If You Build It Will They Come

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If you build it, will they come?  Will they really, really come if you provide them with the opportunities for real, not just-a-blurb-in-the-brochure, truest-sense-of-the-word self-directed education?  Why would I pay for self-directed education if by nature of the word self-directed means you can do it by oneself?   You don’t have to.  You are free to choose.   You can homeschool.  You can unschool.  You can stay in school.  What we provide is an option for those who think this route reverberates with their spirit and the spirit of their child.

Abot Tala Center for Self Directed Learning seeks to provide the following:

MENTORSHIP

  1. Our goal is to support you as an individual so you are THRIVING.  Given the right conditions, humans are amazing!
  2. Each member will be given a mentor whom you will meet with you at least once a week, offering some guidance, a lot of listening, and a helpful perspective. We will work with your parents on how they can support you as a self-directed learner.
  3. It’s always good to set goals and have a plan. In weekly meetings with your mentor, small group meetings and on your own, you can set long and short-term goals. Since the only guarantee in life is change, the planning part is often quite interesting.
  4. You will be encouraged to keep notes and narratives of your work. It’s helpful to step back once you’ve worked for a while to see your process & your progress. Ask yourself how you are doing? You know best.
  5. You will have access to an electronic portfolio system designed specifically for SDL learners. You can experiment with multimedia options as you build your portfolio to best represent who you are. Consider sharing your insights, knowledge, and skills.
  6. Your portfolio (evidence of your insights, knowledge, & skills) will be your ticket to higher education, employment, and or all sorts of entrepreneurial adventures.
  7. Community members will provide additional mentorships, such as sharing a hobby or skill like rock climbing, improvisational theater and chess.
  8. Our focus is on individuals and their particular strengths, needs, and goals. We meet teens where they are and support them in becoming whomever they want to be. Rather than focusing on weaknesses, we ask: “What are you good at? What do you love to do?” and build from there.
  9. By having more personal autonomy – while working within the community – teens can practice leadership, communication and collaboration skills in real ways that reflect what they will need later in life.
  10. Mentoring relationships are at the heart of Abot Tala. Each teen is matched with one of the staff, who sets aside time to meet individually each week. It’s hard to overestimate the importance for young people to be heard and known and not just feel like a number. Having a caring, supportive and knowledgeable adult as an ally helps teens to make the most of their time at Abot Tala.
  11. Mentors help connect young people to the learning opportunities in the center, online and in the wider community. We help them keep track of what they learn and the experiences that they have for whatever next steps they are planning to take after Abot Tala.

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CLASSES, WORKSHOPS AND TUTORIALS

  1. Classes represent the interests and passions, interests and expertise of our core staff and extended staff of volunteers. There are a wide range of topics. Most classes have fewer than 10 students.
  2. Rather than attempt to fulfill any particular curriculum, we ask our staff (mentor-facilitators) to share the topics that excite them.
  3. We have a core staff of caring professionals and a large, extended staff composed of interns, and community volunteers.
  4. All classes and workshops are optional and open to every member. Classes vary in length, format, and content.
  5. The format of each class can vary significantly as well, again depending on the vision of the leader as well as the input of the students. We encourage all members to learn about and try as many classes as they can. Once a student decides to be a regular participant of a class, we expect commitment.
  6. There are no grades or punishments, but we expect class members to communicate with the teacher regarding attendance and other issues and to fulfill any requirements such as readings, research, or other assignments.
  7. Some classes will ask for and expect a considerable amount of work to happen outside of class time while others will be more limited. This is made clear in the class description and by the teacher and should be taken into consideration by the student deciding to join the group.
  8. Individual one-on-one meetings are available in a variety of subjects. These are not listed on the calendar. Each teen talks with his or her advisor about what meetings might be helpful and schedules them around other commitments.
  9. Some classes will ask for and expect a work/practice to happen outside of class time, while others will be less directed. This will be made clear in the class description.
  10. Teens can also request to lead a class of their own creation. The teen will present an outline and expectations of the class with a staff member and pitch the class to other members
  11. Teens sometimes lead classes without adults. In addition, members frequently ask for the creation of certain classes and participate in the planning.

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 WHAT’S AFTER ABOT TALA?

  1. Parents usually have questions related to university and career. What steps do we need to take to apply to college? How does a young person get working papers so they can get a job? We can help families do whatever you have questions about. We schedule three routine family meetings throughout the year, but you can get all the help and support you need with just a phone call or email to your child’s mentor.
  2. Many people are astounded by the huge number of opportunities there are for young people to learn independently of the traditional school system. We act as both the provider and connector to this world of possibility.
  3. Many parents worry that leaving traditional schools to use self-directed education will somehow limit the opportunities or choices their children have after they leave Abot Tala. Nothing could be further from the truth!
  4. A large majority of our members plan to attend college after their time with Abot Tala. Many people are surprised that teens who don’t attend school can go to college. There are a growing number of Filipino families who homeschool their children. Our mentors help young people document the learning that they do and create a narrative transcript that translates that into a form colleges understand.
  5. The second most common next step for our members is either to enter the working or entrepreneurial world. Young people can use the flexibility and control offered by self-directed education to start learning the skills needed to be successful in a given career. Instead of squeezing your interests into “after-school” time, you can work on your interests as the main focus of your education.

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OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS

  1. We intentionally keep the community small, no more than 30 or so at capacity. We want everyone’s voice to matter and not feel like they are just a cog in a machine.
  2. While not perfect, we work really hard to keep Abot Tala community a welcoming and inclusive community where people are respected for who they are. For young people who are coming from a hard social situation in school, the friends and acceptance that they find in the Abot Tala community can be the most valuable experience they have.
  3. Days are set aside for trips and special workshops. Often proposed and planned by members, trips can be anything from a walking in the park, to going out for meals.
  4. Since Abot Tala is a small community, there are many leadership opportunities. Our members organize trips, lead our weekly all-group meeting, take on roles in the community like first-aid and safety manager and even lead classes and offer one-on-one music or other lessons to other members.
  1. If there are students who want to join Abot Tala but cannot afford the fees, it is our policy to find a way to subsidize the member’s fee. North Star, our parent center and the centers that they help start all believe in inclusivity and they turn no one away.
  2. The big message is that anything teens can do by attending school, they can still do through self-directed education. We are here to help provide and connect young people to those opportunities.

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Resonating Light

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If there was something like the Blended Learning Center (BLC) near where we lived when we tried homeschooling for a year, I probably wouldn’t have quit homeschooling.  I believe in the idea of homeschooling but I don’t want to be the one to teach my kids (at least not the academics — sorry too much teeth-pulling for me and them) plus, I prefer to work.

What I personally believe in more than homeschooling is that it takes a village to raise a child — a community beyond the child’s family and that is what Blended Learning Center provides.  I admire how a lot of homeschooling families have this socialization aspect down to a science — arranging classes, field trips, joining and forming co-ops but for some, the convenience of a regular “school in disguise” is still a preferred necessity.

For me, alternative centers like BLC are like schools in disguise but they shouldn’t be because they may actually be what schools ought to be in an ideal world.  Perhaps in the future, centers like BLC will be more of the norm rather than the rare exception.  They are what schools would look like if governments and institutions have not monopolized and desecrated to a certain degree what shouldn’t be about dragging your feet every morning to prisons disguised as classrooms.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to show for the visit I made yesterday to BLC with my husband and sons.  The photos here are culled from the BLC website.  I was too busy listening to the teachers sharing their ideas and experiences about non-traditional education to a group of eager parents.  BLC has programs for pre-school, elementary all the way up to high school students (up to Grade 10).

While the parents sat focused, all the kids played ball and ran around the garden.  Every time they kicked the ball higher than usual, I was afraid it would go over the wall.  It went and slid down the roof once.

For families seeking a way out of a system that may be constricting (maybe even crushing) the spirit of their children, this invitation from BLC may resonate:

Sound Familiar?

-Too Many students in one class,
-Students Are Ranked Against each other based on a prescribed one-size fits all curriculum
-Show and Tell Teaching Methods which forces students “to memorize” instead of “to understand, analyze and challenge”
-Manila Traffic + Long School Hours = No time to play outdoors, children resort to too much gadgets
-Huge class size, students can either become unsupervised and can result to bullying.

What If….

-Learning can be Passion Driven, Project Based and anchored on “Real Life”
-Learning can be customized depending on their interests
-A Typical school day can be flexible, self paced and learning centered
-The school becomes a safe learning environment, with dedicated teachers, better teaching materials, free from bullying

Based on Studies Non Traditional Learning Provides an Environment for our children where:

-Development is Accelerated
-They become Focused and Passionate at what they Do
–They Develop Self Accountability and Worth
-And they become “Experts” early on

Learn How this is Possible.

How I wish there was a BLC in every part of Metro Manila, not just Cubao and preferably walking distance from where I live.  Long, heavy sigh.  We can only dream.

Here’s what BLC offers:

While all programs at BLC-Manila cater to families who are not of a traditional mold, there are some common qualities that we see in our Blended and Homeschool parents that might help you make a decision. Check out what you think fits you best:

BLENDED LEARNING

Perfect for:

– families who want to homeschool but can’t commit to a full-time “homeschool schedule”.

– children who don’t thrive in traditional classroom or school set-ups, but still prefer socialization.

– families who like to travel and take their children along.

– families who like flexibility and are “allergic” to the unreasonable rigor of traditional schools.

– families who believe that understanding, and appreciation is a better hallmark of learning than getting high grades.

HOMESCHOOL

Perfect for:

– parents who want a first-hand say in how their child/ren are taught.

– families who live outside Metro Manila or the Philippines.

– children recovering from a trauma, and are getting ready to re-enter the mainstream.

Tutorial Services for students
For regular academics and project support.

PEPT preparation for Grades 1-10
Review and consultation on Department of Education-accredited requirements.

PEPT + for Grades 7-10
Review and consultation on Department of Education-accredited requirements, plus expanded classes and activities that add more value to the learning process.

Teacher Training on Blended Learning

Our inward-bound approach to being the best teacher you can be.

An Invitation to Those Questioning the Education System

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We’re forming the Abot Tala team and reaching out to teachers, parents, students who may be questioning the education system and wishing there was an alternative for teenagers.  We are reaching out to those who believe in the freedom to direct one’s own educational path from what to learn and how to learn what one has chosen.

What Abot Tala offers:

  • A safe, dynamic, welcoming community of learners who believe that self-directed education is the most authentic and innovative way to support young people so that they thrive and become productive adults
  • A bridge and a way to help teenagers live and learn outside the traditional school system through mentorship and by utilizing the wealth of opportunities in the community
  • An educational experience that supports and encourages independence, resourcefulness, flexibility and collaboration in a non-coercive, dynamic environment where young people can create their own pathways based on their passions and interests
  • A space where young people feel free to be themselves, to know themselves deeply and what makes them come alive, to discover and develop their gifts and talents, to soar towards goals and dreams they set for themselves

 Who do we serve?

  • Young people who believe that school is doing more harm than good to them
  • Young people who want to get out of the school system but do not know where to start
  • Young people who are already homeschooling or unschooling but wish to be part of a community that meets regularly
  • We serve young people ages 13 – 19. We can consider younger or older members on a case-by-case basis.

 What does membership in Abot Tala include?

  1. Mentoring and coaching – each member will have an advisor. The advisors are full-time and part-time staff at Abot Tala.  Through regular meetings, we help envision and realize goals, track progress, organize tutorials and facilitate community connections.
  2. Access to all classes and workshops offered – the classes and workshops will be determined by the interest of the members and the expertise of the mentors, staff and volunteers of Abot Tala. All classes and workshops are optional and open to every member.
  3. Family conferences – each member and his parents will meet with the advisor at least two times a semester (one semester is five months) to map out possibilities and review progress and achievements. More meetings are scheduled as requested.  Parental involvement is encouraged.
  4. Personalized approach – the focus is on individuals and their particular strengths, needs and goals. We meet teens where they are and support them in becoming whomever they want to be. Rather than focusing on weaknesses, we ask: “What are you good at? What do you love to do?” and build from there.
  5. Collaborative learning – teens can teach each other; find common interests and have group tutorials; traditional schools emphasize competition while we emphasize collaboration

 What about going to university in the future?

  • If the family wants to comply with Dep Ed requirements, we can assist them through our partner, the Gopala Homeschool Support
  • If the family does not want to go through Dep Ed, should the time come that the young person wants to attend university, then we can map out a plan together with the student on how to apply and get in the university.

 What Abot Tala is Not

  • Abot Tala is not a school. We do not give certificates, grades or report cards.
  • We are not a homeschool provider although we can refer you to providers. We can help you with homeschooling requirements through Gopala, our homeschool support partner.
  • We are not a homeschool co-op. We do not organize families to become a homeschool co-op which homeschooling families can do on their own.

Membership:

Full-time membership: 4 – 5 times a week

Part-time membership: 2 – 3 times a week

 

Membership Includes:

  • Advisory relationship with Abot Tala Core Staff Member
  • Family meetings with Abot Tala Staff
  • Development of a family homeschooling plan and a personal life plan
  • Group classes at Abot Tala
  • One-on-one meetings or tutorials with Abot Tala staff
  • Use of Abot Tala space for socializing and study
  • Invitations to all trips and special workshops
  • Support to design and complete private academic projects and curricula
  • Support to find volunteer work, jobs, and internships outside of Abot Tala
  • Support to find classes and activities outside of Abot Tala
  • Long term support for alumni teens and families

 

Abot Tala is being started with the guidance of Liberated Learners.  North Star Self Directed Learning for Teens was started twenty years ago by Ken Danford.  He then set up the Liberated Learners to help others around the world initiate centers like North Star.

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These are the programs that Ken Danford and the Liberated Learners helped set up:

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If you are interested, please email me at: entirelyofpossibility@yahoo.com.ph

Rosa and the Stars

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“It looks like a cult group. Kinda scary for a parent to entrust their kids to.  Sounds too deep.  It can alienate those who are not so academic.”  My well-meaning friend, Rosa who wants to help told me.  I replied that this was only a very quick lay-out borne of ecstatic excitement that we finally came up with a name.  It may not be the final name but at least we have something to work with and fill in the blank formerly occupied by Northstar PH.

Rosa continued to interrogate me which I appreciate since we would be faced with loads of questions every time we discuss this harebrained scheme.

Rosa: If it’s not a school, what is it?  A club?  A support group?

Me:  (copy pasting from our introduction)

What We are Not:

  • This is not a school. We do not give certificates, grades or report cards.
  • We are not a homeschool provider although we can refer you to providers or we can help you with homeschooling and Dep Ed requirements through Gopala, our homeschool support partner.
  • We are not a homeschool co-op. We do not organize families to become a homeschool co-op which homeschooling families can do on their own.

Rosa: Center housing people to be homeschoolers legally.

Me:  Nope.  Homeschooling is just a tool in this case.  If they want to just homeschool, they can go to a homeschool provider, choose a curriculum they want, study at home, get tutors etc.  But this is a center which is like a school if you would let the teenagers themselves envision it but we can’t call it a school because we don’t want to be boxed in by curriculum, standards and tests so it’s more of a club and that’s how Northstar also describes itself.

Rosa: If it’s undirected, how do you encourage towards progressive direction?

Me: Regarding progressive education — it’s quite different from self-directed.  In progressive, there’s still a curriculum, but in self-directed, the curriculum comes from the student.  I elaborated on the difference here in this article I wrote about our road trip researching alternative education.  There’s a spectrum there between traditional to progressive to self-directed.  And here’s the explanation of psychologist Peter Gray about the difference.

Rosa: What if they just want to hang out?  Is that allowed?

Me: When I went to visit the self-directed schools and centers, I also asked the question, what if they just want to hang out or play computer games the whole day?  And they allow it.  There’s a school where one student just explored the forest for a couple of years and one day decided to take up dance.  They eventually learn about self-regulation naturally and organically rather than forced from the top.  But I struggle with my own kids and feel I’m the WORST person actually for this.  I don’t know why I’m the one doing this.  Should be somebody with more conviction, credibility, experience.  But then, that’s why we’re forming a team where people have different strengths.

Rosa:  “Abot Tala” is obviously saying the goal is set high.  But your explanation is more like a free space for anyone tired of structured learning or tired of learning (altogether).  In other words, the ideas are not complementary.  So it might be the wrong name for your purpose.

Me:  It does seem contradictory but only at first glance.  The free space for unstructured learning is founded on respect and the belief that each person has a natural “genius.”  Some probably go unrecognized because school is standardized and there are kids who fall through the cracks.  If we are to believe in the uniqueness and “amazingness” of each child, of each person and that each one can dream whatever he or she wants for himself or herself, then anyone can reach their star no matter what that star is.  And they define that star.

Our society tends to define the star for us sometimes but it’s only us who can define our own star.  And this recognizing the genius in each person can be difficult sometimes because society has defined “genius” for us, too.  I struggle with that as a parent daily.

Rosa:  So there’s a premise that everyone will get to their proper place in the skies?  That’s a nice thing.

Thanks for introducing me to this.  If my kids knew I’m into this, they’d give up school in a wink.

 

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For the logo design, I was aspiring for something that looked like one of these (centers that Northstar help start) but probably need to work on it some more.  The name and logo should be the least of my worries now.  There’s the SEC documentation requirements, the Kafkaesque red tape of government agencies plus the challenge of finding space, mentor-staff, refining the business plan and getting this off the ground.

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Peter Gray posted this article today:

Why don’t students like school?

Just wanted to draw your attention to the comments below the post:

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Unholy Traffic

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It’s been a while since I experienced Holy Week in the Philippines.  Like Christmas in China, it is not an important holiday so I’ve forgotten how much of nightmare getting out and into the city could be.  A three-hour drive to Subic turned to six and a one-hour drive from Zambales back to Subic tripled in length.  I was mulling it over in my head that it wasn’t this bad years ago and I remembered we just stayed at home mostly because my grandmother wouldn’t allow any form of merry-making during this solemn period.  Maybe as the mantle was passed from generation to generation, the rules have relaxed and now, most everyone would abandon the city for the beaches.  The more sensible ones know better, wait when the crowds are gone and won’t budge from their homes till it’s safe to venture out.  That’s what we promise to do next year.

Despite the unwanted hours on the road, when we got to our destination, we stayed in my aunt’s place, woke up to monkeys clambering over the trees in her backyard and biked around the village embraced by the rainforest.  We are still so lucky and blessed to be in the presence of all this lush, towering Eden.

 

 

 

Holy and Not at Casa San Miguel

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On Good Friday, Coke and the Pundaquit Virtuosi played Haydn’s Seven Last Words and in between, Mark Strand’s verses were read, reflecting each part, so both music and literature spoke to the soul.  Before people were ushered into the theater, they passed through a tunnel of branches and lit candles, where the 14 stations of the cross hung and you had to bend low, humbling yourself as Christ did when he took the burden for humanity.  Casa’s resident artist, Jazel Kristin presented the Ego Altar provoking viewers to re-assess our selfie-junk-processed-food obsessed society.

When my grandmother was alive, we wouldn’t think of doing anything resembling a celebration during Holy Week but here we were balancing the sanctity of the season, Haydn and art with bottles of beer and bags of popcorn till past midnight because it’s not often that college friends re-unite.

In the words of Mark Strand:

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The story of the end, of the last word
of the end, when told, is a story that never ends.
We tell it and retell it — one word, then another
until it seems that no last word is possible,
that none would be bearable. Thus, when the hero
of the story says to himself, as to someone far away,
‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,’
we may feel that he is pleading for us, that we are
the secret life of the story and, as long as his plea
is not answered, we shall be spared. So the story
continues. So we continue. And the end, once more,
becomes the next, and the next after that.

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There is an island in the dark, a dreamt-of place
where the muttering wind shifts over the white lawns
and riffles the leaves of trees, the high trees
that are streaked with gold and line the walkways there;
and those already arrived are happy to be the silken
remains of something they were but cannot recall;
they move to the sound of stars, which is also imagined,
but who cares about that; the polished columns they see
may be no more than shafts of sunlight, but for those
who live on and on in the radiance of their remains
this is of little importance. There is an island
in the dark and you will be there, I promise you, you
shall be with me in paradise, in the single season of being,
in the place of forever, you shall find yourself. And there
the leaves will turn and never fall, there the wind
will sing and be your voice as if for the first time.

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Someday some one will write a story set
in a place called The Skull, and it will tell,
among other things, of a parting between mother
and son, of how she wandered off, of how he vanished
in air. But before that happens, it will describe
how their faces shone with a feeble light and how
the son was moved to say, ‘Woman, look at your son,’
then to a friend nearby, ‘Son, look at your mother.’
At which point the writer will put down his pen
and imagine that while those words were spoken
something else happened, something unusual like
a purpose revealed, a secret exchanged, a truth
to which they, the mother and son, would be bound,
but what it was no one would know. Not even the writer.

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These are the days when the sky is filled with
the odor of lilac, when darkness becomes desire,
when there is nothing that does not wish to be born.
These are the days of spring when the fate
of the present is a breezy fullness, when the world’s
great gift for fiction gilds even the dirt we walk on.
On such days we feel we could live forever, yet all
the while we know we cannot. This is the doubleness
in which we dwell. The great master of weather
and everything else, if he wishes, can bring forth
a dark of a different kind, one hidden by darkness
so deep it cannot be seen. No one escapes.
Not even the man who saved others, and believed
he was the chosen son. When the dark came down
even he cried out, ‘Father, father, why have you
forsaken me?’ But to his words no answer came.

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To be thirsty. To say, ‘I thirst.’ To be given,
instead of water, vinegar, and that to be pressed
from a sponge. To close one’s eyes and see the giant
world that is born each time the eyes are closed.
To see one’s death. To see the darkening clouds
as the tragic cloth of a day of mourning. To be the one
mourned. To open the dictionary of the Beyond and discover
what one suspected, that the only word in it
is nothing. To try to open one’s eyes, but not to be
able to. To feel the mouth burn. To feel the sudden
presence of what, again and again, was not said.
To translate it and have it remain unsaid. To know
at last that nothing is more real than nothing.

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‘It is finished,’ he said. You could hear him say it,
the words almost a whisper, then not even that,
but an echo so faint it seemed no longer to come
from him, but from elsewhere. This was his moment,
his final moment. “It is finished,” he said into a vastness
that led to an even greater vastness, and yet all of it
within him. He contained it all. That was the miracle,
to be both large and small in the same instant, to be
like us, but more so, then finally to give up the ghost,
which is what happened. And from the storm that swirled
a formal nakedness took shape, the truth of disguise
and the mask of belief were joined forever.

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Back down these stairs to the same scene,
to the moon, the stars, the night wind. Hours pass
and only the harp off in the distance and the wind
moving through it. And soon the sun’s gray disk,
darkened by clouds, sailing above. And beyond,
as always, the sea of endless transparence, of utmost
calm, a place of constant beginning that has within it
what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand
has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
To that place, to the keeper of that place, I commit myself.

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If You Share This Vision

If you share this vision of providing:

  • A safe, dynamic, welcoming community of learners who believe that self-directed education is the most authentic and innovative way to support young people so that they thrive and become productive adults
  • A bridge and a way to help teenagers live and learn outside the traditional school system through mentorship and by utilizing the wealth of opportunities in the community

If you would like to reach out to families who believe that school is doing more harm than good, to families who want to do homeschooling or unschooling but do not know where to start, to families who are already homeschooling but wish to be part of a community that meets regularly. . . .

If you would like to join a conversation with Ken Danford . . . .

If you would like to study the programs and centers that have been realized through the help of Liberated Learners . . . .

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. . . . . send me a message at entirelyofpossibility@yahoo.com.ph

Perhaps we can set up something like one of these here in Manila:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens – Sunderland, MA

Bay State Learning Center – Dedham, MA

Beacon: Self-Directed Learning – New Haven, CT

BigFish Learning Community – Dover, NH

Compass: Centre for Self-Directed Learning – Ottawa, ON

Deep Root: Center for Self-Directed Learning – Canton, NY

Embark Center for Self-Directed Learning – Leesburg, VA

The Hive: Self-Directed Learning for Teens – Eugene, Oregon

Ingenuity Hub: Personalized Learning Collaborative – Leominster, MA

The Learning Cooperatives

LightHouse Personalized Education for Teens – Holyoke, MA

Open Doors: Center for Self-Directed Teens – Grand Rapids, MI

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The Pitch

I taught in a University in China for two years, saw how stifling the effects of an education system could be and got scared for my kids who are 8 and 5 years old now.  The purpose of education is to liberate and certainly not the opposite which is to imprison.  I am happy to have found a progressive school in Manila where my kids can attend school which I think is okay in the younger years.

However, when they reach high school, I believe, they need more freedom to steer their lives.  That’s why I am attracted to setting up something like the North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens — for my own sons and for other kids.  Of course, if my sons choose to go to school, I’d support them, but in case they don’t, there’s an option.

I have some nephews and nieces whom I feel would benefit from a place like North Star but I would not even dare open this topic to their parents even if they are my relatives because this idea is quite ridiculous, unfathomable and unacceptable for them.  However, I want to help those families who are more receptive to this venture.

I’ve visited North Star and others like it in America.  I didn’t think something like this would be possible here in the Philippines because people are too traditional and not as open minded.  But there are students out there begging and looking for this type of space and community.  We can offer them alternatives where they could thrive.

This is not for everyone and many families will not agree with this but there is a segment of the youth population who can benefit from the availability of this option.

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