PDA

View Full Version : Weekly Poll: What about worksheets?



Topsy
01-11-2012, 11:08 AM
So, in my daily travels around the web (if I could get Frequent Flyer Miles on my web surfing, I would have enough to circle the globe a few times by now!!!), I end up on a LOT of different homeschooling forums and pages. And I'll admit I'm a little awestruck at how many parents are asking about worksheets...


where to find them
how to get them for free
best ways to use them
ideas for making your own

Except for the fact that I might DIE OF BOREDOM, I wish I could just sit around making worksheets, if they're in that much demand. But the problem is, I get the sense that it's the parents who are anxious about worksheets - - not the kids. We all remember back to doing our seat work in the classroom and filling out those sheets. Some of us must have fonder memories of that than I do, I guess. I used to try to finish mine as fast as humanly possible and then draw doodles along the edges (FYI - worksheets have GREAT blank edges for doodling). ;)


I'll admit that in the age of iPads and laptops I have a hard time imagining assigning worksheets to my kids, but I am really curious to know how out of sync we are with the homeschooling population as a whole. Are we the only family out there NOT using worksheets???

(And if you vote that worksheets are a significant part of your homeschooling, I'd love to have you comment about why you made this choice...I'm assuming some kids really crave them?)

dottieanna29
01-11-2012, 11:28 AM
I voted they are a significant part of our school but it wasn't my decision. I started off with games and unit studies and videos and activities. My son ended up LOVING worksheets and he learns really well by doing them. I guess if we had an IPAD I might have him do some of them on-screen but we don't and I doubt we will want to put the money out for one anytime soon. He does do a lot on the computer but I'd rather he not do too much actual school on there since he spends almost all of his free time on the computer or the Wii.

What I'm considering worksheets: Explode the Code books, Math Mammoth, Scholastic and McGraw Hill Grammar and Handwriting without Tears. The only things that aren't are Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and All About Spelling. Our History and Science (when we get to them) are more video, book and project oriented.

Even Vicki does Get Ready for the Code, Evan-Moor worksheets and Handwriting without Tears. But again, only because she likes them and she only has to do as much as she wants to.

farrarwilliams
01-11-2012, 11:52 AM
Our math is more than half done on worksheets. One kid uses MM and the other uses Miquon (mostly) and both of those require worksheet type work. We're also doing Explode the Code. And we occasionally do logic problems like those in the Prufrock Press books and we really like the ones in the Tin Man Press books. We used to do Handwriting Without Tears and that relied in large part on worksheets. I've played with using things for writing that are a little worksheety, but none of them have stuck.

I expect that by middle school, we'll have mostly ditched them. Many of the things the kids are learning now that require them - especially the phonics and basic skills stuff - is more easily structured by using at least a few worksheety things.

I can't imagine not doing math without any worksheets though. If I didn't have a worksheet, we'd just have a textbook and have to write the answers on a separate paper. I know there are more creative ways to do math (we do use the RS games and a lot of manipulatives, etc.) but I think paper work with math has an important place.

I will add that now that we have an iPad, the kids have started doing some of their worksheets on Notability with a stylus, but I don't see that as significantly different from it being a "worksheet" even though there's no paper involved.

Marmalade
01-11-2012, 11:55 AM
I voted that they are a significant part-simply because we use Math Mammoth. I don't know though-I wouldn't consider those "busy work" type of worksheets though.

Also-Progressive Phonics has paper work to go along with it and we use that.

MrsLOLcat
01-11-2012, 12:06 PM
We use worksheets for most of our subjects, assuming they're warranted. I don't use them for busy work.

allisonsracquet
01-11-2012, 12:50 PM
I guess we use worksheets (although they are technically more workbooks than worksheets) everyday. I use a series called Math Minutes and Grammar Minutes which I really like. Other than that, we don't use a lot of worksheets unless it were really to apply to what we are working on. Since he is in 7th grade I am trying to incorporate more projects and less busy work. But sometimes worksheets do let you know if they are understanding concepts.

kailuamom67
01-11-2012, 12:55 PM
I don't use them ever. My child will look at any worksheet and be overwhelmed, that it's too much. He needs to see one problem or question at a time. That is why the time4learning format works for me, even though I wouldn't say that we love T4L that much overall, but the format works.

We spend 1 hour per week with a teacher and she will use worksheets. the page gets very confusing when she is crossing off the stuff he shouldn't do and circling what he should do. It seems OK, but not much of it gets done. When it's one problem at a time, we do way more.

farrarwilliams
01-11-2012, 12:57 PM
We use worksheets for most of our subjects, assuming they're warranted. I don't use them for busy work.

Yeah. I don't ever use them as busy work. To me, a math worksheet that helps a kid practice a concept isn't busy work.

theWeedyRoad
01-11-2012, 01:23 PM
I'm with the others, we use worksheets for at least one subject every day- sometimes for most subjects. I don't feel the slightest twinge of guilt about it, either.

We don't always follow the directions ;). Lots of times, we do them orally instead, or I have the kids underline but not rewrite etc etc. They are a visual teaching aid for me, that's it.

How it started: my dd is very auditory, but I needed her to also have a visual clue for reading. (we do phonics, but she still needs to see words with the digraphs etc in them). My ds is very visual- worksheets give him something to look at.

I wouldn't use all worksheets, or use worksheets without discussions, or trust the worksheets to explain a concept, or ever EVER use them for busywork. But like everything else in our homeschool, they serve as another way to give information that I'm saying outloud.

dottieanna29
01-11-2012, 01:34 PM
I definitely don't think the worksheet stuff we do is busy work, my son is very very visual so it's all about seeing it to him. I don't always make my son do the writing and it's definitely not something I hand him and go off to do something else. Except maybe ETC. Those he can do independently most of the time since it's more a review of what we've already done in OPGTR. I have to put each lesson in OPG on a separate sheet of paper so he can see just his part of the lesson. He goes through it quickly and then "yeah, yeah I got it" if I try and go over it again. So ETC is to show he really does know it and catch any gaps.

I definitely agree with Farrar that they are probably going to be less common by middle school except for math. Whether its problems out of a text book or problems on a sheet of paper - I don't really see the difference. And, working problems is definitely necessary for math.

inmom
01-11-2012, 02:01 PM
We used worksheets more when the kids were younger. Now that they're doing more high school level classes, their work is mostly done from textbooks or online.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-11-2012, 02:27 PM
We use workbooks (which are just lots of worksheets bound together with a glossy cover, right?) for math, grammar, and logic. I occasionally make a French worksheet for my daughter to practice her vocabulary. We don't use worksheets or workbooks for science or history.

bovinesituation
01-11-2012, 03:05 PM
Yeah, we use them. I got them a while back (in those giant books you find at Target and such) for Li to use during Ju's naptime, but lately he's been doing them. He likes the sense of accomplishment? or something completing a sheet. He uses them to trace letters and Ju uses them occasionally. He just started Time4Learning and enjoys computer work but I think he still needs to write ;)

hockeymom
01-11-2012, 03:50 PM
My DS considers worksheets to BE school, so yeah, we definitely use them. Math Mammoth, writing (currently using Evan Moor books that he loves), science...all worksheets. History not so much, but he does enjoy making History Pockets, which are sort of worksheet-y I guess. I never ever assign busy work and will quickly ditch anything that doesn't actually enhance his learning. Like others, we'll be flexible with them; sometimes we do math orally for example, or make up our own rules. But mostly he just really likes them. :)

Accidental Homeschooler
01-11-2012, 04:34 PM
We use them for math and writing in the form of workbooks. We use them in science along with activities/experiments to record results but my dd6 finds writing challenging so sometimes for science she answers the questions and I fill them in with her words. I don't want her to get frustrated/not like science because of writing. We don't use them for history or reading. For critical thinking she is supposed to be writing answers, but we talk about them instead. My dd14 uses a workbook with her science. It functions as an open book test at the end of each chapter and is pretty challenging. For language arts she does sentence analysis in a workbook for grammar.

Staysee34
01-11-2012, 04:35 PM
We use worksheets/workbooks for nearly everything but not everyday. I can't stand it but the girls thrive with them. I believe it's the consistency that's involved. We tend to follow a routine with our work. On Monday's it's this page and on Tuesday's it's that page.....very predictable. I've found that by keeping it consistent my oldest DD focuses more on the learning than the directions. She pays more attention to her handwriting and other details that in PS she wouldn't have. In my eyes, it's not ideal. But it's not about me so it doesn't matter.

Stella M
01-11-2012, 05:02 PM
Workbooks for maths. No worksheets for anything else.

LAR
01-11-2012, 06:00 PM
Our girls like the sense of accomplishments with worksheets for our core subjects. No worksheets for science, history, poetry. I get worksheets from Evan Moor, free online, make up my own (which the girls prefer), and I consider Growing with Grammar to have that standard worksheet in each section.

Shoe
01-11-2012, 06:51 PM
So, in my daily travels around the web (if I could get Frequent Flyer Miles on my web surfing, I would have enough to circle the globe a few times by now!!!), I end up on a LOT of different homeschooling forums and pages. And I'll admit I'm a little awestruck at how many parents are asking about worksheets...


where to find them
how to get them for free
best ways to use them
ideas for making your own

Except for the fact that I might DIE OF BOREDOM, I wish I could just sit around making worksheets, if they're in that much demand. But the problem is, I get the sense that it's the parents who are anxious about worksheets - - not the kids. We all remember back to doing our seat work in the classroom and filling out those sheets. Some of us must have fonder memories of that than I do, I guess. I used to try to finish mine as fast as humanly possible and then draw doodles along the edges (FYI - worksheets have GREAT blank edges for doodling). ;)


I'll admit that in the age of iPads and laptops I have a hard time imagining assigning worksheets to my kids, but I am really curious to know how out of sync we are with the homeschooling population as a whole. Are we the only family out there NOT using worksheets???

(And if you vote that worksheets are a significant part of your homeschooling, I'd love to have you comment about why you made this choice...I'm assuming some kids really crave them?)

We use worksheets a lot, but there's no real mystery as to why-they're a convenient way to prove that we've accomplished something for our state required portfolio evaluation, along with some formal tests.

Jeni
01-11-2012, 07:33 PM
Worksheets are part of our every day schooling. It's part of the curriculum we use. And I love it. It gives dd extra practice and gives us an idea of what she's not doing well in. It's not overload or busy work. There is a reason for each sheet she does that directly pertains to the lesson.

Now I have recently started printing out handwriting worksheets. Dd wants to learn cursive and ds is starting to learn how to write his letters, so they are helpful.

Topsy
01-11-2012, 07:40 PM
I'm learning so much from all of you, and never thought about there being so many different reasons to use worksheets, either. I remember using them a little when the boys were in the early stages of math, but we're such techies around here that I guess I ditched them as soon as I realized there were online programs and alternatives to working out problems on paper...and I've never looked back. As I said, I'm realizing that we are obviously not in the majority in being worksheet-free. Who knew?? :) (LOVE these polls for that very reason!!)

farrarwilliams
01-11-2012, 09:38 PM
I'm curious, Topsy, what do you do instead of paper for math? I've never seen a computer math game that really goes beyond basic arithmetic or mental math. I've definitely never seen one that teaches long division or higher algebra. Or that allows you to do lovely Singapore bar graph problems. Is there such a thing?

luvmybaby333
01-12-2012, 02:33 AM
We use lots of worksheets. (Writing With Ease, Math Mammoth, Story of The World, and binder-paper for her Funnix exercises.) They are hardly my daughter's favorite part of learning... But they have their place. For one, she has some delays/difficulties with handwriting. I dealt with the same thing as a child (and still do), so I know that they best thing for her is to just keep working and training those muscles. As difficult as I found handwriting to be throughout my school years, it has become immensely more difficult for me since leaving school and doing most of my "writing" on the computer. So for us, I will take any excuse to get her to practice basic handwriting on a structured page.

Plus, as someone else mentioned: They are invaluable for being able to "prove" that we are truly educating her, and not just enjoying copious amounts of Netflix and video games. We are enrolled in a satellite program that requires no proof of anything... But I feel the need to be prepared in case any issues ever arise. We've gotten threats and comments from some people about our child-rearing choices, so I don't feel comfortable assuming that enrollment in a satellite program will cover our butts entirely. However, a clear log and binders full of worksheets should do the trick. That's all the public schools have to show for anything, anyway. Well that, and the ridiculous tests that they focus on to the detriment of all other learning.

Aside from all of that, they honestly help ME. We didn't use a ton of worksheets when I first started homeschooling. I thought I could just wing it, and we would learn more "organically", or some such. But the problem for us is that I have some serious attention deficit issues. Focus and thought organization is painfully difficult for me. I know exactly what sort of information I want to pass on to my child... But actually delivering it to her becomes impossible at times. So I realized that in order to take some of the stress off both of us I needed to have an easy core curriculum (with lots of book/paper work) to fall back on in order to establish a functioning educational routine. Our use of worksheets doesn't mean that we don't explore and learn in all the other ways that make homeschooling so awesome. It just means that at the end of the day, I can go to sleep without stressing about whether or not we've covered something thoroughly. I need to be able to go through her binders, and see physical evidence of what she's been learning. It just makes me feel more confident.

Gabriela
01-12-2012, 08:48 AM
We use lots of worksheets. I either get them for free off the web, or I make them myself.

To avoid printing so much, some worksheets we just read off the screen, choose the parts we want to do, and do them in a notebook, or answer verbally.

I didn't mind worksheets as a child, and neither does my son.
We did around 700 worksheets last year, and I've already printed nearly 1000 for this year.
When he's older, I can see us doing more note-taking and fewer worksheets.

In a normal day, we probably use worksheets for half the subjects.

Jennifer Higdon
01-12-2012, 12:13 PM
we are HUGE worksheet fans. that's not to say that we complete every worksheet/workbook we start. i like to use them as a kind of stop gap to make sure my son's getting the national standards covered. many of the work books we use are comprehensive for each grade, and cover math, spelling, english, reading. the other reason is that currently my son is 7 and doing 3rd and 4th grade work, with the exception of handwriting. his motor skill have just not developed that far, and it seemed like a punishment for me to not teach him what he wanted to know, just because he wasn't mature enough to line things up properly on a page, and print "clearly".

opheliag
01-12-2012, 03:28 PM
We use Saxon Math which is almost all worksheets in 1st and 2nd grades. My daughter is struggling with learning her math facts at the moment, so she is using worksheets in conjuction with her math book and online games. My youngest son uses worksheets in reading with Progressive Phonics which he just loves. My oldest son is 10, and he doesn't use many worksheets at all. He has a hard-bound math book and works the problems on notebook paper. He writes most of his narrations at this point and doesn't need any extra penmanship or writing help. We are using Easy Grammar 4, and that could be considered worksheets. The only worksheets that I create are for my daughter's extra math practice.

Virginia
01-13-2012, 10:24 AM
We use worksheets for math....and science...and at least once a week for spelling. It's how I know that they're getting what I'm telling them. My children don't have that convenient little light bulb that shines over their head when they grasp a concept I'm trying to teach them, so I make them do worksheets and then I know what they get and what we might have to go over again. They don't mind usually. DS isn't a big fan of writing...AT ALL so when we were doing grammar worksheets...he got all snotty. So we stopped using them for grammar. Now we use madlibs (worksheets or not?) and he loves English again.

zcat
01-14-2012, 03:41 PM
We do regularly use workbooks/worksheets for math and some language arts. Almost all of the time I work with dd on a worksheet so there is quite a bit of discussion and not a lot of writing. We don't only use worksheets for those subjects.
I would consider our curriculum to mostly be literature based not worksheet based.

Pearl
01-15-2012, 08:56 AM
My kids retain a lot more when they write things down. Sometimes that means writing on lined paper using their own words, and sometimes that means worksheets. FWIW, both of my dds have horrible handwriting, so I feel they definitely need the practice in addition to the first reason!

naturegirl7
01-15-2012, 01:44 PM
Not all "worksheets" are created equal. Most (to me) are busy work. I LOATHE worksheets and so does DS.
We do have a Singapore Math book/workbook and do some extra Math Mammoth though. I don't really consider them worksheets though - but I guess they technically are. We do them together. Often I let him dictate the answers or we do it orally. I'll skip over stuff he has mastered in the Math Mammoth (which is actually how it is designed to be used). We play LOTS of math games and keep the seat work to a minimum.

Also do mapwork with our SOTW - but totally skip over the cheesy coloring worksheets (totally busy work!)

Oh, we do have logic puzzle books and riddle books too - but again, I can't think of those as the dreadful "worksheet." They are fun! :)

theWeedyRoad
01-15-2012, 02:23 PM
Also do mapwork with our SOTW - but totally skip over the cheesy coloring worksheets (totally busy work!)



This sort of thing (not SOTW, just coloring sheets) must be REALLY kid dependent. If you ask my ds to color, he'll raise an eyebrow at you. My dd, though, will be BEGGING to do it. Not much education value (other than coordinating colors :p) but fun for some kids.

farrarwilliams
01-15-2012, 02:30 PM
Actually, coloring is really, really good for small motor skills and coordination, without which all kinds of bigger skills can fall by the wayside. Some old time kindy teachers and the like think that part of our troubles with academics are because they didn't have kids coloring back when they were little and needed to learn those skills. Seriously.

We're all hyped on on our iPad right now, but I must say that I don't know that you can really replace paper because of those small motor skills in the early grades. Kids really need paper to learn skills and build muscle tone. Which sounds insane, but I think it's true.

theWeedyRoad
01-15-2012, 02:41 PM
Actually, coloring is really, really good for small motor skills and coordination, without which all kinds of bigger skills can fall by the wayside. Some old time kindy teachers and the like think that part of our troubles with academics are because they didn't have kids coloring back when they were little and needed to learn those skills. Seriously.

We're all hyped on on our iPad right now, but I must say that I don't know that you can really replace paper because of those small motor skills in the early grades. Kids really need paper to learn skills and build muscle tone. Which sounds insane, but I think it's true.

Thank you for correcting me. I forget- my dd's fine motor skills were not something I've ever worried about. There is a correlation though, certainly.

wife&mommy
01-16-2012, 10:45 AM
We use them a lot. Our math is worksheets and I use some for writing prompts as well. I don't use them for busy work.

laundrycrisis
01-16-2012, 12:40 PM
Worksheets and workbooks are perfect for 8 yo DS1 who has dyslexic, dysgraphic and ADD tendencies. I am using workbooks for language arts, math, history, geography, and science. The best ones have something for him to read and then comprehension questions. Some of the questions require complete sentences for an answer. This is great reading and writing practice for him that is not too overwhelming. The content delivered by the history and science workbooks is grade level appropriate.

lafemmedesfemmes
01-16-2012, 05:00 PM
we use math mammoth and spelling workout, though this year, we're skipping the parts where kid1 is asked to write from a prompt. after fighting with him the first few times, i figured we'll deal with that type of exercise next year, when he has more confidence. he also practices handwriting by copying lines from his favorite books, which i suppose is a worksheet because i write the lines on the page and he copies what i've written. grammar is mostly oral (first language lessons). science and history have no worksheets (listening to read-alouds, narration, and experiments for science). right now, i think our balance of worksheets vs. not is just right for us. we'll see what happens next year! :-)

christina in lawrenceville

coloradoalice
01-16-2012, 05:14 PM
We use work books for math, phonics, grammar and spelling, so it's pretty significant!!!

Topsy
01-17-2012, 04:52 PM
I'm curious, Topsy, what do you do instead of paper for math? I've never seen a computer math game that really goes beyond basic arithmetic or mental math. I've definitely never seen one that teaches long division or higher algebra. Or that allows you to do lovely Singapore bar graph problems. Is there such a thing?

Sorry, Farrar...missed this question somehow! The products we used during the elementary years don't seem to even be around anymore. There was a series of math software called "Mighty Math" that was absolutely amazing. The lessons were perfect for homeschooling and the software was built in with all its own virtual manipulatives. We also did a lot of the hands-on stuff with RightStart, some of which is avialable now, but some of which isn't. When we graduated to middle school we found something very comparable to Mighty Math with the Time4Learning math curriculum. Animated lessons, virtual manipulatives, and interactive learning. This approach simply works wonders for my boys. Within one year of using T4L my younger son's standardized math scores (we're required to do testing in NC) went up by 15 points. It was absolutely lovely - - and totally worksheet free. We've continued the online-math trend through high school using a combination of different programs - - ALEX, Thinkwell, ElearningK12 (Compass Odyssey), and YourTeacher.com. So, that's why we've been able to avoid math worksheets for the most part, I guess.