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Logic of English Foundations to teach handwriting to a 4-year-old boy who’s already reading?

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My 4-year-old has recently asked me to teach him cursive. He said, “Mommy, can you teach me how to write like this: up and down, up and down…” while pretend-writing with a stick in the dirt.

Truth be told, I have been putting off teaching him handwriting. First of all, I don’t think I’m going to enjoy the process, and if I don’t, I’m afraid he might get discouraged, too. I am hoping that if we start when he’s older, it will come more easily to both of us. Secondly, my own handwriting is terrible, so I don’t feel awfully confident taking this on. I also believe he might be left-handed, which comes with its own set of challenges.

That being said, he’s almost 4.5 now. He reads very well for his age. (He reads aloud to me daily from a variety of books, e.g. the Magic Tree House series, which he finds easy, or the Usborne Young Reading Series 1 & 2, which he finds more challenging.) And he’s interested in writing. Not just handwriting, but actual composition. He often wants to write a note or a letter, or something else inspired by our reading. But then he gives up because it takes him too long. After all, all he knows is how to print capital letters (which he learned a while back from the HWOT and some slate & chalk practice.)

So I’ve looked at a bunch of curricula and I think I want to give Logic of English Foundations a try. Here’s what I’m hoping DS will get out of it:

·        Learn cursive and have fun while doing it.

·        Explicitly learn phonics/spelling rules. He reads well, but even though I’ve always emphasized phonics when we learned how to read (Reading Bear, Teach Your Monster to Read), he gravitates towards the whole-word approach, and does a lot of guessing instead of sounding out words that he doesn’t know.

·        Learn basic spelling.

·        Learn basic grammar concepts.

Doubts/Questions I have:

·        Is 4.5 too early to learn handwriting? (Although I suspect the answer is no.)

·        Are Foundations really the most efficient curriculum for a child who is already reading? Perhaps I should just get the Rhythm of Handwriting, then do a phonics-based spelling program and add a grammar supplement. And then move onto MCT or IEW, or something to that effect.

So what does everyone here think: is LoE Foundations the right choice for us? How long do the daily lessons take? Has anyone done it with a child who can already read? How was it? Is it a lot of busy work? I really want to avoid busy work. I’m all about minimum work for maximum results. Although I’m willing to sacrifice some efficiency if there is fun to be had. The poor thing is only 4.5 after all. So, is LoE really fun? Would it be fun for a child who doesn’t like to sit still and hates worksheets?

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It sounds like overkill to me.

For explicit phonics  instruction you could just speed on through something basic but thorough, like Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, slowing down when it starts to get tricky for him. You could pick up a spelling program when you're done with that. Some people with early readers just skip phonics and go straight to spelling, so there's another option.

Copywork is sufficient for handwriting, IME. Start with just one letter at a time, and work him up to copying whole sentences. 

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For my child who was reading I did handwriting with more of a Montessori bent.  We spent a lot of time working on pincher grasp and upper shoulder muscles, and then slowly migrated from paintbrushes and chalk and short crayons to spindles and triangular pencils.  He started with a salt box and a spindle (just a stick) to learn the letters grouped by stroke:

i, l, t, j, f

c, o, a, d, g (q is introduced with u to avoid confusion)

e

s

r, n, h, m

b, p, k

u, w, y, q, v

x, z

I taught D'nealian to make the transition to cursive quick and easy, but I also bought the School Rite guides to allow him to work independently outside of our few minutes working on it each day.  For him, brevity was the key.  We'd work on each group of letters slowly, learning the letter and then reinforcing previous ones with short three letter words.  Sometimes they were nonsense words that he would read back to me after he wrote them.

 

I'm really glad we didn't do a full curriculum while his skills were still very uneven.  Nothing would have worked well with the varied pace he needed.  Giving it 5 minutes a day and slowly working up from letters to words to sentences has done wonders for his handwriting.

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LOE Foundations is a lot of fun (my DS5 is finishing this week) but if all you need is the handwriting component, I’d recommend buying just Rhythm of Handwriting. 

How to form each letter is covered in Foundations A & B (afterwards everything is in bookface) and while some spelling rules are introduced in C & D, the majority are saved for Essentials. 

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