“I’m Tired of Spending My Day Disciplining Bad Behavior!”

“I’m tired of spending my day disciplining bad behavior!”

She was frazzled and tired.  She had a look of desperation in her eye.  I knew she wanted me to tell her what to do, but all I could say was, “Try to catch them doing good, and reward that behavior instead.”

Yeah, I know…it was lame.

The reason it was lame is because you can tell yourself all day long that you *should* be rewarding good behavior twice as much as you have to discipline bad behavior, but when it comes down to it, moms are so busy that it is often only the bad behavior that catches our attention enough to pull us out of what we are currently involved in so we can take care of it.

It’s called “putting out fires” and we do it all. day. long.

But, guess what?!  There’s a new product in the works that will turn my lame answer into something tangible that can be kept track of by myself AND the kids!

"I'm Tired of Spending My Whole Day Disciplining Bad Behavior!" - Have you ever said that? (or felt that?) Here's your answer!

Character Badges are designed to help you take notice of good behaviors in your child and reward them for those good behaviors.  This isn’t your usual sticker chart or cheaply-made-easily-falls-apart-bought-it-at-the-corner-store reward system.  These are sturdy badges and charts that will hold up to the wear and tear of LOTS of kids!

Tired of spending your day disciplining bad behavior? Here's a sturdy reward system you can easily keep track of and use with lots of kiddos! Character Badges!

Now, remember, I said this was in the production phase.  This homeschooling family needs YOUR help to get it off the ground – and fast!  Here’s what I need you to do…

 1.  GO HERE and watch the video.  No, it’s not required, but if you watch it all the way through, you are in for a good laugh!  You will learn exactly how the Character Badges work AND you will get a dose of hilarious outtakes at the end of it all!

2.  Scroll through the levels of giving and choose one that fits your family’s needs and financial blessings.  There is everything from $10 – $5000 (at that level, THEY will come to you with PIZZA!  Yes, seriously!)  I suggest you take a look at the $65 – $155 range.  These ranges include 1-2 Complete sets and tons of Extra Bonuses!

3.  Click the green BACK THIS PROJECT button.  It looks like this:

Back the Character Badges Project!

This Kickstarter campaign will come to an end Saturday, September 19, so don’t delay!  If the campaign happens to not reach funding, you are NOT out any money.  This is your pledge to help this project AND be first in line to get real about rewarding good behaviors in your children!

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CHARACTER BADGES KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN!

Art Supplies and Ideas for Small Spaces and Large Families

Children are natural artists. They will sketch and color on just about anything if left to their own devices. They don’t typically need encouragement to be artists (unless somewhere along the line they got the notion in their heads that they were NOT good at drawing – this is usually from an outside influence, and will take a lot of coaxing to correct – BUT, that is a totally different post 😉 ).

Obviously, we need to set boundaries for a child’s artistry (so they don’t draw on the walls!), but we most definitely should allow for creativity in our school day.  Having art supplies at the ready is a must for any homeschool!

I have a unique situation in that I have a lot of kiddos of varying ages needing art supplies and a small space in which to store them – the art supplies, that is. 😉  Here are some of my favorite art supplies and ideas for small spaces and large families.

How to manage art with varying ages and abilities | RaisingArrows.net


This post is sponsored by:Large Family Art Ideas | RaisingArrows.net

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Large Family Art Supplies

Keeping art supplies on hand for the large family can be a full time job!  I just discovered yesterday, my stock of glue sticks was frighteningly low, and I JUST bought a stash of them from our local store!

Years ago, I found a wonderful place to buy massive quantities of high quality supplies.  In fact, I only had one child in school when I discovered Discount School Supply.  When my son was 5, I placed a big order, and some of those supplies JUST ran out last year!  That’s 12 years of stock!  And I can honestly say the products were just as good 12 years later as they were when I first purchased them.  (just typing all that brings me back to those early years of homeschooling…*sniff*…time goes so quickly)

So, let me give you a few suggestions from the Discount School Supply website that are large family friendly – you can click the pictures to see more information about them.

Large Family Art Supplies | RaisingArrows.net

Large Family Art Supplies | RaisingArrows.net

Large Family Art Supplies | RaisingArrows.net

Large Family Art Supplies | RaisingArrows.net

Pretty much anything you need art-wise can be purchased there for a great price!

Storage and Organization of Art Supplies

In our home, art supplies are kept in a few different areas.  My recommendation for separating out art supplies would be based on RULES OF USAGE.  In our house, there are 3 different Rules of Usage –
1.  Anyone can use any time.
2.  Only some can use any time.
3.  Supervised use only.

Anyone can use any time – Under our bookshelves, we have supplies I am okay with the children using on a daily basis without needing to ask.

Large Family Art Supplies | RaisingArrows.net I love using the plastic containers you find at the store for around a $1 to fill with supplies.  I have a larger open one for pencils, erasers, and sharpeners (to allow for easy access), and several smaller closed ones for crayons, colored pencils, and markers (to allow for ease of transport).

I used to keep individual boxes for each child when I only had 4 children using supplies.  I bought each child their “color” and wrote each of their names on the lid.  However, now that there are 7 children using supplies, I haven’t found this method to be the best choice.  Instead, I have 4 crayon boxes, 1 colored pencil box, and 1 marker box that are able to be used communally.  The markers (even though they are shown in this photo) are not allowed in this area.  My daughter accidentally put them there when she was cleaning up.

Notebooks make up the main paper supply for this area because they are tidy.  The children are allowed to use loose paper from time to time, but that falls into the next category…

Only some can use any time – The markers, loose paper, scissors, glue, and the more expensive art supplies belong in this group.  I have these items on top of the bookshelf in the dining room in totes.  My oldest daughter also has her own stash of expensive pencils, colored pencils, and charcoals in a locked box in her room.  These were either gifts or purchases she made on her own, so they are “hers” and do not belong to the community at large.

Supervised use only – The supervision-only items are on the top shelf of my closet in a bag I can easily pull down.  These items include seasonal art supplies (like those needed for Truth in the Tinsel) and the blacklight I use for the See the Light chalk art projects we do during the holidays.  I keep pipe cleaners and coffee filters, beads, and glitter in this bag, along with anything else that I would not want to be used without my permission.  I also keep paints and the bulk items I mentioned above on this shelf.

How to Incorporate Art into Your Homeschool

I believe art belongs in nearly every aspect of your homeschool  From your nature studies to history to math and beyond, I believe sketching and adding color to your work is a great way to truly enjoy studying as long as your child doesn’t get wrapped up in the artistic side to the detriment of their studies.  Don’t be afraid to let your child doodle while you teach or color their workbook after their lessons are finished.  I always allow notebooks and pencils during Tapestry of Grace time, and I do not get wrapped around the axle over doodles in their math books.

I also think it is important to teach some formal art to give your child the tools to create something beautiful with a certain amount of mastery.  I recommend using an art program that incorporates many ages and stages and does not require a ton of extra supplies.  We use Art Class from See the Light Art.  You can read my full review HERE.  It spans the ages well with short lessons, solid instructions, and doable art projects that are beautiful!

Large Family Art | RaisingArrows.net

Right now, you can get Art Class (and anything you else you order at the same time) 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in the U.S.  Coupon Code: VIRTUAL

Large Family Art Ideas | RaisingArrows.net

Saving Art Projects

Every parent I know wonders how they are going to keep all the lovely art their child creates.  Nearly every day, one of my children creates something that is super cool and something I would love to keep, but with a large family, these amazing works of art quickly become clutter.  That’s why I LOVE the Keepy App.  I can have as many children on the app as I want and all I have to do is snap a photo, add a few words about the project, and I am free to throw away the original.  Yes, I do keep some REALLY phenomenal works of art, but those are few and far between and go into a file in the filing cabinet.

Unique Ways to Acquire Art Supplies

The last thing I want to address is how you can gather art supplies.  The only word of caution I have here is that in the acquiring of supplies, be sure they don’t become clutter and chaos.

Make art supplies a gift – My 4 year old got a big stash of art supplies for his birthday.  Most of these became community supplies because at his age, sharing is fun, but you can allow each child a small tote that is just their own.  Ask for art supplies as gifts or give them yourself – they are consumable and always welcome!

Recycle – Boxes, packing paper, jars, yarn, ribbon, sticks, and so much more can easily become art mediums.  The rule in our house is that you get to play with recycled items for a one day and then they must go to the trash (unless the thing created is well-constructed and will last a long time without becoming a big mess – example: the dollhouse my daughter made from a cardboard box).

Garage Sales – One of the best garage sale finds I made when my two oldest kids were little was a huge bag of notepads!  You will often find these types of things grouped together and selling for little to nothing.  You might also find some more specialized supplies, but be certain you NEED them before you buy, and be certain the quality is worth the cost.  Low quality crayons and other supplies just aren’t worth it no matter how cheap.

Deconstructed Items – Search the term “UPCYCLE ART SUPPLIES” on Pinterest and you will find a treasure trove of ideas!  Take a gander at the ideas there and start to see ordinary items in a new light.

No matter how you do art in your home, let it be free-flowing and fun!  This isn’t a time to be strict and structured, and criticism needs to take a hike.  In fact, I would even encourage mama to sit down and create alongside her children.  Color, cut and paste, and enjoy the time with your children!  You want art to be something your child has fond memories of!

50% Off ALL Downloads from my Favorite Lapbook Company!

I thought I had missed this sale — but a little birdie told me it was extended, so I didn’t actually miss out!  Yippee!

AJTL Lapbooks

{AJTL is one of my affiliates}

My favorite Lapbook company – A Journey Through Learning is having a HUGE Stock Up Sale – 50% off ALL DOWNLOADS! (ends August 16)

***Use Coupon Code Deal50 at Checkout!***

These are some of the easiest lapbooks you will find – and this, coming from a mama who DOES NOT LIKE a lot of extra work. These are grab and go, ready to create lapbooks.  Super easy to do!

One of our favorites is the Prairie Primer Binder (this is one you do as a notebook rather than a lapbook and can be used even if you are just reading the Little House books and not actually doing the curriculum).

A Journey Through Learning Lapbook Download Sale!  50% off!

READ MY REVIEW OF THIS BINDER HERE!

I also noticed they have added a ton of other Curriculum-based lapbooks (Classical Conversations, TruthQuest, Apologia, The History of US, Diana Waring, Answers in Genesis, and more!), so see if there is one that corresponds with what you are studying this year!  This is a great way to do something hands-on that solidifies your children’s learning but doesn’t require a lot of extra work for you.

I’ve had several people ask me about curriculum for younger ages lately, and AJTL would be definitely be one of my recommendations.  Look through their suggestions for Monthly Ideas or History Themes, and snag some of those lapbooks.  This will give your youngsters good cutting and gluing skills, writing and drawing skills, all wrapped up in a solid education.

And of course, don’t miss the FREEBIES PAGE!  This will give you a taste of what AJTL is all about!

Sale ends August 16, so don’t delay!

AJTL Lapbooks

How We Teach Homeschool Economics

Even if the state we live in didn’t require us to teach economics, we would.  It is THAT important.  I’m not teaching it the way the public school would, but rather from a Christian worldview – one that is responsible, charitable, and stewardship-minded.

Even if our state didn't require us to teach Economics in our homeschool, we would.  It is imperative we get these principles into our children's heads - here's how we do it (plus a time sensitive 25% off coupon!) | RaisingArrows.net

It is imperative we give our kids a solid CHRISTIAN foundation in economics.    This doesn’t just affect our cash flow and stance on debt, it affects how and when we give of our time and resources, policies we support, and how we view governmental systems and agencies.  This is important stuff!

Because most of us are not stock brokers or Economics professors, we will probably need a little help.  So, let me give you a run down of how we teach Economics.

{includes affiliate links}

How We Teach Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net

1.  Start with Economics for Everybody.  (There is an old audio-only version of this series.  It is not as engaging and informative as the series produced by Compass Classroom.  Please, do not mistake the two.)

Let me explain WHY we start here.  This is the foundational piece.  We need to give our kids a solid foundation in how economics really works from a Christian worldview.  Economics for Everybody does that.

The series features R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s teaching complimented by video illustrations that help connect the concepts for you and your child.  (YES, I highly recommend you watch these WITH your child – you WILL learn something!)

To give you an idea of how this works, take a look at this trailer for the series:

**Get the first 3 lessons in this course for FREE!**

The reason this kind of teaching works so well is because it brings in both auditory learning AND visual learning together.  Children (and adults!) learn best if they experience concepts in more than way.  Using the Economics for Everybody series will give your child the best chance at actually learning and retaining the information.

In fact, ALL of my children sat and watched the class!  That is how engaging and well-done this course is.  However, for those of you wondering about age recommendations for this course, it is geared toward middle school, high school, and adults.  And yes, you can have you middle schooler take this class and count it toward their high school credit – ahhhh, the freedom of homeschooling!

There are a two ways you can use this course:

1.  Full Economics Credit –  If you want your child to get a FULL credit in Economics – no fuss, nothing extra to buy – you can do that by purchasing the Homeschool Set.Teaching Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net
The Homeschool Set includes 2 DVDs, the Study Guide, and the Basic Economics textbook by Dr. Clarence Carson and Dr. Paul A. Cleveland.  (You can download the entire Scope & Sequence for the course under RESOURCES on the main Economics page.)

~or~

2.  Half Credit in Economics – this is what we chose to do.  The reason for this had nothing to do with not liking the textbook (in fact, I’ve never even seen the text), but because I already had some other resources I wanted to share with my kids…more on that in a moment.

If you are doing the half-credit, you will need to purchase either the DVD set or the Downloads (which you can also stream – WAHOO!)

After you have given your kids a solid foundation in Christian Economics, you can move on to…

2.  Bring in resources that compliment the fundamental concepts your student has already learned.  We are big fans of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.

This book on its own is not enough to teach economics, but it is a good book, and I think everyone should read it.  I read it to my kids several years ago, and they still remember many of the concepts.  Now that my oldest has finished the Economics for Everybody course, I’m going to set everyone down and reread this book aloud.

I am sure there are other great resources out there that could be used to compliment, but this is the one we had on hand, and we really enjoy it.

3.  Stretch their knowledge and application.  This is where it gets fun!  Pull out newspapers, watch the news, discuss giving to the poor and giving to the Church.  Economics for Everybody gave you the concepts, now flesh them out!  Listen in on financial radio shows and talk over the advice being given.  Have your teens consider their own guidelines for saving, giving, and exhibiting fiscal responsibility.  Everyone in your family will be challenged!

 

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!






Aspen’s 5 Month Photos & Photography Freebies!

If you have a budding photographer in your home like I do, or maybe YOU are wanting to take better photos and preserve family memories, I have a fun FREEBIE for you!

You can get either one of the resource below FREE for a limited time!

Beginner Freebie

Advanced Freebie

And here is one of Megan’s photos of Baby Aspen, taken recently during her 5 month photo shoot:

Aspen 5 months

Megan wanted to do a Tea Party theme.  We took Aspen out on the lawn with some teacups and took tons of photos!  They were all so good, but the one above just melted my heart!