Project Unschool Peru is a life-changing event designed to inspire teens and families who wish to experience the magic of Peru's Sacred Valley during a 4-week “natural learning” retreat. In this temporary learning-community. Participants follow their own interests individually and as a group, focusing on archaeology, history, ethnobotany, sacred plants and medicines, agriculture, arts and music, sustainability, Andean mysticism and so much more.
Is this a retreat or an educational gathering?Project Unschool Peru is a retreat that centers around the magic of co-creation of a “learning community” and embodies the spirit of “unschooling”. Therefore it is a retreat and an educational gathering. Never knowing exactly what will happen, “discovery” holds the key, resulting in knowledge gained and lessons learned. Project Unschool Peru participants learn from the environment and teach (as well as mentor) one another. Participants give as much as they receive, experiencing the greatest gift: the chance to learn, co-create, and experience the mysteries of Peru.
What inspired this retreat?Project Unschool Peru was born from an inspired idea between me (an unschooling mom) and my unschooled teenaged son, Miro. Over the last four years, my son and I have transitioned into a unique lifestyle, one in which we do not have a permanent home, are not tied to any set schedule, and do not follow any formal learning curriculum. We travel based on our inspiration and learn naturally along the way. Both my son and I have transformed the world into our classroom, based on our individual interests and collective experiences. Peru is a special place for us. Miro and I have both fallen in love with the country's unique offerings. Together, we have been inspired to share Peru's unique history, archeological sites, models of sustainability, expressive arts, and the deep mysticism contained in the traditions, as our lives have become enriched and forever changed. We want to bring these experiences to an engaged group of interested learners, who support one another as we reflect on our own relationship to the surrounding culture. It's a powerful invitation to look at our own humanity and learn about others’.
What is a temporary learning community?A learning community is a group of people who share common emotions, values or beliefs, and are actively engaged in learning together, both from each other and through collective experiences. The community is temporary in the sense that it will exist in a certain point in time and relies on all of its participants to come together and breathe life into it. As with other temporary communities such as Burning Man, the magic happens at a singular point in time but the effects last for a lifetime. Combining the concepts behind a learning community and the deliberateness of being temporary, the two create an intentional experience. Combined with the richness of Peru's history, culture, traditions and mysteries, a dynamic learning-community promises to support and fulfill the needs of each of its participants and creates a strong learning connection to the environment.
Four weeks is a lot to some people – can you explain why so long?We have designed a retreat that requires the entire four weeks to experience. Each week we introduce new subjects that build upon previous learnings. There are practical reasons as well. Not only are the participants traveling to high altitudes that require time to properly acclimatize, we want to make sure our participants have time to fully immerse themselves into the culture and develop relationships within the learning community.
What might people expect to take away from this experience?The Project Unschool Peru organizers have designed general themes for each of the four weeks of the retreat, building upon the previous week to create a complete body of participatory learning, in relationship to Peru's unique culture. The topics explored are designed to personally challenge each participant through their own investigation, interpretation and hands on discovery and create relevance to their own lives. A selection of the themes explored are:
- Peruvian cooking
- Music of the Andes
- Artisan traditions
- Humanity and consciousness
- Andean mysticism
- Nature hikes
- Improv theater
- Discussion groups
- Partaking in traditional Andean ceremonies
- Visiting museums, ancient ruins and sacred sites
- 5-day trek to Machu Picchu
What is the cost, and what does that include?The total cost for the retreat is $3750 USD. The retreat cost covers flights to and from Lima > Cusco, four weeks of accommodations, three meals a day, six days per week. Also included are required tourist tickets that include admission fees to the archeological sites throughout the Sacred Valley, museum admissions and all ground transportation. Tuition covers all talks, guest lecturers, documentary screenings, improv theater classes, yoga classes, crafts, music, and cooking workshops. Also included in the price are daily hikes (led by a professional guide), guided meditations, and some surprise guests and events. Finally, participants will enjoy a five-day guided trek to Machu Picchu with all amenities covered. Finally, fun, learning, community, and individual transformations are all provided at no additional cost. What are your criteria for accepting people into the program? We are looking for people who are familiar with the principles of natural learning, who are open-minded and wish to experience learning as a community, as well as to enjoy the sights, sound and flavors of Peru. We require participation first and foremost. The retreat is designed for solo participating teens from ages 13-19, adults of any age, families of any formation, and couples.
Do you only accept kids who are currently homeschooled or unschooled?We are open to all kinds of schooled, home-schooled, world-schooled or unschooled teens. However the retreat does take place during the traditional school year, June 2nd through the 30th, so parents should keep this in mind. We apply the principles of “radical unschooling.” If a participant is not familiar with those philosophies, we would ask that they become familiar with it before the retreat. In essence, we want teens who are looking for the chance to take responsibility for their own experience, and that doesn't depend on the style of their educational background. Although the retreat is designed with many activity choices, participants don't have to choose things that don’t interest them, which is part of the unschooling principles of empowerment. We encourage all the teen participants to make their own choice about the experience they wish to have. But whether the teen is unschooled, homeschooled, or taught by traditional methods, we hope each person comes to the retreat with a desire to participate in as many things that interest them. We also hope participants will discover new interests, and believe that they will become inspired to see the world through new eyes!
What excites you most about this project?We are so excited to share the magic of Peru and its cultures and traditions within the context of a powerful learning experience. Because Project Unschool Peru centers around the magic of co-creation and embodies the spirit of a learning community, one can not predict what will be discovered, uncovered, or experienced. What excites us most is our commitment to being open to all the retreat has to offer, with the intention to experience the grandest version of ourselves. To experience that, especially in a community setting, will be pure magic. We have been dreaming of this retreat for almost a year and seeing it come to fruition is our dream.
How do interested people contact you, and what are the steps they have to take to apply?Our retreat web site is ProjectUnschoolPeru.com. Here you can find all information for the application process, payments, retreat details, background, and contributors. You can also register online. We guarantee this will be a once and a lifetime experience and would love very much if you joined us. The retreat takes place June 2- June 30th, 2013
LinksProject Unschool Peru: http://ProjectUnschoolPeru.com
email: firstname.lastname@example.org facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectUnschoolPeru
Lainie & Miro's Web site: Raising Miro on the Road of Life: http://www.raisingmiro.com