Thursday, 11 June 2020

The summer with the Prague worldschoolers

We have re-launced after the Corona spring lockdown. Here are some of the things that are on offer:

1) TODDLER GROUP
We have a toddler group for libertarian families/peaceful parents on Tuesday mornings at 10 am in the Metrofarm childrens area. We learn Czech and English from each other, and our kids play together, probably with a cup of coffee in our hands as well. The aim is that the kids and adults can see their friends regularly.

2) VOYAGER ADVENTURE CLUB
We have an adventure club for the kids. Its open for children 6-12 years old (most kids are in between) and its mainly aimed at boys (but girls that want to are welcome also). Our structure is: Free play on Monday afternoons 1400-1630, where we have a bbq or picnic earlier on for those that want to. The kids do their own things like having nerf wars, looking at the animals, socialising and building things etc, they can also help out in the metrofarm community garden. On thursdays at 1400-1630 we have a structured activity . we will do experiments, and build things like crossbows, engines, other small machines and such. We will also do nature excursions to learn basic survival skills and biology. This is not a drop in type of activity, and members are expected to put in their manpower and lead workshops as well. The founding principles of the group is non violence and trust. We have regular meet ups us to strengthen connections and offer creative learning opportunities in the same time.

3) WORLDSCHOOLING CO-CAMPING
We have a week for worldschooling families in Zlin, Moravia, at a camp site, June 29th - July 6th. We will go on excursions and will have workshops arranged by the participants. This event is completely free apart from the participants paying their own costs.
4) MIDSUMMER FAIR
We arranged a Swedish midsummer fair - there will be dancing around the may pole, games such as tug wars and a "ski race", and an opportunity to try Swedish food, on the 19th of June.

Thats all for our summer programme.


Monday, 30 September 2019

Tips on regular activities for the worldschoolers this autumn




There has been a few very busy last couple of weeks. We have tried a lot of new activities, met new friends and had said good buy to those that have left.

We have some things that we will start and somethings we would like to organise for the worldschoolers:

1) On tuesdays mornings at 1030 we (me and our two year old, possibly the 7 year old) will regularly head to the childrens arts workshop in the National gallery. It costs 80 kc per person and it has been joyful everytime we have gone. We sometimes go with worldschooling friends. Its nice to go and have a coffee and chat at the cafe with the play corner afterwards, and head to Stromovka or other nearby parks. We are happy to have more families joining. It is meant for kids 1-5 years old but you will sometimes see homeschoolers with older kids. The workshop is fun for the adults too.

2) On tuesday afternoon we can really recommend the Prague navigators (boy club for boys that like survival skills etc) and the girl scouts. This is every other tuesday though the other room is available for the group that doesnt have the class. What i know there is mostly homeschooled kids and the foreign occasional foreign kid.

3) On thursday mornings I will run a toddler group for 0-5 year olds starting this thursday. We will meet in parks or indoor places. It is for foreign and czech kids. The aim is for unschooling/peaceful parents to have a regular context and meet likeminded people, and to learn czech / english (for whoever that needs it) We will go exploring, have picnics, visit the zoo, botanical gardens and other places. It is ok to bring older siblings but this is primarily for the little ones.

4) regular sports on mondays - i would like to arrange a regular sports activity on Mondays at 1 pm for homeschooled kids age 6 and up. We will meet for football, climbing, swimming, and other sports. It is ok to bring younger siblings but its primarily aimed at older kids.

5) Adventure/picnic Fridays - We would like to dedicate Fridays for regular or irregular outings to the forest making bonfires, picnics in the park, go on train journeys to explore new places, to build dens and play in the nature. Castle visits, skiing, and unusual things. This will be organised when there is enough interest.

6) Im putting together a small group for weekly arduino programming /soldering suitable from age 8 and up. If you have interest let me know

What else is within the near future?

We are arranging a:

- planetarium excursion
- pizza baking workshop
- architecture workshop
- hydrogen car building workshop
- DOX arts workshop
- in the talks with scientist to have a chemistry/physics workshop

Keep yourself informed when this is happening and hope to see you!

Friday, 26 July 2019

Report from the worldschooling / unschooling retreat in Svobodum, northern czech republic

New and old friends, play, inspiration, talks and workshops. Busy days with room for relaxation. Little adventures and luck in the misfortune. Community, recognition, initiative and new opportunities. This is the worldschooling retreat 2019 in the Czech Republic. Welcome to our story about it. 



Short about the retreat and Svoboda Učení


I have previously written about the winter visit to the Czech unschooling organization Svoboda Učenís unschooling-farm “Svobodum". Svoboda Uceni is an organization run by unschoolers for unschoolers here in the Czech Republic. They are located all over the country and organize various events, they often participate in Czech media and arrange retreats like this one. Svoboda means freedom and Učení means learning. You can see their manifesto here.


Picture from Svoboda Učení showing one of the daily meetings.

There was always someone to meet or spontaneous play when there was nothing planned

Dinner is served. Grilled meat and vegetarian options this day.

The Worldschooling retreat is the first public international event held here. 95 people from different countries participated fully or partly during the 9 days of the retreat. There were different kinds of accommodation options such as accommodation in the main building, in the bungalow, in the guest house next doors or camping.

Friends caravan looking extra epic in the sunset!

Activities


The schedule was partly arranged in advance with plenty of room for spontaneous activities. It is best to adapt to the group when you know what the group is like because you dont know in advance how the group dynamics will be. An example of a daily programme:


Child care was offered by Katka who played and organised some craft projects with the children at the speeches and workshops. Many different types of families participated in the camp. Both families that were interested in worldschooling and families that were already doing it. There were children of all ages from 0-20 approximately. The participants had different kinds of lifestyles, but the common denominators were probably the family values, the environment, health and a life without the state's involvement in the children's education. Both organizers and participants offered activities that were voluntary to participate in.

For example, there was horse riding..

..and a horse carriage taking a small group around the village.

A Swedish family brought "Kubb" - which is a swedish game where you throw wooden sticks at sticks.
One family arranged a "sock puppet" workshop.
Lainie and Miro from Project worldschool arranged a workshop to create a "worldschooling mind set".

I shared our story why we left and why homeschooling is illegal in Sweden in my speech "Leaving Sweden".

A market day for the kids in the garden where they could sell things.

Our boys loves selling so they set up their stalls almost every day,and Henry even made a meny for his shop called "Sandy witches".

Lecture with Miro and Lainie about "The ethics behind worldschooling"

Every day at 6 pm a meeting was held to reconcile the group, and to inform about the activities of the next day.

The movie Self taught


The film director, Jeremy Stuart, who makes home schooling and self-directed filming, had just released the movie "Self taught" that tells the stories of grown up unschoolers and self directed learners. It is extremely inspiring to see what the results can be like and a good way to portrait self-directed learning for those that are not so familiar with it. I wish that all teachers and politicians in Sweden would see the film.

Trying to watch the film while Edward jumps from my stomach! Apart from that it was quite relaxed with families lying on mattresses and pillows watching it projected at the ceiling and toddlers playing with Lego in the other end of the room.

Parallel hippie-festival in Wolimierz in Poland


The Unschooling farm Svobodum is just a few kilometers away from the Polish border. The area is mountaneous and there is a ski resort just 15 minutes away. And so much beautiful nature. In the small village Wolimierz there is a place in the nature where festivals are held every now and again. It's family friendly. The playgrounds are mostly made of wood by hand and painted in imaginative colors and patterns.

During the same weekend as the worldschooling retreat the hippie festival "La Consciencia colectiva" (The Collective Consciousness) was held. The retreat organizers suggested a collaboration so that we, the volunteers and some participants, arranged a discussion workshop for the curious festival attendees. We sat in a ring in a dark room with candles in the middle. All worldschoolers who wanted to attend told their stories and answered questions. Participants were not entirely unfamiliar with unschooling and worldschooling which was nice.

The campfire in front of the "station house".

An attentions-seeking Edward who dances around and on me, and then out through the entrance door with the father to the playground so that the stories can be heard.

Playground with a home-made rope slide, swings and other things to play on and inside.

There was a fun bus restaurant. Meat was banned at the festival but Paul asked around and he could buy a sausage that was not on the menu "under the table" in this place.

Permaculture, big "mushrooms", Tipi tents, caravans and a blue torso.

“Skanzen Museum” and a democratic school


There are about 15 unschooled children in the village that attend the democratic school here 3 days per week. It is not a "real" school but a kind of association for home-schooling families. The children can spend time here with each other and participate in activities. It is also an open-air museum with traditional buildings where old skills are applied. The family that runs Skanzen has renovated and arranged the land completely by themselves.

They have dug lakes, ponds, and led their drinking water from a natural spring 300 meters away. There are, among other things, permaculture, an old-fashioned mill, solar panel kitchens, a black smith workshop and a pottery workshop. During the visit we tried out different activities such as horse riding, forging in the black smiths workshop, archery and ceramics.

The main building is in the background. There is a small pond with a tiny beach.

The lovely garden attracted many different kinds of butterflies and bees.

There was a gorgeous traditional sledge in the barn.

Henry trying out forging iron for the first time in the black smiths workshop.

The cozy ceramic workshop is visible in the background.

The beautiful water lilies in the pond.

A bridge over the pond.

The mill. Thanks to the mobile phone camera I could peak into the high window.

Permaculture.

Archery.

An unexpected find on a mushroom hunt


Worldschoolers spread around in the deep forest between the Czech Republic and Poland.

There were about 10-15 families that wanted to come along and pick mushrooms. We were a small caravan of cars that went towards the deepest nearest forest a short drive away. Once there, the children and I found no edible mushrooms but we saw poisonous and disgusting fungi such as Stink horn, Phallus Impudicus. We saw a slow worm - a kind of legless lizard and wild boar poop. Our tongues and fingers were all purple from all blueberries that we ate on the way to the mushrooms we were going to pick. When it was almost time to leave the forest me, Winston and Edward walked away from the others.

We found a lethal white fly agaric and talked about it. Then we saw more white among the moss and the blueberry plants. I thought there were more fly agarics. But on closer inspection we saw this:

Winston suggested: A dinosaur?

The curious mushroom pickers stared in awe at the find.

The nature here looks just like a Swedish forest.

Edward explores the "jungle" along the roadside with one of the organizers, Ladka.

The big teeth sticking out at the front that it is a wild boar. Now there is the wild boar skull to be seen in the bungalow at Svobodum.

A blessing in disguise with joint worldschooler efforts


Early in the morning (for us 8 am is very early) I decided that we should go to Lidl in the nearby town of Frydlant to buy some breakfast items as we were running low. Henry and Edward came with me. On the way back I heard strange sounds from the wheel and stopped a couple of hundred meters  away from Lidl. Puncture! Alone and inexperienced with this with a 7 year old and a crying 1 year old (a careless lady in Lidl had crashed into him accidently with the shopping trolley) . I nursed him on the pavement until he became calm enough and started looking for the spare wheel. It was an art to move the items in the car booth and open the extra place for the spare wheel while carrying Edward on my hip.

Exciting day that could have gone really bad without worldschoolers!

A friend that had also shopped on Lidl came by to assist first. There were no tools in the car to remove the wheel. A second family came by but they had no tools either in their car. The tire workshop, which was 200 meters away, had closed for summer holidays. Some more trying and we decided it was time to go back. The kubb game was so delayed it had to be postponed, as the kubb was in the first familys car. Then a third family turned up with a 4th persons tools. Which broke! But family number 3 stayed there and helped while I went back and switched with my husband so the kids could come back to the retreat. After 6 hours the car was finally fixed and had new tires. Thanks to joint forces from the worldschoolers we were able to solve the problem and this adventure became a small anecdote in itself.

Final thoughts on the retreat


One of the meetings in the evenings. Kids grilling cookies on the fire!

I just knew a few of the participants from before, mainly friends and some core members of the Czech unschooling organization. A little more than half of the participants were Czech families. There were 3 families from Sweden, some from Germany, Luxembourg, Slovakia, USA and Poland. It was fun to get to know so many new families at the camp and get invitations, and also be able to invite back. It has been good, and more good will come out of this I think.

I gave a small talk about the situation in Sweden - why we had to leave and how we made our disadvantage an advantage. It felt good to have told the participants about it. I think there was a special respect for the situation for Swedish homeschooling families in exile as the Czech families have already experienced communism and could see some similarities.

Next year, this fantastic worldschooling camp will be held again so please note July 17-26 in your calendar. We plan to be there of course!

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Worldschooling meet up in Stromovka and walk



Welcome to a traditional worldschooling meet up in our favourite park Stromovka this wednesday 24th july at 1 pm. It is quite a big park with a couple of play grounds and ponds. We will meet at Vozovna playground at 1 pm, and let our kids play and then head towards the ponds. It will be a hot day so its a good idea to bring some spare clothes or swimming suits for the kids. There is a popular "rope boat" in the pond with the island near Slechtova restaurace.

We will stay there for a while under the willow trees. Bring a picnic if you want, or a ball or game. We will then continue with tram 12 to Mala Strana and find the narrowest street that has a traffic light, walk in kampa park and look at the Charles bridge. Our plans might change. We can also stay if everyone prefers that. So if you want to join us, please turn up in Vozovna at 1pm or call us if you are late to join us where we are. Those that want to eat lunch out can do so at Vozovna restaurant that is a great option for families as the play ground is right at the place. https://www.vozovna-stromovka.cz/

This is a great opportunity to see friends and make new ones with the worldschoolers that are staying in Prague this summer.

If you are coming please let me know by sending a message.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Canoe trip to Sazava



The worldschoolers are going canoeing on Sazava on the 22nd, we will take the train to Tynec nad Sazavou, rent canoes and then get back. Each person is responsible for their own arrangement, If you want to join us send a message!

You can book canoes here and here

Monday, 29 April 2019

Welcome to the Worldschooling family retreat 12th-21st July 2019






This summer, the very first worldschooling retreat in the Czech Republic will be held. It is based on freedom and respect with a focus on self-directed learning and is organized by the Czech unschooling organization 'Svoboda Učení' which translates to English as 'freedom to learn'. Their manifesto tells us that their unschooling philosophy is based on the non-aggression principle and respect for the child by counteracting adultism. This is something that should be obvious but isnt in our state-run culture. It is about respecting the individuals (i.e. the childs) needs over the societys. It's about practicing peaceful parenting.

Picture from www.svobodauceni.cz 

Worldschooling is about learning from and about the world. You can do it in different ways: by traveling, living in different countries, or inviting different aspects from other parts of the world into your home environment. You don't have to be present physically in another place if you don't want to or can't do it. Worldschooling can be done in different ways, such as unschooling on the move or by going to school in different countries. All worldschoolers, unschoolers, home schoolers or families who are about to take that path are welcome to the retreat.

Anyone who has not started their worldschooling journey yet will have a fantastic opportunity to get their questions answered, meet like-minded people and be inspired. There will be families attending from Sweden, Germany, Spain and different parts of the world. The main language is English.

Picture from www.svobodauceni.cz

What is it?


The format is simple. There are some fixed activities and speakers, but attendance is voluntary and there is plenty of room for spontaneous workshops and activities arranged on site by the participants. The participants of the retreat are expected to respect each other and the children as well as to tolerate differences. There will be at least one discussion event where problem solving and the non-aggression-principle are discussed.

Every camp usually have 4 community meetings that are voluntary to attend but for the community spirit it's a good idea to go to them.

A typical day may look like this:

9:00 AM - Mindfulness / Yoga

10:00 - Juggling / wood working / baking (workshop)

13:00 - Light lunch (soup, salad and homemade bread)

14:00 - Body painting with henna / making barefoot sandals / slackline workshop

17:00 - Dinner

18:30 - Daily meeting

19:00 - Lecture / discussion / group meeting / sauna / concert / disco / film

During the same period, the festival "Collective awareness" is held in Poland, a short drive away as it is close to the border. There are various kinds of workshops including Capoeira, there are concerts and food in various forms. This can be fun to make an excursion to if you want.

The final program comes out about 2 weeks before.

Picture from www.svobodauceni.cz

Confirmed speakers:


Elin Morgan - Elin runs Worldschooling Andalusia Hub in La Herradura in Spain: www.worldschoolingandalusia.com


Helena Houdová - Helena is a humanitarian Czech top model who is a trendsetter here for unschooling & worldschooling: www.instagram.com/helenahoudova/


Lucie Tatransky - Lucie has a Czech worldschooling & unschooling family and is working as a translator: www.slowtravelingworldschoolers.com


Caroline King - I will tell you about our escape from Sweden and about our worldschooling life in exile. I also run this worldschooling community in Prague.

www.denandraresan.com/

www.pragueworldschooling.blogspot.com


Lainie Liberti - Lainie left the US with her son in 2009. It was through her at a lecture in 2013 that I heard the word "Worldschooling" for the first time. https://projectworldschool.com/

What does it cost? What are the options for accommodation?


Picture from www.svobodauceni.cz 

Option A) - Indoors
You will stay in the SvobodUm unschooling farm or in the pension U Můrinek which is located 300m from SvobodUm. (the retreat is held at SvobodUm)
Adult or child over 15 years: EUR 300 (or CZK 7500)
Children 3-14 years: EUR 152 (or CZK 3800)
Children 0-2 years: free (without dinner and without bed)


The price includes 9 nights in comfortable and fully equipped rooms (with bed linen, towels, toilet paper and soap) and a dinner each day (see section below on food and cooking). Please note that due to special room sizes you can be placed together with another family.


Option B - Outdoor

You will stay in your own tent or caravan.
Adult or children over 15 years: EUR 196 (or CZK 4900)
Children 3-14 years / year: 112 EUR (or 2800 CZK)
Children 0-2 years: free (without dinner)

The price includes 9 nights , access to toilet, bathroom with shower, fully equipped kitchen (kitchen utensils, kitchen utensils, refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, sandwich grill) and other interior spaces of SvobodUm. It also includes a dinner every day.
Food and cooking

During the camp you will be able to cook in a fully equipped kitchen. In addition, there will be a joint dinner every day. You will be able to choose between a vegetarian or meat alternative.The menu plan will be shared a few weeks before.

Picture from www.svobodauceni.cz

How do I register?

You sign up HERE on this Google form.

How do I pay?

The preferred payment method is Bitcoin. You can pay directly with Bitcoin. If you are new to Bitcoin you can learn how it works, how to use it and why we prefer it at www.startusingbitcoin.com

There will be options to pay with fiat currency also, though it hasnt been announced yet. I would think that the organisation has a paypal / bank account also.

When?

The retreat is held in July 12th-21st 2019

Where and how do I get there?

SvobodUm - the unschooling farm in the Czech Republic can be found in the north of Czech republic close to the borders of Poland and Germany. It is located in the village of Jindrichovice pod Smrkem. It takes about 2-2.5 hours to drive there from Prague. If you fly to Czech Republic it is best to rent a car in Prague. It is cheap and easy to drive here. It is possible to get there by public transport as well, but it takes quite a while as there are several changes. The best thing to do is to use Google maps or Mapy.cz for navigation.

What's in the direct neighborhood?

This is a small alternative village where one can find a democratic school, many home-schooling families, mud houses and permaculture among other things. The village is next to a beautiful mountain area. There you can ski and hike in the mountains. There is a cable car that goes up to the top. (in Świeradów-Zdrój in Poland). There are only small food stores in the village itself so you shop best in Poland or on the way there. There is an opportunity to buy raw milk and eggs as well as maybe some fruit and vegetables in the village.

This is an interesting area where 3 countries meet. There is a large swimming lake with a beach in Germany within a short drive and beautiful scenery around. The stay at SvobodUm will involve some excursions and adventures in the area. We recommend that you reserve a few days to see more so you can for example explore the fantastic nature in Bohemian paradise, or a fairytale castle like Karlstejn. You are also welcome to Prague to meet us worldschoolers here after the retreat.

Hope you decide to come to the retreat. We have personally visited Svobodum and met some of the people behind Svoboda Uceni and can recommend activitities like this with them.