Tuesday, February 23, 2016

{Review} HelpTeaching.com

As a homeschooling family, we are always looking for new educational tools that make life easier for both the parent and student while also providing quality grade appropriate lessons. Recently, we were offered the chance to check out the Pro Plan available at HelpTeaching.com.

HelpTeaching.com: Online lessons, tests, and worksheets that make homeschooling fun.

For the purpose of this review, we were provided an account with Pro Plan level access for an entire year. Although much of HelpTeaching.com can be accessed through their free membership, the Pro Plan takes away the frustration of being denied use after finding the absolute perfect lesson. The Pro Plan level also allows you to create tests and worksheets with up to 100 questions, where the free membership maxes out at 10 questions. The Pro Plan also allows images to be used in the custom questions, PDF files to be created of custom tests, access to the premium content, and unlimited online tests and lessons for up to 500 students.

Having a child in the early years of high school (8th/9th grade), I often worry about the difficulty level of online content. We're past the age of cute worksheets and easy online games. I was quite pleasantly surprised the first day I logged into HelpTeaching.com and found a rather large selection of online self-paced lessons for the high school age group. And more lessons are being added regularly!

HelpTeaching.com: Online lessons, tests, and worksheets that make homeschooling fun.
The Test Maker and a sample test.
The online lessons at HelpTeaching.com focus on various science topics, mathematics, and English Language Arts. Many include video instruction components from well known sites such as Khan Academy and Crash Course.  However there are also premium Help Teaching original video lessons as well. Each lesson includes a text component even if there are required videos. Following the lesson content are links to related worksheets and other associated topics for the student to continue forward.

If you are looking for exclusively high school level content, the science lessons are your best bet. While math and English language arts contain high school lessons, these topics currently are heavier on the elementary side. Still, Amber found plenty of language arts lessons to work through without exhausting all the high school options.

HelpTeaching.com is more than just online lessons though. A large portion of the site is dedicated to worksheets and tests, including the ability to create your own and then administer them online. An even broader range of topics are available in the worksheets than in the lessons with the inclusion of social studies, arts & music, study skills, physical education, and seasonal / holiday.  When looking for worksheets, you can choose to view by age group or topic, which we found especially useful since there were some very fun and interesting items above Amber's grade level that we would never have found just looking for her particular grade.

HelpTeaching.com: Online lessons, tests, and worksheets that make homeschooling fun.
Checking up on her progress and viewing the previously scheduled items.
The worksheets and tests can be printed for immediate use, downloaded as a PDF and printed at your leisure, or even assigned online. I have to admit we did not print a single item. Every lesson, worksheet and test we used I assigned to Amber online through the HelpTeaching.com assignment process. Amber received emails with links to her assignments and was able to easily complete her tasks. If your child does not have their own email address, that's okay too. When you schedule any test or lesson, as the teacher you are also given a link that can be shared with your students. All they need is a computer or tablet to access the site.  However, it worked smoother for us to send Amber emails with her assignments.

Teachers can see the progress students have made on their assigned tasks through the Online Testing tab. Each lesson or test scheduled for  your student(s) will be listed, including the date given. As the teacher, you have the ability to view when the student completed the lesson, how long they spent within the lesson, and if they completed the practice questions. Each test will also allow you to grade and assign student scores, download and view test results, and view results by question.

HelpTeaching.com: Online lessons, tests, and worksheets that make homeschooling fun.
Lesson selection list and part of a lesson screen.
Along with the ability to create entirely new custom tests, custom versions of existing HelpTeaching.com tests can be created for your students. Originally, I thought I would love the ability to make up our own tests for Amber, but soon I realized this was a rather daunting task and I fell back on using the HelpTeaching.com tests with some alterations. The entire process of editing and making tests is smooth with easy to follow instructions. My issue was actually coming up with the questions I wanted to ask!

Once you have created your own questions or tests, the content is stored within your account and can be reused at any time. Through the Pro Plan, custom tests can be saved as PDF files, printed, or taken online the same as any of the HelpTeaching.com provided tests. It is an amazing product.

While Amber does already have curriculum for science, language arts, history, and math, we used HelpTeaching.com as a supplement to her existing lessons and to begin the introduction of a few fun topics - like genetics. Besides working through assigned lessons and tests, I also allowed Amber to peruse the site and study any topic that peaked her interest such as plate tectonics and relative dating.

HelpTeaching.com: Online lessons, tests, and worksheets that make homeschooling fun.
Working through lessons on various days - It works flawlessly on desktop, laptop and iPad.
HelpTeaching.com is portable and Amber was able to use it on some of her poor health days when it was difficult for her to do more than sit up in bed. A surprise benefit came on a day when I was sick and did not have school lessons ready for Amber. Using my iPad from bed, I was able to assign new science and grammar lessons and tests for Amber which she then completed while I slept. Later in the day I checked her progress, again from my iPad, and took note of items she missed for later discussion.

HelpTeaching.com is everything you could ask for in an educational site: it's easy to use, has a wealth of topics for all ages including high school, and supports a wide range of learning styles. It has become one of our favorite resources and our go-to place when looking for additional information on new or current school topics. 

Connect with HelpTeaching.com on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helpteaching
Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/100894483454551317755/+Helpteaching/posts
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/helpteaching/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/helpteaching

Visit other members of the Review Crew to read their experiences with HelpTeaching.com!

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