If there's one thing my son hate more than anything, it's writing. Simply asking him to write a sentence with 6 words in it elicits a response equal to if I had asked him to give up ice cream for an entire year. Simply put, writing is NOT a fun subject in our house yet so many subjects require it. Because of this reason, after watching the introduction video for Here to Help Learning, I figured this would be a great review for us to be on in the hopes that maybe he would come to enjoy writing. (Miracles do happen, you know!) For the purpose of this review, I received a one year membership to the Here to Help Learning website. While there are various options, this review will concentrate on Flight 1 Paragraph Writing.
About Here to Help Learning:
|Mrs Mora - Your Writing Guide|
program for grades 1-6, hosted by Beth Mora (Mrs Mora) and her trusty pooch, Captain Knucklehead. Using short segments of video that are engaging to students along with scripted worksheets for parents/teachers to follow, Here To Help Learning creates a systemic writing program to help teach students work through the building blocks of paragraph writing and then on to writing a 5 paragraph essay. Paragraph and Essay writing are both broken into three 32 week "Flights". Flights 1, 2 and 3 for Paragraph Writing is aimed at grades 1-3 while Flights 1, 2 and 3 of Essey Writing are for grades 4-6. Membership includes access to all 6 "Flights" and can be used with multiple children in the same family.
Weekly lessons are divided up to 2 days a week with quick "writing warmups", interactive games, interesting video scenarios, and also a reward system to help students have a positive outlook on writing.
Also included with membership are literature lessons (currently focusing on the novel "Island of the Blue Dolphins"), resources about writing, a members forum, and events such as writing contests sponsored by the website.
Since Garrett is what one could call "reluctant writers", I decided to start at the very beginning with Flight 1 Paragraph Writing. I went into this review with a very open mind but honestly, I knew that it would take something very special to get Garrett to write anything on his own.
As you can see from the above video, your host, Mrs Mora, is a complete cheese, hamming it up for the students in each video, all in the name of learning. My kids LOVE her (yes, I meant to emphasize love). Mrs Mora is completely engaging and relatable to my kids and they really have come to look forward to seeing the quick videos. Mrs Mora has a very positive attitude that rubbed off quickly onto my kids and really helped to set the mood for what we were about to work on. If they love Mrs Mora, well, they simply adore Knucklehead. Rather than calling this program "Here to Help Learning" or even "writing class", my kids refer to this part of their day as "Doing Knucklehead". Together, Mrs Mora and Knucklehead are the perfect combination, at least for my kids.
Twice a week, my kids and I sit down together with the video instructions and begin working on the flight work for the week we are on. Some weeks we were playing a game called "Sentence - No Sentence" (which one more than one occasion I have caught the kids playing on their own outside of our school hours). another week we were working on brainstorming our writing assignment. A couple of weeks, we actually worked on the same week twice in a row rather than moving on to the next week, which allowed the kids both extra time to work on the previous assignment. This worked really well for us, especially for Garrett, as he did not feel rushed and knew that if he didn't finish the assignment, he would have more time later. While writing normally results in a major emotional breakdown for poor Garrett, the combination of the slower pace and Mrs Mora/Knucklehead actually proved to be a positive experience for him.
|Garrett's first assignment - Week 1. No structure or full thoughts written.|
|Week 3 - He's writing his own sentences. "Play dog is skateboarding. He is white. He has big floppy ears"... PROGRESS!|
|Week 1 of Making a list.|
Overall, I am very happy with Here to Help Learning and I can see us using this, at least for the next few years, as our primary writing curriculum. The kids love it and it seems to work perfectly for the learning method that relates best to Garrett when it comes to writing.
Want to learn more?? Check out Here to Help Learning on their various social media platforms:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HereToHelpLearning
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