Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription to Here to Help Learning. I was not required to review or write about this product, and I certainly wasn’t expected to write positively about it. All opinions are my own.
Teaching Writing in Our Homeschool: A Writer’s Struggle
I began to see myself as a writer in the first grade. Writing is a lifelong passion, and as someone who loves words and spends hours crafting them for fun, I want my children to have the same passion and desire for word play, both for fun and for academic pursuits.
Unfortunately, they don’t. It’s not that I haven’t tried. Believe me, I have! They just don’t have the same passion for putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard that I do. If I go for too long without writing, I feel like a part of me is missing. They act like I’m torturing them when I assign a piece of writing as part of their lessons.
What’s a homeschool mom to do? I tried different curriculums. I tried assigning some of the more popular assignments that I used when I taught in the public school classroom. I tried allowing them to dictate their assignments to me. I tried breaking the assignments down into very small pieces, showing them how to do each one. Nothing worked well, or any positive effects didn’t last long.
Then, last year, I found the Here to Help Learning booth in a homeschool convention vendor hall. What impressed me about this booth was the friendliness of the owner, Beth Mora, and the fun that kids were having there! (They had a green screen, and kids were stopping by to play and were having a ball.) I stopped long enough to get a full-color brochure detailing the program, and I listened to Beth’s claims that parents of kids with special needs were telling her it was a great program for those kids as well as for those without additional struggles.
A month or so later, Beth and I really connected via an email introduction from a mutual friend of ours. We began discussing the features of Here to Help Learning in more detail, and I agreed to give it a try and let her know what I thought about it—and its benefits for struggling learners. In the time since, both of my kids have used (and enjoy) the program, and I was inspired to write an ongoing series of posts about teaching homeschool writing using Here to Help Learning.
For now, I’ll share the features I like best, those that seem to help my children engage in the lessons and begin to develop an appreciation (if not passion) for writing:
- The video lessons are fun, and they do a great job of explaining each part of the assignment so the girls can understand.
- There are different “flights” or assignment paths you can take, which means you can use this curriculum for multiple years and across multiple grade levels.
- Beth (Mrs. Mora) explains the writing process in a way that is both understandable and memorable, using multisensory methods of helping the kids remember each step.
- As they work through the assignments, kids are exposed to paragraph and essay writing as well as different types of writing (how-to essays, descriptive writing, etc.).
- The writing warm-ups, games, and assignment explanations include skits with both Mrs. Mora and Captain Knucklehead that make my kids laugh while they’re learning.
- The lessons are well-paced, breaking assignments down into manageable pieces that keep my kids from feeling overwhelmed.
- The program is set up so that you complete a lesson in two days a week to finish an entire flight in a school year. This is perfect for us because we add this to our regular language arts curriculum and couldn’t commit to something that required a daily lesson.
Here to Help Learning is a great addition to our homeschool curriculum, and it is definitely helping my children to develop an excitement about writing. I’m looking forward to sharing more from time to time about how we’re using it in our homeschool!
For more on how a writer taught her children writing, hear from Beth Mora herself as she shares Unlocking the Mystery of Teaching Writing!
What are the must-have features in a writing curriculum for your family?