|*The* Julie Bogart and me ~ The Centennial Barn ~ Beautiful Greeting
Last week, I spent 4 days in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Brave Writer Retreat with over 150 homeschool moms. It might sound like I am exagerating but it was truly a magical, amazing, inspiring experience. Many of the moms and I agree that it will take some time to digest all that we have learned and felt. But I will try to share a few thoughts with you!
The Brave Writer Retreat's theme was Be Good 2 You. I was invited to present a workshop "Nature Appreciation - More than Journaling". It was my first experience leading a workshop to a group of women I did not know and I LOVED it! Being able to share my love of nature and how our family has studied nature as part of our homeschooling was wonderful. I would love to do more of these.
|Nature Scavenger Hunt was part of my Nature Appreciation Workshop
(thank you to Gina and Meghan for sharing photos!)
There were several keynote presentations and other workshops on topics that were of interest to many homeschoolers. You can click on the bold linked titles to watch a few of these on Periscope!
- Julie Bogart presented "Updating Charlotte Mason to the 21st Century", "The Invisible Education" (and part 2) and "Preparation for Reflection" as well as others
- Melissa Wiley presented "Tidal Homeschooling"(link is part of the presentation) ,"Comics Make You Smart" and a workshop about "Book for Breakfast, Literature for Lunch"
- Rita Cevasco's workshop spoke about "Connecting Your Child's Language Skills - to Your Language Lifestyle"
- Stephanie Elms presented a workshop called "The Re-Upping Moment: Tackling the Teen Years at Home"
- Jeannette Hall's workshop spoke about "How to Make Ballet, Opera, and Shakespeare More Interesting than Minecraft"
I personally didn't attend any of the workshops since I was presenting mine during the 2 sessions, but I was able to attend the main talks from Julie and Melissa Wiley. Both women are amazing. Having corresponded with Julie and watched many of her Periscopes broadcast, it was truly a great pleasure to be able to see, hear, and talk with her in person. I enjoyed discovering common things we have done in our homeschooling with Melissa!
|Little muslin squares made by each person that attended.
We were asked to represent what it means to "be good to yourself" .
The creativity of each mom was amazing!
Equally amazing was meeting so many of the women attending the retreat. Many approached me because they had been following me on Instagram, my blog or on Periscope. I almost felt like a celebrity! It was a lot of fun and I took many selfies with many moms!
Through Periscope, last fall, I had made friends with a small group of about 30 women that regularly broadcasted about their homeschool. We had regularly watched each other's scopes and connected that way. Then, we had connected over Facebook and grown to be close friends online, sharing much more than homeschooling stories.
Only a few of them were not able to make it to the retreat, but we had planned for that by creating flat versions of them! It was such a sweet idea from one of the ladies! Each mom that could not go to the retreat mailed a cut out photo of herself, glued to a cardboard and sometimes laminated, to a mom that was going to the retreat. We could all attend this way!
|"Online" Friends meeting in real life for the first time. What an amazing time!
New friendships were made through the 3 days of the retreat. We all talked, listened, laughed, cried, ate, danced and even did yoga together. I was so grateful that one of the moms brought her blender and shared her green smoothies with me. Another mom showed me how she takes care of her curly hair and offered to do my hair one morning, after yoga! These are little moments that I will remember forever. We had so much fun together!
|Meeting new friends ~ Enjoying Green Smoothies ~ Great Signs Everywhere ~ Reflection Time
I was worried that maybe I would be sad that my homeschooling journey is over and that the presentations would "hurt" to listen to. I was so wrong. Julie's talks are about homeschooling, yes, but also about so much more! She is an inspiring woman who wants to encourage everyone to live our best lives by helping us learn how to encouraging healthy relationships, grow connections with our loved ones, improve the atmosphere of the home, and so much more. I honestly took away so much that I know will impact my life and my family's. It will also take me some time to digest it all.
The feelings that I have felt this past week were very powerful. On Saturday morning, after the retreat, when many of us were getting ready to leave for home, a few moms and I agreed that we felt like we had an emotional hangover. We had gone through so many different emotions that I believe that was a good description. Our hearts were full and we were all exhausted.
I will be musing, mulling, pondering, and considering for the next few days or likely even weeks. Looking over my notes and watching on Periscope some of the recorded sessions (see the links above!). I might write and share more about my experience once I process everything. The Brave Writer Retreat was truly a one-of-a-kind experience, but one I hope will happen again!
Side note: I will soon be writing a Brave Writer Retreat Resources blog post that will list all the books, websites, and tools, with links, that I mentioned during my Nature Appreciation workshops. Melissa Wiley wrote a similar post with resources from her talks and I thought it was an excellent idea!