Moriah Odonnell July 19, 2020 Worksheets
6. Never allow your child to use a worksheet unsupervised. Some parents use worksheets to provide time to fix supper or add another load of laundry. Unfortunately, while you aren’t looking, your child just might have practiced a mistake several times. The time you thought you saved isn’t nearly as much time as it will take to fix that mistake.If you consistently do these 6 things, you might be able to successfully use worksheets; but, seriously, a few minutes of your personal time will provide better learning for your child than a truckload of worksheets.
So what is the concern? There are three big concerns, actually.Our teacher ”caution light” should start blinking if we are using lower-level-thinking worksheets (Example: ”Check the box next to the correct answer.”), if we are using too many worksheets or if we are using worksheets as classroom busy work.
2. Know the author’s background. This person needs to have a background in education and, ideally, should be trained in the latest educational methods, like brain-based teaching/learning. I personally would never use any materials with my child that didn’t specifically mention being ”brain-based.” I am not talking about just ”research-based.” I see more and more sites claiming to have research-based materials, but what I find is definitely NOT based on how the brains actually learns. Brain-based learning is relatively new in the educational world, but most worksheet sites and materials are using old science or, more often, no science at all.
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?
The answer, of course, is YES they can. In my perfect world of mathematics education, no pre-school child is ever exposed to a worksheet of any kind. I would swing my magic wand, all worksheets would disappear, and the memory of them would be gone forever. In the real world, I know that simply won’t happen. There will still be some parents who will insist on using worksheets.
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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