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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Workbooks and Worktexts

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Some children adore workbooks, others abhor them.  If your child
doesn't mind workbook-based learning, it can be a useful method for
encouraging independent work, tracking progress, and providing
skill-specific review and repetition.  Workbooks are also helpful for
keeping one child occupied while working with another.  Workbooks that
children can do on their own are valuable supplements for
homeschooling families who travel or who frequently do their "school
time" away from home.

Many workbooks are actually "worktexts", containing both instruction and
practice, providing both drill and review.  Unfortunately, workbooks and
worktexts often rely on a trivia-based approach to learning, where
students simply re-hash the same information, over and over, in the
course of several exercises.  While this is a good approach for attaining
rote memorization it does not provide adequate opportunity to apply the  
knowledge to new situations or in practical or ways.  Better quality
worktexts include problem-solving items that encourage this kind of
higher-level thinking in addition to the traditional fill-in-the-blank and
define-the-term exercises.  

Be aware that some workbook activities are mainly busy work in nature
(not really teaching new skills).  Some children need busy work, others
rebel against it.   Either way, do be sure that the work you give your child
is worth their time and effort.  Look for a variety of exercise types to keep
the student's interest, including fun items such as mind-bogglers,
puzzles, challenges, and extension activities.  

When choosing a workbook, read a few sections to see if the
explanations are clear and sufficient for independent work.  Check the
Table of Contents to see that the book cover the topics you need.  Keep
in mind that some children enjoy workbooks with colorful pages and
cartoon humor... others are distracted by anything but plain black and
white.  You will soon get to know your child's preferences.

Curriculum Suppliers and Other Resources:

Here is a sampling of workbook and worktext suppliers.  In addition,
several curriculum suppliers listed in the "
School-at-Home" Section use
worktexts that can be purchased separately or as a package.

Alpha Omega Publications - (K - 12) a Christian focused curriculum
available for purchase separately or by enrolling in the "
Alpha Omega
",  the Academy is a "mail correspondence school" which uses  
the "LifePac" work-text based curriculum, placement tests available for
each subject, homeschoolers can mix-and-match LifePacs for an
individualized learning experience, emphasis is on rote memorization and
review, LifePacs are mostly fill-in-the-blank format, lab science includes  
watching videos of experiments, uses Horizons Math, uses Power-Glide
for foreign language, offers Weaver unit study curriculum, curriculum
comes in compact, matching boxes

Switched on School House - (3 - 12) a CD-Rom version of the Alpha
curriculum used in some private schools, 90% of school work is
done on the computer thru interactive worktexts

A Beka - (preK -12) a packaged accredited curriculum used by many
private Christian schools, can be used independently or by enrolling in
"A Beka Academy" cyber school, a textbook-based curriculum with DVD
options and worksheets, emphasis is on detailed rote learning, focus on
computation skills, lots of quizzes, tests, quite a bit of busy work

Global Village School for Peace and Diversity Studies -- (K - 12) a
progressive, customizable homeschool program using online worktexts
and text-based curriculum, students may work at their own pace,
accredited diplomas available, "...Our courses integrate peace, justice,
and diversity studies with the core subjects..."

Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company - publishes workbooks in all
subject areas and for all grade levels,  the
Mark Twain Media division
includes many high-quality middle school level worktexts - (preK - 6) free instructional materials and
worksheets to download or print, registration required

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers - (preK - 6) a variety of
standards-aligned workbooks, thematic units, and practice books for all

SRA/Mcgraw-Hill - (K - 8) a variety of workbooks and worktexts for all
subject areas, designed to help students build skills needed to improve
scores on standardized tests

Bright Minds Critical Thinking Books and CD-Roms - workbooks full
of puzzles, brain teasers and critical thinking activies, and educational

Bright Ideas for the Gifted and Talented (a.w.peller & associates)
- educational games, workbooks, and hands-on activity kits

PrufRock Press - a supplier of worktexts and magazines for Gifted and
Talented education, parenting resources

Dover Publications -- a wide variety of activity and coloring books
"What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first
to do with diligence." -- Samuel Johnson

"Practice is everything" -- Periander
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