You know how homeschoolers get asked silly questions like, “Wait, so how do your kids get socialized if they’re homeschooled?”  [ghastly whispered, as if it is a curse word]

Or how about this: “But like…. will they be allowed to go to college?!”


Okay, so UNFORTUNATELY there is another question that has carried over from homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike:

“But you don’t use worksheets?  So are your kids actually learning anything?! How do you know?”

After reading the rest of this, you will realize why those questions are just like the others….

SIDE NOTE: Before jumping in, we want to be clear that Campfire Curriculums INCLUDES and ENCOURAGES the “writing” form of learning.  We have an emphasis on note taking!  So, “no worksheets” does not mean “no writing.”  We include a combination of ALL learning styles.

Okay, now… we’re here to help you with some quick one- (or two-) liners for the question above.  Pick one (or a few) for the next time you’re asked!

    1. Respond: “Do college students learn?”  [Wait on them to answer, “Yes,” even if it gets awkwardly silent].  Follow it with, “When was the last time you saw a college student fill out a worksheet to prove it?” [Wait on them to answer YOU, because now they are the ones realizing how silly their question was to begin with.  PS: the answer is, “NEVER.”]  You could even follow it up with, “How can they get their diploma without worksheets to prove what they’ve learned?
    2. “Do you know how to drive?” [Yes].  “How many worksheets did you fill out while learning?” [Crickets…]
    3. “Did you use worksheets in school?” [Yes].  “How much of your worksheet-based schooling do you remember, or even apply to your current career, education, or life?”
    4. “Do those getting a medical degree ever fill out worksheets?” [Nope].  “But you trust the doctors to save your life if you go to the ER, right?”  [Yes].  “Can you explain that because that seems contradictory given your first remark about worksheets?” [Let them come up with an answer].
    5. “Worksheets have the student fill in a blank… when else in life do you get away with such easy work?” [Wait on them to answer, “NEVER”].  Then follow it with this question: “So is that really how children should think learning is measured, as it doesn’t represent real life at all?”
    6. “What impresses universities more?  That a child can fill in a single blank line about the Civil War (on a worksheet), or that he can create fully written (or dictated) sentences—expressing the entire history and controversy of the Civil War, piece by piece? [Obviously, the latter].  “Why, then, should I choose the less impressive method for them?” 
      • The same could be said for apprenticeships or those entering the career field immediately after high school


      • “My child likes worksheets.  Everyone has a different style of learning, and this is their style.” 

          • ANSWER: It’s important to note: “worksheet” is NOT an actual learning style.  It’s merely a tool used by teachers.  When discussing learning styles, there is visual, auditory, kinesthetic, writing, reading, tactile, etc. etc.  Note, that “worksheet” is not an actual learning style.  At best, it would fall into the “writing” category, which Campfire includes in the curriculum.
      • “But what do you show your school board to prove the children are learning?” 
          • ANSWER: School boards are much more impressed by notes being taken in a notebook (it looks similar to a college student’s work).  They are also much more impressed by experiments that the student is completing (such as would be expected in a public school setting).  Snap photos and jot down notes of the experiments and activities throughout the learning process, as well.  Campfire doesn’t remove writing.  Rather than writing one word or one sentence in a pre-made line on a worksheet, Campfire Curriculums has the student take notes in a notebook (or dictate, depending on age/skill/family approach), detailing the important parts as they go along.  This guides them into learning the process.  Combine that with a copy of the unit or scope/sequence, and that’s what states look for.
      • “But students in college have tests to prove their knowledge.” 
          • ANSWER: True, and also not true.  In medical school (for example), you have tests to complete and you also have to prove your knowledge through actual skill (DOING the work) in medical rounds–not to mention oral case presentation and oral boards (verbally talking through a complex medical case while under evaluation).  Or, in criminology courses for another example, you have to be able to analyze a criminal’s behavior and explain it in detail to your professor—in written form, spoken form, and research format—and you also have to prove it during job shadowing.  Think about an attorney… they don’t get a degree by filling in the blank worksheets, either.  Tests are often a component, but in reality, “tests” are still not the only validation of learned content, and they are rarely the only major component for grades in universities or real life.   But take note (an important note!), even if you uphold test-taking (which we do with our own family), worksheets have nothing to do with tests.  AT ALL!  Tests can be given whether you use a worksheet-based approach or not.  That doesn’t change a thing.  “Test-taking” and “worksheet-based learning” are independent of one another.  We encourage you to test your student, as desired.  As we mentioned a moment ago, we do.  PS: In universities, students are sometimes allowed to use their notes during tests… another point for note taking!
      • “But my student likes worksheets.” 
          • Many children like ice cream for breakfast, and they also like coloring sheets.  There is a difference between liking something and it actually being good for you.  We aren’t suggesting you do away with things they enjoy.  Never!  We are merely emphasizing the inappropriate argument that this somehow makes worksheets superior.  
      • “But younger children need worksheets to help guide their minds; they don’t know how to do note taking or experimenting at such a young age.”
          • This is a thought process that is contrary to most Charlotte Mason approaches, as well as opposed to good education.  Such a statement is almost like saying younger children are not old enough to learn a second language.  On the contrary, younger children learn even better and even quicker by completely immersing themselves in it.  The same is true with the Campfire Method and a whole person teaching approach. 
      • A lot of parents find their children like worksheets because it gives them an “end goal.”  Once all the empty lines are filled in, they are done.  They learn how to do “just enough” to get by, so of course they love it!  It puts everything into a nice little box for them, for which they can say, “CHECK!” and be done.  But this is not what real life is like.  That is not what universities are like.  That is not what jobs are like.  If you like using worksheets, go for it!  We would never discourage a parent from schooling how they think is best.  We would, however, discourage parents from inaccurately claiming that worksheets are the only way to show a student is learning or that it is the “better” way to show a student is a learning.  There are not accurate, unbiased studies to validate such claims.  “Worksheet-based teaching” is not based on success.  It’s based on convenience and habit. 
      • “Worksheet-based teaching” is not based on success.  It’s based on convenience and habit.  It is challenging to think of things in this light, but it is SO worth it

      • We do understand some parents may prefer worksheets for their family, and that’s okay!  We would not encourage anyone to go and tell those parents that they are schooling incorrectly.  They are not, if they are doing what works for their family.  We even use some for a few of our kids to keep their hands busy while we are working with another child.  We aren’t here to argue anyone’s personal preference.  We encourage everyone to do homeschool how they prefer to do it!  However, Campfire Curriculums will never use worksheets as the FOUNDATION of the teaching approach because of all the aforementioned points.  And we will—now and always—stand upon the truth of good education and a whole person education and explain our approach to our units.  So, if you’re ever asked one of those sort of questions, there are a few answers to help!
      • PS: If you have other questions, such as, “What about younger kids who cannot write well?” Or “How about those with learning differences” or “What about children who have a hard time putting things into note form, but can fill in a worksheet?” or anything else, feel free to write in and ask because we have a lot more answers!


If you want to see our Campfire approach with “no worksheets” and what that actually looks like, go HERE! [Our graphic is at the bottom of this page]

If you want to see what else is included in our curriculum, go HERE.

If you want to see our curriculum on video and how it works, go HERE.

If you want to go to our products page, go HERE.

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