy. The topics discussed revolved on accreditation, requirements to be a homeschool parent and K-12 specifically Senior High School. At the end of the discussion, Dep Ed said that they would like the homeschool providers to submit to them their plans for Senior HighSchool and see if it will match what Dep Ed wants. Because as of today, there are no accredited homeschool providers for Senior High School yet.
The last keynote speaker for the day is Ms. Rachel Carman. She is the author of best-selling books and is a sought after speaker across the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. She talked about “Teaching Foundational Truth”.
It was a super packed talk and I just had to capture it in photos to remember key points.
She discussed what truth is and how the world has been changing its very definition.
Truth can only be found in the Word of God and it gives us all the information and truth that we will ever need. She also shared some resources we can use to know more about the truth.
The whole conference exceeded my expectations and I was certainly grateful that I was given the chance to attend. For someone who has been homeschooling for the past 6 years, this conference was a breath of fresh air. It was also equipping to know the global perspective of homeschooling and how to homeschool independently.
Even the exhibit was quite different from previous years and a lot bigger as well. I am also happy that there were workshops for children happening at the same time too. Hopefully, in the future conferences, there will be more curriculum vendors too!
It was a day off well spent! Homeschooling in the Philippines is getting bigger and I am grateful that God allowed us to be part of it!