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February 2019 Monthly Messenger

Updated: Sep 24

Dear RTS Families, 

Reflecting back on February it is incredible how much has happened in the time that seemed to pass by so quickly. 

Despite the rain, the clouds, and even that boulder that fell from the hillside and literally blocked the road, February was bursting with energy, creativity, learning, and discovery. 


In this messenger you will find calendar updates for the month of March, reflections on the month of February, photographs taken by RTS learner Max Stekel, a link to a podcast featuring RTS learner Viola Ford, and finally a link to a recent episode of the podcast Off-Trail Learning featuring an interview with Ned Johnson, author ofThe Self-Driven Child. 


As alwaysBe Well andStay Curious

With love from the RTS Staff 



Looking Towards March: 


Saturday March 9th:10am-12pm Parent discussion group featuring special guests Carol Castanon, Martha Fellows, and Bill Hak who are all parents of unschooled children. 


Wednesday March 20th: 12pm pick up. Professional development 


March 23rd- April 7th:RTS will be closed for Spring Break 


April 1-April 4:Spring Campout at Carrizo Plain 


Reflections on February: 

February has been a month replete with feelings of love for one another and this community that we share. The mood has been light and there is a sense of truly enjoying being together and learning from each other. Everyday we witness kids expressing excitement to see their friends arrive, we see kids running to share hellos and hugs when they arrive and we hear groans when it's time to go home. 


This month we have witnessed our learners engage in teaching each other new skills, negotiating the agreements and rules for play, and co-creating new play experiences such as looping giant plastic pipes between the playground swings to make bigger swings that more kids can enjoy at a time. 

Highlights for the month include enjoying  walks to the creek, exploring the water and  life at the big farm, recording music, creating miniature object models out of found materials and sculpey, sewing garments for both people and pets, dedicated rehearsal for an entirely student lead production of Cinderella, listening to, watching, and discussing Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. 


This month many of our parents enjoyed the opportunity to experience some of the offerings that our mentors share at RTS during a Parent Maker Night. Parents that attended expressed delight and similar to their kids - the parents did not want to stop engaging when it was time to clean up and go home. 


The shared experience of excitement for the wonders of the world around us has been particularly palpable this February. 

From full body screeches during the afternoon hail shower, to the discovery of a bunny carcass, to finding centipedes hidden under rocks. These seemingly simple things that may be overlooked by some are the source of so much joy and expression. It makes me wonder about the connections that are being made in the brains of these young learners and the strength of connections as kids share in these experiences.


Quotes From the Kids:Through the Eyes of a Kid 

The following link is to the third 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 Viola Ford and the musical stylings of RTS Teen Carter Young. 


Please copy and paste the following link in your browser: 

​https://soundcloud.com/user-788117139/viola-interview-1214-22819-458-pm


Parent Education: 

For this months parent education piece I have chosen to attach a link to Off-Trail Learning; a podcast created by Blake Boles, a self-directed learning advocate. 


I recommend exploring the archives of the podcast as it features conversations with an array of folks who are active in the worlds of unschooling and self-directed education. 


However, the episode that I am most excited to share is the most recent one with Ned Johnson, co-author ofThe Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (2018). As some of you may recall, this is a book that the Rock Tree Sky staff highly recommends reading. And last March I included an excerpt from this book here in the Monthly Messenger. 


I found the dialogue between Blake Boles and Ned Johnson pertinent as the two men discuss the various ways that we as individuals and as members of the greater society might better support children and teens in accessing more control of their own lives as a means of reducing toxic stress and anxiety. 


I hope that you feel inspired by this conversation and share the link with your friends and family members. 


Please copy and paste the following link in your browser: 

http://www.offtraillearning.com/podcast/

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jim@rocktreesky.org
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