Charlotte Mason Together Retreat 2020

Charlotte Mason Together Retreat

Rest, refresh, and refocus.

July 23–25, 2020 • Stone Mountain, GA

Yes, we are still having the retreat!

We are happy to announce that the Charlotte Mason Together retreat will be taking place as scheduled! Please see the COVID-19 Precautions section of this page for details of a few precautions and changes to make it happen.

We are accepting late registrations until July 22. Late registrations may not receive a retreat t-shirt and notebook.

Take some time to rest, refocus, and refresh for the 2020–2021 school year. Join Sonya Shafer, Susan Chrisman, Richele Baburina, 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 the only event that Simply Charlotte Mason will be hosting this year, so don’t miss out! Plan to join us. You’ve earned a weekend with friends (not to mention a free retreat T-shirt)!

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.

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. 

At the pre-retreat, she will be equipping you to feel more confident in teaching language arts and using narration. Then during the retreat, she will be sharing about the importance of the habit of attention and how to use natural consequences.

Susan Chrisman

Susan Chrisman

Susan is twenty-five year homeschool veteran, mentor, speaker, and ardent pursuer of God. She and her husband, Jerry, have five children and seven grandchildren.

With a heart for ministry, Susan offers continuing education in parenting, home education, and Bible study at She guides families to understand and address the issues of child behavior: development, habits, and the will. Her mentoring helps parents lead their families away from conflict and confusion, and instead, toward transformed behavior through deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Susan has nearly forty years experience in educational work and research. She considers Charlotte Mason a mentor and continues to study her work. 

At the retreat, Susan will be sharing insights on habit-training, the way of the will, and which habits we should instill in our own lives to help us avoid burnout.

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 and her husband have now been home educating for more than a decade.

At the retreat Richele will be sharing her wisdom about fostering good habits in math lessons and using everyday objects effectively. She will also be hosting a demonstration and hands-on Paper Sloyd gathering on Friday night.

Additional Speakers

Josh and Jen Davis

Josh and Jen Davis

Back by popular demand! Josh and Jen Davis 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, Josh and Jen will be discussing the habit of praise and leading us in a sweet time of praise through singing.

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 object lessons.

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

Language Arts the Charlotte Mason Way (Sonya): Teaching language arts doesn’t have to be complicated. Discover what exactly is included in language arts and how the Charlotte Mason Method simply follows the natural progression—from preschool through high school—of learning to use language well.

What Parents Should Know about Their Child’s Will (Susan): Do you have a toddler who throws himself on the floor, crying inconsolably for something he should not have, or a defiant child demanding his way, or a young person who is merely outwardly compliant? Even without those challenges, do you want to understand how to instill more inner strength in your child? Learn the function and power of the will and how you can guide your children toward building a strong inner person. In this workshop based on the work of Charlotte Mason, Susan offers a realistic and practical look at the will and the difference this perspective will make in your family and home life.

Learning with Living Books (Sonya): Good living books feed our children a feast of ideas, not just dry facts. In this session you’ll learn what makes living books “living” and practice using them in a way that makes learning stick: narration.

Habits—By Default or Design? (Susan): Whether purposefully or not, all parents train their children in habits, good ones and bad ones. Tired of trying again and again to instill good habits in your children and in yourself? Want to experience the freedom that good habits can give? Join Susan in a study of the power of habits. Learn how habits enhance character formation and bring easier days to your home. “Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.” —Charlotte Mason

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.

Listening with the Ears, Eyes, and Heart, Part 1 (Sonya): Sonya will open the retreat sharing her heart about one of the most important habits we can ever cultivate: the habit of attention.

Jump Start into Habit Training (Susan): Learn a vital secret to successful habit training. Discover key habits that will give your children an advantage in academic learning and character development. Learn a simple process which will show you where to begin habit training in your home. If you are new to habit training or are a seasoned habit trainer, the practical knowledge in this workshop will chart your path into relevant and successful habit training.

Fostering Good Habits in the Math Lesson (Richele): Focusing on Discipline of Habit—the second of three educational tools in Charlotte Mason’s motto, Education is an atmosphere, a discipline,and a life—we’ll explore some simple ways to cultivate good habits during Math. These habits not only help develop a child’s mathematical power, they’ll also serve him well through life.

Breakout 1—Using Natural Consequences Effectively (Sonya): We talk a lot about using natural consequences in habit-training, but what are they exactly and how are we supposed to use them? Join Sonya for a look at the natural consequences that Charlotte Mason mentioned, the principles behind them, and tips for using them effectively. You’ll even have some time to practice coming up with your own.

Breakout 1—Habits that Bring Clarity, Confidence, and Peace (Susan): Susan is a mom with twenty-five years homeschooling experience and a student of Charlotte Mason’s work. In this workshop, Susan will reveal three habits that have had a profound effect upon her and her family members, habits she will continue to maintain for the rest of her life. Learn about these valuable habits and how you can begin today to ensure you avoid frustration, confusion, and burnout.

Book Discussion—Laying Down the Rails for Yourself: Tami Bell and Katie Thacker will be leading this discussion of the book Laying Down the Rails for Yourself. Many of you know Tami and Katie from the Simply Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Facebook group, where they faithfully answer your questions, moderate discussions, and encourage you in your calling. Grab a copy of the book and get ready for some gracious and honest conversation about instilling habits in your own life. This is going to be good! (Last year’s discussion was a highlight of the weekend!)

5 Habits of Highly Effective Homeschool Dads (Doug): Join Doug Smith as he reveals lessons he has learned from more than 20 years as a homeschool dad—both failures and triumphs. This session for the men at the retreat will focus on the role that dad plays in an effective home school and five key actions that will help you become the strong leader and successful supporter your family needs.

Hands-on Event: Paper Sloyd (Richele): Try your hand at creating a 3-D object from paper. Charlotte used paper sloyd projects to cultivate the habits of attention and careful execution while also introducing and reinforcing geometry concepts. Richele will guide you step-by-step through doing a paper sloyd project for yourself in this enjoyable hands-on event Friday evening.

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.

Breakout 2—Nature Object Lessons (Karen): Charlotte Mason encouraged us to supplement direct nature walks with “occasional object-lessons.” Karen will walk you through doing several nature object lessons and explain what object lessons are, what they aren’t, and how to ask questions that encourage observation and curiosity. This session will equip you with the confidence you need to enjoy these simple and effective learning opportunities with your children.

Breakout 2—Everyday Objects in the CM Math Lesson (Richele): Everything needed to convey ideas in arithmetic can be found in a child’s natural surroundings—making a contrived environment and expensive manipulatives unnecessary. Find out how objects such as coins, beads, and sticks can be used to communicate concepts and prove facts and, just as importantly, when they should be put away.

The Habit of Praise (Josh and Jen): Josh and Jen will be sharing their hearts on embracing a habit of praise to God, an important habit that Charlotte Mason recommended. They will encourage you to consider what this habit of praise might look like in your own life and how you can cultivate it every day. This session promises to be a sweet time of community and heartfelt worship in song (probably in multiple languages, of course).

Listening with the Ears, Eyes, and Heart, Part 2 (Sonya): The habit of attention is a gift that we can give to our children, to those around us, and to ourselves. Sonya will wrap up the weekend sharing more about why the habit of attention is so powerful and how we can cultivate it in our children’s lives and in our own.

Retreat Schedule

Thursday Pre-Retreat, July 23

Go in-depth on Charlotte Mason topics with the optional pre-retreat on Thursday. The pre-retreat includes two additional sessions—focused on habit-training and on language arts—plus a buffet supper. (Additional registration fee applies.)

3:00Hotel check in / Registration / Meet & Greet
4:00Language Arts the Charlotte Mason Way (Sonya Shafer)What Parents Should Know about Their Child’s Will (Susan Chrisman)
5:30Buffet Supper (included)
7:00Learning with Living Books (Sonya Shafer)Habits—By Default or Design? (Susan Chrisman)
8:00Personal Consultations
9:30Laser Show at Stone Mountain Park

Friday, July 24

7:00Guided Nature Walk (Karen and Doug Smith)
9:45Listening with the Ears, Eyes, and Heart, Part 1 (Sonya Shafer)
10:20Jump Start into Habit Training (Susan Chrisman)
10:55Q & A Panel
11:30Fostering Good Habits in the Math Lesson (Richele Baburina)
12:00Lunch (provided)
1:30Breakout Session 1: Using Natural Consequences Effectively (Sonya Shafer)Breakout Session 1: Habits that Bring Clarity, Confidence, and Peace (Susan Chrisman)
3:00Personal ConsultationsSCM Resources & Curriculum Overview
3:30Personal ConsultationsMeet Ups
4:30Book Discussion (Laying Down the Rails for Yourself)5 Habits of Highly Effective Homeschool Dads (Doug Smith)
5:30Supper Break (on your own)
7:00Hands-on Event: Paper Sloyd with Richele Baburina
9:30Laser Show at Stone Mountain Park

Saturday, July 25

7:00Guided Nature Walk (Karen and Doug Smith)
9:30Breakout 2: Nature Object Lessons (Karen Smith)Breakout 2: Everyday Objects in the CM Math Lesson (Richele Baburina)
10:30Break/Shop/Hotel Check-Out
11:00The Habit of Praise (Josh & Jen Davis)
12:00Lunch (provided)
1:30Final Shopping
2:00Q & A Panel
3:00Listening with the Ears, Eyes, and Heart, Part 2 (Sonya Shafer)

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

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!

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

Amanda C.


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

  • Early Registration (Dec. 4–Feb. 3): $199
  • Regular Registration extended through the July 1st deadline: $239
  • Late Registration (June 1–June 30): $279
  • Spouse Early Registration (Dec. 4–Feb. 3): $159
  • Spouse Regular Registration extended through the July 1st deadline: $199
  • Spouse Late Registration (June 1–June 30): $239

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

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, as well as resources from Susan Chrisman.

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.

COVID-19 Precautions

We will be following the guidelines from the state of Georgia along with basic common sense. In addition, the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort will be deep cleaning more frequently, offering hand sanitizing stations, and requiring their staff to wear masks.

Attendees will not be required to wear masks, but you may wear one if you like.

The session room seats will be spread out a bit to follow any social distancing guidelines in place at the time of the retreat.

We plan to have the SCM bookstore on site with some extra precautions in place to promote healthy browsing and shopping.

The hotel is also providing only served meals instead of the buffets we had originally planned. The food will still be great and they will do their best to accommodate special dietary needs.

We are asking any registered guest who has illness symptoms to stay home and not attend. Our cancellation policy allows a full refund up to the day of the retreat so there will be no financial penalty to stay home if required.

If you have a medical condition that puts you at risk, the current recommendations are to not attend events like ours.

Ultimately, it is your personal decision whether to attend. We will be requiring attendees to agree that they will not hold Simply Charlotte Mason liable for contracting any illness.

If You Need to Cancel

You can cancel your ticket up to the day of the retreat. Please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Similarly, the Atlanta Evergreen Resort will allow cancellations up to 24 hours before your scheduled stay. To cancel a room, contact the hotel directly.

Many airlines are making extra accommodations when you book, as well. Be sure to check the policies when booking any travel and consider options that allow flexibility.

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