About Amy

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 8 living children and 1 precious little girl playing at the feet of Jesus. Raising Arrows is where you find years of homeschooling and home management knowledge, as well as grief support for those who have lost a loved one. You can find Amy on

HUGE Homeschool Curriculum Giveaway!


Have you checked out the Top Picks 2015 Homeschool Curriculum Guide? It’s organized by subject and FULL of some of the very BEST homeschool curriculum choices! We love these companies and their products so much that we wanted to be able to give away a few to you for FREE! And by a few, we mean over $6300 worth of prizes!

There are five prize pack giveaways {thus there will be five winners}, and one giveaway that will have 200 winners! Yes, you read that correctly, one very awesome giveaway will have 200 winners!

So, let’s get started!! Use the Rafflecopter forms below to enter. All entries will be verified. The giveaway period will close on 7/10/15 at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be notified via email on 7/13 and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!!!

Giveaway #1

This awesome prize pack consists of:

See the Light


Bible Stories Boxed Set- $74.95 value

Explore the Bible through Interactive Art. See The Artist Draw the Bible Story. Hear The Dramatic Telling of the Story. Draw 3 Step-by-Step Lessons Related to the Bible. Share The Art and Story with Others. Over 17 hours of content! For ages 6+.

Red Wagon Tutorials


Red Wagon Tutorials e-Notebook product offers a thirty-two class lecture series recorded in MP4-HD format which can be downloaded and accessed via Internet browser. These products are Red Wagon Tutorials exclusive productions. Each session in the series is sixty to ninety minutes in length, depending on how they are used. We currently have presentations available for General Science, Health & Fitness, Physical Science, Earth Science, Biology, Marine Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Advanced Biology, and Biochemistry. Also in the works are two additional high school course presentations: Zoology and Botany. Included in our products are the video links, lecture notes, tests, answer keys, and formal lab report examples used during class presentations. They are used by over 2100 students annually worldwide. Red Wagon Tutorials gives away one free e-Notebook to a missionary family working overseas for each one we sell. e-Notebooks retail for $175.00 for each course. Titles available for this giveaway include: General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Marine Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Advanced Biology. Apologia textbook/solutions manual is required for the e-Notebook course.



Science4Us is giving away a 3-month subscription of Science4Us for one student. The winner will receive access to the entire K-2 online science program that includes interactive lessons, hands-on activities and worksheets, lesson plans and automated reports. $23.85 value.



ChessKid.com is the safest, most fun way for children to learn and play chess online. The scholastic extension site of Chess.com – the world’s largest chess website with more than 12 million registered users – ChessKid was started to provide chess coaches, parents and teachers around the world with the learning environment they needed to make chess a regular part of their children’s everyday lives. With comprehensive learning tools that include videos, articles, puzzle trainers and more – ChessKid.com has everything a child needs to go from beginner to strong tournament player.

ChessKid.com is giving away a 1-month Gold (Premium Access) Membership to all those who visit http://www.chesskid.com/homeschoolblogs— Basic Membership is always FREE, but this month members can gain premium access to try out the learning tools and playing platform that all our premium members enjoy.

ChessKid.com is also giving one lucky winner 35 1-year gold memberships. This is perfect for coaches, homeschool groups/co-ops. $250 value.

Critical Thinking Co.


Win a Free Book Bundle of your choice from CriticalThinking.com! A $148 to $301 value (depending on the bundle you choose)! The winner gets to choose from 9 book bundles for grades PreK-12+. The award-winning PreK-12+ books, software, & apps from The Critical Thinking Co. teach thinking, reading, writing, math, science & history in a fun, engaging way. With every purchase, they donate two or more products to children in need.

Don’t want to enter the sweepstakes? Get Seven (7) FREE eBooks! A $53 value — yours absolutely free! No purchase necessary. Just visit: www.criticalthinking.com/hbn



We’re giving away one level of Math-U-See for Top Picks 2015, valued at up to $149!

The year 2015 marks 25 years of teaching math in a way that equips and encourages both teacher and student. Math-U-See is a complete K – 12 math curriculum focused on homeschool and small group learning environments. We “Build Understanding” in students by using manipulatives in a multi-sensory, mastery-based approach suitable for all levels and learning styles. Each level focuses on a specific set of concepts while continuously reviewing and integrating previous concepts; other math topics are introduced where appropriate.

We teach by concept:

  • Emphasis on the “why” of problem solving, not just the “how”

  • Focus on teaching students how/when to apply concepts

  • A systematic and cumulative approach that is definitive and logical

We are a mastery program:

  • Step-by-step procedures for introducing, practicing, mastering, and reviewing concepts

  • Designed to teach students specific skills in sequence as the student progresses

We are skill-based and multi-sensory:

  • Use of block manipulatives to teach concepts for every level

  • Teaching that incorporates multiple senses to accommodate each learner

To enter Giveaway #1 please use the following Rafflecopter! Good luck!
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Giveaway #2:


This amazing prize pack is valued at over $380 and consists of:


Foreign Language for Kids

Sign 1 (New award winning) This year Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids® is thrilled to be able to give away an annual membership to our online Spanish Program! The Membership includes full access to our complete, award-winning video series. In addition, the online program offers fun and interactive quizzes which will challenge your student and tell you when he or she is ready to progress to the next lesson. Our colorful Workbooks, which supplement the videos, are also included in the online program in a fully interactive format. The Workbooks contains, puzzles, word finds, and other fun activities to reinforce and expand upon what the videos teach. The Workbooks also add an optional component of culture and geography, which is presented in an entertaining way. The program is easy for parents to implement, even if they do not speak any Spanish. Students are engaged by the entertaining videos and excited when they realize that they are understanding and speaking some Spanish! At Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids®, we pride ourselves on our customer service. We are always available to answer your questions as your children progress through the program. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Applecore System

Giveaway Image Applecore is a simple, online record keeping service designed for the fast paced homeschool parent. You can easily track courses, grades, attendance and more, all with full reporting from transcripts to report cards. Your FREE, year long, Gold Membership will include the following: recordkeeping for all of the students in your household, course tracking, grade reporting, report cards, a portfolio, attendance tracker, a scheduler and transcripts. Applecore is happy to assist you in keeping your child’s records organized from year to year!

Simply Fun

FrontRunner_250 We’re not just horsing around! Exercise your math factoring skills and make your horse the Front Runner. The first horse to cross the finish line wins the race. Solve equations using the dice by plugging in the missing numbers needed to solve the equation. Feeling fearless? Use a Second Wind card to re-roll the dice and try again. Falling behind? Use a Nose Ahead card for a chance to make up some ground. Solving for multiple operators? Follow the 3 rules for Order of Operations and run a smooth race. Learn Pre-Algebra Equations, Order of Operations, and Factors. Perfect for ages 8 and up! Value: $32

Systematic Mathematics

1 Math Rescue Cover We say “NO!” to Common Core. Math Rescue is a nonconsumable DVD program for older students (8th grade or above) that are struggling in math, have gaps, or just need a refresher. It will give them a solid foundation of understanding in math, which will build their confidence and enable them to pursue algebra and beyond. Math Rescue is a “Weapon of Math Instruction”! This course can be used alone or followed up with our algebra sets. Math Rescue includes 1 data CD and 8 lesson DVDs – an $82 value! Check out our website to learn more about Math Rescue and our other materials. Email learnit@systemath.com with any questions.

Godstruck Ministries 4 Kids






Sing God’s Word – Psalms in Tune(CD #1) and the associated Companion Curriculum (for CD #1); a $21.98 value.



Listeners will follow the adventures of Kori and Anthony who encounter Matt Cello (M.C.), Joni Microphonie, Buddy Bass, the Dissonance Brothers, and a cast of many other musical characters from Symphony City. Each song features a Bible verse or verses with dialogue that can be used as its own devotion, or each of the CDs can be enjoyed as a complete story. The Sing God’s Word CD series is a valuable teaching tool and each CD provides over an hour of audio entertainment.



Along with the eleven songs and the accompanying tracks of the story line, a simple companion curriculum has been created for each CD designed to meet the needs of preschool and younger elementary-aged students. The curricula can be used as Sunday school material, with Children’s Church small groups, as part of a home school curriculum or with individual family devotions. For each devotional segment, the curricula provide an activity/object lesson, commentary, an appropriate coloring page (a free download from our website), an accompanying Bible story from My First Study Bible: Exploring God’s Word on My Own by Thomas Nelson Publishers, and suggestions for movement or reflection for the song.




Planner-500sq The author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling has helped thousands of families organize their curriculum and activities through her best-selling books. Now Debra Bell has developed a series of gorgeous planners tailored to meet the specific needs of homeschooling parents and their students. Do you want to do more than just survive homeschooling? Now you can thrive in the pleasure of God’s calling. Count your blessings while charting your family’s progress with this 52-week planner designed to help you document God’s faithfulness and activity during your homeschool journey. Features include: • Unique Lord’s Day planning grid • Flexibility to help you prioritize and plan for up to six children • Customized daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planning forms • Forms for setting goals, journaling activities, and tracking reading lists • Year-end review pages This giveaway is for two copies of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, valued at $29 each.

Spelling You See

400x400-sys We’re giving away one level of Spelling You See for Top Picks 2015, valued at up to $46! The Demme Learning family is proud to introduce a program that allows students to develop spelling skills naturally, at their own pace, with the direction and encouragement of the instructor. Dr. Karen Holinga developed this innovative approach during more than ten years of research and experience tutoring children who struggle with spelling. With Spelling You See, you can use Dr. Holinga’s approach to help your students become confident, competent spellers  





      • Follows developmental stages of spelling




    • Tested successfully since 2000 by Dr. Karen Holinga, “The Reading Doctor”




    • Short, daily activities integrating copywork, reading, speaking, and listening




    • Promotes long-term visual memory of letter patterns that helps students, over time, to incorporate correct spelling in everyday writing


    Research has shown that students spell correctly when words are imprinted on the visual memory. This happens with repeated reading and repeated copying of letters and words. Reading back what is written helps students cement the correct spelling in their long-term memories, enabling them to spell the words naturally in everyday writing. To enter Giveaway #2, please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #3

Home Educating Family


Family Magazine meets you at the intersection of your life and faith. Committed to engaging today’s homeschooling family in thoughtful discussions of relevant topics, we bring you the best articles by the best authors about the most important issues facing families today. No cookie-cutter answers here—only practical, current homeschooling advice and resources.

Teaching your children at home in the 21st century is starkly different than it was over thirty years ago when the homeschooling movement began. Families now have more options, support, and resources than ever before! Our mission is to keep you informed, so that you have the very best home educating experience possible. Family Magazine is committed to addressing those topics that influence us most deeply, such as parenting, marriage, biblical manhood and womanhood, and the family’s important roles in the church and the government. At the same time, we give you immensely practical advice on implementing the newest and best ideas in homeschooling! Homeschoolers have the advantage of avoiding some of the worst elements of our world, but we also have the responsibility of changing our world. We provides you with you the encouragement, inspiration, and information to do just that!

Win a 1 Year Subscription to Family Magazine!
In six print issues each year with first-rate graphic design and culturally relevant articles, Family Magazine has quickly become the most popular homeschool magazine on the market. Subscribe and join the discussions taking place in the homeschooling community today. Family Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published in February, April, June, August, October, and December
Please allow up to 12 weeks for delivery of your first issue.

Home Educating Family is giving away 200 one-year subscriptions to Family Magazine {valued at $25 EACH!}

To enter this incredible giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!!!
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Giveaway #4


This incredible prize pack is valued at over $1800 and includes:


Easy Grammar

EGUS 8 TED COVER From the author: I created Easy Grammar Ultimate Series texts Grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12+* to ascertain students have a well-rounded curriculum. As a former high school English teacher, I knew that the focus should be literature, writing, and speech. However, students still need to be introduced to grammar concepts and mechanics at higher levels as well as to maintain mastery through daily application of concepts. The Ultimate Series has been designed for that exact purpose. I’ve used both an escalator, building-block paradigm and a cyclical approach. The former allows students to learn gradually. (Overwhelmed students tend not to learn.) Cyclical learning involves introducing, reviewing, expanding, and/or applying concept—every 20-25 days. In fact, I have written a “Scope and Sequence” for capitalization, punctuation, and grammar for each grade level. (For example, in Easy Grammar Ultimate Series: Grade 9, students actually practice using an apostrophe to form singular possessives during nineteen lessons (days). This spiraling approach enhances mastery learning! Daily Format: #1 Capitalization, #2 Punctuation, #3 & #4 Grammar Usage and Other Concepts #5 Sentence Combining for improved quality of writing. *The + denotes that Grade 12 is also applicable at college level.


T4L_400x400_06-2015_Static Time4Learning is an online, interactive curriculum for PreK-12th. It can be used for homeschool, skill building, and summer study. Time4Learning combines the technology kids love with the education they need to make learning fun! Real life concepts are taught with animation, adding a sense of humor, to make lessons engaging. The curriculum can be used by following our lessons plans or you can use the activity finder to hone in on a particular area of study. For example, if you want to work on fractions and nouns only, you can. With automated reporting, adjustable grade levels, and support, Time4Learning helps customize a curriculum to your child’s needs. Give your children the tools to work independently, study confidently, and excel in the comfort and safety of their own home. Over the past decade, Time4Learning has helped over 400,000 homeschool students including gifted, special needs, and mainstream, discover their learning styles and instill a love for learning. Whether you’re looking for homeschool curriculum, skill sharpening, or looking for educational summer fun, Time4Learning can help! Time4Learning is available on tablets now, perfect for traveling. Our award-winning curriculum is available all year long, is student-paced, and accommodates every family’s schedule, even on the go! Time4Learning is giving away a one-year free subscription, up to $1,440.00 value. This 1-year subscription is good for a family of 4 and children in any grade levels PreK-12th. Winner will receive access to a parent login, multiple student logins, all activities, tools, and resources.


Great Homeschool Conventions



Winner’s choice of location Enter to win a Family Package to winner’s choice of location to THE HOMESCHOOL EVENT OF THE YEAR in 2016 (Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, or California). A Family Package includes a FAMILY REGISTRATION, up to 4 tickets to the TEEN TRACK, and up to 6 tickets to the GRAND FINALE EVENT. All tickets included in the Family Package are for use by immediate family members only – parents, children, and grandparents. Value: up to $150 SOUTHEAST Homeschool Convention – Greenville, South Carolina March 10-12, 2016 TD Convention Center TEXAS Homeschool Convention – Fort Worth, Texas March 17-19, 2016 Fort Worth Convention Center MIDWEST Homeschool Convention – Cincinnati, Ohio March 31-April 2, 2016 Duke Energy Convention Center CALIFORNIA Homeschool Convention – Ontario, California June 16-18, 2016 Ontario Convention Center GREAT HOMESCHOOL CONVENTIONS is an event not to miss! Hosted in major cities across the country, this event offers something for the entire family.  


        • Outstanding Speakers?



      • 100s of Information-Packed Workshops, including Homeschooling 101, Special Needs and Gifted, Parenting, and Classical Education specialty tracks



      • HUGE Homeschool Curriculum Exhibit Hall



      • REAL FAITH for the REAL WORLD Teen Track



      • High-energy Children’s Conference, hosted by Giant Cow Ministries



      • Exclusive special events for families



      • Plus much, much more!



We Choose Virtues

Parentig Cards As parents, do you struggle to set behavior standards your family will stick with? Is it hard to communicate your expectations in a positive way? Who said you have to figure this out all by yourself? We Choose Virtues has tools to help you. We take the guess-work out of parenting and put the fun back in! The Parenting Cards are a set of 12 virtue-training cards, teaching 12 essential virtues in just minutes a day. This flexible curriculum works in countless homes and homeschool formats, for ages 3-11. How it works: 1. Memorize simple action-definitions, antonyms and memory verse for each virtue. (front of each card) 2. Practice each virtue using real-life demonstrations provided, read about the Kids of VirtueVille, and take the virtue-user’s challenge. (back of each card) 3. Look for teachable-moments to reinforce the virtue throughout each day. 4. Encourage your children as they become even more obedient, honest, content, and kind! The Parenting Cards are included in the Homeschool and Family Kits, but we are giving away one FREE set! Moms are saying… “My kids beg for their We Choose Virtues lessons” “The yelling and screaming has all but stopped at our house. Amazing. Thank you, We Choose Virtues!” Retail $38.49 Promo Code VIRTUE15 for 15% off the Parenting Cards.


YE-500sq The Young Explorer series is Apologia’s award-winning curriculum for students from six years old through sixth grade. These books are written directly to the student in an engaging voice and include notebooking activities, projects, and experiments. These courses may be taught in any order, depending on your child’s interests. However, Anatomy & Physiology, and Chemistry & Physics cover more difficult concepts and are best used with older elementary students. Apologia’s spiral-bound notebooking journals contain lesson plans, review questions, additional project and experiments, full-color mini-books, puzzles, and more! Our standard notebooking journals are recommended for grades 3-6. Apologia also offers junior notebooking journals! Designed for younger scientists, these notebooking journals offer age-appropriate activities for grades K-2, including coloring pages, easy and fun science experiments, full-color mini-books, and simple vocabulary exercises. A suggested lesson plan makes this resource ready to use and enjoy. Perfect for younger elementary students or those students with limited writing skills. This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one textbook and one junior or regular notebooking journal, valued at a total of $68.


HSP_400x400 Win a KidCoder: Beginning Web Design course from Homeschool Programming! This popular first-semester course will teach your 4th-12th grade student how to create their own web pages, right on their own computer. No prior programming experience is necessary; all HTML and CSS skills are taught from the ground up. Students will complete a multi-page website with many professional features, using the free software tools already installed on their computer. The giveaway includes the optional instructional videos to provide audio-visual introduction and re-enforcement of the textbook. Together this package retails for $85! Parents do not have to be computer science experts; we gladly answer your technical support questions. This course is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. To enter Giveaway #4, please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway #5

This amazing prize pack is valued at over $400 and includes:


writeshop_primary_books2 (1)

WriteShop Primary is a parent-led writing program that gently introduces K-3rd graders to the steps of the writing process through hands-on activities, crafts, and picture books. These creative activities produce ideas and smiles! When you start teaching simple writing skills at a young age, children are less likely to fear and hate writing later on—and when fun replaces fear, their confidence will blossom. Lessons are divided into Activity Sets to fully cover a topic without hurrying the child. Lots of examples make teaching easy for you. Each Activity Set includes time for you to model and teach writing in a relaxed, nonthreatening way. Reading and writing skills are not needed—all activities may be done orally.

WriteShop Primary FAQs

Winner can choose WriteShop Primary Book A, Book B, or Book C SET, which includes both Teacher’s Guide and student Activity Pack (available in both print and digital versions).


T4W_400x400_06-2015_Static (1)

Time4Writing.com offers 8-week online writing courses for elementary, middle and high school students. Each online course is led by a certified teacher who provides one-on-one instruction, personalized feedback and guidance along the way. Time4Writing offers basic, intermediate and advanced courses that teach topics such as grammar, sentence structure, paragraph writing, essay writing, sentence writing, writing for the SAT and research papers. Each course includes fun, interactive lessons and writing assignments. Students can easily access the virtual campus with their own secure login from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. The writing process includes learning to think, asking good questions, building confidence, and getting your thoughts out. Students work on their schedule, at their own pace, throughout the length of the course. Once an assignment is submitted, students receive constructive feedback from their teacher within one business day. Parents are able to log in as well to monitor reports and purchase additional courses. In addition to teaching students the ins and outs of a particular area of writing, Time4Writing also teaches students how to think and express themselves clearly and confidently. Each course comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Time4Writing is giving away one writing course, equal to $99.00, for one student. The winner will receive access to any course of his or her choosing, which includes access to 8 weeks with a certified teacher, an online login, and all activities and tools within the course.

Geography Matters


GeoMatters is proud to provide the digital download version of your choice of levels from our popular complete curriculum series, Trail Guide to Learning. The winner can select from Paths of Exploration (grades 3-5), Paths of Settlement (grades 4-6) or Paths of Progress (grades 5-7). The digital download contains the complete text of the curriculum plus all student notebook pages for each of the three grades indicated. A complete book list of readers, atlases, references and other resources that are used throughout the year are provided. The winner of this giveaway will also receive a discount to purchase the resource package.
The Trail Guide to Learning curriculum is multi-level for seamlessly teaching several grades together. Each of the six units making up the school year takes about six weeks to complete. All subjects (except math) are woven together to create a natural learning experience for one child or the whole family. Students enjoy learning with approach as they love the book choices and the supportive hands-on activities. In addition, the curriculum is intentional in helping your child develop thinking skills that will last a lifetime. Value $160.

Brinkman Adventures

Season 3 main cover 400x400

The Complete third season of the Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama Series. Set contains 4 audio CD’s with over 5 hours of quality family entertainment. The Brinkman family returns for another exciting season of missionary stories and family adventures. From dangerous terrorists and a Taliban jail to threatening wolves and hypothermia, new challenges push our characters to the limit of endurance and force them to face their deepest fears. Travel the globe from Ecuador to Kashmir and from Africa to Alaska as you listen to these amazing stories and discover God’s wonderful truths!

“Brinkman Adventures tell incredible stories that God writes about people who offer their will as His quill and their lives as His slate.” -Steve Saint- Author of End of the Spear & Founder of I-Tec

“Captivates & Inspires… For all ages!”

$27.99 value.



Our children are bombarded daily with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas–ideas about God, people, truth, beauty, and right and wrong. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are deceptive and even destructive. Because it is more important than ever that children learn to discern the truth, Apologia has partnered with Summit Ministries to bring the What We Believe series to your family.

The What We Believe series is an outstanding way to teach children the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this beautifully illustrated Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn to use Scripture as a lens though which to view the world around them. Featuring engaging stories, creative notebooking, and fun activities, this four-part series is presented in a conversational style that makes the study of God’s Word exciting and memorable for the whole family!

This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one textbook and one junior or regular notebooking journal, valued at a total of $68.




On italki, there are over 2,000 language teachers who are available to teach your child privately by Skype at anytime.

italki is giving 5 lucky winners ~3 language lessons in a language of their choice for FREE. Each winner will receive 30 USD in italki credits which can be used to take ~3 language lessons on italki.


All lessons are private and give your child the opportunity to learn in a relaxed environment.


Whether your child is learning Chinese, French or Arabic, italki has teachers to cater for all language interests.


As all learning takes place at home, your child can interact with a teacher from the safety of your house, and under your supervision.


Teachers will provide materials and suggest a customized curriculum based on your child’s needs.

Find a professional language teacher on italki.

To enter Giveaway #5, please use the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!
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Giveaway #6 The final giveaway includes an amazing prize pack valued at over $480 and consists of:

Math Mammoth

mathmammotj Math Mammoth Light Blue Series (value: $175) constitutes a full elementary mathematics curriculum for grades 1-7. Some of the main features of the curriculum are:

      • It is mastery oriented, concentrating fairly long on one topic, with fairly few topics per grade;



      • It focuses on conceptual understanding.



      • Visual models and exercises are used a lot.



      • Mental math and number sense are emphasized.



      • The curriculum is nearly self-teaching for many children, since the explanations of concepts are found in the student worktext. Thus it requires fairly little preparation time from the teacher.



      • The curriculum meets and exceeds the Common Core Standards.



What is included?

Each grade level in the curriculum consists of two student worktexts (A and B) which contain both the teaching (explanations) and all the student work (exercises). Also included are answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, and a versatile worksheet maker (Internet access required). Additionally, the download and CD versions provide these “extras”:

        • Files to replace the money chapter in grades 1-3 for Canadian, British, European, Australian, and South African currencies. The student worktexts use U.S. dollars as a default currency.





      • User guide




vsc-homeschool-guide-400x400 VocabularySpellingCity Family Premium Membership for up to 5 students, valued at $29.99. VocabularySpellingCity is an award-winning website and app offering vocabulary, spelling, phonics, and writing practice.

      • Immediate corrective feedback, for a powerful learning experience



    • Ongoing exposure to words your child is studying



    • Time-saving! Spelling and vocabulary tests are automatically graded



    • Use with any homeschool curriculum



    • Thirty-seven engaging games and activities



Happy Kids Songs

happykidssongs Thousands of parents worldwide have learned how fun and helpful it can be to have Happy Kids Songs in their lives. No child can be happy all the time, but all kids can be happier with improved character, social & emotional skills. Happy Kids Songs are both highly entertaining and age appropriate—adult quality music, but with words and themes that tap into the most common issues confronting kids ages 4-8. There are 8 different award-winning albums to download, each with 5 songs. One lucky winner will win two FREE albums of their choice.

Beautiful Feet Books

BFB Top Picks Giveaway Item The winner of this giveaway will be awarded one free History Through Literature Pack from Beautiful Feet Books. Choose one of our award-winning K-12 history programs from a variety of subjects including Ancient, Medieval, Early American, or Modern history, among others. Each Pack includes a Study Guide or teacher’s manual, all required literature, as well as other required materials depending on the study. Study Guide outlines each program and will instruct teacher and student what to read, offer comprehension and discussion questions, vocabulary, copy work, coloring, notebooking, research and essay projects, web links, and more! Value range from $65 to $215.

Bright World eBooks



“Ocean Forests” is the first app in a new digital reading series by Bright World eBooks. “Ocean Forests” acquaints children ages 5 – 8 with kelp forests, providing a nonfiction reading option for young readers.
In the storybook feature of the app children can choose to either listen to the story or read it on their own. Using a conversational tone, the story introduces children to life in the kelp forest. Giant kelp is the focal point of an environment that includes harbor seals, multiple species of fish, octopuses, sharks, sea otters, sea birds and more! Each page of the storybook provides an option for children to record themselves reading the story aloud.
“Ocean Forests” includes an Explore feature which allows students to move freely within a 3D environment, experiencing the kelp forest as if scuba diving! Children might tap on a gray whale swimming through the kelp forest and then hear a description of the gray whale’s long migration. There are many, many such auditory descriptions within Explore, all boosting children’s receptive language skills.
“Ocean Forests” also includes two games, one of which helps children make sight words of new vocabulary and the other challenges children’s reading comprehension. Available for $2.99 in the iTunes App Store, but one lucky winner will get a FREE download!

69F831C4-8B3A-4222-8C51-9E636766336E Educents is the best marketplace for affordable homeschooling products. For example, these Life of Fred books are the lowest price you can find on the internet! Our kiddos cannot get enough of Life of Fred and we cannot get enough of Educents! Check out Educents for the best deals on the best products.

Enter to win a $50 gift card on Educents! On Educents, you can find all the best homeschooling curriculum at the best prices! There is no better place to shop for your homeschooling needs.


To enter Giveaway #6, please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!!

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Getting Your Home Back in Order with a 15 Minute Tidy

Have you ever looked about your home after a day of homeschooling or a day of play, and gasped at the mess?  It can be absolutely frightening!  But, you do not need to be afraid of the mess because you are only 15 minutes away from tidy!

Is your home in disarray?  15 minutes is all it takes to get it back in order! | RaisingArrows.net

This method works no matter how many children you have, but it is based on two assumptions…that your home is relatively clean underneath the clutter, and that you and your family know where most things go – meaning your stuff has a home.  If your home is NOT clean underneath, take some time to work out a cleaning routine that works for you that will get the underneath clean.

Here are a few of the ways I have kept our home clean over the years:

home blessing listOne Day Home Blessing

Cleaning by the Day of the Week

Chore Board

If your home is so bad you are beyond overwhelmed, may I gently suggest FLYlady or A Slob Comes Clean.

FLYlady is how I learned to keep my home under control, but A Slob Comes Clean is for those who have failed at FLYlady and need something even more remedial.  No judgement.

I’d also encourage you to gain some understanding as to why you are hanging onto certain things.  My eBooklet Letting Go of What You Own:  A Biblical Approach to Decluttering is available on my Subscriber page.  Sign up below and you will find a link at the bottom of every email you receive from Raising Arrows.

Subscribe to Raising Arrows

OK, so now that we’ve worked out those assumptions, let me mention the number of children thing.  Some might argue that of course I can have a really tidy house in 15 minutes because there are a whole bunch of us working, but remember, the flip side of having a lot of children to help out is that I also have a lot of children creating messes!  For what it is worth, we have been doing 15 Minute Tidies since my oldest two children were tiny.  They helped as much as they could while I worked like a whirlwind.  Now, I have 4 really great Tidy-ers, 2 sort-of Tidy-ers, and 2 not-helping-at-all-ers.  If this didn’t work, I would not have continued to do it all these years!

So, let’s get started!

Music can be very helpful to use as a “timer” – put together a playlist that is about 15 minutes long (Hamster Dance is a favorite on our list!) and start the music at the beginning of the 15 Minute Tidy.  (Amazon Prime Music is a great way to create a Cleaning Playlist!)

Gather everyone in the same room to get them started.  This lets you put eyes on every single child and direct those who need directing.  If I didn’t bring them all to the same room (usually the worst room), they would lay around and not help at all.

Announce the reward for their effort.  We ALWAYS have a reward for getting the work done.  15 Minute Tidies are set at times when there is a natural reward – before snack (announce what the snack will be), before movie night (announce that the movie night will start as soon as the tidy is finished), before you head to the park (announce that you will be heading out as soon as the timer goes off).  This is the motivation everyone needs to get the job done!

Ready, Set, Go!
Start your timer or your music, and get moving!

You have 2 Options on how YOU handle the tidy:

1.  You do the bulk of the work and not worry about what the children are doing except for directing as they pass by.

2.  You work as a facilitator and delegator.  (This is how I have chosen to work.)

If you don’t have a lot of children or none really old enough to be of much help, then you will need to be the primary worker.  Get moving and work as quickly as you can, giving your children direct orders as you go.  Take that to….  Pick that up and set it over there…  Help me pick these up…  (you get the idea)  The name of the game is beat the clock and get as much put away as you can.  (We’ll talk in a moment about how to keep from wasting precious steps and time.)

Because I have a lot of children and a lot of littles too, being a facilitator makes more sense for our household.  I delegate rooms and chores and also work quickly by picking things up in specific rooms and piling them onto a specified surface while the children work hard to put those things away.  I also continually check on everyone to make sure they are working.  I am in constant motion.

How to work efficiently during your 15 Minute Tidy

Start in the COMMON ROOMS (i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, etc).
Don’t waste your time on the rooms no one sees.  That way, if you run out of time, you have at least gotten the main rooms in the house tidied up.  If you have enough time, you can send everyone to their respective rooms or you can have another 15 minute tidy time at some point that is specifically for bedrooms.

Start in the MESSIEST ROOM.  Everyone likes to start where there isn’t much work to be done.  Don’t get caught in that trap.  The rooms that aren’t super messy can easily be cleaned later.  Pay the most attention to the worst rooms and you will feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment.

As I mentioned above, I will work in one room and make a pile of all the misplaced items from that room.  If I was working alone, I would be the main one putting that pile away as soon as I was finished making it, but if I’m delegating, I will have one or two children as designated put-awayers (that’s a real word, right?).  Then, I move to the next room.  The reason this creates efficiency is because you are not constantly leaving the room to put things away.  You do the putting away at the end.

NOTE:  You can also grab a laundry basket or box and fill it up in EVERY room before putting anything away.

DON’T get caught up organizing or decluttering.  This is NOT the time for that.  In fact, if you find you have a lot of STUFF that has no home, rather than dealing with it now, grab a laundry basket or box and just throw it all in there…especially if your “reward” is having company over.  You can take a look at that box later and try to figure out where a good home for those items would be.  When you do find a place for them, be sure to let everyone know where that place is so the next time you do your 15 Minute Tidy, they will know exactly where to put those items.

Time’s Up!

Now, you reward yourself and everyone else!  This can be a cup of coffee, a movie, a snack.  You name it, it’s yours!  (Ok, not really, but a girl can dream, can’t she.)

And that’s all there is to it!  Give it a try today and let me know how it turned out!

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A Day of Raising Arrows

Here’s a peek into my day…

A Day of Raising Arrows - chocolate chip scones - recipe linked | RaisingArrows.net

It started with chocolate chip scones (for the kids, that is).  I made some the night before for my husband who every now and then, gets a hankering for these.  The kids were very grateful he left some for them to eat the next morning.  (I regularly bake in the evening and leave a portion for breakfast on the counter in a sealed container for the children to find the next morning.)  We aren’t morning people, so they all just straggled into the kitchen to find their own breakfast, and then started on their morning chores.

A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net

After I had my breakfast, I made Vitamin B water and some orange iced tea.  The Vitamin Water contains lots of great fruit and has become my favorite way to get my water in for the day – something I sorely need.  As it runs low, I fill it up from the Berkey.  It does take a few hours to “steep”, but it is so worth it!  (note:  we reuse the fruit for several days)

The orange iced tea is something I learned from a convenience store near a home we lived in several years ago.  Every morning, they would put out a huge glass container with iced tea and oranges.  It was the most wonderful tea in the world, and we started making our own at home.  I squeeze a couple of slices into the pitcher and throw it in the fridge.

From there, we started out the school day sitting around the dining room table doing our PictureSmart Bible.
Draw your way through the Bible

This is something we do 1 day every other week.  It takes a while to do, but we all really enjoy it.  The other days of the week, we start out with this story Bible.  They always beg me to read more – and I always oblige.

Next, I did the ABC series from Rod & Staff with my 4 and 6 year old boys.  I find myself reminiscing a lot as I sit on the floor alongside them and work through the pages.  I’ve been doing this series with my little ones since my oldest was 4, so I have fond memories of these fleeting times.

We school on the floor with pretend rats. #homeschool

A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on

My 9 year old is learning his times tables, so he loaded the YouTube Kids app on my cell phone and watched several multiplication shows to help him.

My 14 year old spent the morning on her math, science and Sign Language.  On my morning rounds through the children, I caught her sketching, and had to redirect her.  There’s time for that later in the day. The finished product… A Day in the Life of RaisingArrows.net My 17 year old is preparing for a Man Trip camping and hiking at 11,000 feet with his dad and some old friends of ours, so his morning consisted of setting up a new 2-man tent, and getting it waterproofed. A Day of Raising Arrows - preparing for a camping trip | RaisingArrows.net He also managed to squeeze in some Chemistry, math, and blogging before lunch.

Lunch was sandwiches.  The children had their sandwiches on hamburger buns because I bought too many for a cook out we went to.   My lunch was rye bread and cheese with a square of dark chocolate.

The children did their Table Chores, and threw in another load of laundry, while I took a moment to downloaded some more of the Photography Bundle that ends today. After I got that going, I prepared for an afternoon of Tapestry of Grace lessons.  My 10 year old daughter had been hurrying me along all morning because we are studying Victorian England, and she has declared history to be her favorite subject.  (Actually, most of my children would say history is their favorite subject!) A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net I started with a lovely link from Jane Austen’s World blog on what the servant’s quarters would have been like.  We looked over blueprints of Victorian homes, watched an episode of Manor House (viewer discretion advised on this), and I printed off Victorian paper dolls for my 10 year old.  I also printed off coloring pages of Queen Victoria, but we didn’t get to that.  We ended with tea and Chopin. To see more of what we are doing in Year 3 of Tapestry of Grace, click on the Pinterest board below: Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 3 on Pinterest.

After school, the air-conditioning guys showed up. Only half of our house was cool. Here’s why:

A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net

Thankfully, it’s been fairly cool here due to lots of rain and overcast skies, so we haven’t been cooling the attic for too long. *sigh*

The rain has made moss grow in the streets and flooded a lot of areas, but I have enjoyed the coolness it brings.
A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.netFor supper, I made a very quick meal called Meatball Gravy.  It consists of sautéed onions and turkey meatballs from Aldi, covered in brown gravy, spooned over noodles.  It was a hit, and I was thankful for an easy meal after a busy day of schooling.

That evening after the children were in bed, I ordered some squeaky shoes from Zulily for the toddler (he’s hard to find at times!), and placed an Amazon order.  Here are a few of the things I ordered:

You guys must have bought out all the Seeking Health B vitamins I recommended a couple of months ago! This was recommended to me as a possible alternative, so I decided to purchase them – so far, so good.

We bought some of this coconut milk creamer in Colorado recently, and loved it! It’s only 10 calories per Tablespoon and a much better alternative to my beloved coffee creamer.

We needed some new HDMI cables to hook our computers up to our television. This is the main way we watch movies and our old cables were shot.

Ty and I sat up talking over our day and the day to follow, then I took a warm bath and headed to bed.  Just another day in my world – Raising Arrows.

Would you like me to periodically share my day here?  Let me know in the comments section! 

Large Family Hacks – Play Shoes Crate

When you have a lot of kiddos, you have a lot of shoes!  They are everywhere all over the house, yet the crazy thing is it is next to impossible to find a matching pair when you need them!

Enter our newest organizational tool…the Play Shoes Crate!Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate to keep shoes contained and easily found! | RaisingArrows.net

{affiliate links included}

Back when we used to do Workboxes, I purchased several black milk crates to house the files we were using for a modified workbox system.  However, years later, the milk crates were just taking up space in storage.  (Funny how I have storage items IN storage!)

With all these little boys, we end up with a lot of play shoes and no great place to put them – especially when they are muddy.  So, I decided to pull 2 of the crates out (black was definitely a good color choice!), and put one by each of the most used doors.

Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate | RaisingArrows.net

Piling the shoes into the crate is easy work for any one of the children, and it keeps the floors by the doors free of shoe clutter and the shoes easy to find.  On really muddy days, I’ll put a junk towel by the back door to line the shoes on and get them dry before putting them in the crate, but for the most part, when you come in from playing, your shoes go in the crate – thank you very much!

Large Family Hacks - learn the little things that make their homes run smoother! | RaisingArrows.net

Find all the Large Family Hacks here!

Birthday Treats for Our Dog (and his human family!)

Our dog, Kip, turned one year old a few weeks ago. Because everything in this household is cause for celebration, we decided to make him “Kip”cakes we could ALL enjoy!

Celebrate your dog's birthday with cupcakes they can eat and you can too! | RaisingArrows.net

After searching through several recipes – some of which were said to be downright gross! – we settled on one that we tweaked a bit to make the perfect birthday treat for Kip AND the rest of the family!  It contains banana, carrot, honey and peanut butter – what’s not to love?!  I posted this photo of our yummy creations on Instagram:

“Kip”cakes for Kip the Dog’s Birthday!

A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on


Doggy Cupcakes (aka “KIP”cakes)

1/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350°, and prepare a large mini-muffin pan. (We like this muffin pan.) In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla.   Stir in the shredded carrot. Add the flour and baking soda into the bowl and fold into the wet dough. Spoon the batter into the mini-muffin pan, filling about 3/4 of the way, and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins pull away from the sides and are nicely browned.

Let cool and then serve them up to your family and your family dog!

Cupcake treats for you AND your dog! | RaisingArrows.netThe cupcakes were VERY peanut buttery, and they did taste like something a dog would love (which he did).  We added a bit extra for the humans by frosting them with cream cheese frosting.  One recipe we found said the dog could have the cream cheese frosting too, but we decided this probably wasn’t the best idea.

Because Kip is a hunting dog – a Tri-Color French Brittany to be exact – we keep him in sporting shape.  That means NO CREAM CHEESE FROSTING!  We do give him these treats: And for his birthday, he received this toy to put his treats in (KONG toys are AWESOME!  Kip can chew through anything, but NOT these!  The color of the KONG toy tells you how tough it is – black being the strongest.):


I have to admit, when we first got a dog I was pregnant with our 9th child, and I wasn’t real sure how I’d feel about having a dog.  I have toddlers – who needs a dog?!  But, he’s growing on me.  He’s pretty well behaved, and he has brought a lot of joy (and pheasants) to our family.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kip! A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on

Large Family Photos

Large Family Photos - they can be stressful, comical, and downright crazy !  How to get a large family photo you love! | RaisingArrows.net

You’ve decided it is time to get all of your children in one photo, dressed in matching clothes, looking the same direction and smiling.

Good luck with that.

Large family photos aren’t just an exercise in patience and perseverance, they tend toward insanity on a whole new level.  (Herding cats ring a bell? )  It’s time to find a better way!  This post isn’t your typical “what to wear” or “be sure you feed them beforehand” advice.  It’s full of fresh outside-the-box ideas to fit your fun outside-the-box family!

Click here to learn more about the photography bundle sale going on right now!

First, let me address the million dollar question –

Should you hire a professional photographer?

Large Family Photos - they can be stressful, comical, and downright crazy!  How to get a large family photo you love! | RaisingArrows.net

The photo above was taken by our bank as a free print (with the option to buy a whole package).  We chose to take our free print and run (thank you very much).  But, I use this photo as an example to help you make a wise decision about what kind of professional photographer to use and if it truly is necessary for your family.

I’m happy we got this photo.  I spent a lot of time choosing clothing and trying not to look fat 2 months after giving birth to our 7th child.  Notice, not everyone is smiling in the photo, and our usually bubbly little girl has a weird look on her face.  Oh, and notice the toddler?  Terrified comes to mind.

Choosing to go with a professional photographer has it’s pros and cons, especially if you are choosing someone who either doesn’t know your family or someone who is in a hurry.  This photographer needed to take the photo in our time slot and move on.  He didn’t know us, and it showed.  It’s also a very “stock” photo with a boring background and the usual “family pose” – ramped up to fit our family size.

Not all professional photos are like this (and some would argue this doesn’t even count as a “professional” photo), but the more frills you want, the more it is going to cost you.  If you have a family friend who does professional photos, then by all means, go for it.  But if you don’t, don’t worry that you will never have anything decent to share with grandparents and friends.  There are ways of getting great shots that are share-worthy!
{affiliate links included}

How to get great photos of your large family

My first suggestion is to let go of the notion of the average family photo.  I’m going to talk more about this in a moment, but some of my favorite photos of our family would fall into the category of “Lifestyle” photography.  They are shots of us living life, acting naturally, and showing much more of our individual personalities than a stock photo could ever manage.

So, now that you are ready to think outside the box…

Idea #1:  Grouping method

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

Rather than trying to get ALL of the children in one shot, try grouping a few together at a time to get nice photos that really show their personalities.

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

Idea #2:  Lifestyle Photos

As I mentioned above, these are my favorites, and they are super popular right now!  Simply put, these are photos of your family living life.  They are candid shots that cannot be duplicated, thus making them signature pieces unique to your family.

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

Lifestyle photos are particularly beautiful done in black and white, and lend themselves to being used as “art” around your home.

ty and amy

Idea #3:  Take advantage of holidays and special outings

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

Typically, when we go out for field trips, vacations, or holidays, the kids are dressed in outfits that either match or are well put together (don’t ask me to do this any other day, please!)  Take advantage of those days!

You can use these special outings to capture a set of lifestyle-type photos or to do a more “formal” family photo.  The photo above was taken while on a field trip.  The weather was gorgeous, the lighting just right, and the kids looked presentable!

If you want to get in on the photo as well, ask someone nearby to use your camera to take the photo.  Set the camera up for them (when in doubt, set it to Auto) and ask them to take several shots so you have plenty to choose from.

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

This Easter, we asked my mom to take a photo of us in her living room after church.  My oldest daughter set the camera up, and handed it to Grandma.  No, it isn’t professional-grade, but it is all of us together!

Idea #4:  Take Individual photos

We have started taking individual photos of all the kids every year.  I feel like this really shows their growth and captures more of their personalities.

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.netThese can easily be put into a collage (more on that in a moment), or displayed separately.

Idea #5:  Raise a photographer

Ideas for Large Families to get great photos without breaking the bank | RaisingArrows.net

Ideas for getting large family photos without breaking the bank | RaisingArrows.net

There is nothing better than having a photographer in the house!  All of our family memories are preserved on Megan’s external hard drive.  At the end of the year, we pay her to put them into an album to be printed through Walgreens or Mixbook.

The only downside to having a photographer in the family is that she’s not in a lot of the lifestyle type photos because she’s the one taking them!  The best thing to do in this case is either learn to use a timer so your child can jump in on the shots, or have her set the specs for the photo and then hand the camera off to you (as we did in the photo below!).

Large Family Photos - how to get the best shots, make the most of your time, and not break the bank | RaisingArrows.net

You can see more of her work here –> Diverse Reflections

How to display your large family photos

Idea #1:  Photo collage

This is something we started doing several years ago.  We would take individual photos of the children and then put them into an 8×10 collage on Walgreens‘ site or via PicMonkey.  I am even able to add in Emily’s photo, making it a collage of ALL of the children.  Daddy keeps one on his desk and we hand out the rest to grandparents.  They are reasonably priced either through Walgreens or by putting it together yourself and printing on your own photo paper at home.  It is also a very compact way to display your photos.

Idea #2:  Photo Wall, Shelf, or Frame

Another great way to display photos for a large family is via a photo wall or shelf.  I especially like this idea for lifestyle photos.  You can mix and match sizes, colors, and frames to create a very unique display that fits the decor of your home.  (Check out this post for more ideas on creating stunning photo walls.)

You can also purchase frames that create a photo wall effect for you.  For Christmas, my mother-in-law bought us a photo frame with plenty of spaces for individual photos.  Here are a couple of examples from Amazon:

You are able to get a lot of photos in a small space.  It is also easy to snap a photo with your phone to share with family and friends like I did on Instagram. (you can follow me here –> @amyarrows)

These are my people! #2to1conf

A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on

Idea #3:  Flip Book or Album

I used to scrapbook, but I simply do not have the time anymore.  I’ve found it to be just as fun and rewarding for the family to have a flip book or family album to look at.  My daughter and I keep our photos catalogued and then at the end of the year, put the photos into an album created on Walgreens or Mixbook.  (I actually pay my daughter to put this together for our family since she is the one with most of the photos.)

A flip book is a great idea for grandparents or to keep in your diaper bag!

Idea #4:  Canvas Print

This is a really fun way to display your family photo!  If you get a good one (be sure the pixels are plenty big!), you can order a canvas print from Walgreens!  This makes for a great focal point for a room!

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas to get started with!  I also have some large family photography ideas on my Large Family Living board on Pinterest, if you’d like to peruse it!

And perhaps you (or your budding photographer) are wanting to learn how to take better photos (even with your iPhone!).  Now is the time to grab some great resources to learn from!  Check out the Photography Bundle going on right now.  It is for a limited time only so HURRY!

We decided to buy the big “Business” package as a school investment for our 14 year old.  I’m so glad we did – my daughter is loving it and learning so much!