Give yourself the gift of Community + Retreat Schedule

Hands-Holding-Seedling-TogetherGoing to Unschooling conferences always leaves me feeling renewed and refreshed in my resolve to parent and educate my kids in more respectful and gentle ways.  Great conversations and workshop sessions have given me new tools and a fresh perspective on things I was struggling with.   I’ve always loved the feeling of gathering with a like minded community, but after revisiting The Continuum Concept at the RE conference last year, it became clearer than ever how VITAL it is to REGULARLY gather with my tribe!  In our journeys toward more freedom and a more harmonious family life, it is SO important to seek the support of other individuals who have similar values, goals and struggles!

Often we feel isolated when we are living a life that is so different from the societal norm.  That isolation can actually be detrimental – not only eroding our resolve to honor the principles we try to live by, but it can also be harmful to our health and relationships if we don’t have the support we crave as humans!

With less than 3 months to go I am getting SO excited about this year’s Radiant Retreat and this opportunity to support each other.  Whether we are new to this way of life or we have been at it for a while, we ALL need this community and each other’s support!

As you Register and plan your travels to this year’s Retreat, I wanted to provide a basic outline of our Retreat Schedule to help with that process.  In the upcoming weeks we will be filling this in with the details for kids’ activities and workshops for parents, plus opportunities to just visit and connect with our Radiant Tribe throughout the weekend.

We hope you can join us for the fun, support and camaraderie that only a like minded community can offer!

Below is a BASIC SCHEDULE outline.


Nov 5

Registration/Information Desk Open
Set Up Campsites/Bunks
Kid’s Activities

Smoothie and Snack Bar

First Workshop Session of the Retreat: Meet and Greet Happy Hour

Since Kid Village doesn’t open until Friday, we’re going to do this session “Park Day” style while the kids play on the playground.  Bring your camping chair and a cold beverage (in an opaque container for adult beverages!) and say, “HI.”

Whether you’re new to this way of life or you’ve been doing it a while, join us to share your questions for the weekend and your fears, joys and triumphs with Unschooling and Partnership Parenting!

Chili Cookoff and Community Potluck Dinner

Bring a pot of your famous chili OR a side dish to share and get to know the Radiant Tribe.

Community Campfire and S’MORES!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Nov 6,7,8
(same basic schedule each day)

Registration/Information Desk
Coffee, Smoothie and Snack Bar
Face Painting
Canoe Rides

Kid Village Childcare
Kids’ Activities
Workshop Sessions

Lunch Break

Campsite Checkout for anyone leaving early
(you can remain in the Park until 10pm however)

Kid Village Childcare
Kids’ Activities
Workshop Sessions
Face Painting
Arts and Crafts
Canoe Rides

(BYO or pre-purchase catered meal)

Evening Activity
Each night will be different: Community Campfires, Dance Party, Women’s Sacred Circle, SUDS (Secret Society of Unschooling Dads), Open Mic Night


Break Down Campsites
Clean Up

Check out of Dining Hall and Bunkhouse
(can remain in the Park until 10pm)

Playground: BYO Lunch/Snacks and Feedback/Planning for next year!

Campsite Checkout
(can remain in the Park until 10pm)

Click here if you still need to Register.
Click here for  Staff Opportunities to reduce your registration costs.
Click here for general info on the Retreat.

Can’t wait to hang with the Radiant Tribe!  

Heaps of Love,
Christina and the Radiant Team
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Not a Camper? We can help!

From a “non-camper” at last year’s Retreat:

“Reflecting on this weekend…I have to say that I really loved our camping experience at Cleburne State Park!  We don’t do a lot of camping (yet)…don’t even own a tent or gear! (yet)…but the facilities were clean & the restrooms were clean & warm…the layout of the campground & cabins was perfect!  We loved it!  I would definitely like to go back!”
                                                     – Michelle

Never fear!  There are several options for non-campers at the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat!

1. If you’ve never camped or haven’t been in years, we can hook you up with a Radiant Family who is more experienced.  They can give you pointers before hand and help you set up your tent.  To sign up for a Camping Liaison mention it in the notes section of your Registration Form.

Also check out these posts from last year:
– Camping Tips (part 1 and part 2)
– Camp Packing Lists
or post your camping questions to the RL&L Facebook Group

2. If tent camping just isn’t your thing you have several options:

  • Bunkhouse – We have several families who loved the Bunkhouse so much last year that they have already requested a space there again.
    We have 2 bunkhouse rooms with 24 bunk beds each.  The beds can be rearranged and blankets/sheets hung to create privacy.  The Bunkhouses have heat and AC and the restrooms/showers are just across a breezeway.  Choose “Bunkhouse” in the accommodations section of your Retreat Registration Form.
  • Rent an RV – Our family did this last year to accommodate our child with intense special needs.  We had been considering a motel room for him and my husband, but we wanted them to be IN the park with us and all of the other Radiant Families.  We found an RV through El Monte RV that was comparable to motel prices and MUCH less expensive than any other RV company we shopped in DFW or in Cleburne.
    This year we have negotiated a group rate with El Monte.  5-10% off depending on how many in our group.  They have locations in McKinney and Palmer and their website has prices for all of the different models.
    On your Retreat Registration Form choose a Private Tent/RV Campsite and mention in the notes that you would like to join our group for the discount.  A couple of months before the Retreat El Monte will be ready to take our group’s reservations.  You can choose a campsite with or without sewer hookups as there is a free dump station in the state park.
  • Stay in a hotel in Cleburne – If you just can’t make the camping leap this time, the town of Cleburne is only 10 miles from the State Park and has many hotel and motel options.  Your daily entrance fee is covered each day by your Weekend Retreat Registration, so you can leave each night and return each morning to attend workshops, hang out with all the other families and enjoy all of the Retreat activities.  Park rules state that daytime guests must leave the park by 10pm.
  • Single Day Passes – Cleburne is close to DFW!  Come out for the day! Single Day Passes are available for Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  The cost is $25 per person.
    Click Here to purchase Single Day Passes for you or your family.
    Map it to see how far you are from the State Park.

If you have further questions, please contact us.

Whatever accommodations are the best fit for your family, we want to help make it possible for you to attend the Retreat and benefit from the support of our Radiant Tribe!

Love Your Radiant Life!

Camp Packing Lists

I have two homeschooling friends who recently shared their personal packing lists with our co-op groups.  Both lists are the result of years of camping experience (and forgetting items at home!)  So I wanted to share them with you in case you were feeling nervous about forgetting important items as you pack this week!  If you are not sure about camping click here to see other sleeping arrangements for non-campers.

This first one was created by Doreen Fisher, our PlayLand “Director” and Workshop
DoreenFisher Presenter on Creating Peace through Family Meetings.  She made a beautiful spreadsheet that you can customize and then print out to check off items as you pack.

Click here for Doreen’s Spreadsheet

Jennifer Jones’ list below is a little less elaborate, but a good list nonetheless with a few different items from Doreen’s list.

I do have a couple of things to add two these two lists (that are totally optional, but you might want to include too.)  One that was super fun AND functional at our last camping trip was Christmas Lights!
xmasLightsOutsideNot only are these festive, but they provide nice ambient light around your campsite that’s not too bright after your eyes have adjusted to the dark.  Bring an extension cord and maybe a power strip if you have several other things to plug in at your site.  (I’m bringing my electric skillet to make breakfast prep quick and easy).  You can bring a hammer and some nails to hang the lights on the trees around your site in case there aren’t enough low hanging branches.  Also there are tall poles with hooks at each campsite (for hanging food up out of reach of wildlife) that you could wrap lights around.  You can put them on the oxmasLightsInsideutside of your tent, your canopy or
they can be used on the inside of the tent (never unattended though!)  If you want to get fancy, you can purchase lights that run on batteries.

One other fun list is this article on Camping “Hacks” that was floating around Facebook a while back.  Some of them are just silly, but many seem useful.  I will be using #1 on the list this trip!

Jones Family Camping Gear List

Two Coolers (one for frequent open, one for seldom open)
4 Camp Chairs
Tent & Tent Stakes
Tent Pad (we use a large shipping blanket)
Air Mattress(es)
Air Pump
Lantern/Lantern Fuel or Batteries
Head Lamps/Flash Lights
4 Pillows
2 large blankets
1 fitted sheet
Sleeping Bags
Extension Cord
Camp Stove
Camp Stove Fuel
Pot with lid
Pan with lid
Hot pad/trivot
Plates, bowls, silverware for 4
Cups, mugs for 4
Serving spoon & Spatula
Large Bowl for serving
Large plate for serving
Paper towels
Zip-Lock bags
Dish Soap
Dish Pan/Drainer
Tie Downs
Bike Pump (& patch kit)
First Aid kit
Fire Wood
Marshmallow/Hot Dog pokers
Grill Spatula
Bottled Water
Trash Bags

*If Dog –
Food & Water bowls

4 full outfits per person
2 extra pairs of socks per person
4 towels
4 jackets
4 hats
4 gloves (if cold)
Rain Gear

4 Bathroom Kits
-toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, soap/facewash, 2 face rags, travel size shampoo & conditioner, zip-lock bags, pain reliever, deoderant and any other personal items or medications

Books to read

*some people bring tent heaters & fans, we have never used them so they are not on our list.

Smoothie and Coffee Bar

We will be offering fresh Smoothies and Coffee in the Dining Hall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We are not allowed to “exchange money” inside Texas State Parks, so we are using a ticket system (aka Radiant Bucks).  Prices are listed on the menu below.

JuiceSmoothieBarSmoothies are made freshly to order and will be offered during these hours:

  • Friday & Saturday 8am – 2pm
  • Sunday 8 – 11am
  • Sunday after community lunch (if produce supplies permit)


Organic, Fair Trade Coffee will be freshly ground each morning and brewed using a French Press from 8 – 11 am and cups will be sold until we run out.

Click here to purchase “Radiant Bucks” for Coffee and Smoothies



Coffee & Smoothie MENU
(pending produce availability)


Click here to purchase “Radiant Bucks” for Coffee & Smoothies

What are Radiant Bucks? Why do I need some?

Texas law prohibits exchanging money in Texas State Parks, so we will be using tickets (Radiant Bucks) like they do at the Fair or a school carnival for the items listed below.

(except catered meals)

You can purchase Radiant Bucks now and they will be waiting for you at the registration table when you arrive at the Retreat.
1 Radiant Buck = $1

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to order Radiant Bucks.
Here’s what they will buy:

Fresh Orange Juice and Smoothies
Dining Hall
5 Radiant Bucks

Click here for the MENU
& hours of availability


Organic & Fair Trade Coffee
Dining Hall
2-4 Radiant Bucks
Freshly ground each morning and brewed with a french press.
Organic Whole Milk, Half & Half and Almond Milk available

Click here for the MENU
& hours of availability


Chair Massage
Dining Hall Porch
1 Radiant Buck per minute

Face Painting
Dining Hall
2 – 6 Radiant Bucks

Canoe Rides
Cedar Lake
2 Radiant Bucks per person

1 ticket = $1

Order tickets here:

One week left for “Kinda Early Bird” discounts.

Remind your friends who haven’t signed up yet!
Share with email, facebook, twitter and more at the bottom of this post.

Registration goes up another $10 per person after October 15.

click here for pricing details

Also the less expensive campsites are dwindling – only 9 left, so once those are gone it will be an additional $10 per campsite per night.

And stay tuned for info coming soon on community meals, a chance to win some cash at the retreat and more!

Register Here

Read more about the Retreat Here

Join Us on Facebook

Only 2 more weeks for discounts on Retreat Registration

I can’t believe it’s 6 weeks until the Fall Retreat.  I’m so excited to hang out with so many fantastic families, talk unschooling and just have tons of fun!

I know many of you reading this are already registered – so I’m hoping you can help remind your friends who haven’t yet . . .
Retreat Registration fees will go up again after October 15. 
There are buttons below to share via facebook, email, twitter etc.

Currently it’s $79 per person for the 1st four family members.
The 5th-8th family members are only $30 each.
These prices include your campsite, park entry fees and registration for the workshops, childcare and other activities at the retreat, so all that’s left to budget for is gas and food!
See more retreat details here.


We have volunteer opportunities to reduce fees and a payment plan is available.  Please contact me for details on these options.  We want to enable as many families as possible to join us!!!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Heaps of Love,

Join Us on Facebook

Campsites are going fast!

November in Texas is a VERY popular time to camp and the rangers at Cleburne State Park say that their campsites WILL be booked solid every weekend before Thanksgiving.
As of now there are still 26 sites left, but they will go fast – if not to our group then to others.  Let’s fill up this park with Unschoolers!!! 

Registering soon guarantees that you will get a campsite.  (Once I receive your payment I will reserve it with the park).  Early Bird registration is over, but there are still a few discounts available until Oct 15 plus options for volunteering to reduce fees.

It IS possible to share a site with another family since there are 8 people allowed per site.  If you share a site we can reduce your registration fees a bit.  (There are only 2 vehicles allowed per site so if your camper is a trailer towed by a car, you won’t be able to share.)

Please call or email or facebook message me to discuss options for sharing a site and volunteering.  Or click here if you are ready to sign up and reserve your campsite today.

Click here for general information about the Retreat.

So looking forward to camping with all y’all!!!

Heaps of Love,
ChristinaWester @

Early Registration is Open

Early registration is open – and short!
But lots of discounts if you register by Friday the 13th!

Early Registration Benefits:

1. Overall discount on registration
2. Payment plan available for Early Birds
3. Family discount – 5th-8th members of the family are only $20 . . .
including grandparents!
4. Park entry fees included
5. Premium campsites included (RV hookups w/Sewer will be extra after 9/13)
6. Screened Shelters are still up for grabs (currently 4 left)

What’s included with the $69 Early Bird registration fee?
EVERYTHING but your food!
4 days, 3 nights of Unschooling fun!

Click here for an overview of the Retreat and Fees

Click here for more details on Workshops, Speakers, Activities and more!

Click here to REGISTER!