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Take Your Kids to Work Day Bingo

The month of April gets kind of a bad rap for the most memorable holidays.

The first day of it is called April Fool’s Day.  The 15th is the United States Tax Day.  It is true, Easter and Holy Week do fall in this month but not every year.

Take your kids to work Bingo

But I have to say, one of my most favorite unknown days of this month is:

Take your daughters and sons to WORK day.”

When I was growing up, my parents took me to their job regularly.  It helped that my Dad owned his own business and my Mom was the manager over her office.

My husband’s job allows our kids also to see him in action once in a while – he also frequently works from home.  When I was on bed rest with my 5th child and in the hospital for 6 weeks, my husband had no choice but to take our boys with him.  The three of them had the best time and made lifetime memories.

There were many free lessons that your kids can learn by watching you work:

  • They can see that you in another light other than being a parent.
    Your kids might not realize that you have authority somewhere other than home or being under someone else’s authority.
  • They will appreciate you more.
    Kids will see you have more on your plate than just helping them.  In my case, I desired to help my parents more when I realized how much they were doing elsewhere.
  • They might get a vision of what they want to do in the future.
    Personally, I did not want to follow in my parents’ business ventures but I did learn business ethics, from learning to answer the phone correctly to dealing with people who were having bad days.
  • They will see how business works.
    Kids see a little peek into economics up close.
  • They will develop a bond.
    Letting kids see something that is important to you can open conversations over dinner that they can understand.  How was the day at the office will actually mean something to them too.

Bosses might not smile at the idea of taking your child to work with you. Being creative is the key.  Maybe it will just be a tour of your workplace or just a ride to see where you work if you are not allowed to take your child on the premises.

Whatever you choose, it could be a lifetime memory etched in your child.

Some days when I went to my parents’ job, I would have enjoyed a game.
So I created a Take Your Child to Work with you Bingo Game.

The directions are simple:

1.  Print off the game.

2.  Check of the box once your child sees it.

Winners of the game might could get ice cream or a candy bar at the end of the day to conclude a great work day.

Blessings to you!  You are loved!

Lana at iLoveMy5Kids  My name is LANA (like banana).
Our blog is about loving Jesus, loving kids, loving others, loving food, loving DIY projects, loving travel and just loving life! Find me over at iLoveMy5Kids.com.

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Finding Joy in the Journey when the Finish Line is Near

Joy in the Journey pin

Do you ever find yourself trudging along this time of the year, feeling like you are just accomplishing school? There is no joy, no passion, no real inspiration, just a drive to the finish line? Whether your finish line is the end of May or twenty years from now, I hope to give you three tips to increase your joy in the journey.Today I want share with you my journey the last couple of weeks and the things the Lord is teaching me about joy. We find ourselves in this same position nearly every spring….

What Spring Looks Like in My House

joy in journey/ piles

My boys play sports in the spring and the practices and games are in full gear. We have five family birthdays to celebrate in March. I begin to scour the internet researching and planning for our upcoming school year. This helps me take advantage of conference specials when we attend a Teach Them Diligently Conference and lets me put my hands on any curriculum I am up in the air about. I love having most of my planning done before we break for the summer. This lets me have a mental break for a couple of months and have more time to enjoy summer activities with my kids. This year, I added car shopping to the list. Our van has served us well the last nine years, but has to be put to rest. We set aside time to clean closets and purge bookshelves to sell and donate our excess. All of these things are necessary and important to me, but it makes me mentally drained and physically tired after several weeks of this schedule. I get behind on housekeeping and meal planning. I feel behind on everything…….

muddy shoes, dirty floor

Joy – Emotion or an Attitude

Mud tracked on the carpet, doggy pawprints on the door. Kids running in and out of the house enjoying the warmer weather. These are the things of special memories, but my drive to the finish can leave me forgetting to savor the moments, put the housework and projects aside and focus on the people in my life. As I began to ponder this recently, the Lord began to speak to me about joy. Joy is not specifically an emotion. Happiness is the way we feel, but joy is a heart attitude. It transforms my life. When I am dealing with stress, I am learning that I don’t have to feel happy about it, but I can chose to have a joyful attitude in the midst of my trials. When the kids have spring fever and want to be outside, when I would rather be finished with school, I can look to my heavenly Father and realize that these temporary trials can develop perseverance in me and teach me so many lessons about life. I can learn to stop and live in the moment. Stop and sit with my toddler and read a book. Don’t be so concerned about finishing an assignment, but learn from the process. When we are tired and weary, we have so many opportunities learn to choose joy. Here are my three tips:

1.  Make a Choice

Choosing joy is more about having a prayerful attitude of gratitude and peace in the midst of stress, frustration and sticky situations than about big smiles and a happy feeling. We can ask for joy in the midst of our trials and our Father loves to shower this fruit of the Spirit on us.

2.  Remember That Our Homeschooling Journey Won’t Last Forever

One day, our journey in homeschooling will be over and we will be entering a new phase of life. Some days it seems interminable, but really this is a fleeting phase in the grand scheme of our life. Savor the moments and don’t always be looking to tomorrow. Enjoy the blessings of today.

3.  Put on a Garment of Praise

I remember a song my father taught me as a girl. He used to get out his guitar and sing it to me. The lyrics were taken from Scripture and went like this -

Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

Lift up your heart to God.

Pray with the spirit and the understanding.

Oh magnify the Lord.

I have found that when I am feeling stress, pushing others beyond their limits or just ready for a mental break, it is hard to stay in that mindset when I begin praising the Lord and meditating on my blessings. Gratitude and praise lift the heaviness of my heart and put my focus on things above. I am then able to see clearly the path to the finish line, but I am also able to notice the beauty on the path around me. My focus is not so narrow but I am able to take the time to see God in the circumstances and people around me.

I hope that as you prepare to wind down or switch gears in the coming days, you will remember to chose joy and enjoy the journey ahead of you!


Joy - James 1:2-3

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Washington, D.C.

Bio photo JSA

Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue.  “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family,homeschooling, saving money, etc.  Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories and curriculum reviews and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!

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Teach Them Diligently Convention-Touching Lives

Build A Menu was recently privileged to attend the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville as both a presenter and an exhibitor.  I have to tell you, it was a wonderful experience.  We were able to see first hand how God is working in the lives of so many families.  Watching the families that came through the TTD convention and seeing their eagerness for godly knowledge that would benefit their home schools and families was touching.  The TTD staff were all so wonderful and caring.

We were honored and thrilled to have so many women come up to our booth to meet us and give us their testimony on how Build A Menu had helped their families.  There was the young mother who stopped by to tell us she had signed up with us several months back and that BAM had changed their lives.  I thought, really?  Changed your family’s life?  She went on to tell us how she didn’t even know how to steam green beans or do basic cooking let alone plan a menu for her family until she signed up for BAM.  Now her family is enjoying meals together and she is saving money on her grocery bill.  As she was telling me this, her husband was standing behind her grinning from ear to ear and agreeing with her.  What a blessing to her and what a blessing to us to hear her’s and other family’s testimonies on how BAM has helped their families.

We were also able to reach out and minister to many women and families that were at the Nashville TTD who had never heard of Build A Menu.  When my sister, Karee Blunt, and I went to do our presentation on “Kitchen Stewardship…Does God Really Care How Much You Spend On Groceries?”  we were immediately approached by a mother who was beyond frustrated and was in tears.  She explained to us that her grocery budget was way out of control to the point that it was affecting her marriage.  She didn’t know what to do.  She said to us in an email right after we got back from Nashville TTD,  “Ten years into grocery/menu frustration and one month after I began to ask God to send someone to help me and then I am at Teach Them Diligently and see your class advertised…….yeah I don’t believe in coincidence either. Build a Menu is God’s answer to my plea for help.”  What a honor for BAM to get to do that.  We received another email from this sweet mother who had this to say:

“YOU! are AWESOME!!   Bless you for staying with me until I learned the lesson God intended for me to learn.  I promise He’s been working on  me in the patience area. BTW: my friend that I bought a subscription for, has already used hers and planned a menu and doubted the amounts would match up  And when they did (hers was about $20 less b/c she already had some things) she went and told her sister (w/9 kids) about it and she has signed up!!!  I’m so excited that she enjoyed it and it *worked* for her (my friend) that she told her sister about it.  She also told me today that last night was the first ‘real meal’ that they’ve had in probably a month.   And that they sat down and ate as a family.  You know, this will have life-lasting effects on her family and marriage as she’s able to con’t these meals and keeping costs down, etc.  All of this is true for me and my family also.  But I was so burdened and determined that we WEREN’T going to be like that, I over compensated and bought TOO MUCH, and wasted too much also, which was also causing a problem in my marriage b/c of the money spent each week. You don’t know how badly I was burdened in this particular area.  AND THAT BURDEN HAS BEEN LIFTED!!!  THANK YOU!!!”

PRAISE GOD that He has been able to use BAM and Teach Them Diligently as a tool in helping this family (and many others like hers) to get control of their grocery budget, ease the stress in their marriage, and bring dinner back to their table.  We can’t tell you how many times women can up to our booth asking for help.  Without the TTD convention, these families might not have heard of us.

Build A Menu has many different reasons for existing.  One of those is adoption ministry.  We use Build A Menu as a platform for raising money for adoption charities throughout the world and to help families who are in the process of adopting to raise money for adoption expenses. Because BAM was able to attend the Teach Them Diligently convention in Nashville, we were able to sign up so many new members that we were able to come home and immediately sponsor a new child.  Praise God! Meet 4 year old Rekab from Ethiopia.









Thank you Build A Menu members and Teach Them Diligently!  We are looking forward to the Spartanburg TTD convention and with God’s help we will touch lives there as well.

It’s not too late! You can still attend a Teach Them Diligently Convention in Washington, D.C. or Dallas, TX. Register today!

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Homeschooling in the Chaos

Homeschooling in the Chaos

If you are a homeschool family that is in it for the long haul, sooner or later you will have extended periods of “life” that happen.  Not just a sick day or week.  More than just a day full of appointments and errands.  Or the occasional celebratory occasion.

You’ll have “life” that happens for several weeks…several months.  Sometimes for families it can even be a year.  There will be chaos.  These are the times are when you have to praise God for blessing you with the opportunity to homeschool your children.  I can almost guarantee that if you had to manage daily drop-off and pick-up, homework, fundraisers, and the like that accompanies school outside the home, the chaos would seem even bigger and more overwhelming than it does when homeschooling is a part of your life.

This is when you need a Plan B.


Homeschooling in the Chaos

In actuality, Plan B’s often get a bad rap.  They aren’t always a negative thing.  Sometimes it’s just how you respond to Plan B that determines the outcome.  Plan B’s are often your silver lining in disguise.

Think of how many times in your life that YOUR Plan A didn’t work out, and you had to resort to Plan B (which in reality was God’s Plan A for you the whole time)….I know I can see the beauty and the joy in those situations.  In hindsight, of course.

So the trick it to know going in that you have a Plan B that works.  That when life happens, homeschooling and learning can still go on.  It may look a little differently than it did the month before, but that’s okay.  There are scores of homeschoolers in this country who practice what most of us call “unschooling”.  And what you may wind up doing during this season of your life could possibly look a little like that at times.

This has been on my heart recently because we are most likely looking at a season of moving into interim housing (rental home, apartment…not sure what it will be yet) while my husband gets our new home built.  The “interim housing” part is perhaps one of the biggest moving parts of this whole adventure.  People move all the time.  You pack it all up, get it moved, and unpack it again.  When there is a stop along the way, you have all kinds of things to consider…especially when that stop is a fraction of the size where you currently are.  But the tips I have for you will work no matter what your journey looks like.


1.  Assemble your team.

Everyone in the family needs to be on board with the fact that during the chaos, there will be changes.  Chances are, if you follow tip #3, your kiddo(s) will have a ton of fun with this interim way of doing homeschool.  Looking ahead at what we will have going on for the next 9-12 months, I think my daughter will simply love it.  In many ways, it will bring a more relaxed schedule.  There is only so much you can heap onto your plate when “life” is happening, so something naturally has to give.

2.  Keep your most important resources at your fingertips.

This will mean different things to different folks.  For me, it will be of utmost importance that the homeschooling resources I will need during May, the summer AND part of next school year will be labeled prominently and NOT stored in the back of a storage unit behind everything else I will not need before the final move.  If a move is not part of your picture (and even when it is), efficiency is a necessity, and being able to get to what you need quickly will make each day run a little more smoothly.

3. “Funschooling” rocks during chaos.

Take this opportunity to change things up a bit.  We LOVE learning with games, movies and field trips!  And those are fairly easy to utilized during this  time….not much planning is involved for any of those three choices.  And if being on the road a lot during this time is part of the changes, make sure you make use of all that car time.  We have a DVD player in our Odyssey, and it is such a blessing!  If not movies, audio books and other such things on CD are a GREAT tool!

4.  Be the definition of flexible.

You’re heard of Murphy’s Law, correct?  Well, the fact that you are in the middle of the chaos is by definition the very time when things can go wrong.  Your reaction to these things will determine the outcome.  Something comes up and you can’t get math and science done today?  Yep, it can/will happen.  If you are flexible, it could turn out to be an awesome day!  If all you can do is focus on what can’t get done instead of what is happening in its place…well, then not so much.

5.  Have the Calgon on hand.

This is all doable.  But I’m not going to lie to you and say that there will be no stress involved.  Whatever is going on in  this season of your life is quite possibly a source of stress.  The  fact that you are not able to stick to your neatly planned out schedule could be difficult for you.  I know for a fact I will have a hard time with this.  As well as many other things during this process.  So it will be key for me to find ways to relax and enjoy the time I have been given.  A long hot bath…exercise….maybe just a date night with my hubby.  Whatever it takes to keep the stress at bay, I will do.

My prayer for you is that you will be able to enjoy the blessings of all the seasons of your life.  Sometimes we have to look harder to find them, but they are there.  Because remember…nothing that is going on in your life right now is a surprise to God.  He has crafted everything according to His plan.

I can do all things  through Christ

How can we pray for your season of chaos?

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Classical Approach to Homeschooling {Overview}

When you hear the word classical education, what do you think of?

You might imagine old pen and ink drawings of some kind of schoolmaster from the 1200’s teaching classics. Or maybe you think of “Choral chanting” which monks sang at the monastery.


I’d like offer a new view of classical education.  It’s not dull and it’s not boring. It can be very exciting, and if done right, it will give your kids the tools of learning and a love of learning.

Too often we educate our kids the way we were schooled (traditional textbooks). Then, we take away a love for learning by age seven. Hopefully I can give you a different view from a classical perspective which encourages a love of learning.

Dorothy Sayers

dorothyDorothy Sayers believed schools were teaching everything except “how to think”. She studied how

children learn best and reported her findings in The Lost Tools of Learning. Presented at Oxford in 1947, The Lost Tools of Learning suggests educators adopt a suitably modified version of the medieval scholastic curriculum, or classical approach to education.

Schools have used Sayer’s methodology with great success. Homeschoolers also follow Sayers recommendations as they implement a classical approach to Christian homeschooling.

Sayers’ success is an example of how classical education can be used to truly educate children and give them the tools to think and learn. Her use of middle-age classicism is well-worth examining and can be found in her paper, The Lost Tools of Learning.

To begin, classical education begins with the liberal arts.

Liberal Arts 

What comes to mind when you hear liberal arts?

Possibly, a liberal person in college that’s spouting off philosophy and history. When we speak of liberal arts, it’s not in the sense of Democrat/Republican political views.

Liberal arts refers to “liberating the student from the teacher”. The goal of a classical education or a liberal arts education is to liberate or free your student from the teacher.

What is the goal of our public education? 

Students should be totally dependent on their teachers or their boss to tell them what to do for the rest of their lives. This should not be so! We must reverse our thinking from what we experienced in school.

With a classical approach to homeschooling, your goal is that your kids are liberated, to become free from their teacher. Once liberated from their teacher, your students can learn on their own, love learning, and have the tools to move forward.

End Goal of Classical Education

With a classical approach to education the liberal arts will have an end goal of apprehending truth, goodness, and beauty, while finally acquiring virtue and wisdom as an older student.

Why do we do have this goal as Christians?

So we can know, glorify, and enjoy God.

The ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty are repeated over and over in classical Christian education.

What is truth? We always based everything on God’s truth, the Bible.

What is good? We see goodness in the Bible when we see how God treats His people. Then we see goodness in history, literature and science, in a similar fashion.

What is beautiful?  Go outside and see God’s amazing beauty. The smell of honeysuckle; the beauty of a rose; the pitter-patter of rain refreshing the earth.

As you study a variety of subject areas, pull these ideas (truth, goodness, beauty) out for your kids to realize and to seek.

Our society is very caught up in skills and they usually miss what is true, beautiful, and good.  Don’t miss what God has right before you.

I know that sounds very abstract, but we’re going to bring this down to nuts and bolts.  Next, we will discuss the liberal arts of classical education that lead to truth, beauty & goodness.

kerry beck - HowToHomeschoolMyChild.comKerry Beck homeschooled all three of her children for 10 years. She is now an empty-nester that encourages homeschool moms online and at live workshops. She wants to give you a free ebook: Everything You Wanted to Know About Homeschooling that you can grab by clicking here. She also has a free Passion Week Scripture Reading Schedule for you.

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