SS #108 – The Hostess with the Mostess

2022 will be Scholé Sisters’ sixth year of doing an online/local retreat. We get together, broadcast a retreat, and encourage ladies to watch and discuss together locally.

If you can’t get a local group together, we provide an online community for live discussion.

But getting a local group together might be more approachable and doable than you think! The value of building connection and relationship locally is inestimable, and worth the effort of hostessing.

Our hostess kit makes the process streamlined and step-by-step, so even if you’re not a leader or an event planner, you can pull some other homeschool moms together for a refreshing self-education day out.

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Why You Need a Local Retreat

  • [4:23] Danielle’s group background and logistics
  • [9:26] Review of our new retreat format
  • [11:11] Benefit of doing a local retreat
  • [21:18] Things that have gone awry at local retreats
  • [24:16] 2022 Topic: Habits!

Today’s Hosts and Source

Brandy Vencel

Abby Wahl

Our Guest

Danielle Cyrus was a pre-law student when God disrupted her plans and led her to education. She has 4 children and has been married to Grant for 20 years. She began homeschooling as her oldest reached school age and has been neck deep in books ever since. Danielle is a tutor in the Classical Conversations Essentials program and has led various home-education support groups and retreats on Classical and Charlotte Mason philosophies. She is passionate about fostering supportive community for home-educating parents. 

“Community learning is the purpose.”

Danielle Cyrus, local retreat hostess

The Hostess with the Mostess: How to do a local retreat

Danielle’s Local Community

Between her Classical Conversations group, reading groups, and a local Charlotte Mason Facebook group, Danielle pulled together a hodge-podge group of moms for a day of encouragement and fellowship with the Schole Sisters’ retreat.

Her retreat groups have been anywhere from 11-25 people at a church. She uses the replays rather than doing it live, which she finds to be less stressful than doing it live.

When she uses the replays, she can allow the conversation to extend and flow without having to watch the clock too closely.

Danielle’s Retreat Logistics

Everyone had a few minutes to process on their own, then the group discussion began. When the group was 10-11 people, Danielle’s group stayed together for discussion time, but when it was 25, they broke up into 5 discussion groups.

Her group usually meets in mid-October, just a week or two after the live event. It seems to be a good time of year for an encouraging gathering of homeschool moms, between the hustle of starting school and the bustle of the holidays.

She buys retreat supplies in September, including a thank you card for the church and a little gift for those who are helping. They don’t have to pay for the facilities, but they do set up a love offering to give to the church as a thank you.

For lunch, they’ve done optional paid lunches or bring your own. Then one lady in their group offered to do catering, so they added a bit to the registration fee to cover the catered lunch. They’ve also done a soup bar potluck style with sides. Last year they didn’t have a kitchen, so they ordered in lunch and kept the chili warm with an Instant Pot.

The New Retreat Style

Our first four retreats used the conventional 45-minute talk format. Last year we created something new by doing a conversational style of retreat with shorter segments and more emphasis on practical application of rich ideas.

With smaller pieces to chew on, the local discussion flourished as moms shared their insights and ideas for applying it also.

Built in contemplation and application made it so much more relatable and applicable. And table discussion flowed naturally from the more conversational tone of the sessions.

Lectures are everywhere online, but the new format makes it much more useable in a local retreat format. The Scholé Sisters retreat is informative, rich, meaningful, yet not heady and overwhelming. It’s just right for homeschool mom encouragement.

Hostessing Best Practices

Use the checklist in the Hostess Kit. It really lays it all out and gives you a time frame for when to do what. It’s not complicated, and the steps make it even smoother and simpler.

If you don’t like to be in front of groups, you can still put this on without ever needing to get up in front and speak. You can facilitate it without ever having to get up in front of people. Just assign someone else to pray and break people up into tables of 5 for discussing between sessions.

Think through the little tasks so that when someone asks if they can help, you have things you can delegate – writing a thank you note, buying paper plates, etc. When you know ahead of time what needs to be done, you can outsource it and allow others to help you.

The Benefit of Doing a Retreat

We’re creating a richer, deeper home education community and changing the conversation by giving ourselves a vocabulary and a connection.

It strengthens each mom, and each strengthened mom strengthens their homeschool and the community.

Retreat 2022: Habits – A Topic for the Ages

Our retreat this year is habits. They are worth the time invested, but they aren’t a magic key to “smooth and easy days” that will run without mom’s attention and effort.

We’ll discuss Aristotle and Charlotte Mason and some of the modern stuff on habits and divide the biblical and classical truth from the modern and behavioralism error.

Habits are ten natures, and we are what we repeatedly do, but our goal isn’t to get our kids running like robots we’ve programmed.

I want to know that I’m not the only one who has these struggles, and I get that encouragement in a retreat day.

Danielle Cyrus

Mentioned in the Episode

SS #126 – Hosting a Desert Retreat

We want local connections and face-to-face discussion to be easy for you to do. If you want to plan a local “teacher’s inservice day” for your own homeschool community at a local church, library, home, conference room, other retreat venue, or virtually – we’ll help you make it a day to remember. Your local retreat…
Read More SS #126 – Hosting a Desert Retreat

SS #91: In Loving Memory

The annual Scholé Sisters Retreat is coming and we are excited to announce not only our topic, but our brand new format and approach to the online/local retreat model. Mystie is mourning the passing of the L-series of retreats, but everyone else is partying at the memorial because we’re going practical and nitty-gritty! Listen to…
Read More SS #91: In Loving Memory

Want to talk about the ideas presented here? The conversation is happening inside Sistership.

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