I hope this newsletter finds everyone well. We have arrived at the beginning of another month together on our self-directed learning journeys with excitement mounting for springtime, and delight in all that February has provided.
In this letter you will find calendar items for March, reflections and photos from the month of February, and a link to an excerpt from Grace Llewellyn's infamous Teenage Liberation Handbook that offers some intriguing ideas about teenage rites-of-passage and the role schools might play in hindering teenage vision.
As always Be Well and Stay Curious,
With love from the RTS Staff
Looking Towards March
Saturday March 12th: 10am-12pm Parent Dialogue and Potluck
On Saturday morning join Spence on campus for a lively parent discussion group that is promised to be "thought provoking."
Snacks are welcome for a potluck lunch to follow the dialogue.
Childcare will be provided.
Friday March 25th: 12pm Dismissal, Staff In-Service
March 28-April 8: RTS is Closed for Spring Break
Reflections on February:
February was a heartfelt month at Rock Tree Sky. Attendance was back up, new learners started up, and friendships continued to expand. One of the greatest gifts of the RTS community is the friendliness of our learners and this past moth really exemplified how open so many of our learners are to making new friends, including others, and and merging friend groups. It is a gratifying thing as a mentor to hear young people inviting others to play and sharing reflections of making new friends.
Perhaps the most collaborative and engaging activity of the month was the RTS Valentine Post Office. "I loved that," says Penelope LoRusso. In the weeks that preceded Valentine's Day, learners of all ages could be found in the Imagination Zone, decorating Valentine collection envelopes, and making Valentines for friends. I observed several learners even making Valentines for kids they didn't know in order so that nobody felt left out from the Valentine exchange.
It was also a delight to see so many parents engaged around the Valentine making table during the Parent Maker Night on February 11th. Parent Maker Night is a classic community bonding event for the grown ups of Rock Tree Sky. Many parents came out this year to enjoy such activities as moon gazing through Jim's telescope, soap making with Casey, water color painting and collage with Vera, whittling with Spence, and Valentine making with Chrissy and Ella. Of course the social aspect of the evening and the opportunity to make connections was the true highlight of the night. Thank you to all who came!
Other activities that our learners enjoyed this month included balloon painting with Kim, observing solar flares by safely gazing at the sun through Jim's solar telescope, spending time with the baby goats and noticing their growth, making vegetarian sushi during cooking class with Wadi, planting flowers with Farmer Kelly in the front garden, attending a field trip to the workspace of the owners of Gara Skincare to learn about distillation and hydrosol making with Chrissy, harvesting catnip from our garden to make cat toys, being visited by local musicians who shared the joys of the banjo, cultivating harvesting, cooking, and eating oyster mushrooms grown outside of the RTS Mushroom House, and so much more.
We are looking forward to what March has in store!
Parent Education: Imagining Possibilities for a Teenage Liberation
If you are not familiar with the Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education I highly recommend this resource. This is the book that inspired our own Natasha Efross to rise up out of high school, and is the book that Ken Danford keeps several copies of at North Star Teens (the flagship program of the Liberated Learners Network).
This piece of reading is especially potent for teens themselves, as it is written for them and is chock full of advice about how to make the transition from being schooled to self-directing their life and education. Grace Llewellyn's unabashed opinions are at once thought provoking and refreshing for those who are fed up with the confines of schooled society.
The excerpt linked here takes the linguistic stylings of an op-ed and offers the reader an opportunity to reflect on their beliefs about school, teenagers, and modern society. Llewellyn sharply critiques the way things are, and looks towards tribal cultures as examples of societies in which coming of age was honored with visionary rites of passage.
Whether you are a parent of a little one or an emerging teen, this excerpt is worth reading if only for the thoughts that it stimulates. I encourage reading it with a friend or co-parent and discussing.