Published at Monday, 02 August 2021. Worksheets. By Jeanie Halima.
In my research, I did find one excellent book by Marcia L. Tate titled ”Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.” She is referring to the latest in brain research that shows that boredom actually destroys dendrites (connectors in the brain). She gives 20 different strategies for improving learning and provides many different activities designed for K-8 math. I highly recommend her books. Both Marcia Tate and I are saying the same thing–don’t use boring, fill-in worksheets. We want our children growing new dendrites, not destroying them. I also offer a caution here. Many of the materials offered online for parents to help their children are nothing more than worksheets. Look before you buy. You don’t need worksheets. Use a small whiteboard instead.
Back in the old days, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills were practiced by writing the facts out by hand–maybe 10-20 times each–the entire fact. You are wondering why this was better than writing answers on a worksheet, aren’t you? You will experience the difference yourself if you do this little experiment. Get out a piece of paper and write the entire fact 6 x 8 = 48 and at the same time, say the entire fact out loud as you write it. Say ”six times eight is forty-eight.” as you write 6 x 8 = 48. Now do this ten times. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
The next step is learning to write numbers, and this is where mathematics worksheets become almost a necessity. Unless you have great handwriting, lots of spare time and a fair amount of patience, writing worksheets will help you teach this valuable skill to your child. Dot-to-dot, tracing, following the lines and other writing exercises will help your child learn how to write numbers. A good set of worksheets will include practice sheets with various methods to help your child learn to write numbers. Patterns and sequencing and basic addition and subtraction should follow on from counting and number recognition. By the time your child is starting kindergarten or school, they should be able to count to 20 with ease, write numbers, do simple addition sums, and have some understanding of patterns and sequences. Even if they are attending preschool, extra practice at home will help them improve their math.
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