You may have heard a lot of mixed opinions about using workbooks with kids for home learning. I have some friends who are very against them, and prefer only to teach their children through play or practical learning. Although I do use playful methods with my kids too, workbooks definitely have a place in our home and are a valuable tool both for reinforcing old knowledge and to learn new things.
This summer we’ve been taking part in a #Summerwithgoldstars challenge with Parragon and trying out their Gold Stars range. I had been buying some of these books for the boys already and would recommend them as one of the best brands of workbooks available. Mr Z loves maths so we get through maths workbooks at quite an alarming rate, whereas Mr T takes it a little slower but the preschool level books are also really handy for him.
The Gold Stars books from Parragon are clearly marked by key stage level and suggested age, which is great to give you an idea of what level to go for and where to progress. The suggested ages are just a guide, and the great thing about doing extra home learning with your children is that you can tailor it much more towards their ability and personal learning needs than teachers will be able to do at school in a class of 30 children. Many children are working outside of the “average” for their age group, whether that be below or above the average level. For children on both sides of that spectrum, extra targeted work that fits their ability can be really useful.
Children’s learning styles are different, and while some children may resist written work while they are young others will thrive on it. If your child’s attention span is still quite short, they might enjoy doing just one page of work at a time. For younger children it’s often best to sit with them and discuss the work together while they complete their page. I do also leave old or spare workbooks easily accessible for the children in their playroom alongside their colouring books and plain paper, as they sometimes enjoy revisiting them and will be absorbing and familiarising themselves with some of the information as they leaf through (like basic alphabet and numbers in the preschool books)
For Mr Z, the workbooks are a great way for him to practise the maths that he loves, including more challenging work than he’s given at school. He really enjoys numbers, so he is quite happy to work through several pages in a row and this helps to keep his brain sharp. I don’t push the children too much over the summer holidays, but as he’s happy to work with these type of books it is a good way to help prevent the “summer slide” where knowledge from the past school year is lost over the summer break.
We keep a variety of workbooks in our house, so he can complete something less challenging to reinforce his knowledge and give him the reassurance and confidence of getting everything correct.
Or, we have some more challenging books which I work through with him to introduce new concepts. He always feels proud to learn something new, and completing written work on a concept is a great way to solidify that newly gained knowledge.
I often see Mr Z taking something he has learned and then using it in his play. He worked through area and perimeter of shapes from the Gold Stars 7-9 Maths book and then created this worksheet for me to have a go too. (excuse the messy hand writing!)
When balanced with active play, sensory play and all kinds of playful learning these workbooks make up an essential part of our home learning activities. They’re great!
Here are just a few of the workbooks in the Parragon Gold Stars range. Click through to buy them or find more on Amazon (Affiliate)
- Gold Stars KS2 7-9 Big Workbook (Maths, English and Science)
- Gold Stars Preschool 3-5 Starting to Count
- Gold Stars KS2 7-9 Maths
- Gold Stars KS1 5-6 English
- Gold Stars KS1 5-6 Phonics
Do you use workbooks with your kids at home? Which topics do they prefer? Let me know in the comments