Robinette Loane August 10, 2020 Worksheets
3. Quality vs Quantity
In 1986, mimeograph machines were (for the most part) replaced by digital copiers in elementary schools. Those of us teachers who experienced using mimeograph machines will forever remember the distinct smell of the still-damp, purple-ink worksheets that we handed out to our students – by the ream full. (If you’re like me, you can remember that smell right now!)
Both lower-level-thinking worksheets and too many (even high quality) worksheets can hold students back by not providing stimulus and challenge. Studies have shown for years (just do a Google search!) that children learn best through active involvement and real-life experiences. Virtually every teacher knows that children learn to read by being exposed to books and by being read to, NOT by completing worksheets. The same applies to all areas of learning.
– Are students excited about learning in my classroom? (The answer should be yes!)
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.
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.
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