Retreat Highlights from a First Time Radiant Family

Daisy McCarty and her family were new to the Radiant Retreat last year.  They were one of the “early birds” to register this year so I asked her to share a little about their experience as “newbies” last year and why they wanted to return.

Many thanks to Daisy for taking the time to share in such detail!

Notes on Radiant Living from the McCarty Clan


My family was excited to attend the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat last year in lovely Cleburne, Texas. We knew it would be a wonderful chance to reconnect with unschoolers/life learners we had met at other events and meet new people—especially those in the North Texas area. We were right!







My Favorite Moments 

Watching the kids collaborate on creating the surprisingly amiable Hunger Games battles that spanned the entire weekend made me smile. As someone who was eclectically homeschooled and self-taught throughout my own childhood, I remember with fondness the long days spent creating new games and playing for hours without interruption. It was fantastic to see another generation being gifted with the same opportunities.









My Husband’s Favorite Moments

WkshpCircle2The talks and discussions were a highlight of the weekend for my husband, Ken. He talked all the way home about the sessions he had attended. Other parents offered helpful insights into some of the challenges we were facing and we were able to implement these solutions successfully at home. As someone who was still new to the concept of whole life learning, being around like-minded people and mentors was reassuring for Ken.

Our Daughter’s Favorite Moments 

KidsInDirt2Little Jasmine (then 2 years old) had a wonderful time playing and exploring with children of all ages. She especially loved staying up in the evening to make friends with a little brown and white toad that was hopping around outside the bunkhouse. Eating delicious smoothies made with healthy, natural ingredients gave her a fresh appreciation for the potential of dates and chocolate blended to perfection.


Why We’re Attending AgainMcCartyFamily

Our trip in 2014 left us energized rather than feeling like we “needed a vacation from our vacation.” Over the weekend, we were able to slow down, catch up with friends, and simply revel in the presence of people who are all different from one another but dedicated to creating a more liberated and harmonious world.

Thanks for creating this space for us, Christina! We look forward to seeing everyone again in November.


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Young Adult Unschoolers Q&A, Mini-Fig Swap, Bikes, Swords & Mp3’s

sq logoRADIANTKIDSWe’re so excited to announce the Young Adult Unschoolers’ Panel.  We have 5 unique individuals who will answer your questions and share their experience growing up Unschooled!  (Well 4 were Unschooled and one was a “very relaxed Homeschooler using many Unschooling principles”)

Click here to read their Bios and see what other contributions they will be making at the Retreat!

We also want to make sure all the kids know about some things they might want to bring to the Retreat:

  • Lego Mini-Figs – we’re having a SWAP!   Bring your tired, old Mini-Figs and take home some fresh, new ones!
  • Bikes – It’s a great way to get around camp, plus it’s just super fun to ride with friends – on the roads or on the camp’s bike trails.  We will also have an organized Bike Race around the Cedar Grove Camping Loop!
  • Nerf Swords or Duct Tape Swords“Hunger Games” is a favorite camping activity among our Home Ed community and we will be organizing a couple of rounds Thursday & Friday.  After that it’s up to the kids to “round up” a game.  Click here for the rules.  There will also be an opportunity to make your own foam sword at the Arts & Crafts Table on Thursday and Friday.
  • Mp3’s for Dancing – Bring your favorites to play at the Halloween Dance Party.  The DJ with start things off, but requests will be difficult since we don’t have internet access.  We’ll be happy to play songs from your device though!  Our sound system can connect with most bluetooth devices as well as Apple and Android products.
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More Kids’ Activites!

We are pleased to announce that 2 members of our Radiant Tribe have offered to share their expertise for some fun classes for the kids – or ANYONE interested in a workshop that’s a little more “active!”

Heidi Wunder and Nathaniel Holman are both grown Unschoolers who have much experience in the great outdoors.  Click here to read their full bios.


Slackline 101!
with Heidi

Slacklining is the act of balancing and walking on  a long piece of webbing that is suspended between two solid points. In our workshop, we will learn what a Slackline is, how to identify the different parts of the line, and technique for getting on the line, and technique for beginning to walk.  There will be three slacklines available to practice on!

HeidiWunderLeave No Trace Principles
with Heidi

This workshop will be centered around the seven Leave no trace (LNT) principles, and we will focus on how to utilize these principles for families. There will be a short presentation, discussion, then we will further our knowledge with several fun, hands on activities.  Workshop will take place in a Family campsite. Bring a seat!



Campfire Building and Safety
with Nathaniel

This was our most popular workshop last year!  Nathaniel will cover fire safety and first aid, different kinds of wood, ways to prepare the wood, good fire tenders, how to arrange the wood and several ways to start a fire when you don’t have matches.  Once you learn to build a fire, we will have a fire building competition!

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2013 Fall Retreat Overview and Fees

Location: Cleburne State Park

1.5 hour drive SW of Dallas
1 hour drive South of Ft. Worth
3 hour drive North of Austin

38 minutes from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose

Dates:  Nov 15-18, 2013

We will have speakers, panels, group discussions and activities for all ages.
As well as unstructured time outdoors with other Unschooling families
(and those interested in learning more about Unschooling.)


  • Tent campsites with water and electric (full)
  • RV campsites with water and electric (full)
  • RV or Tent campsites with water, electric and sewer
    ($10 surcharge per night)
  • Screened Shelters (full)
  • Indoor Bunkhouse (heated with bathrooms) (almost full)

For teens and tweens:

  • Girls’ Slumber Party in the Group Barracks building
  • Boys’ Campout at the Youth Group Campsite area.  Both will be chaperoned.

We will have crafts and other activities for kids and teens.
Playland” childcare will be available indoors close to the Main Dining Hall.
There is also a playground, spring fed lake and hiking and mountain biking trails.

Click here to see more details on the retreat.

Price includes EVERYTHING but your food!

  • State Park Daily Entrance Fees
  • Campsite Rental (Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights)
  • Workshop Registration Fee
  • PlayLand Childcare During Workshops
    (babies and toddlers who stay with parents the entire retreat
    do NOT need to register)
  • Kid, Tween and Teen Activities

REGISTRATION click here to register

Early Bird discounts have expired, but we are still offering a few discounts for registrations received by October 15th

$79 per person
family discount:
only pay $30 per person for the 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th people
in your family, including grandparents!

(after October 15)

$89 per person
add $10 per night if sewer hookup is needed for RV campsite
(free dump station available)

Day Registration
$20 per person – per day (must exit park by 10pm)

Volunteer opportunities are available to reduce registration fees.

Please email christina wester @ mac .com if you would like to discuss volunteering and payment plan options.

No refunds given.
Registration can be transferred to a friend or used for future Radiant Living & Learning events.

If you’d like to receive updates on the Fall Retreat, Mini-Retreats or Blog Posts you can:

  1. click on the “follow” button at the top right of the page for email updates
  2. join our Facebook group here
  3. RSVP at our Facebook event here