Writing Instruction That Is Fun and Effective With Here to Help Learning (a Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Writing always seems to be one of those subjects that can be difficult. Some children like it, and others ...just don't. And often the writing programs that I like and think are effective to use in our homeschool just aren't very interesting for the kids. I want a writing program that is effective in teaching the writing process but that also helps the kids want to write. Enter our new Crew review- Here to Help Learning.

Here to Help Learning is a homeschool writing program that offers DVD instruction or online instruction with a membership. We received a one year subscription to the online program, and I used the Flight 1 Essay Writing program with Ashlyne and Rachel- grades 6 and 5.

Homeschool writing curriculum

I have to admit that I wasn't really looking for another writing program. But when I watched the video trailer for this program, I knew that it was one Ashlyne and Rachel would really enjoy. The videos are engaging. Beth Mora, the video teacher, is interesting and holds the attention of the kids. There are parts designed to be overly dramatic and humorous. And, the favorite for my girls, there's an adorable basset hound in the mix.


What is Here to Help Learning?

Here to Help Learning is a program developed by Beth and Forrest Mora, veteran homeschooling parents who have had years of experience making materials for their own family's homeschool as well as homeschool co-ops. The company offers DVD versions of their video-based instruction as well as an online subscription.

Online writing lessons for homeschool

One of the very unique things about this program- and something I was very excited about- is that it is strongly grounded in a Christian worldview. The About Us page on the site has information about the beliefs and worldview that are the backbone of the company. I love this. We don't use only materials labeled "Christian", but I love it when we can find quality curriculum resources that support and encourage our personal worldview.

On the Here to Help Learning site, you'll find the writing program as well as one literature unit study. The writing course is divided into three main levels. The program offers a placement test to help you determine which level to use with your child.

  • Paragraph Writing- This level teaches children how to write a basic paragraph and would be good for beginning writers. (generally grades 1-3 or higher)
  • Essay Writing- This level teaches children how to write a five paragraph essay. It should be used after a child can write paragraphs. (generally grades 4-6 or higher)
  • Write a Book Project- In this level, students will write a book. It is recommended that students have completed at least one (flight) or lesson series in the Essay Writing level before using this.
Each level in the course has three sections or "flights." Each flight is divided into thirty-two lessons. Students may use any flight within the level they're working in. Each flight is self-contained, so it's recommended you just choose the flight that has projects your student will enjoy. There is a Scope and Sequence section on the site to give you a glimpse of what projects will be encountered in each flight. In addition to the paragraph or essay writing lessons, each flight- except those in the Write a Book Project- contains a section of poetry writing lessons.

Homeschool writing program

How does the program work?

Because we are using the online membership program, all of our materials are digital. In addition to the videos we watch online, there are teacher pages, student pages, and a Student Language Helps booklet to be printed out. I chose to send these to the office supply store to be printed all at once. I have them in a file folder and hand out each lesson's pages when we come to the lesson.You can also purchase these as printed resources from the Here to Help Learning store.

Writing lesson worksheets

Language helps for homeschool writing curriculum

All of the information on the program can seem a little intimidating at first, and I wasn't sure about how the flights worked or how I should schedule things or what, exactly, I needed to print. But I found the Getting Started section, and it was awesome! It is a great overview of what the user needs to do and to know before starting the program. It was very easy to follow, and I soon had all my ducks in a row and was ready to get started with the girls.

Step by step writing program homeschool

Students will use a notebook as they go through the course. In the first lesson, time was spent showing the kids how to set up their notebooks and explaining the various sections and what will be put into them. At the beginning of each video lesson, students are instructed where to put that lesson's worksheet pages in the notebook.

Homeschool writing curriculum notebook

Both girls are working in the Essay Writing level, and I chose Flight 1 to begin with. Each lesson is usually covered in two days of work. On the first day, the girls watch the video portion of the lesson. This is the lesson being taught in the style of a co-op class. Some of the teaching is actually done in a co-op classroom with kids of varying ages. And some of the video is dramatic- Mrs. Mora dressed as an airline pilot giving directions or Captain Knucklehead, the basset hound, giving kids the instructions they need for the week's assignment. There are times to pause in the lessons to do writing or play a game that the children in the co-op class are playing. Completing this part of each lesson takes about 45 minutes.

Homeschool writing program

On the second day of the lesson, the girls work on the assignment they've been given. In the flight they'll complete a series of projects. Each project takes 4-5 lessons to complete. So in each lesson, they are completing a part of the overall project. Their independent part takes another 30- 45 minutes for them to complete. I check this work at the beginning of the next lesson.

One facet of the program that the girls like is the use of Discovery Tickets. For completed assignments they get a Discovery Ticket. Families are encouraged to come up with an award that will be given after a set number of tickets. I'll pretend we're a very healthy, only all-natural foods family and not tell you that the first prize we've established will be the opportunity to pick out a favorite candy of their choice.

How is the program working so far?

As I expected, the girls really enjoy the program. They think the videos are funny and especially look forward to Captain Knucklehead. The lessons are challenging enough to make them think but not so challenging that they become frustrated. I was concerned about Rachel particularly because she doesn't like to have that overwhelming feeling of "I just don't know what to write!". The lessons are very step by step, so she's able to work on the project without frustration because it's broken into small enough chunks.

Online writing program

I like the program because I think it's doing a good job of presenting the material in a step by step way that is easy to understand. Mrs. Mora did not start out in Lesson 1 telling the kids they were going to write an essay and that it had to have five paragraphs. She began with teaching the kids how to brainstorm. By the time the actual essay writing came about, every part had been so incremental that they were ready to write and weren't overwhelmed.

Online writing videos

I also like that the program is so easy to use. After reading through the Getting Started and jumping in to see how the program worked, it's very easy. There is little prep for me, and the teaching is being done by someone else. I'm more of a facilitator and a reference when the girls are actually doing their independent work.

Here to Help Learning is definitely working out well for us. I plan to keep using it long term. (I don't think the girls would let me stop!)

Other Review Crew members have been using this level and other levels of the writing program. You can read their thoughts by clicking below.

Here to Help Learning Review

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YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HereToHelpLearning






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Writing Instruction That Is Fun and Effective With Here to Help Learning (a Schoolhouse Crew Review) Writing Instruction That Is Fun and Effective With Here to Help Learning (a Schoolhouse Crew Review) Reviewed by Leah Courtney on 9:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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