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Davao City, Philippines

Building a community of tween and teen homeschoolers

July 11, 2019 - Thursday 4:07 AM by Grace Gaston Dousel

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I recently came back from Manila for a series of meetings. It was a great mix of meetups ranging from business to education to a hospital visit to a despedida dinner.

Perhaps one of the most fun and exciting afternoons I had was with the awesome homeschool moms that comprise the Teen HOP community. The laughter, the exchange of homeschooling tales, reminiscing the highs and lows of school years past, and the dreaming together of what could be for the homeschool movement in the Philippines was so invigorating! For a homeschool mom based in the south like me, I sometimes feel left out and isolated from all the privileges, learning events, conferences, co-op classes, and everything wonderful that somehow gets heaped up in Manila. There is always, in my heart, this insatiable longing for kindred spirits.

Enter Teen HOP! I happened to come across a post by Leny Ojano-Yusay at the FB Page of Homeschoolers of the Philippines about this initiative. I was so delighted at the thought of community-building among like-minded families. Being a mom of a teen and a tween myself, this is something I am also in need of. I posted a comment on the wall and inquired whether there was a group in Davao and lo and behold I found myself being asked (or appointed?) to be the coordinator of Teen HOP Davao. How could I decline such an opportunity to help?

And so last Thursday, among the Teen HOP moms, I found my kindred spirits! I am thankful for Leny for initiating this. It was a privilege to meet amazing women who are not only homeschooling moms but who are accomplished women both at home and in the workplace! How they balance life and everything else is jaw dropping! Dr. Clair Deriquit is a medical doctor with an impeccable sense of humor, a tenacious dedication to educate her daughter who’s preparing to enter med school all the while paying it forward by helping other homeschool moms. Who would not know Laksmi Maluya and her passionate way of educating everyone about homeschooling? It was enriching to hear her experiences helping other families through her Gopala Learning Haven and her wisdom as a member of the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI). Maricel Cua of The Parenting Emporium helped us think and discuss lengthily the options of independent homeschoolers. Racquel Guevara’s inputs on the need to be hands on and being available to counsel our teens was on point. Chu Bernabe Calleja’s insights as a school owner and as a homeschool mom helped us understand the balancing act that goes with homeschooling and facing the DepEd. The presence of Marica dela Rosa and Tuna Felipe and their very valuable questions enriched our discussion as to how we can better serve our own families as well as other homeschooling families. What’s remarkable about these ladies is that even though not everyone is an educator, each one has the heart to give freely towards others and share to the larger homeschooling community whatever they can so that our children will grow up to become Filipino citizens with godly character and good values.

Teen HOP stands for Teen Homeschoolers of the Philippines (HOP) and it is an initiative of homeschooling moms across the country that seeks to create a community of learners among the homeschooling families with children age 11 to 19. It is actually more of a Viber Group that serves as an online venue for homeschool moms (and dads) to exchange homeschooling notes, encourage each other, pass on helpful resources, and eventually create face-to-face interactions for the families. This is a response to the many homeschooling families who have tweens and teens and who are yearning for loving support in homeschooling these precious children who are experiencing transitions (childhood to adolescent to young adulthood to adulthood) in life. At present, there are now twelve active Teen HOP Viber groups all over the country. Teen HOP Davao is the first to be formed in Mindanao. We are hoping to have more across the island.

The core group of coordinators has taken measures to ensure that the Teen HOP Viber groups continue to be a safe community. The core has drawn up a set of guidelines for the code of conduct online and offline to ensure that everyone will truly benefit and flourish.

Teen HOP Davao is welcoming more families to join us. We welcome everyone from different homeschooling approaches, independently homeschooling or with a provider. If you are a family with tweens (kids age 11 and 12) and teens (kids age 13 t0 19) and you wish to be part of a larger community of homeschoolers we would like to extend a warm welcome to you! Please connect with me by sending a message on my FB page Grace Gaston-Dousel. Just give me your location and your Viber number and I will add you to the Teen HOP Davao Viber group.

For a comprehensive list of Teen HOP areas, you may visit https://www.facebook.com/philippinehomeschoolersassociation.