Saturday, March 8, 2008

Choosing a Handwriting Curriculum

Since I have "been there, done that," I thought I might offer a bit of advice when it comes to choosing handwriting material for pre-schoolers or kindergartners. Whether your child will attend public school or stay home with you, choosing the best handwriting curriculum is important.
If your pre-schooler will be attending a local public or private school, go to that school and find out what style of handwriting they use in their curriculum. I did not think about this, and my daughter, who started writing very early (she's very artistic) used whatever pre-school books we had around the house. I had used the same things for my son, and then when I actually selected a handwriting curriculum for them to work out of everyday, the letters were formed differently. The curriculum I chose came from BJU Press, and I liked it because the letters provided a good transition to future cursive writing.
If you will be teaching your child at home, your job may be a bit more stressful, because you actually have to go through the task of selecting the handwriting curriculum that your child will be using. Many parents select their entire curriculum from one source, and they use whatever handwriting materials are included with that curriculum. Other parents pick and choose subjects from different companies and put together their own curriculum. I highly suggest finding a local homeschool conference where vendors will let you go through their books. You might find everything you want in one place, or you may pick one subject from one company, another subject from another company, and so on.
Regarding handwriting, it's also important to note that some curricula, like Abeka, teach only cursive writing, and do so from kindergarten and up. If you are going to choose a curriculum like this, make sure you plan on sticking with it. Many Christian schools also use Abeka, and if you don't plan on keeping your child enrolled in a school that uses it, it's going to be a pain for the child if he or she is transferred to another school where students are printing letters and have no clue what cursive is.
While you may have a child like one of mine, who doesn't write letters unless he has to, you may have a child like my other, who started writing letters for fun. No matter what your child's age, if she is writing letters, it's time to figure out how best to help her, and the best way is always to use the same method or style from beginning to end. So be prepared and see what's out there!

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