Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Here to Help Learning - TOS Review

Its that time of year again when I panic that the kids aren't doing enough writing - our school books are full of drawings, maps, math lessons but seem to be lacking in writing assignments. When the chance came up to review Here to Help Learning, an online writing curriculum, it felt like a solution to all my concerns.

Here To Help Learning is the brainchild of Beth Mora, a veteran homeschooler who has a real passion that comes across in the movies.

We were given the online subscription, which has six different levels to choose from, these are paragraph writing Flights 1-3 and Essay Writing Flights 1-3. There are about 32 lessons per flight, so each flight provides a full writing curriculum for the year. You pick your flights based on your child's ability - as a rough guide paragraph writing 1-3 equates to grades 1-3 and essay writing to grades 4-6 but even within a level there are instructions for beginning and advanced students, so writers can work at their own level. You can see the full scope and sequence  so you can see which level would work best for your family.

Tulip worked on paragraph flight 3 and Rose worked on paragraph flight 1.

I started by printing off the teachers guide and printable charts - these were amazing, they included a guide to brainstorming, organisational tips, chart guides to grammar and punctuation, writing formats, word advice, webbing, drafting, getting input, revisions, final copies and publishing, tips to create a writing environment, guides to how to lead a writing warm up and loads more.

The flights start with Beth talking them through the creation of a writing folder using their printable materials and some tabs. Each flight teaches a different topic and there are several writing activities/assignments on each flight.

They advise that each week your child will need two days to focus on their writing skills.

Day one is the online video lesson, these start with a pre-flight checklist (so you can see what printable etc you need), followed by a flight check-in (a discussion of assignments from last week), the take-off includes games and writing warm ups followed by full-throttle which goes on to work through a new part of writing process. You can watch the lessons online and print a scripted teachers guide - the lessons are short (about 4 mins for each stage of the flight), entertaining, funny and packed full of games The kids really liked seeing Beth take on different roles (like air stewardess, teacher and game show host) and reacted well to her engaging style.

Day two
is flying solo, they take what they learnt in the lesson and work on their writing assignment.

Both the girls really enjoyed this but the best endorsement I can give it is that Rose, my reluctant writer, is no longer a reluctant writer :)
She looks forward to using Here to Help Learning and particularly likes the writing warm ups where she gets to write about bizarre pictures. I like how its changed a painful process into a positive experience and has made writing a fun, enjoyable process for her - no more tears.

I like that you can opt to print out a scripted lesson (this proved very useful when our Internet went down for 4 days) and I liked the range of styles and topics covered.

Here to Help Learning is available for $6.99 a month

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog

1 comment:

Paulina Cameron said...

There are so many possibilities to learn today. That’s why I am so glad that yet another one great article with brilliant material was posted by somebody who isn’t ignorant. I was glad to Find out that Here to Help offers so many opportunities for the young and talented people to learn, broaden the horizons of their knowledge and discover something new every day. I also hope to find some tips about essay store when joining the program. Thanks for the article and for the chance to join the community.

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