Fill In The Blanks

Fill_In_BlanksI like using our resources to the fullest. Ink pens are used to the last drop. Crayons to the smallest nub. But, what’s a homeschool parent to do when our textbooks don’t get finished?

Perhaps you are in a similar situation. Our kids’ textbooks (and workbooks) are filled to the brim with problems to solve. Each arithmetic lesson includes fifty exercises; language arts another sixty. Generally speaking, the bulk of these questions are a repeat of the one before, focusing on the current lesson and doing a little review at the end.

To ease our children’s frustration over the amount of work given (especially when the concept has already been learned), we’ve chosen to allow our children to skip exercises. Instead of doing all fifty arithmetic problems, they are doing twenty-five. Usually they are told to either pick the even-numbered problems or the odd-numbered problems, and complete those. However, if they miss any, more work will be assigned, to ensure they properly understand the lesson.

Here is my dilemma. This system is working! My kids are cruising through lessons with less fuss, and still learning the concepts brilliantly. So, what is the problem, you ask? I am bothered by the problems not done. (sigh) It seems wrong to not finish every… single… exercise… in the books.

But, the Lord is good! I think we’ve found a solution. One that will not only solve my dilemma, but also save me money!

I just purchased my children’s books for the coming school year. (Yes; I already bought them, ’cause I’m silly like that. – More on this topic soon.) My idea is to continue with the plan in place, allowing my children to complete only the even or odd-numbered problems. Then, when my next child reaches that same level, they will fill in the blanks!

What should happen if additional work is needed to fully comprehend the lessons? Easy. Supplemental exercises can be found in the back of each textbook. Whether completing even or odd-numbered problems, more work may be assigned from the added exercises to help our student progress.

I ought to note, I do not think this plan would serve well for those in younger grades. As book work for the littles is already kept to a minimum, I would be careful of skipping too many exercises. However, with older grades, where an abundance of busy work seems to be implemented, this plan might be beneficial. It should also be noted that I do not plan to carry this idea over into every area of learning; only grammar and arithmetic.

This new plan is a work in progress, and we’ll keep you posted on our experiment in learning. In the meantime, we’ll be praying over our decision and asking the Lord to continue giving us wisdom in how to best minister to our children in this area. May He be the leader, and we the doers.

📢 Chime In!: Do your children complete their entire workbooks each year? How do you address issues of incomplete texts?

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13 thoughts on “Fill In The Blanks

  1. Our older children also skip problems. If I check them, and they didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, I’ll assign the remainder the next day. It’s really helped keep their frustration level to a minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m picky with my workbooks and text books and they I use Singapore for the younger grades and Life of Fred for the older grades. They go looking for practice on the internet if they feel that they need more. But I feel confident that there is enough practice but it saves me cutting out problems for them to do.

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  3. We’ve had that same feeling with regards to not answering every question. But, in junior high school, I remember being handed big thick textbooks each year. I’m 100% certain we didn’t complete the entire text, and only worked through solid examples to get familiarized with the method and reason for it. So, we work with that principle. For our high schoolers, particularly in Maths, we run with an A,C,E procedure. I.e.: only complete every 3rd question. We also have supplemental material such as online work, like If we see them struggling or they let us know they are, we’ll spend extra time working one on one, through each question.

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      • correct.

        (here’s what I meant to say)

        We reuse as much as possible. I’ve even taken to photocopying, via the printer, pages from some of our books to use as worksheets.For instance, I erased some older work from an excellent foundation handwriting/copy work textbook that was incomplete, in order to use it as a primary source for handwriting worksheets. This year, that process has come in handy with regards to our Australian history unit as well. Takes a little more prep, but helps me portion control the workload in some subjects. I then get to monitor their process & understanding in a more relational and involved way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see… Good idea!

        I had thought of photocopying some items myself. Mostly quiz books, and things of that nature. I could re-buy those, but I’m under the impression textbook companies rearrange their books/quiz cycles ON PURPOSE just so families can’t reuse their books. Thus photocopying these smaller manuals might be beneficial.

        Thank you for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d add to this that we also, where possible, for the older kids, answer the question on a separate piece of paper; leaving the answers spaces in the book blank. 90% of our material, though is writing in textbooks. Hard to avoid it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant. I’m already noticing this with my one child in 3rd grade… and even the 2nd grader, particularly with math. I understand that repetition does help them learn, but sometimes even I think there are just too many problems that are redundant and I can see that my child “gets” it. And that is the point really. I like to see them cruise along in a way that makes me know for sure that they understand and are comfortable with the particular set of problems. Reading this post takes some pressure off of me now for guilt feelings, and its a good move financially too! Very smart!

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  5. We’ve also done this. In the beginning years, I have them do all, as you suggest, but somewhere in the middle of long division, they get sloppy and have plenty of surplus problems to allow me to be creative.
    Although we did not use workbooks beyond about 3rd grade, I have allowed them to work the first row, then the third, fifth, seventh, etc. After each row, we score, and if there are NO mistakes, that is when the following row is skipped for the next odd-numbered one.
    This method achieves 3 big goals:
    1. They suddenly develop and amazing desire for accuracy. Ha!
    2. They see me with new eyes of appreciation, since I am offering them a chance to skip half the work.
    3. They learn better, learn more, seem even better motivated. And all extra work is blamed on either their poor work or their actual need to review the concept more.
    Win, win, win!
    But to ease your guilt feelings for skipping some seatwork, I have spoken with developers and learned that typical school books contain such an overwhelming number of problems BECAUSE they want to provide you and me with plenty of surplus with which to go creative!
    So aren’t we smart to have figured it out without anyone telling us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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