Since homeschooling is a fairly developed field in the Philippines, there are a number of co-ops, providers, activity and field trip organizers, enrichment programs, sports, academic and non-academic options for homeschooling families to choose from particularly in the Metro Manila area. There is also the Gopala Learning Haven in Silang, Cavite which offers a unique proposition: a lush, green sanctuary for homeschoolers where free-range kids can play to their hearts content, hike through a forest, go down a steep ravine hanging on a rope to reach the stream, jump on the trampoline, bike around, read books, do arts and crafts, learn from people of all ages, swing from a vine, climb trees, enjoy the outdoors as well as indoor spaces too.
Initiated by Laksmi Maluya, in it’s previous life, it was a play center located within a building in the town of Silang. When Laksmi found Navadwip farm, it was the ideal opportunity to spread the wings of her homeschooling dreams. What this learning haven could be is limitless exactly like the children it seeks to help nurture. Parents are also very much welcome to contribute their talents, skills and interests to this growing community.
If this concept seems new and quite radical to some, there are models elsewhere in the world like the Macomber Center in Framingham, Massachusetts that have been existence for years, serving local homeschoolers, and in their own words, this is what they are about:
Our members pursue interests in their own way and at their own pace, and are free to explore the world in a way that they find meaningful.
We have no formal curriculum or guidelines for achievement. Instead, we trust that children will thrive (and learn!) when given time and freedom to play and explore within a community of other young people, with support from knowledgable, helpful adults. We are not a school. All of our members are registered as homeschoolers in their respective towns, and our member families represent a wide range of out-of-school approaches to education.
It’s comforting to know that we also have this kind of option in our own homeland.