Monday, 4 May 2015

Cheat Sheets?

Now I know what you are thinking!  O.M.G. no she isn't is she?  LOL  It's ok, it's not the kind of cheat sheets you are thinking of.  But I use cheats!  Yes I do!  Let me explain. 

I have a child who has more than a handful of diagnosed conditions, disorders, learning problems and issues.  Ok maybe a few handfuls if the truth be told.  To get through the day, through a lesson or activity, you need some helpers or tools to make life a little easier and to overcome the hard parts so the learning sinks in and takes place. 

I say 'cheat sheet' and you think 'answer sheet' like the ones that went with test papers from school.  That's not what I am referring to (although come on mums, don't we all LOVE the workbooks that come with the answers in the back!!! I know I do!!).

These are what I call 'Cheat Sheets' :

When I find a pad of sheets that are pre filled with headings, ruled lines, templates etc that my son can look at and know where to write and how much writing is expected and if he erases words or lines then he isn't have to re draw backgrounds - then I think YES!  That's one less thing to worry about and one more thing that makes learning easier. 

Sure it might not teach my son to draw a map over and over again or rule up perfect margins on a page but really, in all honesty, is that ever going to be an issue unless he wants to become a cartographer or ahhh who rules up lines on a page these days? 

In schools kids are expected to spend as much time preparing a page as they do completing the page.  So it looks nice.  Today we value what looks nice over content in far too many aspects of life.  But why waste learning time with all that?  Isn't it better to know the content of a document or where something is on a map?  I think so. So I choose to use what I call 'Cheat Sheets' to make life that little bit easier.

As an added bonus, for those with children who have ASD or OCD issues, the repetitive nature of pre printed worksheets means less focus is on the paper, and more focus is on the work being put on the paper.  Not to mention reduced anxiety. 

The Recipe templates are fairy easy to find (I got this one from Kmart) and will be good for when we cover Food Technology a little further down the track.  The Maps were bought from Scholastic.  Perfect for our Geography lessons, history as well (Explorers routes, migration, war studies, etc etc). For less than $5 a pad (of around 50 sheets) they are a bargain as well!  

Other Cheats I use include:
Notebooking sheet downloads (they are brilliant and there are hundreds of them available online to download!)
Graph paper
Small lined recipe cards

Oh and my final tip ... Recipe template pads can easily be changed into Science Report/Experiment sheets with a few stickers placed over the headings.  If you can print sticker labels its ever easier! 

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