Workbooks and homeschooling

I love to use workbooks to homeschool my kids.

One of my favorite workbook series is Scholastic success that is available by grade, or subject. I also like the Summer Bridge series which can be used over the summer to review everything your child learned (or should have learned each year) and gives them a taste of what is in store for the next year.

Many homeschoolers complain that the public schools use workbooks for busy work. The teachers use them to keep the kids occupied while they do one-on-one work with kids who need it, or just so that they can rest their brains. Many would call these workbooks a waste of time.

I prescribed to that theory once before I realized how much my children need to review what they have learned in the past. Teach them to multiply, and suddenly they cannot subtract. Teach them to fractions, and they forget their multiplication tables. Without constant practice and reminders, old skills fall off as new ones are learned.

However, typically children do not like workbooks. My kids are notorious for “losing” them. My solution to getting them to use workbooks anyway, is to keep it short and sweet. You can make mini workbooks by photocopying 10 pages to do over a vacation or within a few days. You can also buy short subject oriented workbooks like “Multiplication” or “Verbs” for them to complete whenever you feel they need review.

I like to use them whenever I see a weakness in an old skill. I try to time use of the workbook with holidays and vacations to keep them working. I also use workbooks at the end of every year when the children have finished their curriculum. I use them as practice for standardized tests, and in place of final exams to make sure they have absorbed everything they have learned that year.

Workbooks are also great for teaching penmanship!