CMEC Summer Retreat
"Our Constant Joy: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in Home and School"
July 11-12, 2022
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness…
- John Keats, “Endymion”
There are few joys in life greater and more constant than our joy in Beauty.
- Charlotte Mason, Ourselves, p. 41
That, he contends, is the training that develops the character as well as the intellect, the best training of all, since to quote Plato’s own words, it touches the soul, fills it with harmony, and moulds it to grace, giving the child from his earliest youth an instinctive, unquestioning love for the good, the beautiful and the true, so that when he is older and reason comes into his ken, he salutes her as a friend with whom knowledge has long made him familiar.
- "The Debt We Owe the Ancients," Parents Review, Volume 38
Join us for a refreshing and immersive retreat focused on the arts!
We will cover the Charlotte Mason approach to the study of the arts (from artist and composer study to recitation and singing) from a broad perspective:
The Beauty Sense – Mason’s ideas-based method for how truth, goodness, and beauty cultivate character, make Divine aspects tangible, and offer “joy in living.”
Galleries of Mental Pictures – Mason’s approach to the study of fine art, including immersions in preparing and implementing a lesson and a discussion of narration methods for picture study.
Music, Our Great Joy – The many benefits of music appreciation and how it is most suitably offered our students, including a composer study immersion and suggestions for notebook work.
Training Our Ear to Listen – Singing in the curriculum, from hymns and folksongs to solfege, as a form of creative expression and cultural participation.
Fit and Beautiful Expression – Mason’s unique approach to recitation, including tips for reciting well, how recitation leads to the cultivation of linguistic sense, and recitation as a gift of self.
Forms of Vitality – Notebooks in the Mason model, with a focus on developing students’ attention, appreciation, and preservation of the arts, including student examples and recommendations for working with students of all ages.
Talks and workshops will include practical suggestions for implementing these subjects with young students, with high schoolers, and in group settings. Attendees will have opportunities to narrate, discuss, and reflect as they consider these subjects in the context of a Mason education and their application in their homes and classrooms.
Occupations will include drill, singing, poetry recitation, brush drawing, outdoor observation, and guided work in TBG Notebooks.
A special event on Monday evening will include catered dinner at our retreat location, the beautiful Merion Tribute House, with live music and folk dancing. Attendees will also have time to shop Riverbend Press products, talk with the CMEC Team about leading local TBG Groups and co-ops, and connect with other mothers.
Attendees receive the Retreat Handbook, full of resources for the mother-teacher including workshop notes, a collection of Parents' Review articles specifically chosen for the retreat theme, sample CMEC subject guides, and hands-on planning materials.
At the CMEC retreats, we focus on offering a cohesive and deep consideration of a single theme from a variety of angles. We offer foundational understanding of Mason’s methods informed by real-life application experience. At the same time, attendees have the chance to practice Mason’s methods themselves in a restful and supportive atmosphere. This retreat will offer fresh ideas for those new to Mason’s philosophy and those experienced in her approach.
Date: Monday, July 11 - Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Time: Talks and workshops are planned for 9AM - 4PM each day. The Monday evening event is planned for 4PM - 9PM.
Cost: CMEC member: $230
Conference registrations are non-refundable.
Includes lunch and dinner on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and refreshments both days.
Location: Merion Tribute House outside Philadelphia, PA, 625 Hazelhurst Avenue, Merion Station, PA 19066
Meals: Catered lunches and morning and afternoon refreshments are included for both Monday and Tuesday. Dinner is included on Monday evening. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available.
Lodging: Hotel stay is NOT included in the cost of registration. All hotel reservations will be made separately by the retreat attendee. A block of rooms has been reserved at Hyatt House, King of Prussia, with at a special discount for retreat attendees. Choose from a King Studio with a Sleeper Sofa ($165/night plus tax) or a Double Queen ($179/night plus tax). To book using the CMEC special discount code visit this LINK or call the hotel and provide the code G-CME1. A limited number of rooms are being held until June 18th. The shuttle will pick up and drop off at this location.
Transportation: A shuttle between the Hyatt House hotel and the Merion Tribute House for both days of the conference will be available for an additional fee of $30 per attendee (paid at registration). Attendees will be responsible for any other transportation (e.g., to/from the airport). For attendees who would prefer to drive themselves, there is parking on-site.
Pre-Retreat Gathering: Arrive early on Sunday, July 10th, for a hike at Valley Forge park (weather permitting) followed by a casual dinner at a local restaurant. Visit the famous Revolutionary War battlefield and enjoy the beauty of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Hike from about 3-5pm followed by dinner. Spend time with other retreat attendees at this kickoff event!
Infants and Children: You are welcome to bring an infant with you to this retreat. Please be prepared to take a crying baby out of our meeting space so as not to distract the other attendees. We are not able to accommodate older children or teens at this conference.
Additional Policies: Attendees will need to sign an event waiver at the door.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Celeste lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their ten children. With a graduate degree in English and a background in European humanities and art history, she has taught literature and writing in classroom and small group settings. She discovered Charlotte Mason before her children were born and has enthusiastically studied her philosophy ever since, but her most rewarding experience has been putting that philosophy into practice with her own children at home. Besides organizing a local Mason group, she shares the joys of home education at Joyous Lessons and @celeste_cruz, collects Mason-style notebook work @keepingcompanycm, and speaks at retreats and conferences nationwide. Celeste serves the CMEC in a variety of ways, including contributing to community projects and acting as managing editor.
With a graduate degree in literature from the University of California-Irvine, Amy taught in a variety of classroom environments. She then discovered Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy quickly convinced her to begin homeschooling. As her family thrived using Mason’s methods and grew to include five children, Amy wanted to share and learn more about Mason’s philosophy with others, including speaking at national conferences and local retreats, hosting Mason book discussions and workshops for parents, running a Nature Study Club, facilitating Truth, Beauty, Goodness afternoons, and creating the Mason Academy as director, teacher, and parent. Amy now serves as the Board President of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center and heads our curriculum team and community projects. You can find Amy on Instagram @learninghowtolivecm.