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What is your favorite handwriting curriculum?


jens2sons
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I have been trying to use A Reason for Handwriting and as much as I want to use it, it irritates me and I don't know why.  Maybe it it the daily format? It also doesn't seem to really challenge a student.  The version of the Bible irritates me as well because when we memorize scripture we don't use the Living translation like the workbook uses.  We generally use NKJV, ESV or NIV.  I was looking at R&S and I'm considering the purchase but I'd like some feedback.  My son is 8 and would like to learn cursive but still needs lots of manuscript practice.  I do not want to use something with manipulatives like HWOT.  

 

 

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I have been trying to use A Reason for Handwriting and as much as I want to use it, it irritates me and I don't know why.  Maybe it it the daily format? It also doesn't seem to really challenge a student.  The version of the Bible irritates me as well because when we memorize scripture we don't use the Living translation like the workbook uses.  We generally use NKJV, ESV or NIV.  I was looking at R&S and I'm considering the purchase but I'd like some feedback.  My son is 8 and would like to learn cursive but still needs lots of manuscript practice.  I do not want to use something with manipulatives like HWOT.  

 

Zaner Bloser.

 

I prefer a traditional hand to begin with, and ZB is the grandfather of traditional hands. :-) Also, I like the way it teaches: first the strokes used, then the letters using the strokes.

 

Although I like R&S generally, it begins with a "transition" hand before moving to cursive, and I just don't see a reason to waste time on a transition.

 

You could use ARFH's pretty pages for additional practice. :-)

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I do not want to use something with manipulatives like HWOT.  

 

HWOT only uses manipulatives for little ones (like preschool). You don't use them for the workbooks. I found the methods really helped my kids, so it may be one to consider.

 

A program I JUST heard about the other day but know nothing more than what's on the website--Cursive Logic. It sounded like an interesting approach.

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We've been very happy with HWOT. We just use the workbooks none of the other pieces... never been a problem. It's a pretty obvious progression. The hand is not my favourite, but it is clear and I can already see my oldest's own cursive hand developing from that starting point.

 

We started with Getty Dubay because I liked the cursive look, but the print was more complex. It added frustration to the printing process for little ones.

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We are currently using SCM's Print to Cursive Proverbs.  It goes back and forth between cursive and manuscript and uses ESV verses from Proverbs.  They do a page of cursive followed by a page or so of manuscript.  

 

Another program I liked was Cheerful Cursive.  It moves at a slower pace, but the instruction in it is very well done.

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Another vote for Zaner-Bloser style. There are many different workbooks that use it.

 

My current favorite series is by Thomas Wasylyk who authored Zaner-Bloser’s books for nearly two decades. Universal Publishing makes two versions of each level, one with built in history/social studies content and one without so you can do two of the same level in a year for $13 or less.

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Pentime. Inexpensive, and a lovely (enough) style. The copywork in Books 4, 5, and 6 has also been interesting for my DS (Bk 4 was on different states in the US, bks 5 & 6 have had paragraphs on different animals). Books 2 and 3 I think generally have cheesier moralistic copywork but my kids didn't mind that.

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I don't particularly have a favorite. Zaner-Bloser is the closest to how I was taught and how I naturally teach my children. A couple of my kids never had a real program; my writing on their tablet paper was it. (Using a highlighter makes it easy to make words for tracing.)

 

My current 7yo used Jump Into Cursive Handwriting to learn cursive this year. I think I picked it up on a freebie deal, but it's not expensive. DD/7 didn't feel confident enough to start switching subjects over to cursive when she finished this book, so she's now using Cursive Writing Handbook from the same author for one more gentle round. When she finishes this one I will just require it in her other subjects and drop penmanship as a separate subject.

 

Once they know how to form the letters correctly mine no longer study separate penmanship. Insisting they use their best penmanship in other subjects is sufficient practice. When they're ready for cursive we work on it until they are able and then use it daily.

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We love pentime here. I tried cursive first many years ago and it was a disaster. I also tried creating my own copy work or using queens homeschool books and insisting on neat work for other subjects but that just wasn't enough for my kids. They have done really really well with a page of handwriting a day of actual practice with letter formation.

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We do D'Nealian manuscript handwriting, and I just make my own copywork here. For teaching the initial letters, we did the old LoE handwriting book which used D'Nealian before they switched to whatever that is now. Most of the adults I know write with a hybrid of printed letters joined together, and that's basically what D'Nealian is once you connect the letters, so I figured we'd save time and just start out with that. :P

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HWOT  It has worked well for us for both printing and cursive.  You don't have to use all of the manipulatives, though. I learned that after I bought everything for DS1. LOL  For other kids, we just write the letter in the air (in Kindy) and then do the workbook.  I do think that the teacher's guide for Kindy is worth it.

 

I also enjoyed Calvert's Handwriting, but it's uniquely theirs...and you can't find many supplemental materials for it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After my two older boys doing HWOT cursive and being successful with it, I made the mistake of switching to Pentime.  It was so boring and monotonous and just ugh. Totally switching back this year.

 

My older ones never minded doing cursive probably because it was fun with HWOT.  My kids have great cursive. They really do develop their own style. Best of all my kid like to write in cursive and do it by their own free will. HWOT is just easier and quicker for them to use in everyday writing.

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For cursive we use A Reason for Handwriting, but only to teach the letter strokes.  After that we move to copywork.  I don't like the bible verses offered in the book either, so we skip those. 

 

For manuscript I like HWOT, but as others have said, you don't need any extra elements.  All you need is the workbook.  I only use HWOT to teach the letter strokes as well though.  I don't like the large spaces they leave between words and prefer to move to copywork once they have the letters down.

 

 

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We started off with Zaner-Bloser manuscript workbooks (worked great), then transitioned to Zaner-Bloser cursive workbooks (worked great), and ended up with homemade New American Cursive copywork made up on StartWrite software (which has its glitches, but it was worth working through them to get the result we wanted -- our own copywork in the NAC font).

 

Overall, though, I think that (for us, at least) the most important factor in producing lovely penmanship has just been the focus and attention of the teacher while the students are writing. That is to say, no workbook or system (that I know of) will do my job for me -- I have to pay attention to how they are writing while they are writing. Also, I check all their work, and make them redo anything that is sloppy (for them). They all have beautiful penmanship (when they want to, LOL), both in manuscript and in cursive.

 

So, in a way, we could use whatever we like, but the results are (IMO) less dependent on the product than on the consistent investment of attention and time on the part of the teacher. HTH.

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We've tried just about everything and I am finally settling on HWT. I didn't like the font for a long time but then started getting interested in French Cursive. It is closest to that.

French cursive is basically what my kids cursive ends up looking like. I thinks it's nice.
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Just wanted to add, no matter what we all end up using, we're doing right by our kids. My two oldest were using cursive in one of there 4-H clubs last week and really impressed their peers. I didn't sound like it's a skill many others had learned. My goals were for my kids to be able to read others' cursive and use cursive when appropriate and desired. Both those goals have been accomplished.  

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Guest sterling

Not to hijack this thread :), but how does Getty-Dubay compare to and differ from Zaner-Bloser?

 

I like the one-stroke Z-B method, but the workbooks seem a bit weak to me, so I was thinking of replacing it...

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Not to hijack this thread :), but how does Getty-Dubay compare to and differ from Zaner-Bloser?

 

I like the one-stroke Z-B method, but the workbooks seem a bit weak to me, so I was thinking of replacing it...

 

I've not used Z-B, but G-D uses a one-stroke method, as well.  I loved it (though I did adjust the order of the first book for my young writers).  Rainbow Resource has page samples from each book, if you want to use that to compare the workbooks.

 

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Getty Dubay...

 

This is my reason...almost every kid I know reverts to manuscript after years of cursive instruction and use.  My son had gorgeous, mature, and VERY fast and legible cursive, but he reverted back to manuscript the second I allowed him.  In fact, he only had one year of manuscript and 5 years of cursive, yet in 7th grade the second I told him I didn't mind anymore, it was 100% manuscript.  He says it's because he sees the letters in his head as what he's used to reading. Fast or not fast, to him it is illogical.

 

Then there's my daughter who learned two years of manuscript, and then two years of cursive.  HEr cursive was so pretty and smooth, too....She was struggling so much with the cursive partly because of her spelling, (you can't just erase one letter)...so I allowed her to use manuscript again for a little while but, it's too slow.  She now uses a form of Italic that she made up on her own, while looking at Getty-Dubay.  She is very happy with it, and it looks great.  It's a bit of a hybrid  because she learned regular cursive but it's mostly Getty Dubay with a few loops here and there.

 

Basically, Getty Dubay looks almost exactly like the manuscript, except with a few changes to join letters.  There are no loops, no frills, and it's logical.  It makes sense and in the mind of boys, and dyslexics, and just logical kids that hate cursive, it's worth learning.

 

My two cents.  I wasted like 3 years of my life, about 30 minutes per day teaching cursive.  ANd then another seven years combined, dealing with complaints about cursive.  It was a lot of wasted time!  

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HWOT-simple, easy to implement. My kids (it turns out) virtually all have major fine motor delays, and all have quite nice handwriting and good pencil grips thanks to HWOT. Not that it hasn't taken time. For most kids, you only really need the books and some golf pencils. I do like the chalk-boards for practicing letter formation in K (I just use regular chalk and a make-up sponge for wet-dry-try). And I use the expensive paper for T and D, since they find it really hard to write on regular paper. I'll start to transition T in the next year or so. S could always write nicely on other paper. I have the wooden blocks, but I would only recommend them if you had a child with big fine-motor problems. I did find them helpful for teaching one child capital letters, but that was really the only time I used them. S (11) has a really nice cursive hand, now. It looks less like HWOT, but quite mature and very legible, with a lovely slant. Very modern with no unnecessary loops. You should hear the "oohs" from the ladies over 50 when they see it. Our local schools don't teach cursive much or at all, so they are always quite impressed.   T's writing also looks lovely. I was taught a beautiful but convoluted cursive, and honestly, hers looks closer to what I was taught than anything I ever achieved. Anyway, we shall see how their writing looks in a while, but so far I am very happy. 

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