How Can We Homeschool and Show Hospitality?

God tells us in I Peter 4:9 to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  If you’re like me, you want to obey the Lord and practice hospitality, and we as homeschooling moms know how much we desperately need relationships with other moms.  We also know that our kids need healthy, strong friendships, and that all of these relationships are built through the practice of hospitality. We bless others and are blessed abundantly when we offer the gift of hospitality. 

But how can we open our days to more people when our homes are already always filled up with children? I tend to feel overwhelmed on a lot of days with completing school and keeping our household running, and it’s not easy for me to be willing to welcome more people into our days. Do you feel this way, too? 

One summer evening, my mom invited our family to her home for a gathering that she called Favorite Pie Party. On that night, she showed the love of Christ through simple hospitality, and it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate some of these practices in simple ways. 

I wrote all about that evening and what I learned about simple hospitality in my family’s upcoming book The Gathering Table (Revell, October 2020).  This is what I wrote: 

“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”

Watch Yvette Hampton’s conversation with Annie Boyd for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

After experiencing hospitality from my mom during the favorite pie party and thinking about what the Bible has to say about opening up our hearts to show love, I got to thinking about some practical ways we can bring hospitality into our already full lives. I’m often one to measure things in volume—food, budget, laundry—so I tend to think I have to do something huge to be hospitable. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be big. Guests are actually relieved when it’s quite simple, because it means they don’t have to do something big either. See how good this is for all of us? I take the pressure off you—you take the pressure off me!

There are many ideas you can easily incorporate into your life to offer this type of hospitality.

“I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.”

Keep It Simple

I was recently invited to a book club by a new friend. The hostess texted me the day of the gathering to say, “I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.” That text relieved my anxieties about going to a new group. My friend let me know that it was important I was coming and that she was more concerned about the true me than a perfect outfit. When I arrived, I was greeted with a warm hug and a “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” She proceeded to offer me a cup of coffee and a treat from a plate full of . . . Oreos!

Those Oreos and the fact that the other ladies were wearing favorite yoga pants and hanging out together on the couch made the evening comfortable and low-key. The relaxed atmosphere took the attention off of food, clothes, or home decor and instead helped us to focus on each other and some great conversation. This “come as you are and be yourself” attitude exhibited the love of Christ to me.

In what ways can you show hospitality in a similar, comfortable way?

●      Meet at a park and bring a picnic to share. When my kids were little, I invited friends to meet at a community center that had a play structure. We’d visit over a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on the kids. No one will feel any less “loved” because you aren’t meeting at your home.

●      Be spontaneous and casually invite people over. Last-minute often works better for some folks than weeks of planning. Intentionally focus more on the people rather than the food and preparations.

●      Host a “leisure club,” “informal book group,” or other gathering around a purpose and serve foods you can pick up at the grocery store. When your friends see that you didn’t stress, they’ll feel more at ease and open to conversation.

●      Like my friend did, text your guests before arriving to say, “I’m glad you’re coming. Just wear your comfiest clothes!” Your text might also say, “Don’t worry about childcare—come with your kids!” or “Come when you can!” Use texts as an encouraging way to show others you value them and their presence at your gathering.

●      Have some light, casual music playing in the background. Music sets the tone for the environment and helps guests (and hosts) feel more at ease. 

Most importantly, just ask the Lord for help and ideas to obey him in simple, doable ways. He knows you’re homeschooling, he sees your efforts everyday, and he wants to help you obey and show his love through hospitality. 

Author Bio:

Annie Boyd is  the wife of Shane, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother of five gregarious and adventurous children, whom she homeschools. She loves traveling, spending time outside, reading, and baking bread. Annie received her BA in elementary education and biblical studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She accepted Christ as a young girl and hopes to invite others to know about his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. 

The Gingham Apron – We are five women from one Iowa farm family who love to find new ways to celebrate everyday life together. Join us as we plan family gatherings, try new recipes, take care of our homes, and educate our kids. We cherish our beautiful family farm, our time spent with our family, and most of all- our faith in Jesus Christ. 


Excerpt and pictures used with permission. 

Virtual Field Trips: Bring the Fun to Your Homeschool

Homeschoolers know that just sitting at a desk with a textbook is not the only way to learn.
There is a special kind of learning that occurs when children get to experience a topic rather than just study it. Their eyes light up, their minds engage, and their spirits soar. Using multiple senses make lasting impressions and pique curiosity.

The age old concept of field trips meets the new virtual world to create a learning platform like never before. Homeschooling should be an adventure. Here’s an easy and affordable way to enhance it.

The Field Trip that Comes to You

Think back to third grade. If you went to brick and mortar school, you probably remember your annual field trip. Even if, it was thirty-five years ago It was the pinnacle of excitement for the year. Who says field trips can only happen once per year in your homeschool? There is so much to learn out in the world. (Oh, and you might actually socialize!) However, homeschooling can be expensive. Even when you are frugal, it usually means living on less than two full time incomes. This can make it difficult to get out and explore as much as you would like.

What if you are studying the far away lands of Africa or Australia from you Illinois schoolroom? Sure it would be great to experience these lands first hand, but where is that in the budget? And then you need passports, visas, immunizations, etc.

Virtual field trips open doors to every family in every location. Now, students in Paris can visit the Smithsonian in an afternoon. A co-op class in Massachusetts can sail around the world and still make it to baseball practice and dinner. The experience comes right to your locations with the touch of a fingertip!

Be Prepared
While virtual field trips take a lot of the prep work off of the homeschool parent, there are still preparations that must be made before embarking on one. Like the Boy Scouts say, “always be prepared.”

  • Check that all technology works properly. Flying over the Savanna is amazing but, sound would definitely improve the journey.
  • Click on every link and make sure that it is active and accurate. The Internet is always changing. The “trip” you want to take may have been created four years ago, which is aeons in the digital world. It may still be a worthwhile venture, but you want to be aware of which aspects work and which don’t.
  • Make sure all content is appropriate for your study and children. Just as there are always changes, there are pitfalls on the Internet, namely, seemingly innocent links that take you to malicious downloads or sites. Ensure that your trip will be a safe one for your technology and children by previewing all the links and content before introducing them.
  • Create a list of recommended reading and “surfing” for after the field trip. Make up a follow up activity list with books available from your collection or local library. You can also list websites with additional information, and/or apps that correlate to the subject matter presented.
  • Set the stage and the schedule before you depart. Even though there is no physical travelling involved, virtual field trips still need an itinerary and time allotment. How long will it take to complete the entire field trip and follow up activities? Are there any supplies, such as colored pencils or astronaut ice cream that would enrich the experience? Make sure that you treat this trip as you would one that requires passports. Plan well!

Optional Extras

If you have the time and resources, there are some fun extras that could really make a virtual field trip come to life.

  • Have a picnic lunch. Brown bag it on field trip day and set up a picnic area inside your schoolroom or backyard.
  • Add the local flavor and music. Are you going to a foreign land or region of the good old US of A? Consider having a tasting of local fare. Pick out recipes a couple of weeks before, and gather the ingredients. While you dine, listen to some regional or cultural music via an mp3 player, computer, or phone.
  • Set up shop! What is a highlight of every trip for kids? The gift shop, of course. Sell pencils and erasers that match the theme of the trip. Print out bookmarks or activity packets. Give each child some fake money to spend. It’s a great way to add some math to any trip.

Can’t Find What You Want? Create Your Own Virtual Field Trip!

“Pre-packaged” jaunts are great resources but no one says they are the only way to go. Create your own tailored to your needs and curriculum. With a little bit of effort and a few clicks of the mouse, you can create memories to last a lifetime.

  • Consult Pinterest for activities and photos.
  • Find a relevant video on Youtube. Please, remember to pre-screen entire video AND the suggestions that pop up at the end. Certain surprises are never welcome.
  • See if there are any related organizations, tourist bureaus, or foundations with informative sites. These may also be able to provide you with additional literature or free items for your gift shop.

Where would you take your children if even the sky weren’t the limit? Have you taken a virtual field trip? How did it go?

Post written by Jennifer Elia, of

Sound Foundations Homeschool is leading a homeschool movement – equipping moms to provide an education that celebrates her child’s unique and special gifts. Every child has special needs and even more special gifts. Sound Foundations Homeschool offers support and resources for easily building a thriving and successful homeschool that you and your child will love! From their step-by-step homeschool manual, to one-on-one mentoring, Sound Foundations Homeschool has what you need to create the homeschool of your dreams, that serves your family well, in less time, for less money, and with far less stress than you thought possible. Visit Sound Foundations Homeschool for your free copy of 10 Steps to a Successful Homeschool.

Photo by Willian West on Unsplash
Photo by Larry Li on Unsplash