So when I started out on my own and switched to using Piano Adventures, I was, understandably so, a bit prejudiced against the use of the corresponding Theory Book. There were a number of reasons. First, as a piano student I hadn't really been exposed to systematic theory training perse. I did do some theory testing as a young student, but that stopped as I got older. Second, I can still remember my horror when one of my teachers in middle school tried to give me a theory book. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Third, it was outside of my teaching comfort-zone, and as a new teacher I wanted to minimize the uncharted territory as much as possible.
So for a few years, I supplemented. We did theory in lessons and group lessons, and I made scales and pentascales a part of the lesson, but no theory books appeared. For technique I used the Treasures in Technique series published by FJH rather than the corresponding Technique and Artistry books.
Then just in the past year or two, I decided to do the unthinkable! I introduced both the Theory and Technique and Artistry books into my teaching repertoire! It was a bit of a learning curve, but I managed to adjust.
However, as this term continues, I'm starting to rethink that decision yet again. I am pretty pleased with the Technique and Artistry supplement, but Theory has been a bit more of a challenge.
Theory is the part of the weekly assignment my students most often overlook, and complain about the most. I try to assign it as homework for the students to do over the week as a supplement to what we've learned in the lesson (after explaining the requirements of course) but I often find myself wasting lesson time trying to get kids to 'finish up' uncompleted pages.
So here's my question:
How much emphasis do you, as teachers, put on theory book assignments each week? Is theory inseparable from lesson and technique, or do you supplement with other theory materials? Is it too much to expect every child to do work in a theory book each week?
A few further thoughts from me. I had two students (siblings in fact!) who both recently moved up to the next level in Piano Adventures. After some deliberation, I decided not to provide theory books for them. Neither one practices as much as I'd like them to, and I'd rather they spend their limited practice time focusing on technique and the material in their lesson book rather than adding something else to the mix. We do worksheets and games from time to time to drill theoretical concepts, and the students actually look forward to these breaks from the normal routine.
Contrast this with another younger student who actually throws temper tantrums each week (so I'm told by his mom) when she tries to get him to do his theory homework...
I'm still undecided on this issue, and as you can see, am in the process of a few 'test cases'. But in the meantime, I'd love to hear some feedback from other teachers!