Do you ever wonder why Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program fits the needs of so many? You might be interested in the backstory.
I am in awe of the ability and lengths that home educators will go to choose a curriculum for homeschooling. They are relentless to discover what will bring their child’s learning success. I love the questions they ask, questions that pierce through the basics and get to the heart of what matters. One-size-fits-all may be great for ponchos, scarves, headbands, and certain post- Thanksgiving yoga pants, but it is not the kind of fit we want for our child’s education or our unique teaching style or setting. The freedom to search for the perfect educational fit is why many of us homeschooled in the first place. As home educators, we choose curriculum based on whether we can easily adjust its features to suit our child’s needs. Regardless of our personal educational philosophies, we are united by a passion for finding the fit.
My passion for the fit began the day we decided to homeschool, and I guess it won’t end as long as I teach a child. My years of homeschooling gave rise to experience birthed from the school of hard knocks, research, and graciously bestowed by veteran homeschool moms. More children brought about more questions, and daily life produced increasingly challenging variables. Our homeschool settings also changed. Teaching one, teaching a few, teaching with other families, and teaching in a co-op each had its own unique needs for a good fit. The colorful threads of experiences, questions, challenges, and settings were woven over time by the Master Weaver to create Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program. And I believe it is why it has become a great fit for so many.
Experience is that beautiful “knowledge nugget” you get by doing something. Doing and seeing things and having things happen to you is a powerful teacher. My own children, the hundreds of other homeschool children, and their parents have shaped Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program. I enjoy the day-in day-out of simply teaching children how to write. I love studying the enormous diversity and God-bestowed individuality of children and home educators. I admit, some of my strategies for teaching writing were left curbside for trash pick-up, and yet other strategies became ingrained in our program. Experiences shape. While developing our program, I would often sit at my desk and relive a memorable moment with a student or mom and wonder how I can serve them better? You see, for me, the best thing about experiences is they lead me to ask questions.
When I get ready to film, I often must stand for 30 minutes while our tech guys get everything situated. While I wait, I often picture the faces of my own children and students. I ask myself questions like, how can I make this concept clear to little Mia? How can I stretch Megan’s writing talent? Why doesn’t Walter see the value in this step? What am I not communicating? What does my fellow homeschool mom need at this moment? How will this activity work for the Smith family as compared to the Jones family? My questions lead me to research top strategies in teaching young writers. I listen intently to the complaints of business owners who complain about the lack of employee writing skills and ask them, what do you need? I interviewed credential teachers and asked them questions. I asked multiple authors about their writing processes. I thought about how I, as a published author, tackle a writing project. What do I do? How do I feel every step of the way? Where in the writing process do I require extra encouragement? Questions usher in learning. The answers to these questions are intertwined into Here to Help Learning’s Writing program and helped prepare me to face the challenges.
I faced the crossed-armed “Im not going to write child” and watched him turn into a young man who loves to write. I painstakingly took dictation from a first grader and watched her eyes pop with excitement when I read back her words. An extremely creative young girl with dyslexia, who avoided any type of writing took a chance with Here to Helps Writing Program and was surprised to discover the joy and ease of writing. I will never forget her smile and her excitement as she shared her written words with her mom. A gifted little lady with an innate talent for pen and paper was relaxing in her talent and needed to be challenged. Together, she and I found ways to challenge her and set personal writing goals. She learned that no one ever stops growing as a writer, and she needs to feel the sweat of hard work as she searches for better ways to communicate with the written word. She won Best of Show for her published book. I sat side by side with a fifth-grade boy in the Second Rough Draft step and corrected his vast sea of misspelled words. Among them, was the word squirrel. He misspelled the word five different ways! However, he is one of the most imaginative and creative young writers I have ever met. I looked him square in the eyes and said, Don’t you ever stop writing because you have trouble with spelling. A ninth grade boy, embarrassed by his lack of ability to write a paragraph, gained the skill of writing through visual step-by-step instructions. Each challenge shaped another aspect of Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program. The lessons I learned as a teacher to reach the heart of these challenging students are sprinkled throughout the program.
Teaching Here to Help Learnings Writing Program in different settings created a unique opportunity to fashion a customizable program for multiple settings. Teaching one child, teaching a few children, teaching with other families, and teaching in a co-op all have unique dynamics. Teaching one child was more difficult than I expected. I found this out while teaching my own daughter. Although we have eight kids, there is a six year difference between our set of twins and her, which kind of rendered her an only child, academically speaking. I saw there needed to be places in the program where dialog about the writing project was a natural part of the writing process. I also saw that giving and receiving input was a skill she needed as an only. Teaching siblings together helped me to be aware of creating a non-competitive environment that emphasizes effort and hard work instead of skill level. I learned that when I teach a few families at a time or in a co-op setting, I must be well prepared with lessons and activities in place. As I created the Here to Help Learning lessons, I thought about each setting and what I wanted, no, needed, to deliver the lesson effectively. Learning to teach in each setting added more depth and versatility to the writing program.
The Master Weaver wove diverse experiences, provided answers to questions, granted success in various challenges, and arranged multiple settings to teach. Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program is able to bend and stretch to fit the needs for so many because it was built over the last twenty years by learning from and attending to each child or home educator who was sitting next to me at the time.
Some thoughts from homeschool moms and dads….
My daughter loves, loves, loves your writing program! She has improved so much this year with her writing skills. She was especially enthralled with the poetry section and disappointed when it ended. However, now she writes poetry on her own using her new skills. I am looking forward to using your program again next year. – Lynette A.
My daughter loves the Here to Help Learning Writing Program. In the past, she avoided writing assignments saying they were too overwhelming. This program taught her how to break it up into manageable pieces. The videos do a great job of explaining the writing process and giving her to tools to improve her skills. She has enjoyed the program more than any other writing program we have tried. -Tanya B.
I have been meaning to write you, as we are almost half way through the
school year. I have been using your writing program for the first time,
for 15 weeks now. I wanted to tell you a big thank you for all your work
that you and your team put in to make writing fun for my kids. They enjoy
your videos and still ask if you are the same lady in the other episodes
(like when you did Beth the Bolter) I really like the way you make the
writing process clear and have learned right along with my kids! I also
like the way you teach them to give their best for Jesus. I was
introduced to your program through the Orlando Home School Convention. I
look forward to recommending you to other homeschool moms as I get the
opportunities. God bless you and the Here to Help Learning staff!-Lucia O.
I have my first and third grade sons doing your paragraph flights. They love it! It keeps them engaged. Stefanie T.
I immediately knew your program was a perfect fit for our family when I came to your booth at the 2014 Cincinnati Homeschool Convention and I keep on getting confirmation of that with each lesson. This year, each child in our co-op class (including 2 with special needs) grew in leaps and bounds in their skills, confidence and love for writing because of doing Here to Help’s program. We’re excited to keep on going on more adventures with you! Thank you all for your infectious joy, energy and fun-loving personalities!-Erika B.
I’m convinced there’s an unmet need for this kind of product among homeschool families. We’re always having to tweak and adapt so much if we want to get a group together for any particular subject. Nearly all the other curriculum vendors assume we just want a product that we use 4 or 5 days a week, in home, and anything we do with other families outside the home is sort of “extra” instead of core (classes).-Lisa S.
I am also going to use the poetry unit for?my upcoming spring co-op class. This is such awesome material, it will?make my teaching very easy. Thanks for filling this need! Kristin R.
When homeschooling, it is therapy to me, the Mom, to have a role model like Mrs. Mora, who encourages me to keep in touch with my inner child. Adult roles tend to squash the kid inside each of us. Mrs. Mora is a breath of fresh air to me every time we watch the video for the week! As far as the success of the program with students, we have a wide range of abilities in our writing co-op class, and each level of ability has been challenged and seen significant progress as well as developed an excitement for writing! Thank you, Here to Help Learning! We love you guys! Erika C.
Here to Help Learning Team, I just want to thank you so much for developing this absolutely amazing writing program!!! We attended the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention which is where we heard about your program for the first time. We have an 11-year-old son who has Aspergers, and language arts is a struggle (understatement!) and discouragement for us. We have tried several things, but we have been unsuccessful in finding something that would work for him. With tears in my eyes as I write this to you, I want to thank you for using your incredible gifts that God has blessed you ALL with (each one of you!!!!) to create this program. Even though we are at the end of our homeschool year, we decided to just TRY your program with him. This entire school year, getting him to write even THREE sentences has been a struggle. I’m not even joking. His first Writing Warm-Up resulted in him filling BOTH pages and telling me he needed one more page so he could finish his story!!!!!!! Each Writing Warm-Up since then has been nearly the same!!! He absolutely LOVES the video lessons and the activities and had the writing process steps memorized after the first lesson, his favorite being “rough draft!” Language arts used to be his last choice of subjects to complete, but now he actually looks forward to it.
Thank you for the opportunity to have this program at such an affordable price. Most of all, thank you for the emphasis you place on Scripture and prayer in the lessons. May God richly bless each one of you, and please know that we are so incredibly thankful for what you are doing. The love of Christ radiates from your family.-Matt and Laurie D.
My son challenged by autism struggled with any writing assignment that I gave him. He couldn’t understand writing prompts at all. He struggled with reading comprehension. He loved watching the videos and following along with the assignments. His writing has improved greatly after using Here to Help Learning. Here To Help Learning is a positive encouraging program to grow your children into excellent writers!-Kimberly L.
We all know that one of the hardest challenges as homeschool parents is to motivate our children. Here to Help learning is absolutely the most amazing and creative homeschool writing program Ive ever seen. The Mora Family has held nothing back. The accompanying videos will grab your children’s imagination. The assignments are exciting. The other day I saw my wife and daughters making pop-up books. Where did you get that idea? I asked my wife, Sandy. Of course, it was another of the many writing projects they’ve done through Here to Help. This program has definitely helped to unlock the exciting adventure of creating through writing that has changed the lives of my girls!-Pat Roy Co-creator, Jonathan Park
This is an amazing program that makes writing become enjoyable rather than a challenge for kids. Who knew your elementary aged child could write a book.-Gianna W.
Thank you so much for the joy that you brought to my son. How many 9 year old boys (today is his birthday) have the opportunity to write their own book. Mrs. Mora, you are awesome and amazing. Thanks for bringing such a big smile to his face on his birthday night. Best writing program out there. I love the foundation this laid for future writing success.-Jeanne C.