Thursday, April 19, 2018

Supplementing Our Homeschool Curriculum with {A TOS Review}

As a homeschool mom (or dad), do you ever feel like you need a little help teaching your children at times? Do you worry that you might be missing subjects or topics here and there? Do you just have times you need to give your child(ren) something to do while you get something else done? Well today I am here to talk to you about an online teaching site that may be able to help you out with these struggles. Thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew, we had the chance to try out Help Teaching Pro from

You can actually head over to this site right now and try them out for free. However, there are numerous benefits to paying for a Pro membership. Here, let's take a look at the different plans. 

As a free member, you have the ability to create custom tests and worksheets or use those that are premade. There are quite a lot to choose from; however, the majority are only available to those with a paid plan. As a Pro member you can also created tests with 10 times the amount of questions, you could add images, save your tests, use the test room, and have access to pre-made premium content. One of my favorite benefits is being able to assign lessons, tests, and worksheets to my children. I can email the links to my children or copy and paste them in our document for them to choose from during their computer time. They are able to watch the online lessons that I assigned them and work on the worksheets/tests online. This is such an ink-saver.

So, you may now be wondering what kind of worksheets, tests, and lessons you can give your child(ren). Let's just say all the major subjects are covered. Here's the list of the available subjects:
  • Arts
  • Early Education
  • English Language Arts
  • Life Skills
  • Math
  • Physical Education (including health)
  • Science
  • Seasonal and Holidays
  • Social Studies
  • Study Skills/Strategies
  • Vocational Education
Additionally there are Common Core Math and Common Core ELA Worksheets.
There are also Math Worksheet Generators and Printable Game Generators.

Let's take a look at how to use the site.

When you log onto the site, you will notice a menu bar across the top of the screen.

We'll make our way through each tab from left to right. 

Tests & Worksheets:

The 12 main subjects are highlighted and underlined on the left side of the screen. You can click on any of these to find the worksheets in that subject. That page will then be broken down into more topics. Or you could click on one of the blue highlighted topics under the main subject to go directly to that topic. The main topic I wanted to focus on with my children during this review period was grammar, because I feel I have been lacking in this with the children, especially the older girls. On the grammar page there are four sub-topics: Daily Grammar, Parts of Speech, Capitalization & Punctuation, and Sentence Conventions. These are further broken down by grade level. The Parts of Speech are also divided into: Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, Conjunctions, Prepositions, Verbs, and Other Parts of Speech. 

The lock icon indicates worksheets that are only available with a paid membership. When I am actually logged into my account, those locks are in an unlocked position. 

So, I started out by having the children try some worksheets, but then I realized they were struggling because they didn't understand what was being asked of them at times. You know, the whole, "I have been lacking in knowing what to teach the children when it comes to grammar" thing. That brings us to the second tab in the menu bar.


There are online lessons for the following subjects:
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
After you click on the link to browse a subject, you will come to the page that lists all the lessons. These are again organized by topic, with each sub-heading starting at the youngest grade and making its way to the older grade's lessons as you scroll down the page. There are lessons available from Kindergarten level through 12th grade. 

Each lesson begins with some introductory information. The child then completes the few practice questions and watches the embedded video, if one is included. These videos are usually only a few minutes long. Then there are related worksheets that the child can complete. These are listed below the video, along with links to related lessons.

One thing I didn't realize at first was that when I assign these lessons to my children they do not have access to these related links unless I also assign them. I couldn't understand how come the children were saying they only had a few questions and then they were done. Once I explored it a bit, I realized the problem. So, when assigning lessons to your child make sure to also click on the links to go to the worksheets and assign those as well. 

Right! I haven't explained how to assign lessons and worksheets yet, have I. Don't worry. That wasn't an oversight. After we look at all the tabs in the main menu, I will explain how I typically assigned work to my children.

Now let's look at Test Maker:

I only just recently started exploring this tab. As I mentioned, I really wanted to focus on grammar with the children, and as I didn't have anything I was consistently using for grammar, I needed to have them focus on the lessons and the related worksheets. 

You can choose to create your own test from scratch, or browse the subjects provided by, or create a quick test by entering some basic information such as the category the test will focus on, keywords, grade, question types, and number of questions. 

When I tried to create a grammar related test for the girls using the "Quick Test" option, I realized the children were going to be getting questions they didn't know the answers to as they hadn't taken all the lessons that would give them the required information. That was also the problem I had when first trying to assign worksheets. So, I decided to stick to my plan of assigning the girls lessons and related worksheets for the time being. 

However, I had a blast created a test from scratch using the vocabulary book that comes with our core curriculum. I decided the girls needed a bit of a review, to see how much information they have retained this year. 

To start, I needed to name my test. Then I was directed to the page where I was to start adding questions. 

Depending on the topic, I could browse their questions. However, I didn't figure Greek roots and vocabulary would be one of the included topics. So, I clicked on "Create a new question" and started putting together a test. You get to choose between the following four types of questions:
  • Fill-In-The-Blank
  • Multiple-Choice
  • Open-Ended
  • True or False
The only question type I didn't use was open-ended. 

It is required that you name a category and grade, plus you could add keywords. You then need to type in your question. 

 In order to leave a blank space in a "Fill-in-the-blank" or "Multiple-choice" question you click on "Insert a Blank" if needed. When making multiple choice questions there are spaces for including eight choices, and you can click on the correct answer for the answer key. And for "True or False" you just type in a statement and indicate in the answer field whether it is true or false. So simple. They even include a guide called "How to Write Good Test Questions." 

Once you have all your questions filled in, you can choose to rearrange them, add page breaks, change the font design and size, and decide what information you want in the header and footer. Here is what the one test looks like:

Moving on to the Worksheet Generator:

With this tool you could create an unlimited number of math worksheets in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They are generated randomly, using the parameters you set. Or you could choose to make Bingo cards or Word Searches. Personally, I love word searches, so I knew I had to create some for the children. 

This was so simple to create. You just give your worksheet a title, and then you add the words in the box, separated by commas. You can choose whether words are place backwards or not. If you check the box that says, "show the answer key" you will see the words as they are added to the puzzle. Or you can uncheck the box and it will add the letters among the other random letters, so you could probably do the puzzle yourself as it is hard to tell where they are being added.

I thought it would be a great way for the children to practice their spelling words. 

The next tab is the one that kept escaping me. For quite a while I couldn't figure out how to grade my girls' work or see which worksheets/lessons they completed. I knew I had seen it somewhere when I was first perusing the site, but then it took me quite a while to find it again. I finally realized I could do these things in the Test Room.

Online Testing:

From here I can see all the tests/worksheets and lessons I have scheduled for my children.

When I want to look at the tests I click on "My Test Schedule."

From here I can edit the schedule, get the link to share it with additional students, grade and look at the test results, and archive the test. The program will grade the test for you; however there may be some questions that need the parent to grade them, such as questions that needed the child to type in an answer.

From what I can tell, you can view one test at a time. I do wish I could see a list of all the tests the child has actually taken and what their grades are, as I am trying to find the best way to organize this information for the girls' portfolios. 

I can also look at the lessons I have scheduled.

As with the test schedule, I can choose to assign the lessons to additional students from this page. I can also see the results, which includes which child viewed the lesson, how long they took on the lesson, and whether or not they tried the practice questions. 

Moving on to My Content:

From here I can look at the tests I have created as well as the questions. I can choose to edit the test and assign it, or print it out. 

Plans & Pricing is where you can view the different plans and the FAQ's . 
The Blog appears to be full of wonderful posts about educating children from preschool through high school.

As you can see, there is a wealth of information and resources at Admittedly, I was a bit overwhelmed at first. But once I figured out the site, I began to realize how much it could benefit our homeschool. 

As I stated at the beginning of the post, I started out by trying out different worksheets, but that didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to. Scheduling lessons and related worksheets has worked out so much better for us. The girls have been working on various grammar topics, plus some science that went along with our core science lessons. They get on the computer once a day and were to choose which lesson they wanted to work on out of the links that I assigned to them. The parent/teacher can email or share the link.

Let's look at how lessons and tests are assigned.

At the top of the lesson you will find an additional menu bar where you can assign or share the link. 

You can give the children instructions to follow and then choose to invite them via email or share a public link with them. Clicking on "Share Link" instead of "Assign" seems to be a quicker way to get the link. Now, when it comes to worksheets you can choose to work on it right away, print it, or schedule it, similar to how the lessons are scheduled. 

You can also set a start and end time, and decide whether children can go back and change answers, whether they will see results of the test, or be in practice mode. 

Originally I copy and pasted the link into my word processing document for the children to choose from. Then the girls got email addresses and I got to send them the links. Both ways seem to work great, though I think I prefer having them in my document so I have a better record of which tests/lessons they worked on. 

One of the biggest benefits of the Help Teaching Pro, in my mind, is that the children can work on these lessons and worksheets online. It is so much better on our budget not to have to use ink. However, I do love that I can print out worksheets if I need to, such as when we go on a long road trip or to a doctor appointment and I need the children to get some school work done. Of course, those word search sheets needed to be printed out. And I did print out the test that I created, though they could have done that online as well.

Help Teaching Pro is a great resource for homeschoolers, though it may be a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many lessons, worksheets, and tests, and even after several weeks of using this site, I feel like we barely scratched the surface. It definitely seems like a resource I could justify including in our budget, and one I highly recommend. 

You can find on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew mates had to say about this great site.

Help Teaching Pro. { Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #200: April 19, 2018

Welcome back to... 

Can you believe this is the 200th Throwback Thursday Blog-Style post?!?
That means I have been sharing posts from the past for almost four years.
How long have you been participating?
I don't know about you, but I love rediscovering my old content.

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around April 19th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Last year I focused solely on recipe posts for the posts I wanted to share, and the year before that, I shared past review posts. It was fun remembering some of the recipes and reviews I had forgotten about. This year I will be sharing random posts.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. Sadly, I am going to have to say, I will be deleting posts that do not follow the rules. The spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past. Please follow the guidelines.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Looney for Food shared 

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Littles Learning Link Up: Springtime Fairy Round Up

Welcome to Littles Learning Link Up. Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (usually toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my preschoolers and/or early elementary children (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child.

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

It's time for this month's Round Up

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to focus on for this month's round up. Then one day I was thinking about gardens and spring, and suddenly my mind went to fairies. Have you ever wanted to create a fairy garden with your children? Don't think you have the time or room for a full fairy garden? Well, there are many different ideas, plus fairy houses and fairy doors. And of course, you need to have some fairies to go along with them. So, there are some fun fairy crafts as well, along with other imaginative fairy ideas.  Maybe if we start making these springy fairy gardens and fairies, spring will finally stick around? Doesn't hurt to try, does it? 

Fairy House Round Up

Fairy Gardens

Fairy Houses, Fairy Gardens & More from Crafty Moms Share
Fairy Garden 2012 from Crafty Moms Share
Hazel's Fairy Garden from Crafty Moms Share
DIY Succulent Fairy Garden from Arts & Crackers

Fairy Gardens from Crafty Moms Share
How to Build a Fairy House from The Gingerbread House
Tuff Spot Fairy Garden Play from The Gingerbread House 
Our Fairy Garden from Buggy and Buddy

Play Dough Fairy Gardens from Mama.Papa.Bubba.
DIY Easy Fairy Garden from The Flying Couponer
Miniature Fairy Herb Garden from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots

Fairy Garden Small World Play from Rainy Day Mum
Fairy Garden Wreath from The Tip Toe Fairy 

Fairy Houses

Egg Carton Fairy House Craft from Creative Family Fun
Fairy Houses: Build a Fairy House in the Park from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Fairy House Luminaries from Messy Little Monster
Salt Dough Pine Cone Fairy Houses from The Pinterested Parent

Paper Cup Miniature Village Craft from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Painted Fairy Garden Rocks from The Pinterested Parent 

Fairy Doors

Fairy Door Craft from Messy Little Monster

Fairy Crafts

Step by Step - Fairy Rock Art from Everyday Best
Clothespin Fairy Crafts for Kids from Sunshine Whispers

The Fairies at the Spring Ball from Crafty Moms Share
Fairies and Love Bug Dolls from Crafty Moms Share
DIY Craft Stick Fairy Craft for Kids from Artsy Craftsy Mom

Easter Flower Fairy Peg Dolls from Crafty Moms Share
Nature Crafting with Clay from The Pinterested Parent

Imaginative Fairy Play

Set Up a Fairy Potion Making Station from Jen Kossowan over at CBC Parents
Homemade DIY Toddler Fairy Wings from What's Up Fagans?
Making Fairy Dust from Sunshine Whispers

Pretend Play: Fairy Village from Mama Smiles
Washi Tape Magic Wands from The Craft Train
How to Go for a Fairy Hunt from Bambini Travel

Invitation to Create a Play Dough Fairy World from Little Worlds Big Adventures 
How to Create a Fairy Busy Bag for Magic Play Moments from Little Worlds Big Adventures 

Do you have fun fairy ideas? Feel free to link them up below.

Now onto:

Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there were 6 wonderful posts linked up. I will be sharing a randomly selected post and the top clicked-on posts.

Please, don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's randomly selected post is:

Sam from Simple Everyday Mom shared DIY Disney Autograph Book Free Printables

And here is this week's most clicked on post.

Lisa from Syncopated Mama shared Friday Frivolity - Favorite Book Series Titles

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on my Toddler Ideas or other relevant board, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time, if applicable. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Sunday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

I am sharing over at:

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

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