So, I had this crazy idea to host a retreat for homeschooling moms. Then I dismissed it because: 1. I have literally no experience homeschooling (we just started), 2. I have no time for something like this (I have three kids, two in diapers and two non-walkers – my plate is really full, you know?), and 3. well, it just seemed like a crazy idea. But, the idea didn’t go away, and I thought it might be coming from the Holy Spirit. Well, I won’t say no to God!!! My friend was coming to visit for a few days from California and she said she would be blessed by it, so I picked a day while she was going to be here. I figured nobody else would want to come, and if it ended up just being the two of us, it would still be great.
I decided to go for it just two weeks before the actual event. Yikes! I figured out a schedule and sent out invitations via evite. Many moms said they were really interested but they weren’t available on that particular day.
Yesterday, I had TWELVE! delightful ladies (and about 14 kids!) in my home for a whole day of encouragement and discussion of Charlotte Mason’s methods. It was really really wonderful!
Here’s our schedule:
Here are some snippets of our retreat:
I decorated with some quotes on the walls for inspiration. And Adele helped. =)
I was up until 1am the night before – getting everything ready. I know there is no way the books and name tags would have looked this good if Cristina hadn’t been here to
help me [do most of the work]. Thank you so much, Cristina!!!
One of my goals for the retreat was for each attendee to begin keeping her own notebooks (commonplace book, Book of Centuries, and nature notebook at least). Thus, I thought a personalized commonplace book would be the perfect conference gift.
By the way, I didn’t make mine gold because I wanted mine to be different. I started with mine for practice and the gold ink was extremely difficult to write with on this particular paper, so I switched for the others. I used the gold on the name tags too, but if I did it again, I’d use black because the gold was too fussy.
A couple of moms arrived late and we took longer than I anticipated on the garden tour, so the nature painting was a bit rushed. I had everything set up beforehand, but I think I should have given one hour for the painting part of the day.
A couple of families stayed for dinner (wood-fired pizza) and we had some really great fellowship.
Today, I was happy to have a quiet day at home, but I was also really sad that the retreat was over. Adele asked me if we could have another retreat in a couple of weeks. I said no, but maybe next year. So, you heard it here first – this was the First (of perhaps many) ANNUAL In a Large Room Retreat.
Finally, here are just some practical things in case others are contemplating doing the same thing.
- I spent a lot of money on babysitting. I paid one teenager $80 and a second teenager $45 (he only stayed half the day), for a grand total of $125. But we had more little people than adults and I know that most of the attendees would not have been able to attend if we hadn’t had babysitting. Worth it IMHO.
- I spent $60 on an hour of mentoring with Nancy Kelly. I thought it might be a waste because I didn’t think she would be able to help me much with only a week before the retreat, but she was REALLY helpful!!
- I paid $53 for the notebooks, plus the time to paint and calligraphy the lettering (I already had all the paint and ink).
- I paid about $30 for additional watercolor supplies because I knew that most people didn’t already have their own. In fact, I wish I had bought a few more paint sets and waterbrushes because people still had to share.
- We had kids standing at the long desk in the schooling room and moms and kids crowded around the dining room table (extended with three leaves), but I wish I had set up a folding table in the schooling room to give people a bit more space for nature notebook painting.
- I wanted to make my own croissants for lunch, but I just didn’t have the time, so those came from the store.
I’ll be posting some notes from the individual talks over the next couple of days for those of you who weren’t able to attend. You can find them all HERE.