The Abba's Orchard

THE ABBA’S ORCHARD, A MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL: A REVIEW

To homeschool Tuz or to enroll him in a real school?

I already shared with you a homeschooling seminar we attended November of last year. The month after that, December, right after we went on a 9-day tour of Siargao (which I have yet to blog about), we enrolled Tuz in a 3-day free immersion class at The Abba’s Orchard Montessori School. I was thinking if we have the budget for it (we must make a budget for it!), why not just enroll Tuz in a Maria Montessori school? And according to my research, The Abba’s Orchard was considered by parents as one of the best in the Philippines. And after that 3-day free immersion class Tuz went to, I fell in love with the system as well…


 

A LITTLE HISTORY

The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard

 

WHERE ARE THE BRANCHES OF THE ABBA’S ORCHARD LOCATED AND HOW MUCH IS THEIR TUITION FEE?

You can check their complete list of branches here: https://www.theabbasorchard.com/campuses

Here in Mindanao, The Abba’s Orchard has two branches in Misamis Oriental. One in Bukidnon and one in Alwana Business Park, Cagayan de Oro City (which is very near where we live by the way, so that’s a major plus!) Their tuition fee is just too steep for us (around P80,000++ to P100,00++ depending if you pay cash or in staggered payments) per school year… almost the same as my college tuition fee in Ateneo de Manila University (thank God I was an academic scholar, I didn’t pay a single cent for 4 years!) And now this.

Please look at this application form below which details all the fees you need to pay if you enroll your child at The Abba’s Orchard.

The Abba's Orchard Tuition and Fees

Both Mahal and I were really surprised at how expensive preschools are nowadays!

 

WHY ENROLL YOUR CHILD IN A MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL LIKE THE ABBA’S ORCHARD?

Compared to The Abba’s Orchard’s P100k tuition fee, Ateneo de Cagayan only charges around P30,000 in tuition and fees. It’s probably around the same ballpark for other similar private Catholic schools. But then, if we can help it, we really want the best child-led educational system for Tuz and not be educated by traditional Catholic schools like we did, largely because we don’t want him to end up like me and Mahal…

Okay, that might sound a bit harsh and ungrateful considering how I got all the good-paying jobs since I graduated in 1999 and retired a millionaire in 2008 at the age of 30… (coz I got a million in retirement at that time which is quite big considering my contemporaries were still far from retiring at that time… now if I still have that money, that’s another blog post for another day hahaha) and I partly thank my Ateneo education for that. It’s just that… well… all our academic life, me and Mahal, we didn’t really know what we wanted to become when we grew up! We just wanted to get good grades, finish school, get any good-paying job, and pay our bills. Traditional schools are good, yes, good if you want to be an excellent “follower” / “employee” rising up the corporate ladder someday. But if you want to follow your bliss, live a purposeful life right from the get-go, make innovations and pave the way for the next generation, I believe a child-led learning system must be in order so the child can get that permission to follow his heart right from the start. This is why so many of our innovators today were college dropouts! Talk about the late Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and so many others today who are really happy and successful who also didn’t go the traditional educational route. We want something similar for Tuz. We want him to be a “thinking” person… a leader in his chosen field, most importantly, a passionate and happy individual. I believe, with Montessori school, Tuz will be supported in things he is naturally passionate about and not be forced to waste his time and energy studying things he doesn’t care about. That’s why between traditional schooling and homeschooling, I’d rather choose to homeschool Tuz. I am just not sure if I have the time and energy for it since teaching is not really my cup of tea (but I will make it so if the going gets tough!)

Just to give you a little bit more background, I was a Prep Class Teacher in Ateneo Grade School right after I graduated in March 1999. April of the same year, I was already doing teacher training. Classes started in June. And by August, I was already crying while checking my students’ papers inside a Starbucks branch along Katipunan, Quezon City because I hated what I was doing. But it was the first job that hired me in the midst of the Asian crisis at that time so I took the job. Despite my emotional suffering, I did well as a teacher for a year (After all, my education taught me how to be good in whatever I was doing but I was never really taught how to be happy, hence, my many emotional baggage growing up and even until now). When I resigned, the headmaster, Father Caluag, said that should I wish to come back and teach again, they will accept me again with open arms. So I guess they liked me. But I never looked back since, not until now that I am blogging about Tuz’s schooling options.

Okay, back to The Abba’s Orchard.

The Abba's Orchard

 

HOW DO YOU JOIN THE FREE 3-DAY IMMERSION CLASS AT THE ABBA’S ORCHARD?

For anyone who’s interested to have a taste at what they do inside their classes, they offer this free 3-day immersion class. Your child will be treated as a regular student and will have all the privileges students have in those 3 days. Just schedule it with them which was what we did. Just head to their website and inquire from there. Be sure to choose the Philippine campus you want to try as they have many from Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao. (https://www.theabbasorchard.com/)

 

WHAT IS IT LIKE STUDYING AT THE ABBA’S ORCHARD?

On our first day, Tuz was a bit shy… okay, a lot shy! He didn’t want to come inside the classroom! Mahal had to stay with him inside just so he will not go outside.

The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard

Tuz was there from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM. From what we saw, the children just did their own thing.  All the students in their CASA (children 3-6 years old are enrolled in CASA, their kindergarten counterpart) call play as “work”. There are so many toys and learning materials to choose from. There are 2 teachers for each class comprised of about 10-15 students (maybe even less, I didn’t really count) Most of the time, the children would just go to their own corner, own table, or be with a small group of other children and play, I mean “work” on their toys, their mini projects, their writing, etc.

The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard

There were also times when the teacher would gather the students in a circle and it would be story-telling time or singing time.

The Abba's Orchard

Tuz, as usual, was minding his own business, either sitting in his corner, or walking around the classroom,  and not really mingling much. It’s like he is in his own bubble. Lol!

It’s so different from when I was in nursery and kinder and even when I taught Prep kids before. Looking back, that was like being in the military. Everyone was in their proper places, in straight lines, doing certain movements all at the same time. Here in The Abba’s Orchard, everything looks free-flowing and I like it!

On the second day, lo and behold, Tuz woke up his dada and kept saying “Dada wake up! I want to go to school!” He repeated this non-stop until his dada woke up. Lol! When I was in nursery and kinder, I remember myself not waking up for school and my own dad giving me a towel bath in the sofa while I was still sleeping coz I didn’t want to go to school. Lol!

This time, when we got there, Tuz was already not scared to enter the classroom. He immediately talked to the other kids. Good thing all children there were speaking in English, Tuz can really relate and communicate well with them compared to mingling with kids at the farm who only speak the local dialect which Tuz couldn’t understand. Also, from what I gathered, Tuz is the youngest in his class being 3 years old. Most of his classmates were 5-6 years old. Nonetheless, he felt comfortable mingling and playing with them at this point.

The Abba's Orchard

On the third day, Tuz didn’t want to go to school anymore. He said he just wanted to stay home. Hahaha! But we still went. We brought so many snacks for him so he can share it with his classmates. Tuz had another good time.

The Abba's Orchard

On the fourth day, Tuz thought we will be going to school again, he was excited! Unfortunately, the free class immersion was only good for three days. We went to an affordable toy store instead inside Gaisano and I bought P2,500 worth of educational toys for Tuz, similar to what I saw in their classroom. It was quite a splurge to be honest because my usual budget for his toys a week is just less than P500, but when you compare it to paying P100,000 in tuition for a 3-year-old, I think those toys we bought in one day are just barya (coins), haha! He still plays with those toys up to this day and  I still buy him other toys he wants, but within our weekly budget this time. It’s still better than enrolling him this early. Talk about perspective, huh?!

 

HOMESCHOOL OR MONTESSORI?

So, Tuz is turning 4 this November. I honestly can’t decide yet between homeschooling and enrolling him in a Maria Montessori school. If money is not a concern, I would’ve enrolled him already in The Abba’s Orchard. I can already envision my schedule. I’ll bring Tuz to school. While he’s in his classes, I can just stay outside and get some work done like what I did while waiting for him at that time.

The Abba's Orchard

I can have this nice view of their pool overlooking the city below.

The Abba's Orchard

Or I can do my morning jog around their spacious campus (if they will allow me, this, I’m not sure, I should’ve asked!)

The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard The Abba's Orchard

For now, I’m still 50-50 with my decision to enroll Tuz here considering everything we need to budget for — the farm, building our own house, buying another land in the city, daily expenses, etc. On the other hand, I already have this little envelop with me where I put some money inside it every month for Tuz’s tuition fee at The Abba’s Orchard when he turns 5, and should we finally decide to enroll him here.

The Abba's Orchard

 

MY TAKEAWAY

So what do you think? Homeschooling or Montessori school? I have this funny thought right now… what if our budget won’t really be able to afford it, and what if I feel like I won’t be able to hack homeschooling unless I give up my business, there’s still that slim chance that we’d just enroll Tuz in Ateneo de Cagayan. Hahaha! After all this talk between homeschooling and Montessori, Tuz will just end up like me and Mahal. Lol!

On a more serious note, whichever way we choose, I’m really just hoping that we make the best decision for him and our family’s lifestyle when the time comes.

I’ll show you tomorrow Tuz’s videos when we were there in The Abba’s Orchard. My internet signal is quite slow here at the farm, Youtube is not working. Tomorrow, we’ll be back home in the city.

See you tomorrow!

5 thoughts on “THE ABBA’S ORCHARD, A MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL: A REVIEW

  1. GBong says:

    Hi there. As i was browsing the net, looking for a lot to buy, specifically for farming, I came across your blog since I am interested to look nearby abbas orchard here in baungon bukidnon (but to me feels like inside cdo still). Anyways, as I finished reading your blog, it seems your discernment 10 months ago is in parallel with mine now. 🙂

    May I ask what was you final decision and what made you decide? I will be glad to know some inputs as far as your experience I heard a lot about homeschooling is good but I am already 90+% for Abbas. 🙂 TIA. Stay safw with you and your family.

    Like

    • MomTraNeur says:

      Hello Gbong!

      First, let me say thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my thoughts about homeschooling. 🙂

      Has it already been 10 months? Time sure does fly especially in this time of pandemic and uncertainty. And speaking of uncertainty, I am now leaning more towards homeschooling my child because of the pandemic. I don’t think it would be safe for anyone actually, to be mingling and socializing with other people, schools included, even if ECQ has been lifted; even if DepEd just announced that the school year will resume this August, for the reason that we have no vaccines yet and COVID cases are still rising. I just want to protect my child and our family. The current health situation we are in right now adds to my reasons why I want to homeschool my son.

      Now the question I’m battling the past few weeks is whether to get a homeschool provider or to independently homeschool him. He’s still 4 years old so DepEd won’t allow him yet to get a homeschool provider, but I have already started independently homeschooling him.

      If in the near future, when our world is hopefully Covid-free, I’m still leaning towards homeschooling him. My other reason for this is that our family is nomadic. We frequently traveled pre-Covid and we still plan to do so once Covid is gone. We have a farm in Claveria, an office in CDO, a hotel and another mushroom growing area in Oslob, Cebu and we tend go back and forth these places, plus, we also vacay in other spots from time to time. We are not yet ready to stay in one place and settle. We believe that travel also gives our child another form of education that he would not get if we choose to enroll him in a formal school. So overall, for now, our decision is to homeschool him, but of course, we’re open to changes in the future should there be any compelling reason for us to do so. 🙂 How about you?

      Like

      • GBong says:

        From 90%+ to enroll my 3 kids (10, 9 & 3, girls and boy respectively) in Abbas, now it’s down to 81% hahaha. Your reasons are valid and not only practical but “safe” due to the crisis we are battling right now.

        I guess I need to investigate and do my research about homeschooling. I’ve been hearing good feedbacks about it especially for those hands-on parents. My challenge right now about Homeschooling my kids is if I can manage these 3 free souls, knowing that I will be the only one looking after them (wife is out of the country). 😦 Honestly I don’t have any idea what is happening in homeschooling per se.

        I believe you have done your homework as to which homeschool institution you want your son Tuz to enroll. Any suggestions? 🙂

        Again, I really appreaciate your help and thoughts on my queries. God bless your family and stay safe.

        Like

      • MomTraNeur says:

        Hello again GBong, I have a few things in mind that might help you.
        – Try to see on Facebook if there are Homeschooling Groups near you. Usually, these groups are headed by long-time homeschooling parents and they offer a lot of free information and advice especially for newbies like us. They are also updated about news from DepEd and how it affects the current homeschooling situation in our country. They may shed some light on your decision-making process.
        – Research further about independent homeschooling. From everything I’ve been reading and hearing about DepEd’s decision to open school soon despite the threat of the pandemic, and from what I also heard about some homeschool providers halting their businesses because of lack of issuance of permits, you might want to explore independent homeschooling. Right this very moment, I am geared towards this and my partner is with me on this decision too. Because we don’t want our son to be educated traditionally just so he can be an employee in the future, instead we want him to be a billionaire (taas ng pangarap!), we will start him early. Learning will still be child-led just like in a Montessori school setup wherein we will support whatever thing our son is interested in and from there, groom him to be an entrepreneur someday. Look at all the successful people both in past and in recent history. They became successful and rich because of pursuing their passions, right? An independent homeschooling platform, in my opinion, could best give that to our son. We will create our own curriculum for him. We wouldn’t be caring much for DepEd accreditation since our curriculum won’t be based on their curriculum. Our homeschooling will truly be independent! You own your own time. You design your own school lifestyle. It looks easy but it has its own set of challenges. I think this is how some celebrities do it with their kids too like The Kramer family (though I’m not sure if they’re fully independent). Anyway, try to research on this if you have the slightest bit interest in it. It might just fit your family lifestyle.

        Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts that came to me at 2 in the morning. Hehe.

        Let me know what you eventually decide to do. 😉

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.