Mar 8, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Here To Help Learning

Teaching kids to write can be crazy easy or insanely difficult, depending on the kid. Since the time has come for my 3rd and 4th grader to start their writing education, I was pleased to be able to enlist the aid of Here to Help Learning. We started off right at the beginning with Flight 1 Paragraph Writing, but there are actually six levels and you can start wherever your child needs to start. Each level is called a Flight and should take a year for your child to work through.

Here to Help Learning is an online program with videos and printable worksheets. At first, I was a little overwhelmed and confused because there are a lot of moving parts and pieces! However, after spending a little bit of time familiarizing myself with the website: reading the FAQ and printing off pages I was told to print off, it slowly started making sense to me. 

Here to Help Learning Review

Once I had printed what I needed to print, I set the kids down in front of the computer and let them watch the first video. Each lesson is divided into five parts:

  • Preflight Checklist: this is the list of supplies you, the teacher, need to gather before the lesson starts
  • Flight Check In: this is where the students and teacher go over homework and prep their binders for the new lesson
  • Take Off: this part usually contains a game or something hands-on to warm up the students to the point of the lesson
  • Full Throttle: this is the main part of the lesson
  • Flying Solo: this is the "homework" assignment
Each lesson also has worksheets or project sheets that you need to print out for your kids to do the assignments on. 

The lessons give the kids plenty of ideas and practical tips to use when they write. There is also a specific process they are supposed to go through: brainstorm; make a list; webbing; first rough draft; first input; second rough draft; second input; final recopy and publish. These are taught slowly and thoroughly. 

The lessons are supposed to go at the pace of one a week, with your kids only working on it two days a week. This pacing drove us crazy, though. We need more work than that. So we watched the video one day and wrote four days a week to complete the projects and practice the concepts taught. 

As I said before, it was difficult at first for me to wrap my mind around, but it really was a simple program to use. I had the kids watch the videos.

At their ages, they enjoyed the silliness of the presentation, even though they did feel obligated to roll their eyes at the cheesiness when they thought someone was watching. The Basset Hound pilot was by far their favorite, of course. Who can resist being taught how to write by a Basset Hound? Even if he isn't much of writer since he only has paws?


Then they went to the table to work on the writing. This part was more of a struggle for them, but I helped out as far as brainstorming suggestions, spelling words, and even scribing when their hands got tired.

I really enjoyed Here to Help Learning, it was lighthearted and simple, yet both kids learned and grew in their writing. I like not having to do a lot of prep work. I like that it was simple to slip into the rhythm of our days. I did, however, think that there was a lot of stuff I printed off that we didn't really need...

The kids thought: 

Daniel: I kinda like it. I like the games and the Basset Hound, Knucklehead. I don't like the writing because I don't like writing, but this is easier than the stuff mom usually makes me do. 

Abbie: It is fun. I like that we can write our own stories. The pilot is cute! I love Knucklehead! I also liked that we could use the picture and write words in the word boxes to help us make a story. 

In short, this is a good writing program for younger kids that we all heartily recommend. 

Here to Help Learning Review

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