Bernarda Lilly February 27, 2021 worksheets
If you have read my article ”Helping Your Child With Basic Arithmetic? Stay Away From Worksheets” then you know that I am not a fan of traditional worksheets. After writing that article, I found another credible teacher who has written many ezine articles expounding on the benefits of worksheets. I decided some clarification of position is in order. The primary problem with most math worksheets is that the problems are already written out and the child need only write the answers. For learning and practicing the basic skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, it is much more beneficial for the child to write out the entire fact and say the entire fact out loud. A child will learn a multiplication fact much faster if they are writing out 6 x 8 = 48 at the same time they are saying ”six times eight is forty-eight” than if they just see 6 x 8 = ___ and only have to supply the 48.
Tip #3 – Use Worksheets Sparingly. Since free multiplication worksheets are so easy to find, it’s tempting to give your child too many. You mean well, but it just seems like a good idea to have them do several at a time. Little brains can only take so much. Keep learning fun by sprinkling worksheets into their curriculum as a fun break from their usual textbook. Tip #4 – Keep it Fun. If you happen to have a competitive child, chances are he will love worksheets always trying to beat his last time. This is great and if this is the case, let him work all of the worksheets he wants. Just be sure that it is ”child-driven” not ”parent-driven” meaning – let it be his idea. As long as he is having fun and asking for more, let him have all he wants.
Tip #2 – Neat & Professional. Because there are so many sources of worksheets on the internet, you’re never sure what you’re going to find at a particular site. Choose worksheets that are neat and organized without too many problems jumbled on to each page. The concept of neatness needs to be taught to your child as they do math. If your child doesn’t learn this, be prepared for many careless mistakes later on in his math work. Boys in particular don’t take the time to be neat and careful. If you give him multiplication worksheets that are crowded on to each page without room to write the answers, this in encouraging messiness. Crowded problems also confuse kids. When a child is first learning a new concept in math and they lack confidence, being faced with an overcrowded worksheet can cause instant panic. Avoid this with neat and professional worksheets.
No matter what materials you choose, it is most important that you supervise your child constantly so that mistakes get caught rather than practiced. I learned this particular lesson the hard way. When my daughter was young, she did something that needed ”attention.” I no longer remember what it was that she did, but I told her to write the sentence ”I will not disobey my parents again” 50 times. I should have known better, but I didn’t check on her at the beginning and then I got busy. So, sometime later, she brought me 50 sentences of ”I will not disobey my parents agen.” She had just practiced misspelling ”again” as ”agen” — 50 times! I’m not certain that we ever really got that fixed. This issue of NOT practicing mistakes is extremely important. Parents shouldn’t give worksheets as busy work and teachers should only use them if you are going to have a non-math teacher substitute. White boards with supervision are always a better way to practice skills. If you need some time to do chores, your child will get much more benefit by helping you with the chores. And maybe you can work in a little discussion of numbers or counting while you do chores together.
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. Whatever your motivation for looking for worksheets for preschool, there are a few points to consider before you decide which ones you want. 1. Education vs Time Filler. If your goal is to provide learning opportunities for your child, you will want more than a few pictures to color in, although this is an important skill to practice. Between the ages of 3 and 7, the so-called formative years, your child is ready and willing to learn. This is a great time to start introducing the basic skills that your child will use for the rest of their lives such as counting, reading and writing. With your help and supervision, your child can do math worksheets, alphabet worksheets and much more. If education is your goal, you may want a set of worksheets designed to teach your child all of the basic skills they will need for school.
Another problem with almost all worksheets is that they don’t prevent incorrect answers. Self-checking worksheets just let the student know they did something wrong–after the fact. I am a firm believer in the concept that, if at all possible, learning should be structured in small chunks in such a way that there is very little possibility for error. Worksheets often allow for mistakes to be made and then to be repeated many times. A mistake that gets practiced is extremely difficult to correct. This especially happens when worksheets are used as time fillers or baby sitters and the work isn’t really being supervised. There are some new materials being developed now based on what we are learning about how the brain learns. These brain-friendly materials should be an improvement over what has existed. I recently bought a book by Marcia L. Tate titled ”Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.” I highly recommend her book. She gives a great deal of information on alternative activities that are better for your child’s brain development and for learning.
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