Worksheet Woes

“Why do I have to do so many worksheets?” That question had a huge impact on this homeschooling mom. I have a very inquisitive child. Every rule, directive, instruction, or lesson given was questioned. He did this not out of disrespect, but because he truly wanted to know the “why” behind everything in his world.

After finishing our lessons, I would often hear, “Why do I have to do so many worksheets? Can’t I just tell you or show you what I know?” We had begun to get the worksheet woes, and I didn’t have a good answer as to why he had to complete what essentially seemed like busy work. We as parents and teachers realize the value in repeating, retelling, and reviewing the most important details of a lesson, but do we have to follow every lesson with a busy sheet? As a homeschooling parent, I sought to build a love for learning, and never intended to recreate the “busy-work” traditional school environment we had left.

After explaining the value of an instructionally rich worksheet, he would be responsible for completing worksheets that added value to our lesson. Assessments used for record-keeping would come from various writing assignments, projects, presentations, verbal and written assessments, and instructionally rich worksheets.

We didn’t abandon the curriculum we had been using, nor did we ignore the state requirements, we just enriched the learning and assessment of what was being learned. This allowed us to rebuild, rekindle and revive a love for learning that had gotten lost in the shuffle. Worksheets weren’t completely banned; they just weren’t central to the learning component of our lessons.

Your children may never remember that awesome worksheet you had them complete in 3rd grade or how that 5th-grade worksheet impacted their lives, but they will be thankful for the opportunity homeschooling gave them to build a relationship with you. They will be thankful for how learning in this new environment created opportunities to pursue their interests, how it challenged them, and gave them choices. They will be thankful that they became independent thinkers and learners taking charge of their high school workload, starting a club, conducting a 4-H meeting, or organizing a food drive. They will be thankful they were prepared for life after high school and that you were a big part of it.

If you’d like to learn more about instructionally rich worksheets and alternatives to worksheets, check out June’s Saturday Solutions series “When Worksheets aren’t Working” You can also inquire about new approaches to learning and assessing by emailing and we’d be happy to get some information to you.