D'Nealian Handwiriting? WWYD? - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > D'Nealian Handwiriting? WWYD?
Shelsi's Avatar Shelsi 03:45 PM 12-28-2009
In preschool ds learned the typical stick and ball method of printing and had a hard time of it. His motor skills were a bit behind though at that time. This year for kindergarten his school taught D'Nealian style hand writing. I had never heard of it or seen it before. Ds actually has done pretty well with it though and seemed to pick up on it really quickly.

I just pulled him last week to HS and now I'm not sure what direction to go. I asked him if he could make a "regular" lower-case 'k' and he did with little problem - that used to be his hardest letter when he was doing the ball and stick method last year.

I don't know d'nealian nor do I really like how it looks. I think the 'k' looks bizarre. His name is Jake and when he's signed his name and other kids are watching (not from his school) they almost always say, "Jare? Your name is Jare??" Then I have to explain they taught him to write "k's" that way.

Since I don't know the proper way to do the d'nealian I should switch him back to ball and stick, right? He's expressed previously that he wishes he could write "normal" k's as well but OTOH he's done really well with d'nealian.

Momma Aimee's Avatar Momma Aimee 05:28 PM 12-28-2009
We have actually chosen D'Nealian to be our handwritting style. I like the few pen lifts, and the fact it is softer than other styles and the fact it "blends" into cursave faster and easy.

Rainbow Resource Center has several porducst for them:

http://www.rainbowresource.com/searc...028334-1836706

I have found it is harder / less common to find D'Nealian "stuff".

I have some sites compareing differnt methods on my other computer i would be glad to share.

But -- if it was me -- i would stick with D'Nealian and simply "sub" a "normal" K (lower case) who says he can't do that? My only concern would be if you see him retruning to school, esspically soon. For example we do see our boys going to school but not till 5th + and by then if they have a differnt handwritting style than the local school i doubt it will be an issue like it would be in 1st or 2nd -- as long as they are readable and neat.

But I like D'Nealian.

Maybe not worry about which offical "system" and jsut work on neat and readable and if he modifys letters then it is ok if it is neat and readable and consistant???
Mosaic's Avatar Mosaic 05:46 PM 12-28-2009
I grew up learning D'Nealian, then switched school systems and had a bear of a time switching to ball and stick. Fortunately, we started cursive at the same time, so I picked up on it faster than my classmates (who didn't have the D'Nealian background) and that was probably what saved me from a lot more frustration.

To this day, I still think many of the letters look weird; but I have to say there was something about it that just appealed to the way I learned and expressed myself. My brother, on the other hand, learned D'Nealian originally and switched to ball and stick AFTER he learned cursive, because that's what worked best for him. I think that if your son has shown a preference for D'Nealian, you'd probably be best off sticking with it, even if you may need to brush up a bit on some of the letters. I would also consider, however, if his age had anything to do with him struggling originally with ball and stick.
sahmmie's Avatar sahmmie 05:52 PM 12-28-2009
My oldest child went to a private school for K and 1st and she was taught D'Nealian. I didn't like it at first but I stuck with it once we started homeschooling and I am teaching it to my Kindergartner as well. Now that my oldest is learning cursive I can definitely see the advantages of having learned D'Nealian first. The transition from D'Nealian to cursive seems so much more natural and effortless than from the traditional block print.

The only downside I've noticed to teaching D'Nealian is that most workbooks and other curriculum materials use traditional block style print. For instance we use Horizons workbooks for phonics and reading and there is quite a bit of handwriting in these workbooks. My Kindergartner tends to write with a mixture of D'Nealian and block print in her workbooks because the workbooks are written in block print. However she practices D'Nealian letters daily and she uses mostly D'Nealian in her own personal writing. I think this is probably okay though because when my dd was in school she also brought home plenty of worksheets in block print and she still eventually learned to write predominantly in D'Nealian.

I use this terrific free website to print D'Nealian worksheets for my Kindergartner and cursive worksheets for my 2nd grader. www.handwritingworksheets.com

Good luck with your decision. Personally I think D'Nealian is the way to go!
Momma Aimee's Avatar Momma Aimee 06:09 PM 12-28-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by sahmmie View Post
My oldest child went to a private school for K and 1st and she was taught D'Nealian. I didn't like it at first but I stuck with it once we started homeschooling and I am teaching it to my Kindergartner as well. Now that my oldest is learning cursive I can definitely see the advantages of having learned D'Nealian first. The transition from D'Nealian to cursive seems so much more natural and effortless than from the traditional block print.

The only downside I've noticed to teaching D'Nealian is that most workbooks and other curriculum materials use traditional block style print. For instance we use Horizons workbooks for phonics and reading and there is quite a bit of handwriting in these workbooks. My Kindergartner tends to write with a mixture of D'Nealian and block print in her workbooks because the workbooks are written in block print. However she practices D'Nealian letters daily and she uses mostly D'Nealian in her own personal writing. I think this is probably okay though because when my dd was in school she also brought home plenty of worksheets in block print and she still eventually learned to write predominantly in D'Nealian.

I use this terrific free website to print D'Nealian worksheets for my Kindergartner and cursive worksheets for my 2nd grader. www.handwritingworksheets.com

Good luck with your decision. Personally I think D'Nealian is the way to go!
I will agree this -- workbooks in a differnt print style -- is a concern of mine.

but maybe that will jsut help me do less work books? LOL

thanks for the link

But I also know that no matter what "handwritting style" you choose -- you are going to run into the concern of materials being in a diffedfrnt style. so you pick your choice and make due i guess.
Momma Aimee's Avatar Momma Aimee 05:30 PM 12-30-2009
I found another site with D'Nealian worksheets if you wanted them fro pratice

http://www.learningpage.com/

Start under "basic sheets"

AImee
tankgirl73's Avatar tankgirl73 04:58 PM 01-03-2010
LOL at the idea that using d'Nealian will encourage use to use fewer workbooks.

Many good workbooks that require a lot of writing are available in different text styles, as they recognize that many homeschoolers choose different styles for different reasons. I'm also finding that books designed specifically for homeschoolers are more likely to have alternative writing styles than mass-produced books. But it's still somewhat a matter of luck.

I try to avoid books that include tracing letters/words etc, for exactly this reason. Much prefer ones that are blank. I've had a lot of luck with currclick.com. Also, philosophies like Charlotte Mason and Waldorf (which I don't follow strictly, but do incorporate), don't use "workbooks" per se, at least not much... rather, you read real books and kids do copywork into their own notebooks (as well as drawing, etc). That way, you can use whatever handwriting style works best for you!

Anyway, as to the basic question of d'Nealian vs. ball and stick. I had this conundrum half a decade ago, when my son was learning to write. He learned ball and stick, because like you, it was all I'd ever heard of in terms of preschoolers writing, and all the learn-to-write workbooks we got used it. His writing was HORRIBLE.

It was only a few years later than I learned about d'Nealian, and it was like the scales fell off my eyes! Not much later, I also learned about the 'cursive first' idea, and I rejected once and for all the ball-and-stick nonsense!

D'Nealian is NOT difficult, if you think your child is doing better with it, then get a simple instruction book and learn it yourself. It's really not a big deal. We found TONS of free worksheets online.

But there are lots of other great handwriting options to explore. "Handwriting Without Tears" is very popular (though I haven't used it myself), and has its own distinctive font style.

Another suggestion would be going straight to cursive. I won't preach here about why... there's lots of great resources online. Of course, then you have the issue of deciding WHICH cursive style lol... Anyway, there's even a workbook called "Cursive First" that I'm thinking of using for DD.

Yet one more suggestion is Penny Gardner's "Italics: Beautiful Handwriting for Children". It bears some similarities to d'Nealian but is very different in other ways. The print italics is preparation for the cursive italics, similar to how d'Nealian is more of a direct preparation for cursive than ball-and-stick is. Gardner's italics are similar to Getty-Dubay, which I explored as well. There are very nice-looking workbooks for Getty-Dubay. I went with Gardner because a) she's a great homeschooler who I've had the chance to chat with on mailing lists, b) I could download it as an e-book c) she's Charlotte Mason so the book includes tips and samples for copywork and d) it's just one little book, which covers EVERYTHING, and is very affordable. The idea is, you do these minimal practice pages to learn the letter formation, then you practice on your own with copywork, so you don't need a half dozen workbooks just to learn how to write!

As much as I love d'Nealian, it never really 'stuck' with DS. His cursive went fairly well, but he still would constantly revert back to his sloppy printing, and once he had the basics in cursive it never actually got any better. (I wish I'd known then what I know now and started him better in the first place...) Our latest effort to improve his horrific writing is Gardner's Italics, and it is helping. He enjoys the pages and the script style.

DD is only 3 and just starting to write a few letters. I find that when I demonstrate a letter for her, it tends to be a kind of blend... more round than Gardner's italics, like d'Nealian, and with the d'Nealian 'tail' on most letters, but very influenced by Gardner in terms of direction of formation and branching lines...

ANYWAY. I just wanted to make one more point. You said 'Since I don't know the proper way to do the d'nealian I should switch him back to ball and stick, right?'

This is something to watch out for when homeschooling -- not just in handwriting, but in ALL subject areas. We do not have to teach our kids only the things we know! Or only the WAYS that we know. In fact, most of the time, the way we learned things is FAR from the best way. It can take a bit of work on our part, researching options and learning new ways of thinking and doing and learning, but it's SO rewarding, we as adults end up learning new and fantastic things so our lives are improved as well... it's just a trap to watch out for, just automatically doing something a certain way just because that's how we did it, and therefore we're afraid that we won't teach it very well if we do anything differently.
Shelsi's Avatar Shelsi 05:37 PM 01-03-2010
We decided to stick with the D'nealian. Ds wanted to go back to the ball and stick. However we started HSing a few days ago and I could tell he was having a lot of trouble. I just told him to write like he already knows and he's done pretty well.

Thankfully the school sent home all his things and one of those things was this nice laminated strip that has his name and all the letters and how they're made. Before, I knew what the letters looked like but didn't know where you were supposed to start each letter, etc.

Thankfully ds does so well I don't think he needs much instruction from me. He could use some help with a few letters but he hates worksheets so much - they did them for pretty much 7 hrs straight in public school - that I'm just going to let it slide for now. We'll work on it later - his writing is legible and that's pretty good IMO for a 5 yr old boy.
paniscus's Avatar paniscus 03:08 AM 01-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
I have some sites compareing differnt methods on my other computer i would be glad to share.
I would be interested in these links....I am just now trying to decide which style we will teach ...thanks!
ChristaN's Avatar ChristaN 12:14 PM 01-25-2010
I was going to agree with the first post about sticking with D'Nealian but subbing a ball and stick "k." My girls, too, were taught both methods at different times in preschool, K, etc. By the time they get older, even if they are still in school, the schools don't really care what method they use as long as their writing is legible. Both of my kids use a hybrid method -- D'Nealian for things like "b" and ball and stick for things like "k."

It sounds like you have found something that works. I'd just encourage him to keep writing and tell him that he can use a mix of methods if he wants b/c no one will care how he forms his letters in the long run as long as they can read what he is writing.
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