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Are Worksheets a Thing of the Past?

If you went to a brick-and-mortar school, you most likely grew up completing worksheets in school. Back in the day, the teachers would give us stacks and stacks of those things to complete before lunch. I remember once in second grade I had a worksheet to color. I colored the elephant the “wrong” color and got a bad grade. So scandalous! Research shows that worksheets are not the best instructional strategy to use if we want to get the biggest bang for our buck in the classroom (this includes the home classroom). So do we need to try to eliminate them altogether?

It’s Not the Worksheet That’s The Problem

Worksheets in and of themselves aren’t necessarily the problem - how educators are using them can be, however. Worksheets should not be used to teach a skill or concept. Engaging, hands-on activities led by an adult are much more effective in teaching young learners new concepts and skills. Sure, it’s easy to hand a child a worksheet, read the directions to them (if we aren’t too busy), and send them on their way. However, we need to be intentional about giving our kids quality instruction from an adult and saving the worksheets for other parts of our lessons.

Worksheets Can Serve a Purpose in Education

Homeschool worksheet
Are worksheets a thing of the past?

Worksheets can give kids great opportunities to practice or review skills. They can be especially helpful for independent work to give educators time to work one on one with other students or learners who need the extra time. Worksheets can be used for interactive reading, guided note-taking, morning work, and more.

What Kinds of Worksheets are Best?

I prefer and find that kids prefer worksheets that aren’t just the traditional “fill in the blank” worksheets. Don’t get me wrong, these kinds of worksheets serve their purpose and can provide great opportunities to practice a skill, but I don’t use them often. And if I expect a student to complete a worksheet independently, I try to make sure that any I give is something that can be completed independently.

What if My Student Can’t Complete a Worksheet Independently?

Sometimes tasks that seem so simple to us are confusing to the child. There could be various reasons why a child struggles - perhaps he misunderstood the directions or the skill may need to be reviewed or retaught. If your child struggles to complete a worksheet independently (regardless of why), sit down and work through it with him. Don’t give the answers, but strategically lead him to find the answers on his own. Be patient and encouraging, and keep the end goal in mind - learning a skill and growing academically. Even if your child isn’t quite to the point where he can work independently, practice with an adult can still lead to academic growth.

Yes! We Use “Worksheets” in Our Curriculum

The “Appendix C” portion of our Blast Off to Reading! year-long literacy curriculum is a simple example of the kinds of worksheets we may use in our curriculum. These full-color practice pages provide a fun way for kids to practice their letter recognition skills. Kids will practice letter recognition and phonics skills while following directions to complete a given task. These letter recognition review practice pages come with our full-year “Blast off to Reading!” curriculum or can be purchased separately. It includes 38 pages of letter recognition practice including

  • All 26 letters of the alphabet

  • Long and short vowel sounds

  • E in me

  • O in go

You can visit to purchase the full-year curriculum or just “Appendix C” Letter Recognition Review Activities. (You can click below, too!)

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