Margot Lily-Rose August 10, 2020 Worksheets
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.
As far as using worksheets for busy work, the verdict is in. It is destructive to classroom learning to assign worksheets to simply keep students occupied. Busy work creates monotony, causes boredom and increases the likelihood of behavior problems. Period.
If you are looking for printable worksheets for your preschool child, the array of choices can be a little intimidating. You may just be looking for a few pages to keep your child occupied with something more constructive than yet another half hour in front of the TV, or you may feel it’s time you started helping your child learn the basic skills she or he will need for school.
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.
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?
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!)
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