Earlier this month we had the opportunity to gather again at the beautiful Palisades Retreat Center in Federal Way, WA.  This year, for the first time, we had a few teens and dads join us for the retreat, which was a welcome addition.

We also tried something new this year, breaking into small groups to discuss and consider our three tools of education, atmosphere, discipline, and life at different points throughout the retreat.  The survey results aren’t all in yet, but the response at the retreat was very positive.  You can read more about our vision for the retreat on our retreat announcement page.

In crafting the schedule, we wanted to allow for opportunities for narration and discussion of the ideas being presented by our speakers, as well as time to be outside, use our hands, sing, laugh, and reflect individually on the education we are offering our children and ourselves.

Low tide at Dumas Bay – our early morning nature walk out to Puget Sound was a great way to start our Saturday together and to do a little nature journaling.

Our Schedule


4:00 – 6:00:   Arrival and Check-in  Book sharing and Student Work Samples
5:15 – 5:45:   Intro to Narration workshop
6:00 – 7:00:   Dinner
7:00 – 9:30:   Welcome and Hymn
Education is an Atmosphere by Jackie Sochi
Folk Dancing
Small Group Discussion

On our nature walk with Ed Dominguez from the Audubon Society


7:00 – 8:00:   Early Bird Nature Walk
8:00 – 9:00:   Breakfast
9:00 – 10:50:   Education is a Discipline: Habits by Abby Wahl
Small Group Discussion
10:50 – 11:00:  Hymn
11:00 – 12:00:  Education is a Discipline, Principles of the Schedule by Amber Vanderpol
Small Group Discussion
12:00 – 1:00:   Lunch
1:00 – 5:00:   Afternoon Occupations Rotation
Each group will rotate through:
Nature Walk with Audubon Guide Ed Dominguez
Dry Brush Watercolor Class/Self-Directed Watercolor
Personal Reflection Time

5:00 – 6:00:   100 Days of Keeping presentation and discussion –
Panel with Amber, Matt, and Emma Vanderpol, Janell White, Betsy Farquar, facilitated by Abby Wahl
6:00 – 7:00: Dinner
7:15 – 8:00:   Folk Dancing
8:00 – : Topical Evening discussions, chosen by retreat attendees
Bookbinding and Watercolor

Handouts waiting to go to our small groups – one of our reflections was based on three readings from Saviour of the World


7:30 – 8:15:   Mass in Chapel
Morning Prayer in the Water View Room
Orthodox Prayer Service in the Library
8:00 – 9:00:   Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00:   Education is a Life by Celeste Cruz
Picture Study
10:00 – 10:20: Group Photo
Folk Song
10:20 – 11:00: Small Group Discussion
11:10 – 12:00: Education is an Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life by Celeste Cruz
12:00 – 1:00: Lunch and Farewells

Matt Vanderpol taught our Intro to Watercolor Class
Emily Pastor led us in a great bookbinding handicaft


Puget Sound really was showing off for us when we arrived!

You can also see more photos on Instagram and Celeste Cruz has a write up and more photos at her blog, Joyous Lessons.

CM West :: Retreat at Puget Sound 2019 Recap