In Defense of Worksheets

Worksheets get a bad rap in certain corners of the homeschooling world. Sometimes we dismiss worksheets or workbooks as “Busy work” wasting our children’s time. I have some sympathy for these ideas but I also see some value in worksheets in our school day.

in defense of worksheetsWhat benefits do I see in worksheets?

1. Independent work

Sometimes Mom is just not available for 1 on 1 work, especially when you’re homeschooling / parenting more than two children. A few worksheets, judiciously used, will help a student continue with an “it’s still schooltime” mentality while waiting for the parent / teacher’s attention.

2. Review work

Let’s take Math as an example: no matter what curriculum you use, children often hit a wall with concepts. Pulling out a workbook with just those types of problems can help reinforce what a child was learning.

The change of book offers some novelty, but the necessary facts are being reinforced.

3. Frugal work

You can find workbooks inexpensively at dollar stores, thrift stores, or at curriculum sales.

Am I saying base your entire day around these? No, probably not. But they can add some benefit at very little cost.

4. Inclusive work

Have a preschooler who wants to “do school”? Nothing makes them prouder than worksheets or their very own workbooks.

Since these are usually frugally acquired (see above) you needn’t worry about whether the pages are completed correctly. (Side note: these purchased workbooks can often be less expensive than printing off pages on your own when you consider the cost of ink and paper.)

5. Proven work

If you have to keep a portfolio of your child’s school work (state requirements vary), some workbook pages help illustrate what the child has learned or the subjects covered.

I’m an eclectic homeschooler, although I identify most with classical education (sometimes I call this “Relaxed Classical”). So I definitely am not telling you to base your entire day around worksheets or workbooks. How boring and lifeless that would be!

Just cut yourself some slack, Dear Homeschool Mama, if you need to use a worksheet or two (or more on a given day…) to make your homeschool actually, you know, work. Along with all the reading aloud, memorizing, investigating, and everything else you’re doing, they may just serve as another tool in your toolbox.

P.S. This post about worksheets has been sitting in my “drafts” folder for a long time. It is not in response to any other blog post or anything I heard at the GHC. I simply want to encourage some of my homeschool friends to show themselves some grace, even when we end up using something we’d like to avoid.

defense of worksheets

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