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If you prefer to keep chickens in your garden, rather than having them on your plate, if you are an energetic, nature-loving person, lead an active, healthy lifestyle and like kids, we might be a good fit for you.
Our kids (9 and 11 yrs) stay at home and learn according to their needs and interest. We interchange with other home-schooling families. This means that once a week we have 6 kids (aged 9 to 14 yrs) at our home - at other days our kids are at other families places to learn from and with each other. Twice a week we rent a gym-hall and do some sports toegther, which you'd be welcome to join in.
The kids love to play chess, create sth. on the sewing machine and/or do some woodwork, use a graphic tablet, learn some coding, do acrobatics, inline-sakitng, Vietnamese martial arts, drawing/painting, play frisbee, do Aerial Silk, play the drums, the cajon and the piano or the guitar ... - if that's sth. you could share with them: great!
I'm a trained secondary modern and grammar school teacher, but do various other things now. Adrian, my husband, is a self employed sociologist.
We are living on the edge of a forest in a big house with a big garden, 6 hens and two newly adopted cats - yet it is just a 15' ride on the bus or train to the capital of Switzerland (it's Bern, not Zurich). I'd love to do more things by myself - from sewing to knitting to repairing stuff to planting veggies - if you could help here, that'd be great as well!
We're leading an active and environmental conscious life and would like to have somebody in our house that does the same. We are vegetarians. Healthy, organic food is important to us. We don't smoke and don't want any smoking (or other drugs - except coffee, chocolate and a drink every now and then) in or around the house. We are agnostic people, but are ok with religious minded folks, as long as they are not trying to impose their religion onto us. Equal gender rights are important to us.
Your room is approx. 30 square meters, furbished in a modern way - you can see a picture of it in our photo gallery. The bathroom is shared with the kids.
We travel a lot ourselves, have done WWOOFing and workaway and would love to give others the opportunity to travel the world without feeling like a tourist and to have such great experiences we ourselves were able to have.
As for Amy's feedback below, there's something I need to add and this is the reason we do not accept any families at the moment:
Aaron and Amy have been our worst workaway experience ever - nonetheless I gave my best to write a sympathetically review.
Amy's answer to my review quite contrary is unjust, ungrateful an inaccurate.
Amy’s and Aarons profile suggests that they are nature loving outdoor people. This made us believe they are a good fit.
I was very surprised finding out that they do not care a bit about nature, about their natural surroundings and bio diversity. At home, they have plastic lawn, they told us, since this is less work and you do not get nasty ants or bees. Right in front of our garden door there is a forest. Not once did they go there.
We would have been more than happy trying out some dishes of their “varied diet“. That is what we usually do with our working guests. We take turns in preparing meals and doing the grocery shopping (while we always pay for the shopping). So far, this worked out pretty well. However, they used the kitchen only for eating - and Amy also for doing her nails.
I sent Amy shopping twice and asked her to buy whatever she needs for preparing dinner plus what is on the shopping list I wrote. I gave her our credit card to pay with. She did not even bring half of the things on the shopping list nor anything else. Aaron then took over, got some plastified sandwiches and two cans of baked beans.
We as a family try to reduce waste wherever we can and not to produce any food waste at all.
With them being our guests, the waste amount tripled.
We buy well-chosen organic food and this food is valuable to us. Quality rather than quantity. Seeing how careless they treat precious food was hard for us to take.
I asked them to give their food waste to the chickens or at least throw it on to the compost. They just carelessly throw it into the bin.
They did not eat cooked potatoes with cheese.
They did not like any of the Swiss cheese we offered; only cheddar could do.
They did not like vegetarian Tortillas.
They did not eat scrambled eggs with veggies.
They did not like veggies au gratin.
They did not even eat the Swiss Style sausage that I prepared for them – despite our household being a vegetarian one.
They preferred junk food from Mc Drive.
We took them out for dinner twice and invited them. Once we went to a newly opened Ethiopian restaurant. They ordered three menus with meat and left most of it on the plates.
We took them out in the evening twice and invited them. Once to a friend's place and concert, once Adrian took Aaron to a local pub.
I invited them out to Ballenberg, the DIY Swiss open-air museum, showing the ancient Swiss craft.
Adrian went to Lauterbrunnen with them and showed them around.
When it was raining, I took their kids to an indoor trampoline place and had an eye on them, while Aaron and Amy were having a drink.
I offered them to come along to a local climbing hall and taught them how to climb and belay.
I took them to a skating ramp and our kids lent them their skateboards and scooters.
I took them to a public pool.
On their last Sunday I took Amy and the kids to a Brunch, paid their drinks, later took them to the local zoo, paid their kids ice cream and then to a theater play, where I paid Amy's beer and her kids cake - because Aaron did not allow her to spend any more money that day, she said.
Aaron is a gifted carpenter. No doubt about that. He made the tree house his thing. "There's my name on it" was what he repeatedly said, when he took photos of it to put on his website or social media.
However, we wanted this tree house to be a learning project for the kids. A project that they could have a hand on as well. We wanted them to be involved in the planning and building process. I told Aaron, but he did not (want to?) understand.
I the end Aaron told us he ran out of money. He suggested he could stay an additional 2,5 days to get the tree house finished and begged us, paying him a loan since he and his family are really broke. We felt pity and agreed, since it was only him staying, while his family flew back home. We paid him 800 Euros.
When they arrived we had their beds made and put a nice chocolate praline on each of their cushions. When they left, they did not even undo their beds. It took us 4 hours to clean their room after Aaron had left.
Their kids had the choice of sleeping upstairs and share a room with our kids. It was their decision to stay downstairs with their parents. Since our kids attend a learning group with other home schooled kids, they need to get up in the morning. Charly and Evie contrary like to stay up late and wake up late.
Amy only started home schooling in January 2019 and probably lacks experience here. We have been doing it for almost 1,5 years now. To us it is clear that home schooling does not mean staying in bed until lunchtime and then parking the kids in front of a screen until they fall asleep again.
We have a no screens at the dining table rule. Amy once during lunch asked her daughter Evie to put down her mobile, while Amy herself was busy looking on hers. Evie got angry, told Amy off and was shouting at her.
You become what you see. It is within your hands whether your kids are looking up to the world or down on their phones.
I started writing a detailed plan for their second week at our home. I never before had to do that with working guests.
Luckily, I am capable of functioning like a well-oiled machine - otherwise I would not have been able to cope with Amy and her family in our house. However I hope I don't have to cope with a similar experience ever again.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
You can learn a lot about home-schooling/unschooling and learning in general. You can get an insight on how to manage a family, how to maintain a house and a garden, how to keep chickens, how to encourage free thinking. You can learn German, improve your English by using it (I'm an English teacher), Aerial Acrobatics, climbing, skiing, inline-sakting and/or cross country skating if you want to and how to be an activist (if you not already are one yourself).
In general we ask you to share your passion and culture with us and foremost you're encouraged to work towards a relationship with our kids. Do things with them in either French or English, so that they can pick up the language. They are aged 9 and 11 years.
Anything you are good at - show it to them!
I won't write an exact plan with tasks for you, neither am I planing to track the hours you're working with us - I do expect self reliance.
We take turns in preparing dinner and lunch.
German, English, French
You will have your own room in our house or (see picture) - if preferred - you can camp in the garden or sleep in the tree house. The bathroom is shared with the kids.
public transport nearby - city (Bern), mountains, rivers, lakes and: THE ALPS
we can lend you a bicycle, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, Aerial-Hoop, Aerial Silk and/or skiing equipmnet
absolutely NO SMOKING and no drugs in our house!
We are Flexitarians but mostly eat vegetarian.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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