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April 26, 2012

Philippines: Homeschoolers are Catalysts in Nation-Building

By Edric Mendoza and Alyssa Chua

3rd Homeschool Conference (October 30, 2010)

After being assigned by our beloved Chris Klicka (the late Senior Counsel and Director of State and International Relations at HSLDA) to set up a national organization in 2008, the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) was established in 2009, and has since focused on events that bring the Filipino homeschoolers-at-large together. It is led by a pool of homeschool leaders and pioneers in the Philippines, who have volunteered and helped mount several key events thus far. The first event was an outdoor event—Homeschool United Family Fun Day—which was attended by close to 300 people from different homeschool support groups. After this event, HAPI was formally launched during the third Philippine Homeschool Conference in October 2010. HAPI has now become the lead organizer behind this annual Filipino conference. Close to 500 people attended the 2010 event. In 2011, HAPI invited all the known Filipino homeschool leaders to come together, and those who attended and shared the vision have since continued to mobilize in support and pursuit of the organization’s mission & vision:

Mission: To be a catalyst in nation-building, by advancing home education and unifying and empowering home educators across the Philippines.

Vision: HAPI envisions a movement of millions of transformed families that are compassionate, authentic, and competent, creating positive change in their communities and the nation as a whole.

This new group of dedicated volunteer has recently mounted three key events that we would like to share with you. Note that the write-up below is actually done by a recent addition to HAPI—homeschool graduate Alyssa Chua, fresh out of college:

1st Homeschool Kids Fair (May 21, 2011)

HAPI organized the very first Homeschool Kids Fair last May 21, 2011. Families from a number of different support groups came to join the event. The program was divided into three parts and an estimated 75 kids participated.

During the first part of the program, parents and children roamed around the exhibit hall, where they were able to view the children’s displays and purchase the food and jewelry that were for sale. Many kids brought their school projects and arts and crafts that they had done throughout the year to exhibit. A couple of kids displayed their talent in needlework through their cross-stitch samplers and amigurmi displays. Others displayed creative, colorful origami, complete with free lessons for those who wanted to learn the art of paper-folding. There were booths that displayed photography, paintings, and sketches. There was even a miniature rocket made by an aspiring scientist and a few miniature houses (complete with miniature furniture) made from recycled materials. One child brought her garden project—with pictures and sketches of the plants that would soon be growing. Several children brought portfolios of some research that they had done, science experiments, and school projects.

During the second part of the event, the children showcased their talents in performing arts. Some kids sang and others danced. There were also kids who played musical instruments, varying from the violin to the flute to the guitar. Just before the event ended, the winners of special prizes were announced, and certificates were given to every child who participated.

Swordfight! Bible Challenge (October 22, 2011)

Contestants for Swordfight! Bible Challenge

HAPI came up with the idea of a Bible fest to encourage and challenge the homeschooling children and parents to sharpen themselves in the areas of God’s word. This was so each one would become more active and purposeful in reading and studying the Scriptures, as a way to actively apply Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6. The Swordfight! Bible Challenge was held for the very first time in October 2011, with parents and children from different groups as eager participants.

The families were divided into six groups. Each group was assigned to a station where volunteers (homeschooling parents and homeschool graduates)

Contestants for Swordfight! Bible Challenge

officiated the games to ensure a smooth program flow. The activities were a wide range of puzzles, question-and-answer problems, fill-in-the blanks challenges, and mind-wracking trivia that covered many events, topics, verses, and characters all the way from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

The program ended with a few musical performances from the participating homeschool groups. Several kids recited passages from the Bible and encouraged everyone else to do the same.

Special prizes were given and early birds were awarded. Items were raffled off, such as Bibles with a sword etched out on the front cover, books on character-building, puzzles for kids, evangelistic tool kits, and more. Each child who participated received a certificate, together with a sword-shaped ballpoint pen as a memorabilia.

HAPI Media Launch (March 10, 2012)

Contestants for Swordfight! Bible Challenge

Several weeks ago, HAPI held their very first media launch during an event called “Expo Kid” at a high-end mall called Rockwell. Homeschooling parents and children came in support of the event and helped to entertain visitors to our booth at the exhibition. Several key media groups were there as well.

The purpose of the media launch was to promote the upcoming Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012. This will be the fourth national conference and is expected to be the biggest ever, targeting approximately 3,000 attendees. With the help of this press launch, HAPI expects a more effective reach of both (a) parents interested in homeschooling and (b) existing homeschool parents, thus helping to achieve the target number of attendees.

Edric Mendoza is Managing Director of TMA Homeschool and Alyssa Chua, a homeschool graduate, is Operations Officer of HAPI, the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands.

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Philippines page.