Julietta Blanche September 1, 2016 worksheets
Another problem with almost all worksheets is that they don’t prevent incorrect answers. Self-checking worksheets just let the student know they did something wrong–after the fact. I am a firm believer in the concept that, if at all possible, learning should be structured in small chunks in such a way that there is very little possibility for error. Worksheets often allow for mistakes to be made and then to be repeated many times. A mistake that gets practiced is extremely difficult to correct. This especially happens when worksheets are used as time fillers or baby sitters and the work isn’t really being supervised. There are some new materials being developed now based on what we are learning about how the brain learns. These brain-friendly materials should be an improvement over what has existed. I recently bought a book by Marcia L. Tate titled ”Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.” I highly recommend her book. She gives a great deal of information on alternative activities that are better for your child’s brain development and for learning.
Here are five reasons why math worksheets don’t work if you want students to understand math, enjoy math, and think mathematically. 1. Math worksheets are not engaging. Numerous research studies have found that when students are actively engaged with the content, they have a much better chance of understanding and remembering what they have learned. Unfortunately, math worksheets tend to bore most students, especially those who need the most help in math. Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don’t understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what’s needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student’s frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that ”I’ll never understand math.” A cute image or a ”fill-in-the-blanks” riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let’s face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.
No matter what materials you choose, it is most important that you supervise your child constantly so that mistakes get caught rather than practiced. I learned this particular lesson the hard way. When my daughter was young, she did something that needed ”attention.” I no longer remember what it was that she did, but I told her to write the sentence ”I will not disobey my parents again” 50 times. I should have known better, but I didn’t check on her at the beginning and then I got busy. So, sometime later, she brought me 50 sentences of ”I will not disobey my parents agen.” She had just practiced misspelling ”again” as ”agen” — 50 times! I’m not certain that we ever really got that fixed. This issue of NOT practicing mistakes is extremely important. Parents shouldn’t give worksheets as busy work and teachers should only use them if you are going to have a non-math teacher substitute. White boards with supervision are always a better way to practice skills. If you need some time to do chores, your child will get much more benefit by helping you with the chores. And maybe you can work in a little discussion of numbers or counting while you do chores together.
Find the Subjects. As you search out free worksheets you can print for use in your home, you should keep a list of your subjects close by. This will enable you to check your list to see how well a worksheet fits into your plan for teaching your child. This will keep you from printing up worksheets you aren’t going to use. Some websites will actually provide an extensive listing of worksheets from which to choose, allowing you to get most of the worksheets you need in one place. Print Them Up. After you find the online worksheets for kids that will work for the subject matter you are going to teach your child, you can print them up. This will allow your child to complete the work offline. Because many people like to restrict the amount of screen time their child gets, especially when the child is young, doing some work off the computer will be beneficial.
Homeschool worksheets have pros and cons that depend on the type of material the worksheet deals with. One advantage is that worksheets are very handy if you want to give your child something to do. Some types of worksheets are very easy to grade and can be completed without much input from you. Worksheets can also give you a good idea of how much your child was able to understand of the subject matter. While worksheets for homeschool can assist in home schooling, they cannot take the place of a proper homeschool curriculum. One disadvantage they have is that they often focus on one subject area only, without integrating the whole curriculum. They can also be simplistic and give the impression that the student understands more than he actually does. Free homeschool worksheets that you can print are available online. Some of them may be excellent, but you will have to make sure that they are accurate and suitable for your curriculum or child.
2. To Pay or Not to Pay? There are hundreds if not thousands of free printable worksheets available online. These are ideal for filling time or keeping the kids busy on a rainy day, but few of them offer a systematic set of worksheets with activities designed to teach your children a specific set of skills. If education is your aim, you may have to spend a little to get useful, comprehensive worksheets that actually help your child to learn. 3. Quality vs Quantity. Some free worksheets are not good quality – the pictures are fuzzy, backgrounds print grey or speckled – and children tend to notice these things. If you are using the worksheets to educate your child, you may want to choose good quality worksheets that encourage your child to produce good quality work. After all, it’s a little difficult to ask your child to color within the lines and work neatly when the worksheet they are filling in hasn’t done the same.
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