Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review of HelpTeaching.com

We have used HelpTeaching.com in the past, so I was quite happy to receive a subscription to Help Teaching Pro again. The terrific thing about this website is that it doesn't matter if you had a subscription to it two years ago, it both is and isn't the website you remember. It is the same website in that it still has the test generator that lets you make your own tests according to your own materials (in fact, it will even have your previous tests still stored if you've been a member before!), it still has untold numbers of pre-made worksheets, short but informative lessons that you can assign to individual students, an early education section, and so much more. It's not the same website because there is new material being added constantly! Also, the kids you likely used it with previously have aged, hence, the material in the next grade level(s) is all new to them! Of course, if you're one of the lucky ones who has not yet used HelpTeaching.com at all, you're in for a huge treat. This website is not just another worksheet warehouse. There is so much more here, and you can explore a whole lot of it for free. My guess is you'll want the Pro version after seeing everything the site has to offer.
When you log on to HelpTeaching.com, you'll see five major sections: 

Tests and Worksheets is the place to find worksheets by grade level or subject area. From Pre-K through 12 and from Physical Education to Science to Graphic Organizers to Life Skills, along with all the core subjects you would expect, this section has everything you need to print any worksheet you can think of for your students. If you need Common Core aligned materials, you will find those here. 


The next tab, Online Lessons, is one of the things that sets this site apart. If you're like me, you value curriculum that your child can do on their own, which is why I loved the root lesson Michael did. The older mine get, the more important this factor is in my deciding what curriculum to use. Further, since all of my kids are middle or high school, I love that the middle and high school elements on this site are geared to be independent. Using embedded videos from both HelpTeaching.com and from other sources, which you can see on this page, middle and high schoolers can do everything at their own pace. 

Nicholas (14) will be taking the PSAT for the first time next year as a sophomore. His vocabulary is not as strong as my other kids'. I'm not sure why, but it probably has something to do with his coming to a love of reading a little later than the rest of them. That's okay, though! HelpTeaching.com has a Top 100 SAT words self-paced lesson for him to work through. Since Nicholas doesn't really do any work with me anymore, it's essential that I find things that he can do on his own, and this lesson fits the bill perfectly. 


With accompanying worksheets that list all of the words, there is a visual and a written component. Nicholas remembers best when he writes things down, so he wrote down the words as the slides on the video played. Now he has a notebook of Top 100 SAT words as a starting point for studying.

There are so many other kinds of lessons, too! One thing I love about this site is that it can easily fill holes that I find my kids have, or that I *fear* my kids have. Within a few minutes, my fears can be alleviated. Every so often I will suddenly think something like, "Literary analysis! My kids don't know anything about literary analysis!" I had that moment last week. I went to HelpTeaching.com and found a 7th grade lesson on literary analysis (see "Analyzing a Literary Text" with the lock beside it?):


I signed into my account to access the lesson and handed it off to Michael. First, there was a short discussion on analyzing a literary text, the first part of which you can see here:


Then, you move through five practice questions:


Michael got all of them right.

The third tab, Test Maker, is another great feature that sets this site apart. You can make multiple choice tests and quizzes and you can have your students take printable or online versions. You can create your own questions, or you can find questions that are already in the test library. You can write your own instructions or have the program generate instructions. Really, the possibilities are endless. I am not much of a written "tester" in my homeschool, but if you are, you will absolutely love what this feature has to offer. 


The next tab, Worksheet Generator, does exactly what it says. This is where Mary-Catherine got to "enjoy" Help Teaching Pro. Enjoy is in quotes because Mary-Catherine doesn't really enjoy being drilled in math, but she does appreciate the edge it gives her in her regular math program. You can get exactly the kind of math worksheets or games/puzzles you want on this page. Drill some math, then play some Bingo!

The Online Testing and My Content tabs let you manage your students, your tests, and your content. You'll get to know these tabs as you work with the program.

What We Thought

There is a lot to love about Help Teaching Pro. HelpTeaching.com offers much of its site for free, so you'll lose nothing by going to check out what they have to offer. If you like what you see, you might well decide it's worth the cost to upgrade to the Pro version, especially if you have multiple kids who will be using the site. Often with sites like this one, there is a lot of content for the younger grades, but the pickin's are thin at the higher levels. That's absolutely not true with HelpTeaching.com. They have great content at the upper levels. Don't take my word for it, though.
Because there are so many different ways to use HelpTeaching.com, do be sure to read the Crew Blog to see how 49 other Crew members made use of the myriad resources available!

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