Dear RTS Families,
May is here and may I just say how delightful it feels to be in this season of springtime at Rock Tree Sky.
As of late there has been a sense that our community has been growing closer during these months of learning together; it feels more familial now. Connections with one another have deepened and still in our eighth month of this RTS year we are still finding space to grow new friendships.
Reflecting on April and looking towards May, this monthly messenger includes calendar updates, reflections and photographs, a link to an interview with RTS learner Grae Valerio, and a selection fromKingdom of Childhood: Growing Up at Sudbury Valley School.
Asalways, Be Well and Stay Curious.
With love from,
Rock Tree Sky Staff
Looking Toward May:
Saturday May 11th: 10am-12pm Parent Discussion Group at Summit School Campus. Please join us to engage in a conversation during which we may vision together about what we want for the future of out Rock Tree Sky Community.
Friday May 17th:Field Trip to the Santa Barbara Art Museum. More details to come!
Wednesday May 22nd - Friday May 24th: Rock Tree Sky Family Campout at Carpinteria State Beach. Join us for two nights and three days of camping at the beach. Stay tuned for more details to come via email.
**State testing will be occurring on campus during the week of May 13th in the library. Pleasecheck in with your specific homeschool teacheras to the location and date of your child's testing**
Reflections on April:
Although our time at RTS in April was cut a week short due to Spring Break, April was certainly not short on experiences and activity for our Rock Tree Sky learners.
For starters, several of our learners did get to enjoy the opportunity to be together on an overnight camping trip in the Carrizo Plain. The camping trip was hosted by Casey. For four days and three nights learners got to hike, search for wildlife, and experience the beauty of this superbloom year.
Back at RTS Chrissy and Jacklyn have been generating engagement around a communal weaving project with a large peg loom built by Spence. On any given day, the loom is set up outside where learners are allowed to join in the rhythmic and patient work of weaving a colorful tapestry.
Also in the realm of textile arts, Spence was able to get our silk screen set up to print the Rock Tree Sky logo on shirts. Learners were able to try out the printing process and have been rocking our new RTS swag.
There has also been a great deal of energy around insect and animal life on campus. Casey's interest for bug collecting has inspired several of our learners to engage in this passtime - even baby Juna has spent many hours searching for bugs on campus. Jim is excited about the bees that are now occupying a box hive behind out building. And Natasha has been collecting and incubating chicken eggs with some of her farm chore enthusiasts. These learners have been taking care to turn the chicken eggs daily and are eagerly awaiting the emergence of the chicks.
Off campus one Saturday several of our learners who have been practicing music and singing participated in a youth musical performance at Ojai community space Greater Goods. And on campus many learners practice playing and composing music daily.
In April the art room was buzzing as usual with learners creating a variety of projects from miniature figures, to digital drawings, watercolor and oil paintings, and sewing garments and bags.
And outside of the art room Kim has been offering weekly baking workshops that consistently inspire delight amongst our learners.
Creek walks were also an exciting offering in April with the weather finally feeling warm enough for learners to enjoy wading, swimming, and splashing in the water.
Quotes from the Kids: Through the Eyes of a Kid
The following link is to the fifth episode of a podcast featuring interviews of Rock Tree Sky learners contemplating and describing their educational journeys.
This episode features the voice of RTS Learner Grae Valerio and the musical stylings of RTS Teen Carter Young.
Parent Education:Kingdom of Childhood: Growing Up at Sudbury Valley School (1994)
For this month's Parent Education piece I have provided an excerpt fromKingdom of Childhood which is a collected stories written by graduates of the Sudbury Valley School, a democratic free school located in Framingham Ma founded in 1968. This book is made up of 31 accounts of authentic experiences by individuals who grew up attending SVS in the 1970's and 80's. I find it inspiring to read these accounts from folks who were reared in a similar education setting that we provide at Rock Tree Sky today. I also feel grateful for these stories as they serve as evidence that free-schooling and self-directed education is not a new thing - it has history in this country and around the globe.