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Or point me to a helpful thread? (There are sooo many handwriting threads out there, and I can't find what I need to know...)

 

Okay. I have only just begun to explore the vast array of handwriting styles out there...and I haven't begun to tap into the philosophies behind them...

 

1) I'm thinking right now that handwriting is not so much about the *time* we spend on it - so much as the *quality* I expect. Am I right?

 

Ds5 had pretty atrocious writing when he started handwriting in K5. His teacher thought I should do exercises with him to strengthen his muscles, etc. I suspected he was just being lazy. I did some copywork with him at home, and he wrote beautifully (with me standing over him insisting he do it right). When I (nicely) threatened him with extra copywork until he could learn to write neatly in school, his K5 handwriting work suddenly "beautified." :) Now he writes very nicely. 

 

So...is it true that (apart from something cognitively or otherwise wrong with a child) they should be able to write nicely provided they have the right motivation?

 

2) *I* have sloppy handwriting. :( I'm left-handed and my mom gave up trying to teach me to do it right. I've developed bad habits with pencil hold & a cramped position... Anyway, how does a mom with less-than-neat handwriting (legible but not beautiful) make a child learn to write neatly? How do I expect perfection from them when I can't reach perfection myself?

 

3) What are your goals for handwriting, what curriculum do you use (and why), how much time do you spend on it, and please be honest about whether it's working for you? ;) (There's probably a thread out there that addresses this...if anyone has a link that would be sooo helpful!)

 

Thanks, all!

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1. My girls work on handwriting for about 15-20 min a day. I fully expect it to be neat.
2. That's a tough question. I would say my handwriting has gotten much neater as I have worked with the girls because I put forth great effort to give them a good example.
3. We use Zane-Bloser. With dd9, who is learning cursive, we usually do a little extra practice on 3rd grade lined paper after each page to make sure she really has the hang of it. I think it's working so far.

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I've been taking writing more gently for a few years, insisting only on just rough legibility, because my kids have been very resistant to work specifically on penmanship until recently. I think some of it is age and readiness, I've been seeing some signs of more care about appearance lately. So a couple months ago I decided to try again and I bought appropriate-level Getty Dubay books for everyone in the family. Even DH. Honestly the adults in this house could use a little remediation in this area too. :D So along with the adults modeling the effort and behavior, I got everyone new fun pens to use specifically for penmanship practice, and it is going surprisingly well. I am a little shocked but will ride with it as long as it lasts.

I still don't insist on an impossible perfect ideal, and I am under no illusions either child will end up with "pretty" handwriting since they sort of have that deck stacked against them, but legibility is markedly improved already. Progress is all I really want to see.

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I'm convinced it's a gifted thing with DD13. She can be pretty neat on a zaner bloser printout, but once she picks up speed and is in the flow of the work on, say an essay, she she reverts back to doctor's prescription quasi Latin. It has to be a processing speed thing, and the hand just can't keep up. At least that's what I tell myself.

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I had bad handwriting too (righty here). First, I would fix your pencil grip. Learn how to do it properly and practice it. Mine wasn't too off, but it was a little off. Just had to form a new habit. The next thing I did was to get the Getty-Dubay book for adults. I went through that and remediate my own handwriting. Note I don't wrote in italic today. I decided that the joins were a little confusing, and that slowed me down. So I went back to traditional cursive. Even so, my cursive is now nicer from practicing in general, even though I want practicing cursive at the time. The last thing I did was to change the style of some of my trickier/uglier letters - those capital letters that I just could not get to look nice. I tried different styles until I found one that looked better. I use methods from different hands of cursive, but my cursive logs nicer because of it.

My print is still ugly if I write fast. I have to slow down when writing for school.

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We tried a few different things, and then we stumbled onto Handwriting without Tears. We have been using this for 2 and a half years now and it is working on both my children. It is the only book that works on both. They have different Math, language arts etc...

 

I write really slowly with my dd. For K and 1st grade I got the teacher manual. It has a whole section on left handed writing. (My dd is left handed and I am not). 2nd grade I am going to try without the teacher guide, and that should be ok. I found the first grade one the most useful.

 

The other thing I like about HWOT is they have a lined paper for older students. My ds is in 6th and doing can do cursive. He really likes having the guideline on the page, and it makes a huge difference. So, he is going to wean himself to regular lined paper sometime in 7th or 8th.

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Or point me to a helpful thread? (There are sooo many handwriting threads out there, and I can't find what I need to know...)

 

Okay. I have only just begun to explore the vast array of handwriting styles out there...and I haven't begun to tap into the philosophies behind them...

 

1) I'm thinking right now that handwriting is not so much about the *time* we spend on it - so much as the *quality* I expect. Am I right?

 

Ds5 had pretty atrocious writing when he started handwriting in K5. His teacher thought I should do exercises with him to strengthen his muscles, etc. I suspected he was just being lazy. I did some copywork with him at home, and he wrote beautifully (with me standing over him insisting he do it right). When I (nicely) threatened him with extra copywork until he could learn to write neatly in school, his K5 handwriting work suddenly "beautified." :) Now he writes very nicely. 

 

So...is it true that (apart from something cognitively or otherwise wrong with a child) they should be able to write nicely provided they have the right motivation?

 

2) *I* have sloppy handwriting. :( I'm left-handed and my mom gave up trying to teach me to do it right. I've developed bad habits with pencil hold & a cramped position... Anyway, how does a mom with less-than-neat handwriting (legible but not beautiful) make a child learn to write neatly? How do I expect perfection from them when I can't reach perfection myself?

 

3) What are your goals for handwriting, what curriculum do you use (and why), how much time do you spend on it, and please be honest about whether it's working for you? ;) (There's probably a thread out there that addresses this...if anyone has a link that would be sooo helpful!)

 

Thanks, all!

1. Some will, some won't. And some can write beautifully, but it never becomes automatic (this is my older son).

 

2. No perfection necessary! Grip--you can get a variety of tripod pencil grips that help a child learn a decent grip.

 

3. My goal is fluent, legible writing. We use New American Cursive--it's designed for first graders, so it's not overwhelming (not fancy, and not tons of copywork right away). It's working well with my kindergartner (who likes to write and was trying to form cursive on his own, begged to learn it). Going well means he is learning to form his letters properly, forms them the same way each time to build automaticity, and he isn't stressed. It gets more readable daily (and sometimes really pretty). We spend more time now than at first because he fatigued easily early on. I let him choose how long to write at first, and gently tried to make my expectations more consistent when he developed stamina, and I could better gauge what he could handle. At first, I did make my own handwriting papers because he needed a little bit larger of a font, but not all kids need larger letters (my older one struggled with larger lines--he prefers to write small). NAC has moderately sized lines. If you have a printer/copier that will let you blow the writing up a little (custom zoom), that would also work (I didn't have that option).

 

He was a SLOW starter. For instance, it took him a year and a half to learn to make a number 8 without some helps (like drawing an x and writing over it). Thankfully, that number was an outlier, but he really did need a lot of work up front. He had a lot of trouble remembering the correct motions at first. My husband's family struggles with making writing automatic, and some are SLOW processors at everything. My older son has troubles too (dysgraphia, but getting much better). Anyway, we started by making giant letters in the air and on the white board using his large muscle memory before moving to paper. We grouped letters by how they were formed--so we did letters like lowercase a and d together, e and l together, etc. We did only lowercase for a long time. We practiced writing one letter at a time, and then we started blending two letters at a time, and so on until those became fluent. I stressed proper motions, not how things looked. He traced and traced and traced a lot of my writing (I made extra pages because we went so slowly--you can get a CD to do this). At some point, things suddenly became much more fluent and easy, and we went from learning a lowercase letter per week plus constant review to learning 2 or 3 new letters per week. I never left him to just write on his own with new letters until I was sure he was forming them with the correct motions each time. I explained that if he made the letters the same way all the time, it would be easier to remember them, and he'd get better at making them sooner. In turn, he learned to ask if he forgot something, and then I could ease up on watching him so closely--I knew he would ask or look at his book if he forgot.

 

My little guy has fewer reversals when writing cursive as compared to print and compared to when he writes numbers. That isn't the case for all kids, but it's another reason we chose to do cursive quite early.
 

My older one still has handwriting troubles, but they are getting much better now in fourth grade. I think he would have had less trouble if he'd learned cursive earlier (not 2nd grade), and if he had learned fluid motions for printing instead of that nasty ball and stick writing (he was in school until 3rd grade). Now that he is learning to form letters in a continuous style instead of ball and stick, he's getting MUCH better. His cursive is beautiful if he takes his time (and that's way too much time, truthfully), and if he's having a good day. All writing takes a long time for him if he wants it to be neat, and he cannot concentrate on writing, spelling, and getting thoughts out all in one swoop--that's a lot for him. Hence the dysgraphia diagnosis.

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