Here to Help Learning: A Writing Program the Kids Ask to Do

For the past six weeks, we have been testing out a new writing curriculum suitable for both homeschool and co-op use called Here to Help Learning and we are really excited to share our review of it with you! We chose to do the first units of both Flight 2 Essay Writing and Flight 2 Paragraph Writing. I’ll explain more about that below.

{Update: We love this program so much that I decided to become an affiliate with Here to Help Learning. I have now updated all the links in this post to my affiliate link so if you click on them and decide to subscribe to Here to Help Learning’s online program or to buy their physical products, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I include affiliate links for products I love for your convenience.}

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What is Here to Help Learning?

Here to Help Learning is an online subscription service that provides six full years of writing curriculum suitable for kids grades 1-6. We were given a one-year subscription for review purposes, but monthly subscriptions are also available. Subscriptions may be used for the whole family; there is no per-student charging. You can also order print teacher’s guides, lesson DVDs, and student workbooks from the Here to Help Learning store if you’d prefer physical materials over an online subscription.

Here to Help Learning Paragraph Flight 1 Curriculum

Each year of curriculum is called a flight in Here to Help Learning. Flights 1, 2, and 3 Paragraph Writing can be done in any order and last about one year each for grades 1-3 while Flights 1, 2, and 3 Essay Writing are all appropriate for grades 4-6. Flights 1 and 2 Essay Writing are similar to the paragraph level in that they contain six units and can be done in any order but as Flight 3 Essay Writing is a year-long journey in which the student writes a six-chapter novel, it is recommended that the students do at least one of the earlier essay writing flights before tackling this one.

It is recommended that you do this program two days a week. The first day involves streaming and watching a video in which Mrs. Mora demonstrates the activities that the parent/teacher should do with the students in one of her many varied and hilarious personas and sometimes with a small co-op class. After each demonstration, Mrs. Mora tells you to pause the film and do the activity before starting it up again. In this picture, the girls are showing their favorite steps in the writing process.

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Many of the activities involve worksheets that you print from the same page that the video is on. You also need to print a quite color ink-heavy Language Helps Booklet for each student before beginning the program (unless you order the student workbook from them). This booklet is a treasure-trove of information, but I did find myself wishing they had made a more printer-friendly version of it that didn’t use so much color. For a sampling of what the Language Helps Booklet contains, you can download a free pdf of Quick Reference Language Charts from the Here to Help Learning homepage.

Here to Help Learning Free Quick-Reference-Language-Charts

There is usually 15-20 minutes of video, but with the frequent pauses and the learning activities interspersed, this takes about an hour. I found this to be a really unique strategy in that Mrs. Mora is not actually teaching the kids how to write; truth be told, she is really teaching the parents how to teach with the kids watching, but it is super fun and my kids loved every minute of watching it! Each video begins by going over the key Bible verse and the writing process and ends with Mrs. Mora (and her dog) giving the students their “flying solo” work which they recommend the students do during the second day of the week that you’ve allocated to the program. Here’s a quick video of my kindergartner and third grader reviewing the Here to Help Learning writing process:

Our Experience with Here to Help Learning

My kids loved this program so much that they did their flying solo work the same day as the video and begged to do the next lesson on the next day so there were weeks where we actually did three or even four lessons. I don’t think we could sustain that amount of writing long-term, but it was fun to see them so enthusiastic about a subject that is usually little more than drudgery for them, and in the six weeks we’ve been using it, I’ve already seen immense improvement in the quality of writing that they are producing!

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We had a little bit of a hard time choosing which flight(s) we wanted to do as I have a kindergartner, a third grader and a sixth grader, all of whom are quite advanced verbally. I struggled with whether to have them do it separately with the youngers doing the paragraph writing level or whether to have just the two oldest do the essay level together or whether to do everyone separately. I had the third grader do the placement test and she was right on the bubble there so that didn’t help me much. I let them all look it over and the kindergartner wasn’t keen to do it (which surprised me but made things easier) and the older two really wanted to do the essay level together so they looked through all the units involved in the flights (six units per flight) and we finally decided on Flight 2 Essay Writing.

I’m honestly still not sure if this was the right choice because it had both pros and cons. The pro was that the kids absolutely LOVED doing it. And I mean LOVED it! They begged every morning to start their writing lessons; they begged to do more than one a week; the 5-year old and the 3-year old begged for the older ones to start their lessons so they could watch too. It was great and everybody LOVED it!!!….

Until it was time to edit in lesson five. Then the third grader was in tears and we realized she really wasn’t quite ready to structure her thoughts into a five paragraph essay. We did it and she finished an essay she’s proud of, but then we all decided to change flights and do Flight 2 Paragraph Writing instead (and, by this time, the kindergartner wanted to join too with her dictating her stories and me or grandma writing them down for her).

Here to Help Learning picture 1

We chose Flight 2 Paragraph Writing because both levels’ Flight 2’s begin with a narrative essay about an awesome experience the student has had and when we finished the first essays, all three girls were talking about what experience they wanted to write about next. But Flight 2 Essay Writing moves on to the second unit which is a descriptive essay about a character the student creates. So since they were both keen to write another narrative, I made an executive decision to switch to the paragraph level and start over with the first unit.

Switching to the paragraph level was a GREAT decision for our family, and I would now recommend that anyone starting this program begin there, at least for a while. The paragraph flights do a lot of introducing of the process and explaining what Mrs. Mora means when she says certain things. We had a lot of “aha moments” as we did the Flight 2 Paragraph Writing as we figured out the meanings of things we hadn’t quite understood in the essay level.

Please don’t misunderstand me – we absolutely loved the essay level, it was totally doable for my sixth grader, and if that’s all Here to Help Learning offered, we would still say it’s our favorite writing program ever, but if I had it to do again, we would definitely start in the paragraph level and let the sixth grader write a little more if she wanted to.

So that’s what we’re doing now – We plan to continue with Flight 2 Paragraph Writing and the sixth grader will just expand her thoughts into essays if she wants to. And as for the kindergartner, she is happily joining in with the games and the writing warm-ups but not doing the long paragraphs. I love how this program is adaptable for different ages, abilities, and families!

Here to Help Learning picture 2

As you can see, we really enjoyed this program and expect to continue with it for some time! I highly recommend you hop on over to the Here to Help Learning homepage and check out some of their introductory videos. You’ll see how much fun Mrs. Mora and her many different personas can be! You can also sign up for a free one day pass so that you can look around the site and try out a few of the videos. While you’re there, you may also want to check out their new literature adventure filmed study guide series to go along with the book Island of the Blue Dolphins. That book was already on our assigned reading list for this year, so we’re excited at the prospect of having Mrs. Mora along for that adventure in a few weeks! I’m also excited to see what other books they will be adding in the future!

Here to Help Learning Writing Program Ad

I, along with other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, received a free copy of this product in exchange for our honest reviews. You can see what my fellow Review Crew Members thought of it by checking out the Crew Blog Post for this product. I always love checking out everyone’s reviews, and I’m particularly keen to see what everyone else thought of Here to Help Learning since we loved it so much!

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By Tina Chen

Tina is a book-loving, globe-trotting, home-schooling mom of five kids. Her greatest passions are learning with her husband how to live and love like Jesus and teaching others to do the same. She particularly enjoys teaching kids to worship and pray fervently and creatively. She loves music, cooking, and reading, and is a complete sucker for a good redemptive analogy! Tina blogs at mommynificent.com and desperatehomeschoolers.com.

5 comments

  1. Thank you for an insightful review and how you’ve adapted it, as well as what you’ve found worked with two different parts of the program. It’s useful information for anyone trying to decide which level will be just right.

  2. I always love reading about other people’s curriculum and this one seems good. We’ve been pleased with the Institute of Excellence in writing, which my oldest uses at his homeschool tutorial. I’ve really seen his writing progress! Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

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