The Work-Sheeting of Childhood

April 01, 2013

I recently met parents of a child named Cameron who is showing all of the signs of early school struggling.

As parents will often do, they brought in sample of the child’s work.  The picture attached to this blog represents all of the worksheets that Cameron has had to complete to date.  I wanted to measure it by the pounds.

Back in time before current technology, teachers actually created their own worksheets (hard to believe).  Since they were teacher made, by their nature there would not be too many of them in a given week and there was not much writing on a given page.  The worksheets were probably more digestible to the average child.  (They also smelled pretty good, if you are old enough to remember mimeo sheets.)

Fast forward to the modern business of education and the companies invested in the production of the vast quantity of worksheets generated.  Has any of this led to improved performance or a child connecting better with school? 

It is doubtful.

When was the last time your child came home and excitedly announced, “Mom, I got this great worksheet in school today.  I can’t wait to finish it.  I hope the teacher gives me some more tomorrow.”

Probably never.

It is my impression that too many kids are suffering from WBD – Worksheet Burnout Disorder.

Every day they are handed one worksheet after another to finish.  By and large, the worksheets are dreadfully boring to the child with entirely too much to handle on a given page

Yes, there will be the dutiful types, the ones who find the worksheets boring, but they complete them anyway.  Then there are the other kids, the ones who are overloaded from the continual drudgery of one worksheet after another.

If you think your child is suffering from “WBD,” try and approach the teacher and tell her your concern.  Maybe you can ask her to limit them to one (two at the most) per day, including what is given for homework.

Maybe the teacher can even create a “worksheet free week” and have the kids read real stories instead – that might break up the action and relieve the WBD (for a little while at least).

Oh, yeah.  One more thing I forgot to mention. 

Cameron is five!!!!!!!

Takeaway Point:

Is your child overloaded by the never-ending stream of worksheets handed out daily?  If so, it might be time to raise your concern with the teacher and let them know that your child is starting to experience Worksheet Burnout Disorder!

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