For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Here to Help Learning - TOS Review

I have found writing to be a very difficult subject to teach. If you are like me and have been looking for the right curriculum for teaching Writing, I have a product for you to check out: Here to Help Learning. As a member of the TOS Review team we were offered a one year membership to Here to Help Learning writing curriculum.

Here to Help Learning is a multi-level writing curriculum for students grade 1-6. This program, put out by Beth Mora, a homeschool mom herself, was designed to help homeschoolers teach writing to their kids. The program is made up of videos, and worksheets for practice, that teach the writing process. That said, there is much more to Here to Help Learning!

The program is made up of 2 levels, each made up in turn of 3 sets of 32 lessons.  Each set of lessons are called flights and are worth one year of writing instructions. The videos are taught by Beth herself, a lively, energetic and enthusiastic christian teacher. She really put the extra effort to make writing appealing and fun. Here to Help Learning does not target grades but levels. So you can start the program according to the level you know or feel your child is at, or according to what you wish or think your student needs to learn.
  • Level 1: Paragraph Writing is geared towards grade 1-3 and teaches the basics of writing.
  • Level 2: Essay Writing, geared towards grade 4-6 and focusses on advanced writing skills. The last flight in this level is designed to help your child write a 6 chapter book.
A subscription to the this program gives you access to all 6 years of instruction!

I had my 5th grader start with the Paragraph Writing, flight 1, because I felt he could stand to learn from the beginning.

The way the program works is that you watch a video with a live teacher (Beth), about 45 minutes - 1 hour long (without the pauses it is shorter), and then, on another day, work on the worksheets. My son did not enjoy the videos so much, he found them too childish. I think it is because he is older (10), and it is geared towards younger kids. The whole program is based on the analogy of a plane taking off, and that did not resonate with him at all. He did not mind the exercises just the actual videos. The first couple of videos had the flair of a classroom and I think that did not resonate with him either. Fortunately, as you go on in the lessons, that feel is lessen. This is a great program for co-op.

Ad_2The videos are broken down this way:

  1. Pre-Flight Check List - where you are told what you need for that lesson. This includes printing the required pages from the workbook.
  2. Flight Check-In - where kids are reminded to get their workbook together, hand out their work and about the overarching guiding verse for this program: Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  3. Take Off - The actual teaching and coaching part of the lesson
  4. Full Throttle - The exploration of the writing process where with each lesson you explore a step.
  5. Flying Solo -  The assignment part 

Because I was using the lower level with an older child, I only focused on watching the videos and having him do the exercises, I skipped all of the cute stuff meant to make the program fun for students since he did not care much for it. He did memorize the verse pretty quickly (it helps that he knew it somewhat already). I only printed the exercises pages for him to work on.

The program is incremental. With each lesson you learn something to add on to your writing skill. I love that about the program, plus the way it gives you plenty of practice. The goal with each flight is to complete 6 writing projects (5-6 lessons each). At each level, each of the three flights cover more or less the same material, so you can start with whichever flight you wish. The main difference are the writing topics/themes.

Here to Help Learning's writing program covers five different types of writing.
  • Narrative – Tells a story or personal experience.
  • Descriptive – Describes persons, places, things, or ideas.
  • Expository – Gives facts or directions.
  • Persuasive – Expresses an opinion.
  • Poetry – Uses words to express emotions or ideas. Each poetry project covers 5 different types of poems.
Here to Help Learning also comes with a full, comprehensive quick reference language chart. This is an absolute gem.

The program can also be bought:

  • as a kit, which includes: one Teacher’s Guide, one Student Notebook, Six DVDs (each DVD has with 5-6 lessons).
  • just the student notebook.
You can purchase these at these locations:
  • in Canada @ Learning House
  • in the USA @ Here to Help Learning Store
  • Everywhere @ Learning House

Here to Help Learning has a wonderful blog, Home to Home, where Nora shares a lot of wonderful tips. Do not neglect to check it out.

My final thoughts:

I really like the concept of Here to Help Learning. Though the style might be geared toward younger students, the content is definitely suitable for multiple levels. I will continue my 5th grader on it and definitely teach my 7th grader concepts taught in HTHL. Both of them like to write stories so this will definitely be profitable. I like that the program is very adaptable to many situations and easy to implement. It can be as teacher's intensive as you would want it to be or as little.

One last thing, to learn more about this rich writing program, make sure to visit their Help section, and numerous videos, such as this one:

Connect with Here to Help Learning on social media:
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YouTube Channel:

Here to Help Learning Review

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