How's Your Handwriting?

Yesterday I talked about science, and today I will move on to handwriting, which I consider to be the "lost art". I am sure many of you had a grandmother or mother with beautiful handwriting. I know I did - everything my grandmother, Vera, wrote looked so fancy and important. This was also in the age where everything was written - no computers to make us lazy. When I got to the third grade, my teacher really concentrated on handwriting, and I like to think that (when I want to) I have beautiful handwriting, too.

When my daughter was in the public school, I always had a sick feeling when she would bring home sloppy work, but I would justify it by thinking "she's still young" or "handwriting just isn't her thing", when in truth they were receiving little to no formal handwriting instruction. So, when we pulled her out of school Thanksgiving of her third grade year, it became my goal to give her the gift of pretty handwriting. I had heard so many people talking about Handwriting Without Tears, so I did a little research online and asked a few of my teacher friends and purchased the program. Here is what the creators of HWT say to the parent:

"Handwriting Without Tears® aims to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill that every student can master. Our unique and compelling curriculum design and teaching strategies facilitate this goal."

We received the materials in the mail and I could tell right away my daughter would love it. HWT suggests not to extensively remediate printing if your child is beginning cursive, so we practiced printing (regular Zaner Bloser style) for a couple of weeks and this is what happened after just a few quiet handwriting lessons:

Then, it was on to the Beginning Cursive workbook from HWT. The lessons were quick and catchy (each letter has a little phrase that helps the child remember how it is written) and Anna really enjoyed making her letters on the chalkboard as well. I wish I would have saved all of her copywork, but I am learning a valuable lesson to not throw anything away --- but I do have a picture of a card she made for her grandfather after his hip replacement surgery. The handwriting is improving, and more importantly, she put scripture in the card to comfort her Grandpa Jim.

I notice now that Anna is PROUD of her handwriting and even likes to show it off to her friends sometimes. My daughter received a letter from a 96 year old friend of my mother's - this woman, Miss Dottie, and Anna share a love of dolls. They write back and forth and we visit with her when we are at my parent's house. We were struck by how beautiful Miss Dottie's handwriting is, and she even made the comment to my mom that Anna had pretty handwriting!

This year we will be moving on to the "Cursive Success" workbook, which reviews all of the letters again, just in smaller form.

I did have a problem with ordering this time from Handwriting Without Tears. Our order arrived with my sons book "Letters and Numbers for Me" missing. All it took was an email to customer service and this problem was worked out. I'm excited for him to start the program as well -- here's a sample of his work (keep in mind he just finished preschool so it's nothing fancy!) - this was handed to me in church a few months ago and I just had to laugh!

All in all, I feel Handwriting Without Tears is a low stress, affordable program which can give your children the gift of good handwriting. I may be trying to hold onto a lost art in this age of computer, but I don't think there is anything wrong with that! In fact, I think Charlotte Mason would be proud!
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