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2013 Unschooling Retreat in Peru

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2013 Unschooling Retreat in Peru

It is becoming more popular for families to take advantage of travel as a time to relax but also to learn. When I discovered a new educational tour in Peru I asked Lainie Liberti, who also runs the popular travel site RaisingMiro, to contribute a guest post to explain her program.

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 archeology, history, ethnobotany, sacred plants and medicines, agriculture, arts and music, sustainability, Andean mysticism and so much more.

The retreat is planned for June 2013 in Peru, and welcomes people of all ages from a variety of schooling methods to participate.

What is Unschooling?
Unschooling, which is also known as interest driven learning, child-led education, natural-learning or self-directed learning, is a philosophy applied to education and is gaining traction among families and educators across the globe. The main concept behind “unschooling” is that the “learner” takes primary responsibility for what they focus on based on their own individual interests instead of following a planned curriculum. Under unschooling education, parents act as "facilitators" and may provide a wide-range of resources to their children, which allow the learner to follow their interests.

Is Project Unschool Peru 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” in Peru. 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.

Creating a Learning Community in Peru
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.  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.

Retreat Topics
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
  • Sustainability
  • Music of the Andes
  • Ethnobotany
  • Permaculture
  • Artisan traditions
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Archeology
  • Humanity and consciousness
  • Andean mysticism
Activities include:
  • Yoga
  • Nature hikes
  • Improv theater
  • Campfires
  • Documentaries
  • Lectures
  • Discussion groups
  • Partaking in traditional Andean ceremonies
  • Visiting museums, ancient ruins and sacred sites
  • 5-day trek to Machu Picchu

Are only those who are homeschooled or unschooled invited to participate?
The Project Unschool Peru retreat is designed for English speaking teens and adults from any country, all of whom should be comfortable interacting within a mixed age group. Traditionally schooled, home-schooled, world-schooled or unschooled teens will be considered to participate. However the retreat takes place during the school year, June 2nd through the 30th, so that may be a consideration for traditionally schooled teens.

Retreat Facts
The retreat takes place in Peru's Sacred Valley from June 2 to 30th, 2013. It is based out of Urubamba, a town an hour outside of Cusco. Participants will travel throughout the Sacred Valley on various learning excursions during the four week retreat. The last week, the group will participate in a  5-day guided trek to Machu Picchu.

The total cost for the retreat is $3750 USD. The retreat cost covers flights to and from Lima and 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.

Staff and Inspiration

Project Unschool Peru was founded by a traveling mother and son duo whose three and half years of travels led them to Peru's Sacred Valley. In their quest to explore the world and spend time together, Lainie and Miro have traveled through many countries before becoming inspired to launch Project Unschool Peru. Their vision is to offer others a chance to explore and learn in a supportive environment in one of the world's most beautiful countries, as they have on their journey.

Assembled for the Project Unschool retreat are a talented group of facilitators. Each staff member is bringing his or her own unique blend of talents to the retreat, focused within a specific field. There is a seasoned yoga instructor, a theater improv teacher, a teen leader, a professional hiking guide, an ethnobotanist, and teen mentor. In addition, the retreat has engaged the guidance of one of the leading voices within the “radical unschooling” movement, Dayna Martin, to advise on all matters relating to natural learning.

You can find out more about Project Unschool Peru on its website or Facebook page.

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