Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review of

HelpTeaching Review

I'm so excited! My first review of the new Crew season, and it's a product that I already know that I can't live without...and it is so reasonably priced that I have triple-checked the price because I truly can't believe all that's included. I'm talking about the Pro Plan subscription from I have been using this amazing resource so much since I received my subscription, but it seems like every time I log on, I find something new to love!

What It Is is packed with printable worksheets, online lessons, online quizzes, and much, much more. With material for grades K-12, it is a one-stop resource for the whole family (but you still pay only one price, regardless of how many grades' resources you access). One of the best things about the website is that it is organized in so many different ways. You can search the site by Common Core standard (important to me when I wear my other hat as a public school resource creator), grade level, and subject. You can create your own tests and worksheets with such ease, using either pre-made questions or inputting your own. You can generate what seems like an infinite number of math worksheets for rote practice. You can even generate printable games.

Until now, may sound like any one of a number of worksheet websites (rest assured - it's not; I know all of them and this one is far superior to all of them), but if you're not yet convinced that is special, let me tell you about their lessons. By utilizing the amazing resources we all know are out there on the web (but, if you're like me, you never have time to actually corral them on your own in any coherent or cohesive manner), has grafted together some amazing (and amazingly complete) lessons. Combining some of their own videos, with those of Khan Academy,, Bozeman Academy, and other sites, along with using some resources of other outside sources, has created many very complete lessons that students can work through all by themselves. You can invite students to lessons via email, blog link, or other method. 

Thus, with, you can integrate it into your lesson plans by creating worksheets or tests using your existing curriculum, or you can utilize it as a curriculum of its own by using the excellent already created lessons. We have used it both ways with great success.

How We Used It

The first way I used was to create tests for books that I use with the kids that aren't technically homeschool materials, specifically our church history book The Story of the Church: Her Founding, Mission and Progress - A Textbook in Church History. Published in 1935, this book would have been used in Catholic schools, and I absolutely love using it with my kids (11, 11, and 12). We use it as a readaloud, and until now I have just orally quizzed the kids about what we read. There are questions at the end of each chapter, but they are not always the questions that I want to ask, and there is no easy way to translate those questions onto paper anyway. I mean, the kids could just copy the questions and answers onto notebook paper, but I have three kids using the book and only one small paperback book.

Enter the worksheet maker on! It makes creating worksheets so easy! It allows me to choose what kind of question I want to ask and it takes care of formatting it beautifully. What more could I ask for? 

I thought *that* was really cool...but then we discovered the self-paced lessons. This is where really sets itself apart from the pack. I truly feel like it has EVERYTHING. For example, the other day, we had two fronts come through in two days. Several of us had miserable headaches (migraine trigger - fronts!), plus there were really unusual cloud formations outside. Mary-Catherine (11) asked me what causes fronts. Okay, I know what causes fronts, but I'm a homeschool mom, right? It's not enough for me to tell her - I want to show her. I'm also lazy, though (just being real here!). I decided to check and see if had a worksheet on fronts. Oh, honey - they had so much more. There was a whole lesson on them (graded for 7th grade)! The kids started with a pre-test on fronts to see what they knew (they got all the questions right - I think M-C was playing me with her question).

After reading a short intro, taking the pre-test, and watching a video on fronts, the kids looked at animations of each type of front and then did a worksheet (which I viewed as something of a post-test). They really enjoyed it and I didn't have to do a single thing (which I really enjoyed). I love relying on Internet videos to do my job for me to supplement my teaching, but it can eat up hours trying to find quality material. I am over the moon that I don't have to anymore. I don't even have to ask follow up questions. And literally all subjects are covered!

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that Nicholas (12) is my challenge child. Well, he happens to have a fascination with chemistry right now. He is also very bright, so I didn't let it put me off at all that the chemistry lessons that I guided him to were graded for 10th grade. He had been reading about alloys, so I was delighted to find a lesson on...yep, alloys! He dove right into the lesson, confessed to not understanding all of it, but gamely declared himself up for more. 

It's not just the self-paced lessons that are awesome, though. If you're a homeschool mom, you probably harbor the same kind of doubts that I do - I know my kids are really bright (all of our kids are, right?!), but I don't know for sure that all of them are on grade level in all things. For example, Nicholas is not a reader. Sad story, but true. Hence, I worry about his vocabulary. All of my other kids have ridiculous vocabularies -it's what happens when you read voraciously. Imagine my delight, then, when I found a worksheet for 7th grade vocabulary review with coverage of 50 words. I honestly have no idea what words a 7th grader should know...but the Iowa Test of Basic Skills that Nicholas is taking in May will assume that he has mastery, so I am thrilled that I could find such a worksheet so painlessly. 

That's just the kind of site is. You think of something you really need or wish you had and BOOM! There it is.

We have been loving this site. I so encourage you to go check it out. I also encourage you to go ahead and fall in love, because the Pro Plan is only $24.95/year. I already know I'll be renewing.

Don't take my word for it, though. Click the banner below to read many more reviews of people who have been using for the past month or so. I have been loving seeing what they have had to say!

HelpTeaching Review

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