Friday, 28 December 2018

A czech unschooling farm and lots of snow!

Även på svenska HÄR

Generally speaking, I think people here in the Czech Republic are quite proactive. It's life and movement amongst the people. They do things so things happen. The unschooling movement is active and visible in the media. The czech unschoolers even bought a farm far out at the countryside where they arrange camps and activities for them. The farm Svobodum is located in the village Jindřichovice pod Smrkem. It is far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A long time ago, after World War II, 90% of the people who were Germans were forced to move from the country to Germany. Many communities were emptied and new people moved in. Or the houses were left to their decay. Those who moved in are therefore mostly newcomers. Many alternative people go there to get away and to get more freedom. In Jindřichovice pod Smrkem you can live off-grid and outside of the system without the state meddling with your life so much. There are not so many municipal workers in the municipality. If I remember correctly it was only 5!

On the way there we went via Jizerské hory, which is a mountain area near Liberec. We wanted to check out a ski resort called Severák that should be really child-friendly. There was a great tobogganing hill and a cozy pub there.

The childrens slope in Severák. Notice the unusual christian cross!

Edward in a baby toboggan for the first time. There were really cute wooden houses in the villages here. Stripey in two colours. They reminded me of traditional Swedish houses.

Finally snow!

Henry found the longest icicle. And a dug down pineapple. That he dug down once again later in Jindřichovice pod Smrkem.

The big toboggan slope.

We moved on to the unschooling farm. There were icy roads through something that felt as far far away in the Czech Republic - as far as one could get. Far away from modern civilization and the long claws of the state.

The Svobodum-farm is 100% private and belongs to the unschooling-organisation Svoboda Uceni.

We were welcomed by the friendly unschooling Kandler-family who were looking after the community-house. They showed us around there and in the village. We walked to a farm to buy raw milk. And pulled our sledges on the icy roads between the stone houses. The father, Michal, told about the other alternative families living in the village. There was a democratic school, which is officially a kind of association, where the children went 3 days a week. At regular intervals, camps are organized, especially for unschooling beginners, who can take the opportunity to get questions answered and meet like-minded people there. Everyone is welcome. There were several families who were unschooled or home schooled in the village and around. There were families who built their own houses of adobe clay and natural materials so workshops were sometimes held on natural construction on the camps as well.

A walk in the village Jindřichovice pod Smrkem with the Kandler family to buy milk.

They told us that an 80-year-old lady lived alone in this cute mushroom-like house built in "Adobe" clay.

On the way back to the farm.

The village is right next to the Polish border where there are high mountains. We went to Świeradów-Zdrój which has a ski slope and cable car. Unfortunately, the slope was closed but the children took the opportunity to go tobogganing. Then our family took the cable car to the top to see what was there. It was clear weather in the morning but when we got to the top we also came into a cloud world. It was quite white. The branches of the spruce trees were snowy and there was no wind. I pulled Henry on the toboggan to the highest point where there was a mobile mast. We got no view but I left a message on the fence then Henry went down the hill to the cable car.

View from the cable car on the way to the top.

Edward had a blast at the cable car.

There was so much snow and so cold that it was only me and Henry who dared to go exploring

Can you see what I've written on the fence?

Henry in the winter landscape. When it is not cloudy you can see many miles away.

The trees could barely hold up the snow!

The Svobodum farm is run by the unschooling organization Svoboda Učení. Their manifesto can be read here. In summary, their view is based on the respect and trust in the child, to follow the non-aggression principle, and that the state should be separate from education.

This summer, a worldschooling camp is held in English on the same farm. I will post more information about the camp which will be held 12th to 21st July 2019.

We started building at 1 pm but we didntt know that it would be an advanced building session then. The plan was to make a snowman and continue the journey. But the balls were too big so we put them in a ring instead. And continued to build after lunch.

Hejnice-church and the monastery.

Fantastic paintings inside the Hejnice-church.

Hejnice was incredibly beautiful even though it was cloudy. The mountains looked much bigger in reality. The river had clear water. It was quiet and peaceful.

Me and Edward warmed up at the pastry shop. Edward had a kind of crispy roll and I ordered a dick-shaped cake called "špička". It wasn't good. Maybe because it tasted too sweet and a white-yellow liquid dripped out from the top! 

It was not just a snow castle but it was adorned too!

Finally, the castle was completed. We had to finish building because it was too dark and cold.

A short film with pictures and videos!