When you are educating your students at home, one thing we have found really nice to have access to is a great online site that gives you lots of worksheets and supplemental lessons for extra practice. We have been reviewing HelpTeaching.com, using their Pro Plan. This plan gives us access to all of their site. This means all lessons, worksheets, video links, game makers, practices, and more.
We have been focusing on the materials on HelpTeaching that are mostly related to middle school and up. This means searching the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade materials for supplements for what we are doing with the rest of our curriculum. There is A LOT on the site, which means a lot to wade through. There is also plenty there for the lower grades, but we have mostly used MS and up for this review.
HelpTeaching is not a full curriculum site; it is supplemental. There are lessons and they are great supplements but they do not constitute a complete unit or curriculum. Much of HelpTeaching is Common Core aligned, so if you need those standard related to a particular you can look through English Language Arts and Math to find what you are looking for. This is one of the easier things to find on HelpTeaching as there is a link on the left sidebar with Common Core aligned materials.
HelpTeaching utilizes materials of their own creation, as well as videos and other material and activities from across the web. If it is a HelpTeaching original video, it has an HT symbol next to it. You can use what is there or create your own materials. When creating you material you can decide if you want to keep it private or if you want to make it publicly accessible.
HelpTeaching has the following categories:
- Tests and Worksheets
- Test Maker, and
- Online Testing.
Tests and Worksheets
These utilize already created materials as either tests or worksheets. These can be printed, completed online, or scheduled and sent to students in a link via email. The four core academic areas are here as well as materials for music, preschool, holidays, physical education, and more. The CC aligned materials are all accessible only through subscription though many of the other materials are free.
Each lesson topic includes written material, a video, and links to additional materials. Some of these videos are not from HelpTeaching but are designated as such. The links to additional materials may take you to other sites but there are links to HelpTeaching worksheets and tests. Most of the lessons are accessible through subscription only, though a few lessons are free.
This helps you to easily create bingo game cards and word searches. These are free, but you cannot save without an account.
With your own questions, you can create a test for your students to take. It can include images chosen from a bank the site has and includes options for questions to be fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, open ended, and more. This is a good resource that is pretty easy to use. You must have an account to use the Test Maker.
Students can take tests online here. If you choose to have them take the tests from the category Tests and Worksheets, I could not locate a way to determine which questions were answered correctly and which were missed. However, if you have them take it through an emailed link, you can track their tests. Please look at their Online Testing information page for more information about what is available and at what level.
The site has a large number of material available for free but not everything is free. As a subscriber with the Pro Plan, though, you have access to all of these categories and materials.
I really enjoyed using the lessons portion of this site. I felt like this is where the strong point of HelpTeaching is at. The lessons were really quite good at describing a topic in a way that Miss E understood. The lessons related to plate techtonics and volcanoes were especially good. The links to outside sites took us to sites we had not found yet and the activities there were really helpful in expanding understanding. The printed worksheets from the HelpTeaching portion were fine. We also used lessons on rocks and minerals. We used a number of lessons and were pleased with all of them. We mostly accessed science and social studies lesson, so don’t hold me too hard to the math section, as we did use any of the math lessons.
- Materials can be created and shared by anyone. As far as I can determine, there is no moderating these materials, which to me indicates there is no assurance the answers are correct. We had to skip a number of questions on math worksheets because I could not figure out how to answer the questions or they were worded in a way that was very difficult to understand.
- There is not a search function on the site. It takes a long time to find what you are looking for, if it is there at all. Several times I spent a lot of time on the site trying to find a supplement and, after 15 or 20 minutes, gave up because I couldn’t find one. You can use the page search function from your browser (on a PC, I was using Ctrl-F) but I found it did not catch all of the materials for a certain topic.
- The materials are randomly placed within their categories. For example, when looking for fractions in 5th grade, I may find 6 or 8 worksheets but they are spread throughout all of the math listings and they are not in any semblance of order of learning. And often, what I found in one grade level, say 5th grade fractions, was harder than the materials place in a later grade level, say 7th grade fractions. I had to search from 4th – 8th grade to find fractions materials that fit what I was looking for and then put them in the right order to supplement our learning.
- There is generally only one worksheet on the topic searched. That means I still had to go find other sites or create my own materials for additional practice.
HelpTeaching.com is a fine site. There is a lot to offer there and some of it is done is a really nice way. The lessons are great but the practice materials and tests are not as good. While this works well for some people, it does not for others. We are some of the others. I feel my time is too valuable to spend stumbling around a site trying to find something that may or may not be there. We might continue to use a few of the lessons but this will not be a go-to site for us.
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