Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

ADST opportunity in Terrace

Beginning April 1, 2019, students Grade 6 to 12 are invited to apply for one or more of the following:

    • Entrepreneurship & Marketing  
    • Media Arts  
    • Robotics  
    • Woodwork  

Note that well-qualified Grade 6 learners may apply and would be welcome.  There are a number of other Graduation Level Courses linked here.

These Spring courses will run from April 1st – June 21st, 2019. Students will attend 3 hrs per week of classes and have approximately 5 hrs of ‘homework’ for 12 weeks. Classes will be held at 3504 Kalum St, Terrace and will be capped at 15 students. Courses will be underpinned by a Christian Worldview.

If you are interested just let me know and I'll provide additional instructions.


Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Despite all that I’ve written, children learning at home will predominantly use a worksheet system. Worksheets do have an advantage, especially in the early years because worksheets present to the learner a structured learning task. It is easy to set daily goals. It makes re-writing the question unnecessary. Although I would maintain that writing the question is part of the basic math skill, many people seem to dislike it. I can give you a few rules for working through a set of worksheets.

1.  As much as possible do not leave children alone with worksheets. Do it together. Let them do the math, but be ready to answer questions they formulate. Coach them to formulate a question if they cannot. When you coach, be aware of your child’s feelings. The biggest predictor of how they do in math is how they anticipate feeling about it. Let them experience success every day. Encourage them to talk out loud as they work. Watch that they understand the concepts. Accuracy comes from practice and methodology, not just practice. So, watch for both.

2. Do not do worksheets without the answers close at hand. Always check your answers after every question, and make corrections immediately.

3. Show your work. Don’t take shortcuts. Work diligently, write clearly and properly. Write 0.5 rather than .5, for example. Write your fractions one number directly above the other, and so on. Sit straight, have good lighting, and space to work. Remember practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.

4. Do not “mark” children’s work with a red pen afterward. When they finish the worksheet, they should already know how they did. Marking with a red pen is about accountability more than about accuracy. Work with them like a coach, not like a judge.

5. Only do worksheets printed with enough space to write. If it gets crowded write, for example, “See number 3 on page 1 attached”. Staple blank paper and then go over to that. Never crowd your math, it’s very important and has a profound effect over the years.

6. Don’t skip the questions or sections that are different such as novel application. For example, if you’re doing trigonometry, don’t skip the section on estimating the height of trees. Don’t skip things like organizing numbers, patterns, estimating, predicting, checking, comparing, doing the same problem more than one way, and so on. For example, you may want to stop to see if 0.5 x 0.5 gives you the same answer as ½ x ½.

7. If it’s too easy, skip ahead. You don’t have to complete everything. It’s not good to waste learning time. There is little advantage to practicing the same problems over and over until they are super-mastered because they will continue to use those skills as they go through the curriculum.

8. Don’t stall out on one difficult skill. Move along and come back to it. Some people worry about so-called “holes”, which are small areas that were skipped in the past but now are needed skills. Holes can be over-rated and may fill in anyway. Some holes are too large and you can see them because the learner gets stuck at the same spot every time. If that persists, go back and turn the “hole” and turn it into a strength by completely mastering it.

9. If it’s frustrating then slow down or find some easier math. If children grow to hate math no amount of discipline will correct it.

10. The last is like the first. Some people have big houses to give their children space. Some people give their children math worksheets so they can work independently. If this is working well that’s fine, but try to stay involved. Make math a family experience and they’ll love it. For most children when it comes to math, children don’t need space, they need you.

Happy Learning


Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.


If you have children whom you expect to be enrolled in HCOS next year, then please re-enroll them now.  Just follow the re-enrollment process in Encom. There is no advantage in waiting, you are not giving away your options in the fall. I have requested a reduced workload for next fall and I've asked that my existing students get priority, but I need you to take advantage of that.

Dates and Links:  

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 1 ADST Program in Terrace starts

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)


You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources