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Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Hello RTS Families,

We hope this second edition of the Monthly Messenger finds you well.  

Moving through the month of October together has been a treat enjoyed with minimal tricks. It seems that as we become more rooted in our routine we also are unfolding and expanding our potentiality together.

Friendships have deepened during this month, as have our curiosities and excitement for trying new things. We have wrapped up our first thematic arc, Rock, and are excited to explore our next arc, Farm. Along with our own farm related explorations that we share with learners, we are also supporting learners in being co-creators of the space we call the new farm. Kids have begun vision boarding for that space and we look forward to how inspiration unfolds.

We would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you - the parents - for all that you do. Without your support, faith, and willingness to engage in this community this community would not be. In that vein, we are learning how to ask for more help and want to encourage increased parent participation to enrich the experience for all of us and streamline processes. Please consider volunteering in one of the following ways:

  • Regularly observe children at the farm and outside the Makerspace - one more set of eyes helps us ensure safety. Our days of greatest need are Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can volunteer weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

  • Be a parent coordinator for one of our monthly field trips. We arrange the location, activities, day and time, you tally the attendees, gather permission slips, coordinate parent drivers, field logistical questions the day of the trip.

  • Share an offering with the community. Thank you to those parents who have shared their skills and or family making traditions with the community. For those of you thinking about making such an offering, let's be in touch and set a date!

  • Please contact Natasha at to volunteer in any of the above ways.

As always be well and stay curious!

With love from,

The RTS Staff

Action steps:

  • RSVP for field trips.

  • Attend our “2nd Friday” community gathering - RSVP if childcare is need that evening.

  • Contact Natasha to arrange a volunteer opportunity.

Looking towards November

NOV 10 6pm-8pm: On Friday, November 10th we will be hosting our 2nd Friday of the month community gathering at our Makerspace. We have adjusted the event activity to address a current need of the community: This will be an evening to further orient parents to Inspire Charter School. We will offer information and advice for making working with Inspire a fun and painless process. Adult drinks and pot-luck audurves will be shared from 7-8 - feel free to join us for just that segment if you do not use Inspire. And we will also offer a childcare option in our back room if you choose to bring your little one along.

Nov 20-24: Thanksgiving Break! Enjoy this time to celebrate family, togetherness, and love.

Nov 28: Tuesday, November 28th we will be taking a field trip to the LACMA (we will see Chagall’s exhibit without fail this time). Kim has once again offered to be our docent for the day. This outing is geared towards older students that are particularly interested in spending a full afternoon viewing the art at the museum. Learner who would like to attend the outing but do not regularly attend RTS on Tuesdays are welcome to meet us there with independent transportation and supervision. Expected departure time will be 10 AM. After the afternoon at LACMA we will go out to dinner and will be back at the Makerspace later in the evening.

We are looking to call in a parent coordinator for this trip and ask that families PLEASE RSVP sooner rather than later.

DEC 1: On Friday December 1st there will be a rare opportunity to experience low tide tide pools at Carpinteria State Beach. This outing is open to any learner interested in spending the afternoon at the beach and exploring marine life. A learner does not need to regularly attend RTS on Fridays to join us for this trip (again, independent transportation and supervision is required for learners who do not attend on Fridays). We are looking to call in a parent coordinator for this outing as well and ask that families PLEASE RSVP sooner rather than later.

Reflecting on October

The month of October has been fantastic!

It has been awe inspiring to witness growth that occurs as we move through time together. Though the calendar claims that Rock Tree Sky has only been in session for two months, the experiences that we have had as a community are so much greater than that relatively short span of time.

There is a spirit of unfolding in the air. Looking back it seems that September was a time to become rooted in the RTS community. Now that we have taken root, October has manifested as a time forstretching limbsandreaching towards new discoveries.

As a community we ventured out on our first outings together; a field trip to the La Brea Tar Pits, an overnight family camping trip, and some of our American Sign Language students attended an ASL read aloud. At the close of this month our learners also had the opportunity to share some of their work and creative pursuits at our first Exhibition.

Through these experiences and the experiences in our makerspace, farm, and homestead, we have noticed relationships with one another deepening. And it is also evident that individuals’ self-knowledge has been expanding.

For some of our learners,reaching towards the newhas meant playing with a new group of friends. For others it has meant developing the woodworking skills to build a special box. For other learnersreaching towards the newhas meant practicing acrobatics on aerial silks, while for others it has manifested as mastering new concepts in mathematics.

The range of possibilities is vast and we will continue to delight in the excitement of exploring our potential together as a learning community and as individuals.

Quotes From the Kids

Here are some words that our learners have shared about their experiences at Rock Tree Sky

When asked the question, “What have you learned this month?” this is what they had to say…

Violetta: “I learned to stand behind the goats... If you stand in front of them they could walk into you and knock you over... [Also] don’t stand behind horses...they could kick you.”

Bella West: “I learned the benefits of kombucha and how to make it.”

Vida: “I learned how to write my name in hieroglyphics.”

Raimy: “I’ve learned that Hunter and Lucas can be very good friends. And I’ve learned to make websites.”

Hunter: “I learned how to go on Weebly and make websites.”

Maddie: “I’ve created some things with Kim like rocks shaped like teardrops.”

Theodore: “I learned how to build a lot of things like the castle [on the farm]. And learned lots of safety things with the go-karts.”

Amya: “ I learned how to make new friends.”

Rennix: “I learned how to carve pumpkins.”

Lucas: “I learned to be more careful with hot glue guns. I burned myself twice!”

Lana: “Painting is fun! I painted a sunset and a fountain with acrylic paint.”

Quinne: “I learned six topics in math. Slopes, graphing, and techniques within that...Negatives, positives, the number line...This is a good day!”

Luci: “I learned more about my friends. I got to know my friends better.”

Satia: “I made a dress and figured out how to make a bonnet with the sewing machine.”

Avery: “I learned how to sew with the sewing machine.”

Nathan: “A lot!!”

Parent Education

At the core of  self-directed education is the intent to developresponsibility.This we understand as the ability to be accountable for caring for oneself in a way that does not hinder or interfere with another person's well being. In other wordstake care of yourself,take care of each other,take care of the space.

At At Rock Tree Sky, we aim to cultivate this sense of responsibility, not by instructing kids on how to behave, but rather by trusting them to behave responsibly.

As Dr. Peter Gray writes, “Responsibility does not grow in a vacuum. If you want responsible kids, you have to allow them the freedom to be responsible” (Gray, 207-208).And on the flip side, “by depriving children of freedom, we deprive them of the opportunities they need to learn how to take control of their own behavior and emotions” (Gray, 209).

Gray encourages parents to practice trustful parenting, and at RTS we encourage our mentors to practice trustful mentorship. We do that by creating a culture of freedom and autonomy of choice making.

The following is an expert fromFree To Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life(2013) in which Dr. Peter Gray describes just what it means to practice trustful parenting. We hope you find his words inspiring...

Trustful parenting is the style that most clearly allows the self-educative instinces to blossom. Trustful parents trust their children to play and explore on their own, to make their own decisions, to take risks, and to learn from their own mistakes. Trustful parents to not measure or try to direct their children's development, because they trust their children to do so on their own. Trustful parents are not negligent parents. They provide not just freedom, but also the sustenance, love, respect, moral examples, and environmental conditions required for healthy development. They support, rather than try to direct, children’s development, by helping children achieve their own goals when such help is requested. This parenting style predominated through the long stretch of human history when we were hunter gatherers (as discussed in Chapter 2).

Thrustful parenting sends messages to children that were consistent with the needs of children in hunter-gatherer bands, but are also consistent with the real needs of children today:You are competent. You have eyes and a brain and can figure things out. You know your own abilities and limitations. Through play and exploration you will learn what you need to know. Your needs are valued. Your opinions count. You are responsible for your own mistakes and can be trusted to learn from them. Social life is not the pitting of will against will, but the helping of one another so that all can have what they need and most desire. We are with you, not against you(Gray, 210).



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