Wednesday, June 26, 2013


We are unschooling, right? So why all of a sudden am I sitting at the computer on Amazon, looking up workbooks? Why does my cart have four of them in there? Moreover, why are two of them for my 7 yo, the kid, who time and again, let me know how much he despises workbooks?

A few times a year, I find myself on It is an excellent website, brimming with ideas and resources. Then I am frantically printing out pages for my kids. The next day, they warily see the pile, eye it, maybe browse it, and we start the fine sport of head-butting over it. Usually, I give it up within a short time, but sometimes it takes me days to get to that point. Sometimes, I file unused pages away, in hope of using them someday, when everyone is older and more mature. Now, my filing cabinet is like a bottomless drawer: no matter how many times I organize it, and see all these great ideas, somehow the time is not right, so they just sit and fester there, making me feel guilty for not doing all these creative and amazing things with my kids.

By now I know that whenever I am feverishly scrolling through, it is just my anxiety talking. I can scroll for a bit, and then step away. I can stay up all night ruminating. I do not need to print. Usually, within a few days, my kids will ask or tell me something demonstrating that somehow they already know the material without the worksheets. The anxiety releases, or switches over to something else. With kids, there are plenty of things to worry about.

But the worksheets utter their siren call. They are cute, and colorful, all the things that were missing in my textbooks as a child. They are bright and appealing. And they teach! I mean, I need to sit and show how they teach. I mean, I have to tell my kids to drop what they are doing so that the worksheets can be pounded into them. I mean, what is the point?


By now I feel confident that my 7 yo does not need phonics instruction, or a reading book. He reads plenty from the library, both fiction and non-fiction. He reads out loud. He tells me about the books he reads. He asks me to read to him. We definitely do not need workbooks for that.

9 yo does not need geography or history workbook. He might not cover grade-appropriate material, but he reads and discusses plenty. He draws connections, prints out maps, finds causes and effects of historical events.

I got Math Mammoth for 9 yo. All I need is some guide for what 7 yo is supposed to learn in math. So one workbook in math, just one. I would like to continue using Bring Beginnings and Lashon HaTorah for Chumash, so that's already three workbooks, and that is a lot for a workbook-averse kid.

Take a deep breath. Empty the Amazon cart. Save money. More importantly, save sanity, both mine and my child's. Teach each child according to his way.

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