Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

4KookieKids

What makes HWOT so special?

Recommended Posts

I've spent some decent time reading past threads about HWOT and dysgraphia. I've spent some time looking on the HWOT website. I get that everyone raves about how it works - but can anyone tell me why? I'm not suggesting it's not worth the $, but I'd like to understand what I'll really be getting for my $ before spending it at least (and be assured that it really would offer something new/better). 🙂

Currently, my dysgraphic kiddos practice their handwriting/letter formation the way taught in Spalding (clock letters begin at the 2 o'clock, with enough space to make the clock shape, line letters start near, always from the top, slight slant, etc., lots of details about how they should sit and hold the paper with the one hand, pencil grip, etc.) We do air-writing and multi-sensory stuff like kinetic sand or cloud dough or rice or tracing letters on various body parts. We practice a lot, highlight the bottom half of space to remind them where their "short" letters belong, etc. They do have low muscle tone and some core strength issues that we are addressing, but the fact remains that my kids aren't making the progress I'd like, and I'm not sure if it's because we really need HWOT and whatever it has that we don't already do, or if progress is difficult just because they're actually dysgraphic. (duh. lol)  [ FWIW: We have seen three OT's in the past who had no constructive advice for us, and we are not able to pursue another OT right now, so I need to figure this out myself.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think it is magical for dysgraphia.  I don’t think anything is magical.  What you are doing sounds good to me.  

Edited by Lecka
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Lecka said:

I don’t think it is magical for dysgraphia.  I don’t think anything is magical.  What you are doing sounds good to me.  

That's good to know. I didn't want to skip it if it's the ONE thing that really would make a difference. But I also don't want to waste money if we're already (most likely) doing as good as we can!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Their little chalkboard and starting at the smiley face is helpful for reversals.

Also, they have a thing called, "wet, dry, try." You use a wet small sponge on the chalkboard to write the letters or numbers, then the dry sponge, then the chalk.  The chalkboard also has them writing the letters in a nice big size. My kids thought the little chalkboards and sponges and tiny chalk pieces were fun.  The little chalk pieces are just the right size for little stuffies to do school with.  

If you google "Handwriting Without Tears Wet Dry Try" on YouTube, you get some videos so you can see.  Their books are not anything special IMO but you might want to get the chalkboard, chalk, and sponges and use them with the writing you are currently doing to get in more fun practice.

Edited by ElizabethB
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

Their little chalkboard and starting at the smiley face is helpful for reversals.

Also, they have a thing called, "wet, dry, try." You use a wet small sponge on the chalkboard to write the letters or numbers, then the dry sponge, then the chalk.  The chalkboard also has them writing the letters in a nice big size. My kids thought the little chalkboards and sponges and tiny chalk pieces were fun.  The little chalk pieces are just the right size for little stuffies to do school with.  

If you google "Handwriting Without Tears Wet Dry Try" on YouTube, you get some videos so you can see.  Their books are not anything special IMO but you might want to get the chalkboard, chalk, and sponges and use them with the writing you are currently doing to get in more fun practice.

ITA. 

Our art teacher is also a certified/or trained HWOT specialist, and the explained a lot about the "why" for me on HWOT so I really cut down on what I bought as necessities. They tiny chalk and sponges and short pencils etc. allow them to develop their grip and strength- it's a lot of hidden OT imo. The smiley faced helped a LOT. So now I put it on the top of any worksheet dd has. Some of the things I think are just kid dependent. She happened to click with the way they explained the "Magic C" that other programs hadn't. I did it on the cheap. I bought the chalk, the student book, the first TM (never bought any of the others past the Orange one) at Mardel, and the smiley face chalk board. 

I think you could easily put something together yourself like ElizabethB says. It was just easier for me to buy it all at once. By the time I realized we needed HWOT I was done hemorrhaging money on Zane Blosser and other things that hand't worked for her. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remembered the name of the program my older son worked on in OT..... he had already done HWOT since Kindergarten at school.  She didn’t think HWOT was great for him and did some with this Loops and Other Groups she liked for him.  https://www.therapro.com/Browse-Category/Loops-and-Other-Groups/Loops-and-Other-Groups-A-Kinesthetic-Writing-System.html
 

It’s hard for me to say.  He had improvement but you would never know he had been in OT from his handwriting.  
 

I do think HWOT is a quality program.  
 

Where I lived at the time, it was extremely, extremely hard to qualify for OT unless the primary diagnosis was something like autism.  I heard something like he and one child in a higher grade were qualified for OT just for dysgraphia in the entire school.  
 

So I don’t think it’s anything against HWOT that it didn’t work well for him.  He was diagnosed with dysgraphia when he was 9, after he had been in OT for years.  So — all the things he did, he still had dysgraphia.  
 

I don’t know if he would now or not.  He has improved.  
 

Edit:  he definitely didn’t learn the formation of the letters in “just 6 weeks” like it says on the website.  That is just hilarious.  

Edited by Lecka
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The big benefit of HWOT is that it isn’t really a handwriting program as much as a fine motor development program that also teaches handwriting. The PK and K teacher’s guides and the methods and skills used are awesome. Once you get to about 1st grade, and even more to 3rd, it is a lot less unique and beneficial. I’ve done the teacher training twice and DD has done it once, and honestly, I think it’s a program that would be very, very hard to implement correctly without the training, because the workbook is the smallest and least important piece when it comes to fine motor development, and that is where HWOT shines. And I think the teacher training is actually a really good deal for a homeschooler because you get a set of ALL of the materials, which is all you need for one child at a time to go through the program (and you would only need an additional workbook for a second child). 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ElizabethB said:

Their little chalkboard and starting at the smiley face is helpful for reversals.

Also, they have a thing called, "wet, dry, try." You use a wet small sponge on the chalkboard to write the letters or numbers, then the dry sponge, then the chalk.  The chalkboard also has them writing the letters in a nice big size. My kids thought the little chalkboards and sponges and tiny chalk pieces were fun.  The little chalk pieces are just the right size for little stuffies to do school with.  

If you google "Handwriting Without Tears Wet Dry Try" on YouTube, you get some videos so you can see.  Their books are not anything special IMO but you might want to get the chalkboard, chalk, and sponges and use them with the writing you are currently doing to get in more fun practice.

 

This is easy enough - we already have small chalkboards, sponges, and small chalk. lol. Thanks!
 

7 hours ago, dmmetler said:

The big benefit of HWOT is that it isn’t really a handwriting program as much as a fine motor development program that also teaches handwriting. The PK and K teacher’s guides and the methods and skills used are awesome. Once you get to about 1st grade, and even more to 3rd, it is a lot less unique and beneficial. I’ve done the teacher training twice and DD has done it once, and honestly, I think it’s a program that would be very, very hard to implement correctly without the training, because the workbook is the smallest and least important piece when it comes to fine motor development, and that is where HWOT shines. And I think the teacher training is actually a really good deal for a homeschooler because you get a set of ALL of the materials, which is all you need for one child at a time to go through the program (and you would only need an additional workbook for a second child). 


Also good information! Thanks! It kind of reinforces my suspicion from looking at it that most of the stuff that I could buy from the store wouldn't be much more than I already do - but I will definitely give the training a look!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/6/2020 at 11:40 AM, dmmetler said:

The big benefit of HWOT is that it isn’t really a handwriting program as much as a fine motor development program that also teaches handwriting. The PK and K teacher’s guides and the methods and skills used are awesome. Once you get to about 1st grade, and even more to 3rd, it is a lot less unique and beneficial. I’ve done the teacher training twice and DD has done it once, and honestly, I think it’s a program that would be very, very hard to implement correctly without the training, because the workbook is the smallest and least important piece when it comes to fine motor development, and that is where HWOT shines. And I think the teacher training is actually a really good deal for a homeschooler because you get a set of ALL of the materials, which is all you need for one child at a time to go through the program (and you would only need an additional workbook for a second child). 

This.

My dysgraphic kid also did a lot of OT, and all of them used HWT because it 1. Expressly teaches proper grip, body positioning, and paper slant, 2. Has some built in visual orientation stuff, 3. Is multi sensory. Most people don’t use the letter pieces, songs, and other components that make up the full program, but the complete program offers a lot for people who learn in different ways. 

The print alphabet is a bit weird, but it was designed to make a smooth transition to cursive.

I am going to be 100% completely honest. We hit handwriting really, really hard. He had 9 solid years of instruction. He can legibly fill out a medical intake sheet and sign his name in cursive (our two goals),  but the handwriting he uses for himself is illegible chicken scratch that most people would call PK-K level handwriting. 

And that’s ok.

There’s enough tech to get him by.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My younger son did the letter pieces in pre-school and I love them.  
 

I wonder if my son was older?  He was.... I think he would have been 8 when he started private OT.  He was too old I think for things that seemed younger and had already failed (basically) with HWOT at that point.  
 

Typing is working out great here, too, finally at long last.  That did not come together really, really well until he was about 12, but it was enough to be much better when he was about 11.  
 

I do not think there is anything with handwriting for him where you could say — go buy this program, it will make such a difference.  That’s not the same as saying — this one is a quality program. 
 

It’s not like reading remediation where I would say — yeah, don’t keep beating your head against the wall, there are things that are worth buying.  
 

Edit:  really, I loved the wood pieces with my younger son.  He had OT from the time he was 4.  My older son didn’t until he was 7-8 and there is no way he would have gone back to pre-school type things at that age.  He was frequently borderline angry to be there because of it being frustrating for him.  
 

He had been in pretty intensive speech therapy before, and he hated to go to it.  He liked it once he was there and while he was there, but he was also on the verge of shutting down a lot of the time, to the point the clinic director would come out to talk to me (which was not usual).  We ended up cutting his sessions down and I took him for a hot dog on the way there (which — I do not do hot dogs — but he loves hot dogs) and an ice cream treat on the way home.  Like — to get him in the door of speech therapy I was getting him a hot dog — literally — sometimes I was physically getting him out of the car and then he would try to run away before we got to the door.  Once we went into the building he would be perfect.  
 

It was such a disappointment to then still need OT.  He had already done major speech therapy and major reading remediation at home, and I thought handwriting was a lower priority then.  But then you get an 8-year-old working on letter formations who is going to think HWOT is for babies and has already failed with it and already thinks “I can’t do this” about various things with it.  
 

I would not say I fought for handwriting with him.  I did fight for reading, and I did fight for him to learn his math facts.  

 

Edited by Lecka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/6/2020 at 2:40 PM, dmmetler said:

I’ve done the teacher training twice and DD has done it once, and honestly, I think it’s a program that would be very, very hard to implement correctly without the training, because the workbook is the smallest and least important piece when it comes to fine motor development, and that is where HWOT shines. And I think the teacher training is actually a really good deal for a homeschooler because you get a set of ALL of the materials, which is all you need for one child at a time to go through the program (and you would only need an additional workbook for a second child). 

I am looking at the K-5 handwriting workshop on the HWOT website. Is that the teacher training that you took?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can usually do the PK-5 as a 2 day, which is what I've done. I do agree that it is easiest to start with a child from the beginning, and that going back with an older child would be hard. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We started later, so didn't get that early stuff I see others praising here (so, our experience probably leaves out something important)

The reasons I think HWOT stands out are not things that really would help with dysgraphia.   I just personally hate ball and stick letters.  I like that most of their lowercase letters can be done without taking your pencil off the paper (I dislike that they teach many of the upper case letters in ways that DO require un-necessarily taking pencil off paper, like how they have kids start their capital A at the tip...why? )   Also, I've seen how forming the d and b differently (unlike traditional manuscript where they are essentially the same but backwards), helps with b/d reversals.   

But HWOT is not the only program that has those types of letters.   These also have them.

Logic of English (same letters, but italicized)

Progressive Phonics (plus their handwriting program is free).

PrintPath (on Teachers Pay Teacher...has a lot of great supplementary stuff that relates to spelling, math, and even science, but using lettering similar to HWOT, so I use them a lot for that.   Also has great resources on helping kids make the jump from three lined paper to regular lined paper.   She's an occupational therapist, so some of her materials might be helpful for dysgraphia...there's some I know she has specifically for that.) 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chiming in here as a veteran homeschool mom who used HWOT successfully with my three kids (without any special teacher training).  Wet/Dry/Try is awesome. 

It's been awhile since I used it (They have lots of new gizmos that they didn't have back when I used it). I just wanted to add two other key differences between HWOT and other programs.

One is the layout of the practice books. I don't know about Spaulding, but many (most?) practice books give one model letter at the beginning of each line, then the student is supposed to fill in the line with practice letters.  The problem is, by the second or third practice letter, the child only has their previous attempt as a model. The result is that their letters get worse and worse as they move across the page. In contrast, the HWOT books give a fresh model for every blank space, so that your child has a perfect example to look at and attempt to replicate.

The other difference is that the child is only asked to practice for 5-6 minutes a day. The practice pages are small, and they lie flat. This short practice time allows the child to really focus on making his/her letters as perfect as possible, rather than spend 15-20 minutes writing messy letters. The author explains that 5 minutes of intent practice of good letters does more good than 20 minutes of messy, mindless practice. The flat spine assures that the child isn't trying to write with their hand resting on a humped binding. 

The HWOT Cursive program is wonderful, too, and may work better than manuscript for a dysgraphic student. I love the teacher guide because it has great short scripted explanations that you can use to troubleshoot problems with your child's letters, that your child can understand. "The bag at the bottom of your 'b' is open. You need to close it up a bit more" 

 

 

Edited by Suzanne in ABQ
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...