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Handwriting without tears...prek or k?

919 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Mary-Beth
Just researching for the future. I'm looking at the two it even worth it to get pre-k? It looks like they are similar but it doesn't include the lower case letters. Is the pre-k one more for kids learning their letters for the first time? DS knows the letters and often tried to make them out of various objects (look, my legs are making an x! etc). He is trying to write a little but is in the beginning stages. I'd really like him to learn lower case in conjuction with upper case, if possible. What has been your experience?
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We hs now, but my children did HWT in ps, starting with the upper case book in k and the lower and upper book in 1.

A couple of thoughts. It basically is a good program with a clean appearance and logical grouping of letters EXCEPT . . . (1) for a whole year, it focuses on upper case only. It was very, very difficult for my children to transition to using lower case. In fact, my older son (11) uses only caps, and ds 9 still uses a random combination of upper and lower. So, I would modify and, when the child is developmentally ready to start a writing workbook, start with the second book in the series. I would also spend a ton of time on prewriting activities.

AND (2) fine motor development. The programs has neat wooden blocks (straights and curves) with which kids can build the upper case letters. Really fun way to think about and learn letters. Writing with sponges on slates: great! But, IMO (and in the opinion of many k teachers) pencil and paper workbooks aren't developmentally appropriate in k. Instead, kids can paint the letters or use big round pieces of chalk--these hold their hands in the same position they will use to hold a pencil and help develop those fine muscles. There are tons of other ideas out there for fine motor/pre-writing skills.

Lots of kids in our local ps have trouble with pencil grip (which makes it uncomfortable to write as they get older), and I am convinced it is because they are pushed way to early.

That all said, of the handwriting programs out there, this is a very good one. You just have to make it fit your needs. Good luck! Hilary
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Handwriting Without Tears was a dismal failure in our house. Just writing letters and printing worksheets from (FREE) has worked so much better for us. Mr. Man likes to copy and write letters and his handwriting is actually surprisingly good naturally. My daughter who used HWT is the one with the atrocious handwriting! I'd just let your son keep doing what he is doing.
Oh my goodness! That handwriting for kids site is fantastic!!! The only "formal" thing he has at this point is a DK book with a wipe-off marker for writing in it, and he loves that. Perhaps we'll save the cash.
Interesting that many teachers think even K is too early for writing skills when they are learning it around here in nursery and pre-k!!! More reasons to homeschool, eh? Actually DH is going to build us an easel soon, so maybe painting letters on there with a big brush would be a hit!
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Originally Posted by HilMama
(1) for a whole year, it focuses on upper case only. It was very, very difficult for my children to transition to using lower case. In fact, my older son (11) uses only caps, and ds 9 still uses a random combination of upper and lower.
This is a big problem with my 6 year old daughter. The transition to lower case was difficult after all the concentration on uppercase. I've moved her on to cursive (NOT HWT) and she is making lovely letters. Bonus is she can't do the random combination of upper and lower case letters with cursive like she can and does with printing.
Switching to cursive is a very good idea. We tried that, but it didn't work for my kids, maybe because their handwriting was at the automatic stage and entrenched. Just as it was hard to switch to lower case, it was really hard to switch systems. We've decided that legibility is the most important thing at this point!

For some reason, I was thinking that you already had the HWT materials, True Blue. I agree that you could easily save your $$ and get similar materials online or in stores (little workbooks or even placemats to write on/wipe off). The HWT wooden pieces are neat, but you basically just need long and short straight pieces and big and little curves and you can make all the upper case letters. I made some out of poster board.
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I like our writing without tears materials...but in some ways you can save money.
We have the preschool that's all I can refer to.
Okay, the chalk board is cute and portable...I would recommend it.
The blocks...are fun too. My dd was already using different items to make letters, like chop sticks. That is the main idea. It's nice to have the curved pieces though. These could be homemade if your handy with wood or even on laminated paper.
The roll a dough is essentially play dough. You could make cards with the letters, laminate it, and invite your little one(s) to form playdough letters on top of the card (or on their own). Save the money & use cheaper play dough!
The cd is pretty cute...we listen to it.
I haven't done any of the work book with my dd yet- just saving it until she is a little older. But it looks nice.
The other item which we actually didn't get is essentially a magna doodle. Save your money. They have small one's at dept. stores.

We use and print out the worksheets at the download center. Which includes we do use both lower and upper case.

Hope this helps.
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