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How much handwriting in Kindergarten?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm just curious how much handwriting we actually need to have planned for kindergarten. Do I really need an entire curriculum/workbook for it or can we just make sure we're at least doing a little bit of writing each day? My son knows the basics on how to form each of the letters, both upper and lower case, but of course he's still pretty sloppy and doesn't always place them where they should go on the line. But I am trying to really simplify my plan and need to know if it's ok to just forgo the formal handwriting practice book type of thing. We're thinking of having FIAR be our main focus because I like the simplicity and I'd rather not add a ton of stuff in addition to it.
post #2 of 14
At this age, I am much more 'go with the flow of the child' and my reply would be that it would depend on your son. My son went through a phase last year where he was EXTREMELY interested in writing his name and some words, so I did purchase HWTears so that I could make sure that *I* was guiding him correctly when it came to writing. He LOVED the Pre-K book (Get Ready for School) and isn't all that fond of the K book (Letters and Numbers for Me).
I continue to leave it in our curriculum at this point b/c I want the foundations there, but I don't 'push' it or anything. As far as whether it's "needed" in Kindergarten, I don't know...and I think it just depends on you and your child.
post #3 of 14
We're very relaxed here, especially in the earlier years.

Since my kids were very young, I'd always have various writing materials accessible for them to use whenever they wanted, nothing formal.

- fisher price magnadoodle http://www.toysrus.com/product/index...ductId=3145494

- chalk/chalkboard

- wipe off board with dry erase markers http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo...ls/viewall.jsp

- Priddy wipe off books (purchased at Marshall's or TJMaxx) http://www.amazon.com/Wipe-Clean-Let...d_bxgy_b_img_b

- Easel, paints/brushes, crayons, markers. paper pads/rolls, etc.
- magnetic letters

I would model writing for them (their names, shopping lists, Christmas lists, recipes, etc.) whenever possible.
Also, we kept a print rich environment (the alphabet, their names, our names, etc.) written somewhere (notebook, the fridge) were they can refer to them if needed.

Other helpful liinks for you;
Stages of Writing http://www.sedubois.k12.in.us/~jblac...of_writing.htm

Donna Young's Handwriting
http://donnayoung.org/penmanship/

HTH
post #4 of 14
There's really no need for him to write at all yet. It's not as if you're getting him ready to fit into a classroom situation next year in which some of the children will already be writing well - he has all the time in the world to just take it easy and learn little by little in his own way. Simplifying would work great for both of you. Lillian
post #5 of 14
I don't think you have to do handwriting , but I would do a lot of motor skill work.The stronger his upper body strength and hand strength is the easier it will be for him to write when you do decide to teach it. To do to absolutely nothing might make it harder for you in grade 1-2. I think when many of us were in k that is what the focus was on, building the motor skills so in 1st grade writing we could begin writing.
post #6 of 14
I hear that having the child draw with colored pencils will strengthen their hand to be ready for writing. Anything to strengthen those little muscles, even playing with play-do/clay. Encourage counter-clockwise circles when they draw circles.

If ready to learn to write their letters, I recommend Handwriting Without Tears. It's fun and multisensory and uses all kinds of ways to strengthen the hands and get ready for handwriting. We started at 4.25 years. The program has been such a huge success for us, my daughter loves to write. All on her own, she writes all day long and now has gotten quite neat and small handwriting. She desperately wants to learn cursive now so this month we'll be starting HWT Cursive. We went through Pre-K, K, 1, and 2 all in just over a year, due to my daughter's interest. (We don't go through all the other subjects this fast!)
post #7 of 14
We're entering our sixth year of homeschooling and we haven't done formal handwriting for kindergarten. Just some basic pencil/crayon holding.
post #8 of 14
for kindergarten this year, my son used handwriting without tears. it familiarized him with the letters and a little bit of copy work (words and short sentences sprinkled throughout). that's all we used. for grade 1, i plan to incorporate writing with ease 1 and moving at his pace. hth.
post #9 of 14
Agree with much of what's been said. It really depends on the child. It's totally not "necessary" at this age -- unless they're really interested in it, of course!

I pushed loads of handwriting on my son from a very early age. He hated it and fought me at every turn. Years and years later, it was still atrocious. I didn't know any better at the time. He's now 12 and finally seeing some improvement -- and interest -- using Penny Gardner's Italics book. I wish I'd held off and followed him more. It turns out he has various physiological issues, writing is physically difficult for him. I probably just made things worse.

My daughter, on the other hand, is only 3.5, and has been able to write a few simple letters since before her 3rd birthday. She just made a 'valentine card' for me a few days ago, and wrote "mom" on the envelope all be herself, perfectly. When she sees her brother doing his handwriting practice, she DEMANDS to do some herself as well. I'm using some of the Italics book with her, but also some d'Nealian worksheets downloaded for free off the internet which have more tracing, so it's better for her right now.

She loves it, and demands it, so we do it. It's totally not "necessary" for her because of any arbitrary curriculum demands -- we just do it because she wants to. So if your kid is NOT particularly interested in a handwriting book right now, and you want to simplify, then by all means leave it off. He'll probably be doing a little writing here and there anyway (it's hard to avoid it), just gently help when he wants help with letter formations. And yes, lots of fine motor skills practice is great too. Drawing! Kids love drawing, and painting, and picking up small objects to sort them into ice cube trays (with tongs too is great)... it's all great stuff.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mebsy View Post
I'm just curious how much handwriting we actually need to have planned for kindergarten. Do I really need an entire curriculum/workbook for it or can we just make sure we're at least doing a little bit of writing each day? My son knows the basics on how to form each of the letters, both upper and lower case, but of course he's still pretty sloppy and doesn't always place them where they should go on the line. But I am trying to really simplify my plan and need to know if it's ok to just forgo the formal handwriting practice book type of thing. We're thinking of having FIAR be our main focus because I like the simplicity and I'd rather not add a ton of stuff in addition to it.
A way to simplify it is to think in terms of what kindergarten originally was - it wasn't about any of the 3Rs at all, but about a very gentle transition from home into a pleasant taste of what school would be like later. It involved free play, a little structured play, and a bit of listening/participating with a teacher who led games or told stories, read to them, etc. - simply getting used to classroom social structures, etc. Friedrich Fröbel came up with the idea of kindergarten in Germany in 1840, and generations of people have gone through kindergartens to successfully go on through schools and higher education without having the addition of the 3Rs common in some schools today In a home setting, you could skip anything structured and never be behind. A child that age has many years ahead of him to learn letters, numbers, reading, writing, etc. So simplicity is perfect - the simpler, the better - you don't need to try to follow what the failing school systems are doing to shore up the mess they've made of the later grades. Just enjoy and have fun with your child. Lillian

post #11 of 14
My two oldest sons and I practiced together making the letters to spell their first names. We did this so they could sign their own names on their first library card. They would often practice "writing" their names with a finger in shaving cream on the bathtub wall during bath time or on a chalkboard or on a paper with crayon, but mostly because it was their own idea and of their own choosing. Later, perhaps the following year, my oldest showed more interest in writing more letters and words. He did not suffer later on for not doing workbooks at all. He writes when he needs to and it is perfectly adequate.

It will be different for each child, what they are ready for. I do not regret going at their pace. My advice is to not worry about doing much handwriting at this age. There are *more important* things a child at this age needs to be doing. Play is their work and they learn through that medium best (more than we adults often realize). One of my favorites websites for kindergarten is from MDC member, LillianJ: http://besthomeschooling.org/article..._ps_kdgtn.html.

Enjoy making these memories, you'll come to treasure them more and more in time.
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post #12 of 14
I would probably only emphasize it if 1)your child was very interested in it or )there was a good chance you'd end up in Public 1st Grade next year. Other than that, I'd simply go with the flow.
post #13 of 14
My plan for kindy was to have dd write one letter once a few times a week just to help with ID. However, dd showed interest in doing more, so I got HWOT K which was just the right amount of work for her. Bottom line-Do what's right for your child!
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


A way to simplify it is to think in terms of what kindergarten originally was - it wasn't about any of the 3Rs at all, but about a very gentle transition from home into a pleasant taste of what school would be like later. It involved free play, a little structured play, and a bit of listening/participating with a teacher who led games or told stories, read to them, etc. -

And to back up what Lillian said: Kindergarten translates to Children's garden.
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