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Handwriting-- can I see samples pictures from your 6yo?


SierraNevada
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I really have no idea where DS is in terms of handwriting. He has made great progress, but I have no idea if he is behind, or slightly ahead, or right on target. Technically he would be a K'er right now, at 6.25. I'd love to see pictures, including pictures of what dysgraphic writing looks like. I don't think he is dysgraphic, though he does hate writing. He spells well and only has minor b and d reversals that he notices as soon as he does them. He seems to have pretty good automaticity with writing, though he is still slow. But how fast should a 6yr old be anyway? I have no idea. Pictures would be so helpful! Maybe I should see if I can attach a sample of where he is in his Spanish HWT.post-74664-0-25666400-1398226252_thumb.jpg

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ETA: Sorry, my file is too big! Not sure how to shrink it... :(

 

My daughter turns 7 in a few months, and I've been amazed by not only how her writing has improved over the last year, but also how willing she is to write spontaneous notes like this now. (She asked her dad for help with some spelling.). She still has reversals, but she notices them herself now. My sense is that she's probably a bit behind compared to girls her age, but I decided a few years ago just to focus on progress, not comparisons with others.

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Normally I don't want to compare my DS to other kids, but in this subject I'm just not sure of where we should be. Honestly, my DS had better writing than me right now. Mine is terrible. I feel inadequate to correct him because he sees my handwriting all the time-- and it's sloppy. So I don't correct his posture, grip, or letter patterns much. He balks if I do, and since he dislikes handwriting anyway I hate to make it worse for him by nitpicking his grip, posture, or the way he does his letters. I don't know if I am doing him a disservice. I'm sure if he were in school they would work on those things more. Also he seems to be a lefty for everything but handwriting. At an early age he started writing left but I thought he was just confused so gently led him to be a righty. He didn't seem to be put off by it.. So maybe he is just ambidextrous. But I always wondered if he would be happier writing left handed. And I just don't know if we should start cursive now, or wait till his handwriting is much better. Why does this subject give me such pain?

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My dd6 just turned 6 this month. They have similar handwriting abilities. His handwriting looks just fine.

However, I nitpick. I require that my kids form the letter the correct way(top to bottom), that they sit with both feet on the floor, that they hold the pencil correctly and don't hook the wrist. If I know she can write a more perfect letter, I erase and require her to write it again. She doesn't like any of this, of course, but I feel it is important to develop good habits now to make writing easier later.

And no, I wouldn't start cursive yet. I get my kids through HWT 2 and then do about a year of copywork before we switch to cursive. That worked out really well for my two oldest kids.

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If your son's handwriting concerns you, maybe consider having him evaluated by an OT.

 

A couple of months back, my DD was evaluated by an OT because she was complaining of hand pain and disliked writing.  She turned 6 late December, and there is a documented history of dysgraphia in our family. Anyhoo..

 

We discovered that DD had weak pincer grasp and core muscles plus she is ambidextrous.  The OT assigned several daily exercises including push ups and abdominal exercises using a fitness ball, and her pincer grasp and core strength increased significantly.  We are done with OT after 5 weeks, and I'm happy to report that DD is writing Bible verses, Star Wars quotes, and listing all of her favorite My Little Ponies.  Her letter formation improved and writing stamina increased.  Word spacing needs help but that will improve with practice.  

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Can you clarify what about his handwriting concerns you? Is it the reversals? Because developmentally that is totally normal for his age.  My six year old's handwriting is similar to yours, and he still reverses b's and d's and 5's on occasion. My eight year old did also until he was a little over 7 years old.  

 

My six year old is a slow writer, but neat, like yours (at least I think yours is pretty neat).  My eight year old is fast and sloppy.  

 

Hating handwriting is very characteristic of a boy IMO. Neither of my boys enjoy doing handwriting or copywork. Neither of them really enjoy sitting so it naturally follows that handwriting is not a favorite. LOL.

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I think his handwriting really looks good for his age. My K'er despised handwriting at the beginning of the year. I asked a veteran Homeschooler at a convention if she had any tips for me. She recommended setting a timer for five minutes and telling him if he gave me his very best handwriting for the full five minutes, he could be finished. Any fiddling around, and a minute would be added. It helped tremendously! It took a couple of weeks but I guess he finally realized that five minutes wasn't that long so he did his best. It helped me to see what he could actually accomplish when he tried, instead of just 'finishing the page' so he could be finished.

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I really have no idea where DS is in terms of handwriting. He has made great progress, but I have no idea if he is behind, or slightly ahead, or right on target. Technically he would be a K'er right now, at 6.25. I'd love to see pictures, including pictures of what dysgraphic writing looks like. I don't think he is dysgraphic, though he does hate writing. He spells well and only has minor b and d reversals that he notices as soon as he does them. He seems to have pretty good automaticity with writing, though he is still slow. But how fast should a 6yr old be anyway? I have no idea. Pictures would be so helpful! Maybe I should see if I can attach a sample of where he is in his Spanish HWT. image.jpg

Based on that sample I would say his handwriting is VERY good.

 

If you're thinking about automaticity/fluency, I would suggest you read some articles at Peterson Directed Handwriting.

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I think his handwriting looks great. That's about what my nearly 7 year olds handwriting looks like. I could try to post a pic, but honestly, it looks just like that. don't worry about the b and d reversals. If he catches them, he's aware, and if he can fix it, it's good. 

 

You mentioned his grip? Have you seen the HWOT handwriting song? 

 there's quite a few of the HWOT songs on youtube.

 

Just always, gently, correct it. Always gently correct his starting point...top to bottom, left to right.

 

If he's okay writing with his right hand, don't make a big deal of it. If he still switches...at this age---you may want to look into OT. But if he confidently always uses his right hand, no worries. IF he uses his left for other non writing tasks, don't worry. I'm a left hander, but I throw and grip various tools etc with my right. 

 

He'll get faster as he continues to practice and learn.

 

AND I didn't know there was Spanish HWOT---how cool is that? Do you use it because of ESL, or as an aid in learning the language?

 

 

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The HWOT page is from near the beginning of this year (1st grade)- ds was 6.5. 

 

The second sample (my writing in pen, his in pencil) is from around Christmas, just before he turned 7, and was from a spontaneous dictation in French (no model to work from). 

 

I just wanted to show how fast handwriting can improve, and tell you that you have nothing to worry about!!! 

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Normally I don't want to compare my DS to other kids, but in this subject I'm just not sure of where we should be. Honestly, my DS had better writing than me right now. Mine is terrible. I feel inadequate to correct him because he sees my handwriting all the time-- and it's sloppy. So I don't correct his posture, grip, or letter patterns much. He balks if I do, and since he dislikes handwriting anyway I hate to make it worse for him by nitpicking his grip, posture, or the way he does his letters. I don't know if I am doing him a disservice. I'm sure if he were in school they would work on those things more. Also he seems to be a lefty for everything but handwriting. At an early age he started writing left but I thought he was just confused so gently led him to be a righty. He didn't seem to be put off by it.. So maybe he is just ambidextrous. But I always wondered if he would be happier writing left handed. And I just don't know if we should start cursive now, or wait till his handwriting is much better. Why does this subject give me such pain?

 

Not at all. If he were in school he'd be one amongst a sea of 20 students trying to get through the handwriting worksheet. In my son's class they say a little pencil grip poem but that's it. This is actually a major purpose of homework in my son's class: some stuff is best addressed one-on-one. At the beginning of the school year when my son was newly 7 he was forming letters wrong and reversing EVERYTHING. The teacher asked *us*, at home, to work on this, because she *can't*. I gave him a few letters to focus on during his work, and gave him the memory trick with his hands for b and d, and he improved.

 

I don't like doing unpleasant subjects during afterschool time so I'm mostly saving our handwriting practice for the summer. When we do handwriting I'll demand posture and grip and correct formation. But only for a few letters at a time to start. Kids seriously don't have a lot of stamina for this stuff.

 

BTW, I also plan on improving my own penmanship, because I bought a fountain pen and want to write more nicely. ;) You could practice alongside him with Getty-Dubay Write Now, and I bet it would be really helpful to you both!

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People have asked what I am worried about-- simply not knowing if he is on track. I never get to see other 6yo writing. So I'm happy to hear he looks like he is doing okay. I have only worried that he seems slow and complains. But again, I don't know what normal speed for writing for a six year old is. I also sometimes have a skewed perspective of what he ought to be able to do in handwriting because he is so advanced in other subjects. So maybe I think he is behind just because I think of him as a fifth grader elsewhere. I guess we will just keep plugging along and work on increasing stamina and good habits.

And someone else asked about Spanish. Yes, you can get HWT in Spanish, French, and I think one other language. We just use it to repeat books because we ran out of books and are learning spanish.

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People have asked what I am worried about-- simply not knowing if he is on track. I never get to see other 6yo writing. So I'm happy to hear he looks like he is doing okay. I have only worried that he seems slow and complains. But again, I don't know what normal speed for writing for a six year old is. I also sometimes have a skewed perspective of what he ought to be able to do in handwriting because he is so advanced in other subjects. So maybe I think he is behind just because I think of him as a fifth grader elsewhere. I guess we will just keep plugging along and work on increasing stamina and good habits.

And someone else asked about Spanish. Yes, you can get HWT in Spanish, French, and I think one other language. We just use it to repeat books because we ran out of books and are learning spanish.

 

I had similar worries in K/early 1st for similar reasons.  He was advanced in most areas, but his writing was, at best, average, and so it seemed "behind."  And as you said, it's very difficult to know what is normal without having 20 students to check on.  :-) 

 

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There is a wide range of normal when it comes to 6yo's handwriting.  The sample you posted looks within normal, imho.

 

 

If you think there is a problem beyond lack of maturity, an eval by an OT won't hurt.

 

 

That said, I'd recommend simply slowing down with him.  Be persistent with correcting grip problems.  Be willing to go without the curriculum to focus on letters he needs work on.  Slow and steady really does win the race.  A year from now, you will either have a 7yo who has slowly mastered writing the letters, developing the habit of a proper grip...or a 7yo who completed a book without mastery or developing good habit.  Some kids can complete the book WITH mastery & habit, but not all...and 6yo boys are notorious for lacking the maturity (physically!!!) for typical handwriting programs.

 

 

I'm not there daily with your ds.  You are though...ask yourself what you would work on today if you didn't have the book to complete.  Do that.

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I looked at your child's handwriting and it is not bad for a boy of 6. However when looking at anything I ask where to from here because everything should progress.

 

So with your child I would probably move to writing between lines - have an upper and lower line as well as the middle line as this will result in more even letter sizing. And then I would insist that letters sit on these lines very neatly as he is not making all his letters go to the bottom of the line and yet based on what we see in the sample he is clearly capable of this. I would also work on more pointed formation of his e's - has having a specific way to write them would prevent them all from looking different. I would only work on one of these at a time however (a mastery approach). Finally I would also look at why the longer strokes are not straight up and down - can he draw a long straight line and why when he hits the middle line is he veering off left or right - this was particularly evident when writing the b's.

 

However that said, I think his handwriting is fine for his age - his letter formation appears to be correct, his letter sizing is relatively even and it is perfectly legible without letter copying errors. My personal belief is that saying something is age appropriate is not good enough - there is always something that can be improved and if done in small steps then it will not be unmanageable. I would not move to cursive yet, but again that is personal preference - you could always start teaching cursive patterns while still working on manuscript before moving to proper cursive.

 

 

 

 

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Another poster said that it is important to know where the child's writing started--this is so true. My oldest was VERY slow to write properly. We had him in preschool, and he was really only writing well by the end of his second year (mid 5). Then he went into K in Public School and they were learning d'nealian. Well, that basically ruined his handwriting for a year. It did *eventually* improve some, but it took me many months to correct reversals that the K teacher did not think were important to correct.  He would come home with whole pages of numbers reversed and she had not marked it or said anything to him.  He was in full day so doing more handwriting after school just wasn't in my game plan (though in retrospect I should have) So we had some "unlearning" to do when he was pulled out and homeschooled.  Contrast that with my other one who I had from the beginning--I was able to correct a lot more, and sooner, than with my first who had other teachers for three years. I am definitely NOT a great handwriting teacher, but the one-on-one versus one on 15 (preschool) or one on 27 (K) does make a big difference.  

 

I have a class of six boys aged 6-9 doing Lego simple machines. There is some "optional" writing when we do investigations. Only one of the six ever wants to do the writing, and his handwriting is better than mine. LOL. The rest would rather stab themselves with a pencil. =)

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My camera is broken but when i saw your pic I thought pfft.  :tongue_smilie: lol. Ds7 is all over the place!

 

ETA- I hope that does not offend you OP or anyone else!  I understand worrying about your child and having nothing to compare it to.  

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I can't figure out how to attach a picture from my phone but that looks very neat to me. My 6 year writes very neatly for school, similar to your son's writing. For non school writing, he tends to add random capital letters and his spacing is either way too close or way too far apart.

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