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 gathering can happen live or be scheduled after October 9 with the recordings on your own time table.

Your local attendees will only pay $25 to attend (plus food costs if you do a catered meal), scoring a $13 discount off the regular price AND still receiving the replay recordings after the group invoice is paid. Part of that $25 will reimburse your own hostess kit cost and we will invoice you for $22/person after you submit a photo of your registration sheet (provided in the kit).

PLUS, as a hostess, you’ll be invited into the Local Leader’s Sistership Group with dozens of other local hostesses, several of whom have done events for 5 years now.

Use this Homeschool Essentials Retreat as an excuse to gather homeschool moms together and foster meaningful connections and relationships. We make it easy, promise.

Listen to the podcast:


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Retreat Hostess

  • [6:05] Kara’s decision to host a local retreat
  • [8:30] Will she do it again?
  • [11:17] Logistics of hosting a larger group
  • [12:47] Leading the discussion day
  • [16:22] Kara’s favorite part of the retreat day
  • [18:40] Kara’s best tips
  • [20:56] Keeping track of people

Today’s Hosts and Guest

Brandy Vencel
homeschools 2 of her 4 kids and has 2 homeschool graduates; she leads groups but drops details.

Abby Wahl
homeschools 3 of her 5 kids, with 1 homeschool graduate and another at a local Christian school. She can keep conversation flowing.

Local Hostess: Kara Hughes

Kara is a Christian homeschooling mama to 5 children – toddler, 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th using Ambleside Online. She loves reading and hiking, and especially the two together when she can get them. She is also the librarian at a homeschool curriculum library, is trying to reteach herself piano, convince her piece of desert to grow something, and has great plans to actually finish a knitting project someday.

Be the one to build local community.

Host an intentional, refreshing day away from home so you can build friendships and confidence.

Our retreats are geared toward a general Christian homeschool mom audience so you can foster local community with no-fluff encouragement. We won’t spring Aristotle on your friends, we promise.

Time is hard to spare, but a day away is an investment in yourself as a homeschool mom and an investment in your local community.

Friendships take time and connection
over more than small talk.

Come spend the day with practical, hands-on, conversational, and relational sessions that will help you and your friends

  • reframe your school “hours”
  • value & wisely direct your student’s “free” time
  • get the most out of the limited time you have
  • prioritize what truly matters

How Kara got her group started

Kara’s group was not an existing co-op or support group. She saw the hostess kit and decided to try doing a local retreat.

Her town has a local homeschool library that she runs, so she emailed the library list, reaching most of the homeschoolers in her town. She spread the net far and wide, and the group that showed up included people she didn’t know and others who didn’t know one another.

It was a different dynamic to have an eclectic group like that, but it meant that there weren’t predetermined cliques or idea echo chambers. Everyone came from a different set of homeschooling experiences and assumptions.

Kara was the only one in the group who is a part of the Sistership, but even the attendees who hadn’t heard of the podcast before enjoyed their time together discussing homeschoolers with others outside their normal circle.

How Kara handled food

Food was the issue that most people had questions about while she was planning her event. The church that hosted them also provided the lunch as a way to support Christian education in the community.

Instead of trying to accommodate various diets, Kara let people know what the church was serving and said they could bring their own brown bag lunch if they needed something different. There was a fridge and microwave at the church they could use, so that option worked well for them.

Discussion groups and logistics

Kara set up 6′ folding tables in front of the screen with 3-4 people per table. Each table then became a discussion group during the breaks.

The discussion was Kara’s favorite part of doing a local retreat. Each person narrating what stood out to them let each one of them chew on the ideas in new ways. It made it so it wasn’t just information in one ear and out the other, but actually considered and digested.

Noticing details

The little details add a nice touch to make everyone feel like it’s a special day. It doesn’t need to be fancy food or fancy decor, but small touches like purple pens or staples made it fun.

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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