Jule Alizée August 4, 2020 worksheets
We have come a long way as teachers since those purple-ink mimeograph machines introduced us to worksheets, so let’s be vigilant! Avoid lower-level-thinking worksheets, do not use too many worksheets (even good ones) and NEVER use worksheets as busy work.Instead, let’s fill our classrooms with meaningful, thoughtful lessons and activities that peak student interest and promote higher-level learning. And that is a message worth copying and handing out!
I have said ”Don’t Use Worksheets” about every way there is to say it, and each time I have included solid brain-based, researched reasons for this statement; and yet, I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm?
Remember to select worksheets that are the right level difficulty for your child. Get something too hard, and your child will become discouraged. Make it too easy, and they won’t learn much.Homeschool worksheets are far more than busy work. They are an important part of making sure that the concepts you teach in your home school stick with your child. Just make sure you have a good source for providing the worksheets, and that they’re the right ones for your kid or kids.
Pamela Haack is an educational consultant, national presenter and keynote speaker. She is co-founder, along with author/instructor, Mary Peterson, of Teacher Online Classes, an organization that offers e-resources and online seminars and workshops for educators.
There are other sources for worksheets also. You can find many public schools and private schools which will provide free worksheets for you if you buy textbooks from the school. Or you can usually find textbooks and workbooks at the public library, where you can also copy any worksheets that you want to use.So what kinds of worksheets should you get? Anything where you feel that your child needs further drill. We often have this notion that worksheets are just for math. This, of course, is not true. While they are excellent tools for reviewing math facts such as the multiplication tables and division facts, they are just as useful for reviewing parts of speech or the states in the union.
Then along came digital copiers and the purple-ink mimeograph machine disappeared. But the teaching tool that the mimeograph machine spawned – the worksheet – has lived on… and on… and on. For decades – literally decades – teachers have been enamored with worksheets. So what is the bottom line? Are worksheets a serious teaching tool or an over-used form of busy work? The answer, of course, is both.
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