A question from Sarah:
I’m just getting ready to start homeschooling my 4 year old this fall. Do you think it worth the money to laminate worksheets and have them use a marker? Or is it best to start with pencils and pay for new paper each time?
This is an interesting question. Sarah quoted a price of about $18 for 50 sheets of laminating paper. So it costs 0.33 to laminate each sheet. The cost of a piece of paper is about 1 cent. Depending on type of printer it could cost anywhere from 1 to 5 cents to print a worksheet. The worksheets she is using are free and printed from a website.
The total cost for printing one worksheet is about 6 cents (max), so the child would have to use the laminated worksheet at least 5 times to break even. Of course if there were other children that might also be using the laminated sheets it could be a good investment.
Note: Owning a laminator is not near as expensive as it used to be! It’s a great investment for any homeschool family. Here’s my favorite laminator that I personally use.
The next issue is using a marker versus a pencil. Many occupational therapists recommend starting kids with a pencil because it allows them to learn how to exert the correct amount of pressure on the paper. My older children use erasable pens and we use white boards for spelling words, but I do have my younger children start with a pencil.
Personally I have found that my children don’t want to do the same worksheet over and over again. Once they finish a worksheet they want to move on to the next one. But since we have multiple children laminating worksheets might save us money over the long term.
What I have done, which is cheaper than laminating, but allows you to reuse worksheets is to slide the worksheet into a page protector. For my little kids I use a piece of transparency film or a page protector and place it over their worksheet page.
The worksheets can be reused and so can the page protectors. The benefit of laminating the pages is that the page won’t slip out of a page protector and the worksheets will last longer if laminated.
So, I guess my answer is if you want to laminate the worksheets, go for it. Especially if you think you will use them over and over. But, if you are trying to save money there are other ways to reuse worksheets for less.