I asked Skylar the other day what are some things that he wished we would have done in our Homeschool to better prepare him for College. He's half way through his 2nd year and doing great.....but he did come up with a few things that I should probably do with Mahala and Kaden. The #1 thing was WRITING!!! He said every class there is writing involved, "Mom my papers have papers due". Essays here, project write-ups there and of course the daily note taking in every single class. I didn't really "do" writing with Skylar, we did more verbal essays and projects. So, what do you think we are doing over here in the Manic house???? You guessed "write" if you said Writing!!!! :) I was thrilled to be able to Review an online writing program called Here to Help Learning. Just in time too!
The program is intended for Kiddos in grades 1-6, so Mahala was a little too old. I did however have her help Kaden out and observe a few lessons.
Basically the program is split into two Sections....learning how to successfully Write Paragraphs and learning how to organize and Write Essays. The portion of Here to Help Learning pertaining to Paragraph writing is intended for Kiddos in grades 1st - 3rd and the Essay portion of the program is geared towards grades 4th -6th. Each of these 2 topics are broken down into 3 different levels called "Flights". What I love is that the Paragraph flight and it's matching Essay Flights are compatible with each other. So, you can teach any of your Kiddos that this program can work for depending on grade level and capability or use it with a Co-op group. This way everyone will be on the same page working together. There is a little bit of a difference in the Essay Flight level 3 because it has your Kiddos writing their very own book with 6 chapters! That level is intended for Kiddos in grades 4th and up that have completed at least 1 previous essay level. I think the Most Awesome thing about this level is that your Kiddos will get to learn how to create their own book from Successful Christian Authors.
Here are a few of the things I thought would be perfect for Kaden:
1. It was online....he loves anything online!
2. There were kids in the videos kind of in a classroom like setting. He doesn't get out much and I thought he might learn something by seeing the interactions of the children.
3. There is only one Instructor, so he could build up a little familiarity with her.
4. He could do something other then dictation to practice Handwriting.
5. And finally, I thought that maybe this would be a bridge to merge his vocabulary and creativity together.
So, was I right about it all....Yes!!! Momma Knows Best! :)
When we started Kaden would write extremely short sentences that were dictated, but only a few words if they were straight from him. The lessons did take us a little longer, because he had a lot of anxiety with this program because writing for him is really difficult. It's hard because he has it all upstairs...it's just getting it out on paper that gives him the struggle. The lessons are divided up in sections: Pre-Flight, Flight Check-In, Take Off, Full Throttle and Flying Solo. I worked side by side with him during all of it. Depending on your Kiddos capability some of this could have been done independently. The first few sections was just going over everything needed for the Lesson and all of the worksheets were so easy to navigate through and print. I'm telling you this program from a Teacher's perspective was super easy to prepare for and extremely well organized. I would say this program would be my "go to"if I needed a no fuss subject to take with me on a trip or for one of those rainy days when nobody wants to do boring work. This program is anything but boring.
I forgot to mention earlier, but the program theme is aviation. That's why the sections are title Pre-Flight and so forth. The Video Instructor, Ms. Mora is the friendly Flight Attendant. Once you move on into the Take Off portion this is where things became challenging to Kaden, BUT how Ms. Mora presented the activity and lesson it was manageable for him. I LOVED how the steps for writing was presented. One of the things that Kaden was asked to do was to look at the picture and to come up with 6 words for the word box. This was an Easy thing to do, but I had never thought to do something like this before. A few times he would come up with even more words and try to write them out himself. We would break after this and would pick up the next day on Full throttle and start on the Flying Solo. Flying Solo would take a few days to complete. We had a lot of frustration during this time, BUT we would go back over our worksheets and he even would re-watch the videos in the Take Off portion. I have to say I was appreciative how Ms. Mora would talk about the different levels of writing. She made him feel comfortable with his writing....I may not have always done that out of my own frustrations. But, her pleasant voice and encouragement really changed our experience with writing. Also, because she is so expressive I noticed he responded well to her voice and was attentive. That is not always the case with videos. :)
All in all we Loved this Writing Program...I might Love it a little more then Kaden, but only because this is a difficult subject for him. I felt like it was a solid writing program and it would work for many types of learning developments. The quality of the videos were amazing, they were clear, bright and the audio had no issues for us. I will definitely try to make this apart of Kaden's school for all three flights offered. I know that it built up his confidence along with his writing skills and creativity.
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