Worksheets and printables have become the BFF of parents during the lockdown. They are great for keeping children occupied. They also come in handy when parents struggle to teach their children.
In our home, we search for new materials every week. No surprise that, on Facebook, I get ads that offer lifetime access to hundreds of children’s books, worksheets and printables.
They promise storybooks, educational videos and ebooks. The price? P99 for one collection. I usually ignore such offers because they sound suspicious. But curiosity got the better of me.
I sent a message to the page and paid via GCash. Almost immediately, the email address I gave them was added to a Google Group that had multiple folders, categorized via subjects.
I checked out the storybooks first. It contained an unimpressive collection of badly scanned copies of popular titles, such as Dr. Seuss and Thomas & Friends. There were also random books with covers in Russian with English text inside.
Also included in the set are bad copies of Baby Genius and LeapFrog videos that can easily be found on YouTube.
Under Filipino and Araling Panlipunan are modules that can be downloaded from the Department of Education (DepEd) Commons. It also has digital books that DepEd commissioned and distributed for free.
Most of the worksheets can easily be found in teachers’ FB groups. Teachers share materials for free to drive traffic to their websites or YouTube channels.
Overall, the collection contained mostly outdated materials collated from different free sources.
On the opposite end of the illegally distributed content are websites that offer materials for a subscription fee. Teachstarter is one of them.
The site charges around P500 per month for access to resources from prekindergarten to Grade 6. They cater primarily to teachers, thus the materials available to you are not only the printables and worksheets. Included in the rate is access to blogs, lesson plans, videos and themed layouts to make a colorful online classroom.
There are widgets that you can use for games such as dice, name toggle and number flash cards. The widgets are useful for teachers who want to avoid surprising advertisements.
One interesting material I found was a collection of phrases and helpful words that can be used on a child’s report card. I guess this is necessary when you handle 30 kids in a year.
Another useful feature is the Studio. You can create your worksheet there or you can use the templates available. It takes away the need for another app such as Photoshop or Canva.
There are also presentation slides already prepared for certain topics. For example, they have slides for grammar, famous people and animals. Everything can be edited, so adding Filipino elements shouldn’t be a challenge.
The site limits a user to 30 downloads a month, preventing them from downloading everything in one go and then unsubscribing. If you are solely after the worksheets, this is not for you. While there were a lot of them, they are for different grade levels, curriculum and holidays. You’d be lucky if one topic has more than three pages. You’d be better off searching the internet for free resources.
But the site does have printables that would cost more if you buy them individually from other websites. There are crafts and games created for their subscribers. My favorite is the Math Tool Kit. It contains manipulatives and counters such as Ten Frame, fraction strips, block base picture model and number lines.
Every time you download, you will also be told how many preparation hours you’ve saved. I downloaded 15 resources so far and the estimated time I saved is two days and 12 hours.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration. I created my hundred chart thinking that it would be easy. After all, it’s just rows and columns with numbers from 1 to 100. I also made a few worksheets for my child to practice skip-counting twos, fives, tens and so on. I ended up spending three hours on what seemed to be an easy task. Spacing, font size, alignment and rechecking took up a lot of time.
You don’t always have to pay for great resources. A favorite website of mine is the All Kids Network. They have crafts instructions, coloring pages, dot to dots, kids’ sudoku and a whole lot more.
Want your child to practice addition? Generate your worksheet. You can customize the addends and the number of questions easily. The site can also generate subtraction, multiplication and division questions.
They have several worksheets for other subjects, too. Everything is downloadable and they are all for free. But you need to register your email directly or through Facebook.
Another treasure chest of free resources is the Progressive Phonics website. They have free (yes, legal and free) books on the alphabet, writing and phonics written and illustrated by Miz Katz N Ratz. Nothing much is known about her except that she’s hairy and eats “cheesy puns for breakfast.” Her Twitter account has a picture of a cat.
Progressive Phonics is a wonderful site for children who are starting to read and write. The materials were created with an understanding of how children can learn better. In writing, for example, they don’t go through the alphabet in order. Instead, they group them according to their patterns for easier learning.
The site also has an explanation for parents to guide them on where to start. The downloadable PDF books are also beautifully made. It includes a step-by-step guide and illustrations to help emerging readers.
You can also print test worksheets to check what your child has learned. It is one of the most generous sites that you can find out there.