Connect & Grow: an educational retreat for homeschool moms

Table of Contents

    June 3-4, 2022

    Simpson Park Camp in Romeo, MI

    The Connect & Grow Retreat is a 2-day event for moms to take time away to relax, refresh, and refocus on this all-important journey. These seminars will cover important and practical topics to answer your questions and build your confidence. You will be learning from nationally recognized speakers, a curriculum author, and from seasoned homeschoolers who have a passion for sharing their knowledge from their years of personal experience. We know it’s hard, we’ve been there, and we want to encourage you! There will be plenty of yummy food, unlimited snacks, espresso, coffee, lots of chocolate and even valuable door prizes! Most of all, you will have a fabulous time with other moms, have fun, and enjoy being pampered. You won’t want to miss it so get your tickets today! We can’t wait to meet you!


    What we will cover

    You CAN Teach Math

    National Speaker and Author at RightStart™ Mathematics by Activities for Learning, Inc, Kathleen Cotter Clayton is going to share how you can make Math an enjoyable topic for your family! Kathleen will also take on and dispel the Myths, Anxiety, and Learning Challenges of Math.

    What Matters Most?

    Speaker, blogger, podcaster, and homeschool mom Allison Powers is going to speak to our hearts about what matters the most when we homeschool our children.

    The Importance of Language Arts

    Teacher Julie Thenn will be breaking down the importance of Language Arts and how to increase excitement in this area for all ages!

    Healthy Homeschool Mindset

    Founder and CEO of Homeschool Connections and Co-Founder of HighPoint Hybrid, Tarla Gernet is going to speak words of encouragement that go beyond what you’ll hear anywhere else. It will be truly refreshing!

    Planning your Year

    Homeschool Mom and former homeschool blogger, Carrie Hensler will be sharing her tips and tricks for planning out your homeschool year digitally or on paper!

    How to Teach Character and Discipline

    Shelly McMahon has raised and homeschooled 7 children with intentionality. Shelly is going to share how to instill important character traits into your children from a young age.

    What else is included:

    • Connecting with others for community
    • A veteran Q&A panel
    • Endless snacks (chocolate and healthier options)
    • Delicious meals or great restaurants nearby
    • Dance party and karaoke
    • Lots of enjoyable company & laughter

    We will also have sample curriculum and amazing prizes!

    Our 2022 Speakers

    Tarla Gernert

    Founder and CEO of Homeschool Connections (2002) & Co-Founder of Highpoint Hybrid Academy (2015)

    Tarla graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She and her husband Keith have two daughters and three grandchildren. Before creating Homeschool Connections Educational Services in 2002, Tarla taught in both public and private schools, as well as in a variety of homeschool organizations. Over the past 20 years, thousands of children have taken classes and have been educated between both programs. In the 2021-2022 school year, 11 campuses served approx. 1,400 students between both programs. Tarla’s passion is to help parents educate their children and she loves to see people living their passion.

    Kathleen Cotter Clayton

    Vice President at Activities for Learning, Inc.

    Kathleen is the daughter of Dr. Joan A. Cotter, author and developer of the RightStart™ Mathematics program. Kathleen is involved with curriculum development and has written or co-authored 17 manuals. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and has two Masters Degrees from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. She teaches online middle-school classes, designs and creates mathematical quilts, loves to travel, and speaks across the US and Canada, sharing the mission to help children understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics. Kathleen and Steve have 6 grown children and live in North Dakota.

    Allison Powers

    Blogger, Podcaster, and Speaker

    Allison is a homeschool mom of 2 and the wife of Luke for 13 years. She is the host of the Reclaiming Womanhood Podcast, a blogger and the founder of Intentionally U, a line of journals that help Christian women be intentional in their God-given role as moms, wives and sisters in Christ. She is passionate about leading and encouraging women to step out in faith against the pressures of today’s culture and to boldly walk out their lives in line with God’s perfect Biblical design for women. Visit for more resources and to find out where you can connect with her.

    Carrie Hensler

    Director of Business Operations at Homeschool Connections

    She has been married to her best friend, Keith, for 25 years, and this fall, she will begin her 14th year homeschooling, with only one of her three children yet to graduate. She loves to plan and organize – for fun! She is a former homeschool blogger at, founded and ran a monthly support group for more than 25 homeschooling moms, created lesson plans for Teachers Pay Teachers that have been downloaded by more than 20,000 teachers around the world, and loves helping parents feel equipped to answer the call to teach their children at home.

    Julie Thenn

    Teacher at Homeschool Connections

    Julie teaches Kindergarten, Art, and Social Studies classes at Homeschool Connections. She has been married to Ron for 19 years and they have three children who are in their third year of homeschooling. Julie is also a military spouse who has lived in nine different states in the past 20 years. She coaches two soccer teams and taught Sunday School for many years. She is an avid runner and was a youth coach for Girls on the Run. She also worked as a part-time teacher in the Hawaii Public Schools. Julie loves teaching and helping children achieve their goals.

    Testimonials from 2021

    I came into the retreat weary and wondering if this is what I should continue to do. I came away encouraged that there are so many ways to do homeschooling well and that I didn’t have to be a product of cookie cutter homeschooling. I came away closer to other mommas, some more seasoned than me, who I can now link arms with to take on this amazing and wild adventure of raising up world changers through tailor-made home education. I can’t wait till next year!!!

    I didn’t know what to expect at the retreat. As a newer homeschool Mom, with only 1 year under my belt, I walked away with so many ideas and so much confidence in my ability to successfully teach my children. It said a lot to me that HC did not push any goods or services, they were genuinely there to share their knowledge and to help make us successful. It was so great to talk with other moms who experienced similar struggles and insecurities and to hear so many stories of failures and successes. I left armed with so much more knowledge and confidence than when I walked in. All of the ladies, from HC, were so warm and friendly! I am excited for the next retreat!

    The conference was an amazing chance to connect with other homeschooling moms in an environment that honored God and supported each other. I was able to make new friendships, learn tips and tricks to help myself and my children and become encouraged and empowered on my homeschool journey.

    I really thought the information provided was useful and helpful! You could see the heart of each of the speakers and understand their passion for homeschool. The retreat provided such encouragement and grace! Can’t wait for next year.

    Retreat Schedule

    Friday, June 3, 2022

    Check-in begins at 1:00 pm.

    Getting Ready! Move in and enjoy the grounds.  You are welcome to explore the Curriculum Center, get to know others, and relax.

    Workshop Session 1 at 3:00 pm

    Getting Started: Focusing on what matters most in homeschooling

    Taught by Allison Powers

    Workshop Session 2 at 4:00 pm

    Getting Started: You CAN teach math

    Taught by Kathleen Cotter Clayton

    Dinner break at 5:00 pm
    Workshop Session 3 at 6:30 pm

    Getting Started: The importance of Language Arts

    Taught by Julie Thenn

    Workshop Session 4 at 7:30 pm

    Getting Started: Creating a Healthy Homeschooling Mindset

    Taught by Tarla Gernert

    Play Time! Relaxing and fun activities at 8:15 pm

    Campfire, S’more Bar, Karaoke, Games, Nails, Crafts, Dance Party, and more until you tuck in for the night !

    Saturday, June 4, 2022

    Breakfast begins at 7:45 am

    Enjoy the grounds.  You are welcome to explore the Curriculum Center, get to know others, sip coffee, and relax.

    Workshop Session 5 at 9:00 am

    Getting Organized: Planning your year digitally or on paper

    Taught by Carrie Hensler

    Workshop Session 6 at 10:00 am

    Getting Your Groove: Math Myths, Anxiety, and Learning Challenges

    Taught by Kathleen Cotter Clayton

    Workshop Session 7 at 11:00 am

    Getting Your Groove: Making homeschooling more fun

    Taught by Allison Powers

    lunch break at 12:00 pm
    Session 8 at 1:30 pm

    Getting Your Groove: Breakout sessions with grades, what works for you?

    Workshop Session 9 at 2:30 pm

    Getting to the Finish Line: What’s the most important thing you want to teach? Character? Discipline?

    Taught by Shelly McMahon

    Workshop Session 10 at 3:30 pm

    Getting to the Finish Line: Veteran Homeschool Moms Panel for Q&A