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Handwriting and Copywork


carriede
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I'm getting a little ahead of myself seeing as DS is only 3, but...

 

If you do copywork, at what point did you stop specifically teaching handwriting?

 

I was thinking that one could get a single workbook on letter formation, then just monitor copywork thereafter. But there are workbooks available at every grade level in early elem, so I'm a little confused. (And I'd assume you'd do cursive instruction at the appropriate time, then monitor copywork as before.)

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Dd worked through HWT and then I closely monitored her handwriting after it was completed. That was almost two years ago. The notebooks make it easy to do copywork, but I require some writing everyday so I use that to watch letter formation.

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I gave dd 2 books to work through. The first grade book HWOT1, in kindergarden, that covered caps and lower case, and Handwriting Without Tears 3 cursive in second grade. Its all she needs and shes has good handwriting. Just watched and corrected a few reverses and backwards strokes. If it works out well I want to teach her caligrahpy for third or fourth grade.

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My three blew through the Zaner Bloser K workbook, and are still doing a lot of "How do I make a ___?" So I bought a different publisher's K handwriting workbook and we're doing that one (we weren't ready for the smaller lines, etc of the 1st grade ZB book). Once we have letter formation down, I'll be comfortable moving to copy work, but we weren't ready after one workbook. so, I'd say it depends on the kid.

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My 8 year old has beautiful handwriting and we didn't need use any workbooks or handwriting curriculum. Each day I wrote one letter in a notebook for him and he copied it a few times. After we went through the alphabet we simply moved onto copywork. Granted, he was an older first grader by the time we started homeschooling,and he'd had handwriting instruction in school, but his writing was terrible and completely illegible. So, I let him chose a new handwriting style, and we started from scratch. It was more of a handwriting remediation, I suppose.

 

Actually, I take that back: we did just recently use some handwriting worksheets for cursive. He recently did the first 3-4 weeks of an Evan Moor cursive book simply as an introduction. I don't have any intentions of doing any more lessons in the book, but I'll have him start doing his WWE copywork in cursive as practice instead.

 

I'm doing something similar with my daughter, but since she's younger we're taking more time with the individual letters. So far, however, her handwriting is proving to be just as neat and legible. Just in the last week I've started daily copywork with her too; just very simple sentences such as "The fat hen sat on her egg." I write them out for her, and she simply copies my writing. It gives her practice with reading, handwriting, and she likes to draw a picture to go along with it.

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I substitute teach at the local schools, and penmanship as such is really neglected around here. If it looks enough like an "A" or a "B", etc, that's good enough, so I knew if I wanted my kids to have good handwriting, I'd need to teach them, regardless of where they obtained the rest of their education.

 

DS1 is currently not-quite-4. When he was 3 and 3 months, I started him off on a dry erase pupil board I'd picked up for a dollar at Wally World, and a Sesame Street dry erase tracer book (ISBN 978-1595458469) from the Dollar Store--- both for the sake of trying to get him to learn to hold his marker properly. He had fun tracing the letters. But a friend who's an occupational therapist told me that in the US, we start kids worrying about writing too early, and should wait until they're closer to 5. She gave me some exercises to do with him first-- little games we could play where he would pick objects up with chopsticks or the very tips of his fingers, etc, and drop them into cups... magnet maze games... MagnaDoodle-type toys... Operation would be a great exercise for an older kid... those sorts of things.

 

So I put the dry erase stuff away for a bit, and we focused on those sorts of dexterity games for several months, always making sure to keep it fun and lighthearted and just a weird game that Mom likes to play.

 

When he was closer to 3 years and 9 months, I gave him two options of what hand he wanted to learn-- did he like D'Nealian or Zaner-Bloser? I figured if he liked the hand, he'd do better with it. He chose Zaner-Bloser, so I started putting together some tracer pages from tracer page generators. He hated them. It was too much, too fast.

 

I came across Charlotte Mason and printed off a free sample of her Delightful Handwriting. I liked the emphasis on only giving the child what they can do perfectly, and to hold them to perfection in what to accomplish... so if that just mean's the day's work consists of giving me two straight lines, and knowing the difference between a good straight line and a bad line, that's great. I also like how the letters are grouped by similarity in composition... you learn to write a | and an __, and from there, you learn I, H, E, F, L, etc. (I dabble in calligraphy, so being able to break a letter down into its component parts is really awesome when it comes to understanding how a letter ought to be shaped. Stroke order is another really important thing that's overlooked in our local school system.)

 

DS1 will turn 4 next month. We're still working on holding a pencil, giving consistently good straight lines, sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal. Getting four straight lines out of him in one day is still really ambitious. He has the enthusiasm and energy for one or two, so I'm not pushing him yet. But once he develops a little more, and will benefit from doing real work, I'll probably get Delightful Handwriting, just because I found the free sample so appealing.

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Thanks everybody! Nice to know I wasn't completely off my rocker for combining the two. Seems to me that they're very easy to streamline together.

 

I came across Charlotte Mason and printed off a free sample of her Delightful Handwriting. I liked the emphasis on only giving the child what they can do perfectly, and to hold them to perfection in what to accomplish... so if that just mean's the day's work consists of giving me two straight lines, and knowing the difference between a good straight line and a bad line, that's great. I also like how the letters are grouped by similarity in composition... you learn to write a | and an __, and from there, you learn I, H, E, F, L, etc. (I dabble in calligraphy, so being able to break a letter down into its component parts is really awesome when it comes to understanding how a letter ought to be shaped. Stroke order is another really important thing that's overlooked in our local school system.)

 

DS1 will turn 4 next month. We're still working on holding a pencil, giving consistently good straight lines, sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal. Getting four straight lines out of him in one day is still really ambitious. He has the enthusiasm and energy for one or two, so I'm not pushing him yet. But once he develops a little more, and will benefit from doing real work, I'll probably get Delightful Handwriting, just because I found the free sample so appealing.

 

 

I had also found this program, and that's what got me thinking about combining with copywork. I believe the book after Delightful Handwriting is a copywork book? I liked the sample too. :) I did find a Zaner Bloser book on christianbook.com that set the lessons up by stroke also.

 

I'll have to look more into the CM philosophy behind handwriting. The "only do what you can do perfectly" kinda through me for a loop.

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I'll have to look more into the CM philosophy behind handwriting. The "only do what you can do perfectly" kinda through me for a loop.

 

 

One of the big things behind Charlotte Mason is the concept that habit is worth ten natures... if you get into the habit of accepting sloppy work, it will be the rare person who can wake up one day, realize their handwriting is chicken scratch, and make the effort to develop a good hand on their own after years and years of bad handwriting. So rather than say, "I'll just be happy they're learning to shape letters that look like letters, and I'll go back later and teach them to write neatly when they're older," you start off with expectations that they do things properly from the start... rather than giving you a page of A's or B's, and only two or three good A's or B's out of 40 or 50, you ask for just one line of good A's or B's. Or, in our current case, not asking for even a full letter... just one or two good strokes. It would be frustrating and foolish to ask for something beyond their ability, but you tailor your expectations to what they can give you, and then expect their best.

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