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Last spring, I was researching handwriting for this year and thought that HWOT would be our best choice. Well, I didn't have the money to put into all the things I wanted and decided that handwriting would be the easiest to do without a curric. Now I'm thinking that I really should get it. My question is - how much of the program do I really need?

 

Obviously the student book... do I need the teacher's guide? I think I can probably make my own 'wood pieces' out of foam if necessary, but looking at the samples (and knowing how my son learns) I think the slate board would be a nice addition.

 

Also, would you suggest buying additional paper? I've heard of people just creating their own double line paper on the computer (which I would probably do since I make my own notebook pages). Do I even need to worry about the paper?

 

Please help me get what I need but spend as little as possible. I am looking around to buy from the cheapest source (recommendations are great!) but I think it's going to be cheaper to buy everything from one place to save on shipping.

 

TIA!

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Oh, and there are templates of the HWOT lined paper in the back of the workbooks, so if you have a scanner/printer, you can print out as much as you need. But you can also purchase it. It's really nice having their paper; ds uses it for everything; copywork for other subjects, letters, etc.

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I think it depends on why you are using HWOT. My ds's OT used it with all the bells and whistles during his sessions and for him, someone who has obvious issues with SID and possibly ADHD and an ASD then they helped. The little two sided crayons were very helpful as were the wood pieces. Again, that was good for my ds. My dd's have not needed these things and while nice they would be unnecessary for the others and when $ is of concern than I would not purchase it. HTH

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I have HWOT, but we haven't used the workbook past the first few pages--I want to get back to it. We have the student workbook, the teacher's book (which I like because it has things for the student to do on certain pages that I wouldn't have thought of), the flip crayons, and the slate. Edited to add: and the sponges, which dd uses every time she uses the slate also.

 

We use the slate quite often, not related to HWOT, but it's still good practice. We also use the flip crayons a lot. Dd really likes them. I initially broke all her regular crayons into smaller pieces, since I read about that technique, to get her to hold the crayons with fingertips instead of in her fist, but as soon as she started using crayons regularly, they quickly became too small, or when they get dropped to the floor they break into even smaller pieces (whew! how's that for a long sentence--sorry!). Anyway, the flip crayons are cheap, so that's worth getting. I like the chalkboard too. Very good quality (I have nothing to compare it to, though).

 

The reason we haven't really used the workbook much is because we have tons of preschool/K workbooks, so we've been using lots of other stuff, and she's been learning to write through a variety of resources. Frequently in recent months, she wants to write a letter or a card to someone, usually someone in our own household, so she tells me what she wants to write, I write it out for her on a scrap paper, and she copies mine.

 

I'm trying to get all of our PreK/K stuff "used up", so eventually I'll get back to the HWOT.

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I bought everything HWOT sells. I have used only the student workbooks. Well, dd4 did play around with the wooden pieces & slates a few times, and I forced the boys to use the short pencils, but if I had to do it all over again, I would only buy the student workbooks. The paper was a total waste of money for me, and the student workbooks are so self-explanatory you don't really need the teacher's guide. My boys are progressing nicely through the workbooks, working pretty much independently. Ds8 is on cursive now and, surprisingly, his printing has improved.

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THis is what I would consider essential:

 

The Student Workbook: ESSENTIAL

 

The Teacher Manual: Interesting, useful, not very expensive, NOT ESSENTIAL

 

The Small Slate: ESSENTIAL This is absolutely brilliant for preventing reversals and my ds loved it. (the mini chalk is good, but you can use any chalk - the mini sponges were extremely helpful but you can cut up a sponge you already have but the exercises with the sponge are great!)

 

Wooden Letters and Mat Man: NOT ESSENTIAL. I never used these but was prepared to order them if the slate was not enough. My ds did not need this.

 

The large chalk board: NOT ESSENTIAL

 

The Paper: NOT ESSENTIAL but I do use it.

 

The CD: NOT ESSENTIAL. I have it because of the reviews here but it doesn't do anything for my kids.

 

 

This is based on using the program with my ds5 starting in August of this year. He did not know how to write all the letters when he started (maybe 8 or so letters he already knew) and now he is already on the first grade workbook. Now, I think his handwriting is better than mine! (I am serious!)

 

I would do the chalkboard letter, let him do the wet sponge, then copy the wet line with chalk. Then we would move to the workbook. That's it!

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Thanks for all the replies. The thing I was debating most over was the TG. Since it's not a required part, but might be useful, I now need to examine how much I have to spend and how much use I'll get out of it.

 

I'm looking forward to trying this, as teaching my ds handwriting has become frustrating. Now if I can just get my ds excited about it as well! :-) Wonder how he's going to react to switching it up so much (we've been doing a block style writing up to now).

 

Thanks again!

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the teacher guide is not essential, but it does have many handy little tips in it.

 

for example, if they are pressing too hard - put the mat behind the paper. too much force will put a hole in the paper and they'll learn to ease up.

 

little things like that can be helpful if it's your first time using HWOT or teaching penmanship in general.

 

they also have tips on how to correct refversal problems and terms to use

like "bump" the line, is better than "go to the line"

 

sounds petty, but it made a difference with my oldest son:)

 

I would say the workbook, manual are essential

for the younger crowd I'd also want the wooden sticks and chalkboard

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Which one/level are you buying? If he's already started writing, than I don't know that you need all the accessories. My younger daughter started from scratch so we bought the blocks and the slate. I wish I had bought her the small pencils, but live and learn. I also bought the TM for hints and ideas. My older daughter is doing their cursive program. For that I bought the special student chalkboard, and paper. She does all her writing on HWT paper. It really helps with her spacing since it's what she's used to. She was always very frustrated with the traditional 3 lined/dotted line in the middle paper, and has fared much better with HWT.

 

Oh, and one more thing. The pre-K book is a waste of money IMO. It's mainly a coloring book. I would start with K (the orange book).

 

HTH!

Dorinda

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Which one/level are you buying? If he's already started writing, than I don't know that you need all the accessories. My younger daughter started from scratch so we bought the blocks and the slate. I wish I had bought her the small pencils, but live and learn. I also bought the TM for hints and ideas. My older daughter is doing their cursive program. For that I bought the special student chalkboard, and paper. She does all her writing on HWT paper. It really helps with her spacing since it's what she's used to. She was always very frustrated with the traditional 3 lined/dotted line in the middle paper, and has fared much better with HWT.

 

Oh, and one more thing. The pre-K book is a waste of money IMO. It's mainly a coloring book. I would start with K (the orange book).

 

HTH!

Dorinda

 

I'm buying the K level book. He's writing, but it's a lot of reversals, counter clockwise motions, etc. And it of course is all over the place, he can't seem to keep it in a line or all about the same size. I'm hoping the slateboard will be helpful for that. We already use golf pencils most of the time as pencil grip was his first big hurdle. I've seen a huge improvement the last couple months, but it's not consistent because of the way I've been teaching him. I think I'm going to skip over any paper right now, because I'm not sure what I'll use. And from a PP it sounds like there is some in the back of the book that I can copy if needed. I may just make up my own once I know we're using it. I may end up making some grey squares for capitals that I can add onto any notebook page as well, since it looks like the child starts with those and I think it'll help a lot for my son to see his boundries.

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IMHO, all you need to buy is the student workbook and the special paper. I'd skip the wood pieces and everything else. You might want to buy the teacher's guide for the first level you do because it gives some general advice about teaching handwriting that is useful throughout the program, but it is not completely necessary. The take home message from the teacher's guide is this--do not allow the child to "draw" the letters any old way (be sure to form them as it says to in the student book), watch your child like a hawk to be sure he/she is forming the letters properly until it is automatic, and only do 5 minutes of handwritng practice per day, but make sure that the child is doing his/her best work during that practice. I also think the levels below My Printing Book are fairly useless.

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Oh, and one more thing. The pre-K book is a waste of money IMO. It's mainly a coloring book. I would start with K (the orange book).

I pulled out our pre-K book to look at, since we haven't done anything in it for ages. We did 3 pages! I paged through the rest of the book, and most of what is in it we've already done in other pre-K workbooks (Carson-Dellosa, Frank Schaffer, Learn on the Go, and a Sesame Street preschool workbook by Learning Horizons). Now that I look more closely at it, my dd5 is way past the HWOT book. I'll save it for my younger dd, for a year from now.

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I'm buying the K level book. He's writing, but it's a lot of reversals, counter clockwise motions, etc. And it of course is all over the place, he can't seem to keep it in a line or all about the same size. I'm hoping the slateboard will be helpful for that. We already use golf pencils most of the time as pencil grip was his first big hurdle. I've seen a huge improvement the last couple months, but it's not consistent because of the way I've been teaching him. I think I'm going to skip over any paper right now, because I'm not sure what I'll use. And from a PP it sounds like there is some in the back of the book that I can copy if needed. I may just make up my own once I know we're using it. I may end up making some grey squares for capitals that I can add onto any notebook page as well, since it looks like the child starts with those and I think it'll help a lot for my son to see his boundries.

Building the letters with the wood pieces and playdough helps with reversals. Do you have younger children? It you do, I would get it all. If your ds is your youngest, I would suggest the TM, workbook, both types of slates and wood pieces with letter cards. If I had to leave something off the list I just gave, it would be the wood pieces and letter cards. HWT wb's do not have enough practice writing without the slates. The slates are where you get most of your handwriting practice with the wet-dry technique that is explained in the TM. I do 1 day of slate work where I introduce the letter and then next day I do the corresponding page in the wb. If you do this, 4 days a week, the wb will last the whole year. If you only do the wb, it won't last very long.

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I do 1 day of slate work where I introduce the letter and then next day I do the corresponding page in the wb. If you do this, 4 days a week, the wb will last the whole year. If you only do the wb, it won't last very long.

 

Oh, yes I agree! The workbook won't last long if you are only doing the book so I definitely recommend extra paper along with the slate.

 

I had to buy the 1st grade workbook because we went through the workbook so quickly. I need to stretch this one for the rest of the year and my ds is way past needing the chalk board so I am doing a lot of sentences on paper for him to copy.

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Wow, thanks for all the GREAT help! I'm really looking forward to get the books and getting started. I'm sure my ds's handwriting is not THAT bad at the moment, but he just got his first letter from a new penpal who is also 5 and I'm AMAZED at the ability of this child. I know I shouldn't compare, but I'm half embarrassed to have my child send out a letter with such horrible handwriting. But then I think about where he was 2 months ago, and I can see a huge improvement. So even though the first couple letters will be bad, with HWOT I'm confident that it'll improve quickly. :)

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The wood pieces are fun, but not a neccessity, imho. I bought the whole shebang, and we really USED: the student workbook, the slate for my ds (5, he really loves the slate, lol). And that's about it.

 

I also bought the itty bitty sponges they sell for the slate (to "wet-trace" the letters). They weren't $$ and we do use those quite often and I like them better than tearing off a piece of paper towel or something.

 

I love the program, but could have saved some $ by making my own paper, etc. lol So far, my 8yo dd who uses the program, uses the special lines in her workbook, but prefers regular writing paper when she's just writing. She says the double lines confuse her. DS, who's been using HWT since the beginning of his handwriting "career" also uses his workbook, but prefers regular writing paper when he's practicing or copying.

 

hths a little! :)

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We bought the slate, workbook, and wood pieces. Both older kids really liked the wood pieces , they had a lot of fun with that part of it but I don't know how much it actually added to their handwriting. We used the slates to practice each letter before using the workbook and they still use them today to play with.

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I think it is unlikely that you could save much money making your own paper. The HWT paper is fairly inexpensive and depending on how much writing your child does, you may even be able to get away with getting a smaller package for an entire school year. If you were to make your own paper, you would still have to buy paper and ink/toner for the printer.

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The student book is the only thing we use consistently. I did get the wooden pieces out for my preschooler, but they weren't needed for my older two. I have. The chalkboards but don't use them. One teacher book is enough to get background on the philosophy, but I don't found them to be essential.

 

There is a blank page of lines paper at the back of each book that you could simply copy if you want extra. BTW, I by directly from the hwtears site since their prices seem as good or better than most honeschooling supply sites.

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I think it is unlikely that you could save much money making your own paper. The HWT paper is fairly inexpensive and depending on how much writing your child does, you may even be able to get away with getting a smaller package for an entire school year. If you were to make your own paper, you would still have to buy paper and ink/toner for the printer.

 

I realize that if I was just making regular paper, it probably won't be much of a savings. But I'm one that likes to add pictures and what not to the paper. So I'm thinking I'll just come up with some way to add the spaces I need to the paper I've created already. And as a PP stated, my ds may not even want to use the special lines. :)

 

And yes - I'm looking at buying from the hwtears site, I can't find everything elsewhere for a better price. :)

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Now this suggestion is not in the spirit of saving money, but... I finally bought Educational Fontware after years of resisting it (because of the price). You can use any handwriting font (and we use HWT) and create pages with copywork and blank lines and whatever else you want. Among other things, I use this to write up my son's narration pages and then give him some lines to copy part of it at the bottom. I add a picture from the History Through the Ages timeline figure collection and it looks great. It is an amazing product and I would have bought it years ago had I known.

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