Monday, March 7, 2016

Here to Help Learning - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Writing has never been Gavin's strong suit. He has a great imagination, but putting it all together hasn't been easy for him. We have had a great opportunity to review the Flight 2 Paragraph writing from Here to Help Learning. This fully engaging, online curriculum has already proven itself to us in just the short time we've been using it.

First off, Here to Help Learning is a Christian based curriculum with the sole purpose of putting Christ first in all we do. One of the very first things that is taught to the students is their memory verse that the entire curriculum is based off of.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

Forrest and Beth Mora, the creators of Here to Help Learning have a blended family of 8 children, and have been homeschooling for about 20 years. Beth is a super fun and creative teacher who loves to encourage other homeschool moms through her writing and blogging.

Here to Help Learning Review

What we received:

We received the one-year online subscription to all 6 levels of content. The fact that you get all 6 levels with one membership means that you can use it with multiple children for one price. This is such a blessing to families like us who homeschool on a budget!

Things you will need:

3 ring binder
set of 5 dividers

How we used this in our homeschool:

Here to Help learning is so easy to follow from the very beginning. It is divided into 2 different skill levels with 3 different Flights for each level.  You will need to determine if your child needs to start with paragraph writing or essay writing. The paragraph writing is recommended for grades 1-3 and the essay writing for grades 4-6. These are only recommendations. Gavin is in 5th grade, but really needed improvement on his paragraph writing before moving on to essay writing. We started him in Flight 2 of the paragraph writing so he could get really good at writing paragraphs before moving him up to essay. I didn't want to throw him into something else before he had fully mastered the paragraph. If he needs more time, we can move to Flight 3. If he is good, then we can move to Flight 1 of the essay portion. This is just another pro to this site. You can freely move your child to fit their needs.  After you log, on you will go to the Writing drop down menu to find which Flight your child will start on. Again, we chose Flight 2 because it's what appealed to Gavin. The Flights are made so that you can start on any given one. You do not have to go in order!

After deciding which Flight to go on, you will see that the Flight is divided into lessons. We chose to do one lesson a week. I honestly think that Gavin could do 2 lessons a week, but I am trying not to overwhelm him.

After you go into your first lesson, you will want to make sure that you print the worksheets. One of the first things that Beth does is to help the children learn to organize their writing notebook for the class. As you can see from the pictures, everything is laid out and easy to find.

When you're ready to start, you will see that the video is divided into parts. This makes it super easy to split it up if needed.

With Flight 2, the first writing project is called, "Oh the Places I've Been." I love that each Flight breaks each project down. The kids take the writing assignment one step at a time each week. Beth teaches how to write with a writing process that gives the child the steps to writing a paragraph. She then adds in hand motions so that the child can remember each step easier. Gavin thought the hand motions were so funny, but they do really help you remember the steps to the writing process!

So each lesson, the child will concentrate on one piece of the writing process. They will play a fun game called "Sentence? No Sentence!" first. After the game, they will do a writing warm-up. The writing warm up will start out with a picture, and they will have a box to write 6 words that describe the picture. When they are done, you set the timer for 7 minutes and let them see how many of those words they can use in their story. I love that the pictures are colorful and sometimes even silly. It really gets their imagination going in creating their story.

The first lesson starts out with a detailed, well put together video that tells of an adventure that Beth has been on. This gives a great visual to the kids of the place that she's been and will be writing about.  As you can see, the very first part is Brainstorm! Gav had so much fun with this. He was to brainstorm about any places that he can remember going. I loved that fact, that after his lesson, he decided to do some brainstorming of his own. He thinks it's fun and enjoyed it, and that is important when it comes to learning!

This is where you can decide if you want to do the lesson in 2 days as recommended, or do it all in one day. We have done both. We have watched the video and done the lesson the next day, and we have also done both in the same day. It really depends on your child. It didn't matter to Gavin either way, but that could be because he's a bit older.

Everything about this program has held Gavin's attention. The engaging videos, the games, and the sweet little dog, Knucklehead, have all been aspects that he's mentioned that he loves the most. We are now several lessons in, and we can see how his project is shaping up. Breaking it down into small parts has definitely been a huge hit here. Like I said before, we received the online version of this, but there are also physical kits available that include CDs, a teacher's guide, and a consumable student workbook. Whether you're looking to teach one child, several children, or even a co-op, Here to Help Learning is a great way to help children fall in love with writing.

Here to Help Learning Review

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