Abot Tala’s approach is pretty simple.
We’ve let go of the one-size-fits-all approach. Abot Tala aims to re-power learners through personalized classes and holistic mentoring so they can pursue their purpose with intention.
Mentoring relationships are at the heart of Abot Tala. Each teen is matched with one of the full-time mentors, 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.
Mentors also help connect young people to the learning opportunities at Abot Tala, 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.
Parents usually have questions like, “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? Is a gap year a good idea?” Parents get all the help and support they need with just a phone call or email to their teen’s mentor.
The community at Abot Tala aims to be one of the highlights for our teen members. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community where you are welcomed, have friends, can learn about things you are interested in, and have time to laugh, play, and enjoy yourself?
We intentionally keep the community small, no more than 40 at capacity. We want everyone’s voice to matter and not feel like they are just a cog in a machine.
While not perfect, we work really hard to keep the 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’ll find in the Abot Tala community can be the most valuable experience they have.
Abot Tala operates online during the community quarantine, five days a week, from 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Many people are astounded by the huge number of opportunities there are for young people to learn independently of the traditional school system. Abot Tala connects the teens to this world of possibility.
The classes and activities at Abot Tala cover a whole range of interests – everything from traditional subjects like chemistry and writing to anything the members and mentors can imagine. Our full-time mentors lead some of the classes, but many of the learning opportunities at Abot Tala are offered by our guest mentors and facilitators from various fields. This allows us to provide a huge diversity of offerings based on our members’ and mentors’ passions.
Since Abot Tala is a small community, there are many leadership opportunities. Our members can organize trips, lead meetings and classes, and take on roles in the community.
Members of Abot Tala who want to go on to University can be registered homeschoolers through our partner homeschool support, Gopala Learning Haven, which has been helping homeschoolers since 2008. Homeschooling is legal in the Philippines and the Department of Education encourages families to work with homeschool providers. The other alternative is taking DepEd’s PEP Test but this is only till Grade 10. Teens can also register under the ALS program of DepEd, which was really designed for unschoolers.
Abot Tala and Gopala work hand in hand so that the members can fulfill the requirements needed for them to go on to college or the next stage in their life. By fulfilling the DepEd requirements through the help and guidance of Gopala, the homeschooler-Abot Tala member can end up with a Senior High Diploma, report card, and transcript that can be used in their application to universities here and abroad.
If families would like to use another Homeschool Provider or Support, Abot Tala is also willing and open to working with any Homeschool Provider or Support System. Our members range from homeschoolers with a curriculum (online or otherwise) to independent unschoolers who make their own curriculum.
Teens who choose to self-direct their own education can live empowered and interesting lives, whether it is attending college or university, running their own business, working at their first full-time job, or traveling and volunteering somewhere else in the world.
Young people who learn how to learn, who develop interests and passions, who are treated with respect and treat others accordingly, can make things happen for themselves.
Respect + autonomy + guidance + support = the freedom and the ability to create the future of your choice.