For the past few weeks Julia (7th grade) has been enjoying the online homeschool writing program Here to Help Learning. We received a one-year subscription to all levels of the site in exchange for our review. The program is loosely recommended for children in grades 1-6, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much when my daughter began the program. Sure, it would get her to write on some focused subjects- which is great. . . but I wasn’t counting on substantial change in her view or level of writing.
What is her view of writing? For as long as I can remember, Julia has been a closet writer. If directly asked, she’ll promptly tell you that she despises writing. However, if you took a peek in her room you’d find journals upon journals. The girl loves to write. . . just not being told what to write. So like I said, I expected her to write but not with the passion she has when she free writes.
How Here to Help Learning Works
The program offers six different levels- called Flights, so as soon as we got access to the site I had to determine which one she’d begin working on.
The different Flights are. . .
- Flight 1 Paragraph Writing
- Flight 2 Paragraph Writing
- Flight 3 Paragraph Writing
- Flight 1 Essay Writing
- Flight 2 Essay Writing
- Flight 3 Essay Writing
We settled on Flight 2 Essay Writing. Check out the Scope and Sequence for more information about the different Flights and what each entails. You do not have to have completed a Flight 1 before moving onto Flight 2 or 3, however, Flight 3 Essay Writing evolves what writing a book and they highly recommend having completed the previous Essay Writing Flights.
A Flight is one year of instruction, composed of 6 projects and 32 lessons. They recommend scheduling your student to work two days a week. Day 1- the filmed instruction takes 45-60 minutes to complete. This includes the activities and discussions. On the other day you will need to schedule 45-60 minutes for your student to complete the independent or “Flying Solo” work. But as usual, schedule what works for your child. If you need to break it up into 3 or 4 days. . . fine. That’s why we homeschool, right?
Each lesson includes:
- Pre-Flight Checklist
- Flight Check-In
- Take Off
- Full Throttle
- Flying Solo
Before you get started, there is an extensive FAQ section to be read. While at first I was a bit peeved by having to read so many instructions for a writing curriculum, it really wasn’t bad. And, get this. . . you really need to read it! I tried not reading it and trucking through anyway, it didn’t work. There is also a lengthy Writing Overview/Teacher’s Guide that needs read. I printed it out. I will warn you, there is a lot of printing in the prep work!!
How we enjoyed Here to Help Learning
After assembling Julia’s binder, we sat down together and watched the first video together. It was great! Engaging, creative, thought provoking. . . I really like this program. Once I was sure she could manage on her own, I left Julia to finish the lesson. There is a timed part in each lesson, basically it gets their creative juices flowing. I was very apprehensive about this. Timed anything seems to be a ticking time bomb around here. But it turned out to be the opposite!
I would set the timer (7 minutes or so, depending on the lesson) and she’d start writing like a mad woman. The timer would ding and she’s frantically try to finish what she was writing. I kid you not, every time the timer dinged, she would beg for more time. It was amazing.
Julia has really enjoyed Here to Help Learning, and I’ve enjoyed not having to stress over her actually doing her writing assignments.
Some other great aspects of Here to Help Learning:
- It’s biblically based
- You’ll have beautiful written projects when you’re child is finished
- You can modify the levels for older students
- It’s family oriented
- It’s fun!
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