19 Dec Year End Round Up
Hi Worldschoolers! Miro’ here.
2019 was an amazingly productive and international year for us, which saw us to 3 different continents and introduced us to so many amazing global citizens. As we get ready to say goodbye to this decade and welcome the next, we have an amazing opportunity to look back and reflect on the last year. Starting off in: Mexico!
Kicking off 2019 with the first Project World School event in February, we hosted our very first Intro-Retreat! With 10 amazing participants we managed to create community in just 9 short days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We took a cooking class, had some fun practicing improv, visited Chichen Itza and participated in a cacao ceremony. But most importantly, we formed lasting friendships. The gallery for the trip can be seen here.
Immediately following the Intro Trip was the first of our biannual Family Summits, also in Playa del Carmen. With 45 families in tow, we set out to share experiences and information and to strengthen our community, and in doing so we were all strengthened. While the kids were off, either playing in the water park or taking part in the kids camp activities the parents were engaging in fulfilling, meaningful conversations and workshops. At the end of each day, everybody in attendance had something to be happy about.
With our events in Mexico all wrapped up, we picked and set off for our next project, happening in April: the temporary learning community and teen retreat in Japan! With this project in the works for over a year, I was more than excited to jump into it, and needless to say the trip was a wild success thanks to our incredible local partner, Ryoko, and our equally incredible teen participants. I can’t even begin to name all of the culturally immersive, fascinating activities and events that happened, so if you’re interested in reading more about it click here. You can also see the gallery here.
In April, Lainie Liberti (my mom) was also able to discuss travel as education and introduce worldschooling with Sue Patterson’s popular Mom to Mom group: an unschooling support community.
In June, Self-Taught was released, a film in which I was one of the 6 featured self-directed adults! We screened the film twice this year, once at a worldschooling gathering in Czech Republic, and then later in the year at our Fall Summit in Granada, Spain. The feedback and response has been great. Jeremy Stewart has made yet another incredible documentary featuring the alternative education community, and for that we are grateful.
In May, PWS was featured in Kerry MacDonald’s most recent book Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. We are so happy that all of our hard work has helped to introduce the concept of ‘Worldschooling’ to the alternative education conversation, and are absolutely humbled to be helping people explore that topic.
Then in June, we hosted our first Project World School Family Retreat in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Hosted by a local community in the hills above Pisac, the trip was rich with cultural exchange and learning opportunities for parents and children alike. Our incredible intern, Wiley, wrote two great posts about the experience: one focused on details and itinerary, and the other more on philosophy and group dynamics.
Wiley, who has in some capacity, been a part of PWS since the very beginning, traveled with us from Peru to Czechia, Slovakia and Poland, where we interfaced with budding worldschooling movements, as well as laid the foundation for a future teen retreat that is currently in the works.
In Czechia, we spoke and volunteered at a worldschoolers retreat put on by Svoboda Učení in July, interacting with a group of amazing families in the Czech countryside. Wiley, ever consistent in his documentation, wrote a fantastic summary of the event which can be read here.
It was also in July that an article I had written for Everywhere Magazine was published. Titled ‘Ten Years Ago, My Mom Gave Me The World’ it talks a little about my life as a worldschooler and what it’s been like to grow up on the road.
From Czechia we traveled over to Slovakia and met up with an incredible family that we had met earlier in the year at our Mexico Summit, as well as a very small and intimate group of people interested in worldschooling and alternative education. Due to the difficult stance on education taken by the Slovakian government, this group of people feels terribly isolated and were ecstatic to explore the topic with us.
Then we spent about two weeks in Poland, visiting and familiarizing ourselves with a bunch of historic and cultural sites such as the Polish Resistance Museum in Krakow and the infamous site at Auschwitz. This was all done in preparation for an upcoming 2020 teen retreat which can be found here.
And with a quick change of pace, we traveled back to California for a personal occurrence: my Grandpa (aged 78 years old) got married! While we were there in California, we also met up with our friends Sasha and Denaire (whose son came to Japan with us earlier in the year) who we know through our involvement at HSC, and Stacey who has been a long time friend of ours.
After the festivities were over, we soon found ourselves on yet another flight, this one headed for Spain. Having arrived in Spain a few weeks ahead of the conference, we tied up all the loose ends and made our final last minute arrangements, and began to prepare for the 78 families that were imminent. Our preparations paid off; the Summit was a wild success!
And with no time for celebration, we quickly found ourselves wrapped up in yet another Intro Trip. With 12 participants of all ages, the group quickly formed a great bond, and before we even knew it the trip was over.
And *immediately* after that, we were barreling towards South East Asia for the last PWS event of the year; our teen retreat in Thailand. Though a much smaller group than our previous trips, this group also formed a very unique dynamic. With all of the participants of the retreat being teenage boys, the month we spent together was a veritable ‘Lad’s Trip’. Reid, our volunteer for this trip, wrote a summary of our adventure through Thailand which can be found here.
Finally, after a jam-packed, jet-setting year filled with connection, experience and exchange, we find ourselves settled in Hoi An, Vietnam for the month of December to do research for next year’s Fall Summit, catch up with online work and, more importantly, to catch up on some much needed relaxation.
We here at PWS hope you’ve had an eventful 2019, and that this next year will usher in even more adventures to come.