Top 10 Experiences of the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit

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I just got back from Texas, y’all. That’s the farthest west I have ever traveled. Several months ago, I was invited to be a special guest at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit. Thinking a weekend in Texas in the middle of winter sounded like a fantastic idea, I readily agreed.

By the week before my trip, my introvert nature started kicking in and I did not want to go. Not only was I going to have to leave home and fly to Texas to a conference where I knew only one person, but they wanted me to participate in a skit. A skit, y’all. On stage. In front of people.

I actually prayed that if there was any way I could get out of going, God would make that happen. Yes, really.

But, the Sunday before I was to leave, He showed me that I needed to get over my whiny self and go – that maybe I wasn’t even going for me. I actually started to get excited about the trip again – and even agreed to do the skit.

On the condition that I could wear my yoga pants. Yes, really.

Top 10 Experiences of the Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit

Y’all, I was so blessed by the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit. It was so much more than I expected. It’s not a homeschool convention, it’s a retreat for Christian homeschool moms.

If you are anywhere in the Norman, Oklahoma or San Marcos, Texas areas, you should make plans to be there next year. Or a bunch of us from the East Coast could load up for a road trip. You will not be disappointed if you go.

In two days at the Winter Summit, you can:

1.  Find your tribe.

One reason I was a little apprehensive about going was because some of the women I’d seen in photos of the praise and worship times looked super-spiritual. I’m a Christian, but I’m kind of quiet in my worship and I not typically a fan of women’s conferences.

Y’all, let me reassure you – there are woman from all different denominations, all walks of life, and all sorts of backgrounds. There is something for everyone and I never felt uncomfortable or out of place.

Summit Skit

The Skit (photo by Susan Seay)

Over dinner one night, one lady made reference to Chandler Bing. The following conversation ensued:

Me: You mean Chanandler Bong?

Her: Yes! Did you see the one –

Me (totally interrupting): Yes! (As in, whichever Friends episode you’re about to reference, I’ve seen it.)

I went knowing only one person who was going to be busy all weekend and couldn’t hold my introverted hand, but I was with homeschooling moms. I found my tribe.

2. Discover your reason.

I don’t think that anyone at Summit was there by accident. I’m not one to go around saying that God told me this or that, but Saturday night, He clearly showed me why I was there – to transform my marriage.

This point may very well get its own post sometime in the near future, but for now I’ll just say that my marriage isn’t bad, but it’s not what it could be. I realized that there are changes that I need to make to begin the renewal and refreshing.

Of course my amazing husband tried to argue with me (in a good way): You don’t need to do things to be a better wife. How can I be a better husband?

But God convicted me of things at Summit that I’d already been thinking about and ignoring. I came back excited, renewed, and ready to make the changes that I need to make begin transforming our marriage from good to amazing.

3. Be reminded that you’re not alone.

As moms, we need the reminder that we’re not alone – not just in homeschooling, but in parenting. When we go through difficult seasons – particularly when parenting teens and young adults, who can face serious issues – we can find ourselves thinking: If I were a better parent, a better Christian, a better homeschool teacher, this would not be happening to my kid. Where did I go wrong? Where did I fail?

It was such a blessing to be with moms who have been through particularly difficult seasons with their older kids and have made it through to see God’s beautifully redeeming work on the other side.

Summit Friends

My Summit buddies (who were still looking cute, while I was in traveling clothes): Lisa, Heather, and Connie

4. Renew your purpose.

It’s easy to get tired, to feel defeated, or to lose sight of your purpose in the day-to-day trenches of homeschooling. The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit will renew your sense of purpose.

I was surprised to find that only a couple of the Summit workshops were about homeschooling specifically. The rest were about family relationships. It can be easy to get so caught up in being the homeschool teacher that we forget that our kids need their mom and our husbands need their wives.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that relationships take precedence over academics.

5. Transform your home.

I loved hearing from women who attended the event in previous years. They shared their testimonies of how the experience transformed their marriages and their relationships with their children. It was clear that God has been using this venue to speak truth into the lives of wives and mothers.

More Summit Buddies

More Summit buddies: Heather and Kyle

6. Take off your mask.

We’ve all got secrets that Satan shames us into thinking no one else could understand. The transparency of the speakers at Summit invites other women to take off those masks and be real with one another.

Summit offers two different prayer rooms. One for people like me, who prefer to pray quietly alone, and one for those who’d like someone to pray with them. Plus, there were cards in the main meeting room for written prayer requests.

7. Laugh.

There was plenty of time for laughter, too. There was the skit that I was in. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really hope a video of that surfaces soon. I don’t know how funny I was, but the other ladies were hilarious!

There was also a mom’s night out with dancing, games, coffee, and snacks.


8. Cry.

Is there any event involving a bunch of women in which there is no crying? I’ve never been to one. They were good tears, though. Healing tears.

9. Learn from the voices of experience.

There were four veteran homeschool moms who did a Q&A Saturday night. Each of them have graduated all of their children. It was so encouraging to hear their words of wisdom.


10. Relax.

Y’all know that isn’t a much better treat for a mama than to stay in a hotel for a couple of days, sleeping in a bed you don’t have to make, using towels you don’t have to wash, and eating meals you don’t have to cook off of dishes you don’t have to wash.

Plus, the Embassy Suites where the Summit is held offers made-to-order omelets as part of their free breakfast bar. They’re delicious! There are also all kinds of other options like fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, eggs, pancakes, and more on the buffet.

I know this was a long blog post, but I had such a fantastic, restful, renewing, transforming time at the Summit. It was so much more than I expected. Maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Registration for 2017 is already open! The dates for 2017 are January 20-21 for Oklahoma and February 3-4 in Texas. You can register here. And, don’t wait to book your room. They sold out this year. There are overflow hotels available, but the suites at Embassy Suites are amazing!

And, I wasn’t the only one who loved it. Check out:

Heather: Why Finding My Tribe at Winter Summit Makes All the Difference

Connie: Winter Summit 2016 ~ Homeschool Moms’ Retreat

Lisa: The Summit is Like a Big Wad of Toilet Paper

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. That sounds so wonderful! I’m not a fan of women’s conferences either, for much the same reason – introverted, quietly praying, hymn-singing me in a loud worship service scares me. BUT I will also optimistically seek out homeschooling conferences because I just really, really love homeschoolers. They are the most innovative and amazing people around. Period. When does this winter summit come to California? We need one!

    1. Right now it’s only regional in Oklahoma and Texas. I’d love to have one closer to me, as well. It was amazing!

  2. I’ve been to the Central Summit for 4 years. I love it too. What you said in this post is exactly how I would like to describe it. I, too, stay by myself for 3 nights. My husband knows it’s a good time for me to get away and he knows I’m refreshed and excited to come home. It has always renewed my faith, family life and homeschooling.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. That was one of my favorite moments. I should have replied, “MISS Chanandler Bong!” though! But I guess it’s a moo point now.

    Maybe there should be a FRIENDS skit next year! Hmmmm….

    Really fun to meet and visit with you. Glad you came, and hope you can come back next year and bring some friends with you! I’ve already invited all my homeschool mommy friends (my homies??) from church and our CC group.

    1. I literally laughed out loud at your comment about it being a moo point now. Love it! We should totally do a Friends skit. 🙂

  4. Kris, I met you briefly in the gathering area on 2nd floor. I have several short snippets of that hilarious skit, including your chicken in every crockpot comment! You girls were soooo funny.. So glad you “took one for the team.”. I have tried unsuccessfully to email and Facebook the short clips, but was able to text one to my husband’s phone. He didn’t get the joke, but he got the text…. I would be glad to text them to you if your introverted self will allow that. So glad you came!!!

    1. Hi, Patti. It was so good to meet you this weekend. Thank you for being part of the amazing praise and worship team. Y’all did such a great job! I got your friend request on FB. I’ll message you there about the video clip. I’d love to see it!

  5. Kris,

    We certainly enjoyed hanging with you at the Winter Summit in San Marcos, TX! We do hope you come back next year and I am certain we could squeeze you into a skit if you just had to!!! Bahahahaha! I thought you were hysterical! Thank you for risking you weekend with us! To God be all the glory!

    1. Well, I already talked to Dee Ann about chicken salad. You know, as in, she needs to make some more if I come back. I would do another skit for some more of her chicken salad. 🙂 Thank YOU for taking a chance on me.

  6. I loved reading this Kris, and all the comments from the friends you made along the way. I always LOVE to hear how God is working personally in someone’s life. I am so excited for you! And I really wish I had seen you all up on stage. It sounded huge fun 😀

  7. I enjoyed meeting you at the blogger\’s dinner. It was very nice to hear each person\’s story. I couldn\’t get over how interesting everybody\’s stories were! The retreat was great for me, too. I\’m so glad you accepted the invitation to come. The yoga pants really got their time in the spotlight, thanks to your character in the skit. It was hilarious! The women at Winter Summit are especially gifted at skits. I saw one they did a couple of years ago that Roxanne was in that made me start wanting to attend the summit that year. It was hilarious! But then the description of the retreat really made me want to go. I finally made it this year, and I\’m so glad I did. It has helped me realize some things I need to work on, too. But first I had to go through some really hard days when I first got home. I don\’t think the enemy liked it that I had such a wonderful time of refreshment and revelation while I was there! But yesterday things got better, and today things are good!

    1. It was so good to meet you, too, Penney! I’m sorry you had some hard days when you returned home. Roxanne warned that something like that might happen and I think you’re exactly right about the reason. I”m glad things have gotten better. 🙂

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