Charlotte Mason Together Retreat 2021

Charlotte Mason Together Retreat

Rest, refresh, and refocus.

July 22–24, 2021 • Stone Mountain, GA

Take some time to rest, refocus, and refresh for the 2021–2022 school year. Join Sonya Shafer, Richele Baburina, Amber O’Neal Johnston, and other experienced Charlotte Mason homeschoolers for the Charlotte Mason Together Retreat. This special weekend offers encouraging and informative sessions in beautiful surroundings with a relaxed schedule. It is a gathering like no other! Make plans to join us (and enjoy a free T-shirt!).

Questions about the retreat and COVID?

This has been the most peaceful, nourishing, and inspiring conference I have been to in a long, long time.

Michelle W.

One of the best retreats I’ve ever attended!

Eva L.

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Sonya Shafer

Sonya Shafer

Sonya and her husband John have four daughters, whom they homeschooled all the way through with Charlotte Mason’s wonderful methods. Three have graduated, and now Sonya spends her time continuing to educate their youngest—who has special needs—and doing all she can to make it simple for you to use the Charlotte Mason Method.

At last count, Sonya has spoken at nearly 100 homeschool conferences, authored 60 books, produced more than 100 videos, and written more than 600 blog posts on homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way.

Richele Baburina

Richele Baburina

Richele Baburina is the author of The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series, a math curriculum that is designed from the ground up to conform to Charlotte Mason’s principles for math instruction.

She is also the creator of Brush Drawing: A Basic Course and has been home educating for more than a decade.

Amber O’Neal Johnston

Amber O'Neal Johnston

Amber O’Neal Johnston lives in Georgia nestled among pine trees, hammocks and ziplines with her husband and their four children. Her happy place is the back porch on a rainy day, preferably with a giant mug of hot tea and a good book. And although she was raised in the air conditioning, somehow the woods is where she feels most at home these days. When they have the chance, her family enjoys extended worldschooling trips to immerse themselves in other cultures. Amber chats about adding multicultural mirrors and windows to a traditional Charlotte Mason education at and on IG @heritagemomblog.

This retreat has been so amazing. The speakers have been inspiring with the presentation of so many IDEAS. I can’t wait to begin implementing this with our children.

Jaime M.

Additional Speakers

Sharon Hofer

Sharon Hofer

Sharon Hofer is a professional artist and teacher. She has taught art to hundreds of homeschool families in the past 24 years and has made her excellent teaching available online. She has developed a curriculum called “Creating a Masterpiece” that is widely used and loved. This award-winning curriculum is unique in that it uses online instruction that works for students of all ages. The students are challenged with each project and gain a feeling of confidence and accomplishment as they complete each of the lessons.

Sharon, a homeschool mom, is also a pastor’s wife who has a passion for encouraging others. At the retreat she will be presenting a session on understanding your artistic child and leading us in creating our own masterpieces with pastels on Friday night.

Josh and Jen Davis

Josh and Jen are homeschool parents and dear friends of Sonya’s. Josh is the founder and executive director of Proskuneo Ministries, an organization that works alongside church congregations to share multicultural, multilingual worship. He is a multi-ethnic worship leader, clinician, songwriter, ordained minister, and music missionary. Jen is a homeschool teacher, wife, mother, and musician. She is gifted with a heart that can ask the best questions and listen in a way that makes people feel valued. At the retreat, Jennifer will be participating in a session that explores about how she and Joy Kim have incorporated multicultural learning into their homeschool co-op. Later that afternoon, Josh, Jen, Joy, and Jaewoo will be leading us in a time of multicultural worship.

Joy and Jaewoo Kim

Joy is a musician, an arts advocate, and a teacher at heart. She graduated from Dallas International University with a master’s degree in World Arts. Joy co-leads a multicultural homeschool co-op with intentionality to teach her children diverse perspectives and cultures and with a purpose to empower them to engage with God and the world in the ways that honor all God’s image bearers. Joy, with her husband Jaewoo Kim, is part of Proskuneo Ministries and works as an arts advocate for her community.

Joy will be joining Jen Davis to talk about their multicultural homeschool co-op in a session on Saturday, then both Joy and Jaewoo will team up with Josh and Jen to lead us in worship together later that afternoon.

Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Karen Smith grew up spending many hours in and around the forests, lakes, and streams of Michigan. Her passion for the outdoors and the study of nature continues to this day. Karen is Sonya’s “go to” person for all things nature related and a co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason. She has authored Journaling a Year in Nature and several other SCM elementary science titles. Karen and her husband Doug will be leading morning nature walk sessions. Karen will also present a breakout on nature study.

Doug Smith

Doug Smith

Doug Smith, along with his wife Karen, has been homeschooling for more than 20 years and is a co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason. He and his wife have graduated four children and now enjoy a greater focus on mentoring others on their homeschool journeys. On most days you’ll find Doug working on the website and helping the homeschoolers who frequent its pages. He has a passion for discipling his children, enjoying nature, and making technology understandable in plain English. Doug will be leading a session just for the men at the retreat.


Thank you for such a beautiful location, uplifting messages, and informative sessions. I was refreshed and renewed!

Ivette H.

This retreat has been a wonderful balance of encouragement, inspiration, and beautiful practicality in each session.

Valerie R.

We are offering a wide variety of activities, because different people find different things refreshing. We hope you will hand pick the ones that will be the most refreshing to you and rest during the others. (Sessions and schedule subject to change.)

Retreat Sessions

Thursday Pre-Retreat Sessions

A Charlotte Mason Morning of Studies (Sonya): Sonya will walk you through an entire morning of studies in a Charlotte Mason home school. Come prepared to take on the role of a third-grade student as you experience the methods in real time and get a feel for what a day-in-the-life would be like. Great for those who are new to Charlotte Mason and those who want a refresher course to build their confidence.

Keeping a Good Perspective (Sonya): After a catered lunch, you will have an open forum to discuss the morning’s studies and ask questions. Sonya will give additional insight and encourage you with the captain ideas to keep in mind as you teach your children.

Putting it Together (Sonya): Wrap up this practical and personal time with a look at schedules and curriculum. Sonya will guide you through how to create a schedule that works for your family and give an overview of the SCM curriculum resources that can help you spend less time planning and more time enjoying your children.

Math Facts & Tables (Richele): Learn Charlotte Mason’s approach to teaching math facts for the four operations. These simple and effective techniques allow your child to grasp the rationale behind the Tables, discover patterns and relationships, and master facts—all while igniting their imagination. Richele will also discuss teaching facts to older children.

Contra Dance: Simply take the country folk dances like Charlotte taught her students, mix in a “caller” element like Swedish Drill, and add a lively dose of all-American square-dance music, and there you have it—contra dance! No experience required. If you can walk, you can contra dance. Come prepared for moderate exercise, lots of laughter, and a rollicking good time!

Friday Sessions

Nature Walk (Karen and Doug): Experience the refreshing beauty of a morning nature walk while learning how to make your own Charlotte Mason nature explorations more effective and meaningful. Karen and Doug will be your guides, sharing practical tips, tools, and observations along the way. (All spots filled.)

In a Large Room (Sonya): How large is the room in which your child is learning? If the focus of your child’s education has become restricted to checklists, facts, and grades, this session will encourage you to raise your eyes and look at a bigger picture. Discover how to expand your perspective and encourage true learning—learning that will give your student a full life. Join Sonya and explore how to “give children vital interests in as many directions as possible—to set their feet in a large room” (Charlotte Mason).

Breakout 1A—Books as Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (Amber): When children are unable to see themselves reflected in their schoolbooks, they fail to develop positive feelings of self-worth. And when they lack occasions to examine similarities and differences between themselves and others, they miss out on valuable opportunities for recognizing the shared humanity that binds all of God’s people together. A mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and helps build your identity, a window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience, and a sliding glass door invites you to enter another’s world. In this session, we will examine the use of all three types of books in our homes as we educate our children while embracing the principles of Charlotte Mason.

Breakout 1B—Understanding Your Artistic Child (Sharon): Artistic children are often misunderstood by their parents. This causes stress to both the child and the parent. Often the parent doesn’t know how to relate to them. Instead of blooming their child, they are actually discouraging them. Because Sharon Hofer is an artist herself, she understands the ups and downs of her personality. More than anything else, she knows that those with an artist temperament need understanding in order to excel. This seminar is a must for those who have artistic children. It will give insight into their personality and will give practical advice on how to encourage them to be their very best.

Breakout 2A—The Simplicity of Nature Study (Karen): It’s really not as hard as you might think. No matter where you live, no matter what the weather, no matter how much (or little) nature knowledge you have—you can do nature study with your children. Karen will provide the encouragement, the ideas, and the practical tools that will equip you to do nature study anywhere, anytime—and enjoy it!

Breakout 2B—Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study (Richele): Experience Charlotte Mason’s gentle approach to art appreciation through picture study. Learn how easy it is to furnish a child’s mind with galleries of pictures by the great masters. Richele will also discuss some simple ways to deepen the experience for your older students.

Breakout 3A—Worldschooling: Taking the Show on the Road (Amber): Traveling abroad is a dream that many families share, but figuring out how to traverse across the continents with children in tow while homeschooling can feel overwhelming and even impossible. In this session, we will discuss how Worldschooling can support a Charlotte Mason education, what learning away from home entails, and how regular everyday families can make it happen on a budget.

Breakout 3B—An Excellent Education (Doug): For those of us who were brought up in the public schools or are accustomed to a textbook style of learning, a Charlotte Mason education might feel foreign—or maybe inadequate. We will look at the differences and logically examine why leaving behind a traditional school mindset brings huge advantages and effectiveness.

Pastel Art Event (Sharon): Join Sharon for a fun evening of creating a masterpiece of your very own. With her gentle grace and sweet patience, Sharon will walk you through making a beautiful soft pastel picture step by step. No experience required. All supplies will be provided. Just bring your enthusiasm to learn and enjoy creating together!

Saturday Sessions

Nature Walk (Karen and Doug): Experience the refreshing beauty of a morning nature walk while learning how to make your own Charlotte Mason nature explorations more effective and meaningful. Karen and Doug will be your guides, sharing practical tips, tools, and observations along the way. (All spots filled.)

Learning Together (Sonya): You don’t have to go it alone, even in homeschooling. In this session, Sonya will share how you can gather a simple, supportive group around you and your child by forming a Charlotte Mason co-op. You will learn the specific steps to start, run, and customize your group to fit your family’s needs and connect with kindred spirits, plus lots of encouragement and practical tips to help you build your community.

Breakout 4A—Keeping a Nature Notebook (Richele): Science, writing, and art. Discover how to brilliantly combine all three subjects and passions in a single activity: keeping a nature notebook. In this workshop, Richele will explain how keeping a nature journal — perhaps more than any other single discipline — illustrates Charlotte Mason’s key idea that education is the science of relations.

Breakout 4B—Inside a Multicultural Co-op (Sonya, Jen, Joy): Jennifer and Joy have teamed up to provide their children with multicultural co-op experiences. In this session, they will share what their goals are, what they have done and how they have done it, and what they have learned along the way. You will be encouraged as you hear their gracious hearts for community and take home ideas of how you can expand your children’s horizons too. 

Three Life-Changing Keys to a Great Year (Sonya): Boil it down. What are the top three things you need to focus on this year? It doesn’t matter how old your children are, where you live, or how much you make. What matters is aligning your heart and mind to these three things that will make the biggest difference in your home and your home school. Join Sonya for a look at three life-changing keys to a great year!

Retreat Schedule

Thursday Pre-Retreat, July 22

Go in-depth on Charlotte Mason topics with the optional pre-retreat on Thursday. The pre-retreat includes a full day of additional sessions with lunch provided. (Additional registration fee applies.)

10:00A Charlotte Mason Morning of Studies (Sonya Shafer)
12:00Lunch (provided)
1:30Keeping a Good Perspective (Sonya Shafer)
2:30Putting It All Together (Sonya Shafer)
3:30Shopping Break
4:00Math Facts & Table Work (Richele Baburina)
5:30Supper Break (on your own)
7:00Contra Dance

The pre-retreat was excellent–I appreciated the extra time to explore and learn.

Jessica M.

Friday, July 23

7:00Guided Nature Walk (Karen and Doug Smith)
9:30Welcome & In a Large Room (Sonya Shafer)
11:00Breakout 1A: Books as Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (Amber O’Neal Johnston)Breakout 1B: Understanding Your Artistic Child (Sharon Hofer)
12:00Lunch (provided)
1:30Breakout 2A: The Simplicity of Nature Study (Karen Smith)Breakout 2B: Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study (Richele Baburina)
2:45Breakout 3A: Worldschooling: Taking the Show on the Road (Amber O’Neal Johnston)Breakout 3B: An Excellent Education (Doug Smith)
4:00Personal Consultations / Meet UpsShopping
5:30Supper Break (on your own)
7:00Pastel Art Event (Sharon Hofer)

Saturday, July 24

7:00Guided Nature Walk (Karen and Doug Smith)
9:00Bookstore Open
9:30Learning Together (Sonya Shafer)
10:30Check-out / Break / Shopping
11:00Breakout 4A: Keeping a Nature Notebook (Richele Baburina)Breakout 4B: Inside a Multicultural Co-op (Jennifer Davis and Joy Kim)
12:00Lunch (provided)
1:30Worship Together (Josh and Jennifer Davis, Joy and Jaewoo Kim)
2:453 Life-Changing Keys to a Great Year (Sonya Shafer)
3:30Farewell and Final Shopping

Meet Ups

At the retreat, we’ll have an opportunity for you to meet other CM homeschoolers like you! During the meet up time, we’ll help you break into groups based on number of children, location, children’s ages, and other groups so you can make some new friends.

Personal Consultations

All full! A very limited number of one-on-one personal consultation sessions are available during the retreat. Sit down with an experienced Charlotte Mason educator and ask your questions. If you are interested in a 30-minute personal consultation for $25, register early. These limited sessions will be filled on a first registered, first choice basis. When the time slots are full, they’re gone!

Curriculum Consultations

The friendly and helpful staff of the SCM Bookstore will be available all weekend for one-on-one consulting sessions. If you have questions about which resources to use or how to use them with your students, you will be able to sign up for a FREE curriculum consultation in the bookstore at the retreat.

I have been so encouraged this weekend and will go home excited for the upcoming year!

Amanda C.

I have had a positively wonderful & encouraging time this weekend!

Dana D.


Register early to get the best price! Here’s the pricing schedule for the Charlotte Mason Together Retreat.

Main Retreat Ticket

  • Early Registration (Dec. 2–Feb. 3): $199
  • Regular Registration (Feb. 4–June 15): $239
  • Late Registration (June 16–June 30): $279

Main Retreat Spouse Ticket

  • Early Registration (Dec. 2–Feb. 3): $159
  • Regular Registration (Feb. 4–June 15): $199
  • Late Registration (June 16–June 30): $239

Pre-Retreat Ticket

  • Regular Registration (Feb. 4–June 15): $99
  • Late Registration (June 16–June 30): $119

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The Charlotte Mason Together Retreat will be held at the beautiful Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort that sits inside scenic Stone Mountain Park. The historic park boasts more than 3,000 acres of natural beauty, including 15 miles of nature trails, and a 360-acre lake. Family-fun attractions and two championship golf courses are also on site. Bring the whole family and enjoy some together time. There are plenty of great activities for dad and the kids to do while you soak up the Charlotte Mason encouragement during the scheduled sessions. Or come a few days early and enjoy Stone Mountain Park as a family vacation—the $20 gate fee to Stone Mountain Park is covered for those attending the retreat!


A limited number of rooms are being held at the resort for retreat attendees at a special discounted event rate. Plan to stay in the resort so you can enjoy the indoor pool, outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, cozy conversation nooks, in-room refrigerators, onsite restaurants, quick and easy access to all retreat sessions, and stellar rooms with lakeside or poolside balconies.

Bring three friends and split the room four ways for affordable luxury. Use your in-room refrigerator for your favorite beverages and snacks. Hang out on your balcony or at the pool, enjoy the laser show, and have a sleepover! Register your hotel room for the retreat online, or call the resort reservations number at 1-888-670-2250 and mention the Charlotte Mason Together Retreat.

If you would like to book additional nights before or after the retreat at the discounted event rate, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you make those arrangements.

Stone Mountain Park Campground also offers RV & Motor Home sites, tent sites, yurt rentals, safari tent rentals, and RV rentals.

The venue is beautiful! The nature walk was great and the food was actually good!

Bridget M.

More Details

What about COVID and masks?

We are pleased to announce that the event facility will not be requiring masks!

Children and Babies

Childcare will not be provided at the retreat.

Nursing babies are welcome. We ask only that mamas are considerate of all the other attendees and step out of the room if the baby is becoming loud enough to be a distraction. With some babies that’s easy; others have become show-stoppers. You know your baby best. If you think it will be an easy task to enjoy the retreat and not detract from others’ enjoyment with Baby present, please bring that precious little one along.


Simply Charlotte Mason will have a large display of resources available for you to get your hands on, look through, and purchase at a special retreat discount. The display will include Richele Baburina’s math curriculum and brush drawing kit. Creating a Masterpiece will also be on hand to walk you through their fantastic library of art instruction.

Getting Here

The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort is only about 35 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The airport is within a 2-hour flight of 80% of the population in the United States. So with about 2.5 hours of travel, you could be enjoying the weekend with kindred spirits!

If you are driving, you will find that three major interstates conveniently come through Atlanta: I-20, I-75, and I-85.

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