Talk to me about handwriting programs please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-10-2012, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for next year for 2nd grade. DD started school early, and will be entering 2nd grade at 6 years old {she is gifted and already testing into 2nd grade in several areas}. We're switching programs for next year - up til now we've been using Catholic Heritage Curricula for most things, including handwriting. However we don't want to use them for future years for a variety of reasons, even though I love the program. 


I'm looking for something for 2nd grade that still focuses on printing {the one area DD lags is handwriting}, not overly religious, and will keep DD interested. I'm fine with using a 1st grade text if need be. Cost is a big factor - I'd ideally like something under the $15 mark, lower is better. We like the page per day setup - DD is a workbook kiddo and likes knowing what is coming next. 


I've also considered using startwrite to create my own writing worksheets that dovetail with other things we're learning, but the cost is getting me. 


So - talk to me about what you use for handwriting and what you like about it?

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#2 of 4 Old 01-11-2012, 05:50 AM
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First, one suggestion is actually to not worry about printing, and go straight to cursive.  Believe it or not, it's actually easier for most kids to write neatly in cursive, since they don't have to pick up the pencil and restart several times per letter.  It also resolves spacing problems, since letters withing a word are connected and there's a break between words.  And it resolves reversals, since the formation of b and d, for instance, is completely different rather than just being confusing mirror images of the same ball and stick formation.  Many countries still start in K with cursive - the switch to starting with printing first actually only came about in the previous century with the advent of 'Dick and Jane' readers, where it was felt that children needed to learn the block printing to be able to read first.


My daughter is just 5 and we've always done cursive letters when we "work on" writing.  She picked up writing in block printing all on her own along the way - just because it's what she sees everywhere.  And she reads at a grade 1 level.  So it's not like kids who practice cursive 'early' are going to be at any disadvantage in terms of reading.  


If you would like to consider going straight to cursive, there are several options.  "Cursive First" is one that's designed for younger beginners.  A Beka also has cursive workbooks for as young as 4yo's (that's what we're using).  A Beka is a Christian company, but so far I haven't seen too much "overtly religious" stuff in the handwriting books.  Possibly there's more when it gets more advanced and doing more copywork, I honestly don't know.


If you really would prefer to stick to printing for now, I'd highly recommend Penny Gardner's "Italics: Beautiful Handwriting for Children".  It's a $10 download, keep the pdf on your computer and print out pages as needed.  It's a different style than 'ball and stick'.  The italics printing is more closely related to cursive letter formation (thus reducing reversals, for instance).  It's a well-structured program, with lots of copywork and opportunities for adding your own copywork as well.  Once the printed letters are learned, it moves into cursive as soon as you're ready for it.  The neat thing about italics cursive is that it's really just adding connectors to the letter formations already learned; you don't have to learn a whole new alphabet. It is different from traditional cursive, but is a very lovely handwriting style, very legible and comfortable to write too.  

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#3 of 4 Old 01-12-2012, 01:15 PM
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I would recommend the Handwriting without Tears books, because the simple straight up and down style is clear and easy to learn.  Either the My Printing book, or the Printing Power book would work, and each is only about $7.50.  You can download samples to try at Both books review briefly how the letters are formed and have some copy work that gets longer the further into the book you go.  The Printing Power book is supposed to be for second graders and has longer sections to copy, but neither says a grade level so as not to discourage a child at being in a book that says a younger grade level.  This is a secular curriculum and is used in some public schools and many private schools.  It results in a nice, neat, easy to read handwriting style.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#4 of 4 Old 01-13-2012, 01:54 AM
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Zane Blosser has worked well for us.  There's a 2nd grade book that's 1/2 printing and 1/2 cursive.

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