Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Rhythm of Handwriting

Handwriting--you either love it or hate it. And I am not in the loving camp. I remember my friends in school writing in bubble or block letters and creating word designs just for the fun of it. Yeah, that was not me. I write only when I have to. I much prefer to type. And given the choice between manuscript or cursive, I'll choose manuscript every time. (Well, ok, it's more like a connecty combination of manuscript and cursive.)  My husband, on the other hand, loves to write, so much so that he used to write just for the fun of it. (The fun of it?!?)  While I do not share the same opinion, I do understand the importance of writing and writing well. Cursive handwriting is not being taught in most of the schools anymore, yet there have been studies that show how important the skill is for your brain development. When we had the opportunity to review the Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive, it wasn't a product that I necessarily wanted to use, but one that I knew I needed to.     

The Logic of English offers a variety of products to aid teachers, parents, and students in the journey to reading proficiently. Their curricula is designed to teach reading, writing, spelling, phonics, and grammar in an easy-to-follow way. We used the Foundations A package in the past and had good results, so I was interested in using the handwriting curriculum, as well.

The Rhythm of Handwriting set ($65.00) is for ages 4-adult and includes everything your student needs to learn to write cursive.

  • Student Workbook -- $15.00
  • Quick Reference Chart -- $10.00
  • Tactile Cards -- $28.00      
  • Student Whiteboard -- $12.00

Student Workbook - The book begins with a step-by-step guide to teaching handwriting. It also includes many tips to help along the way, explains why it's best to teach cursive writing before manuscript, and describes how you use all 4 learning modes while writing. There are also different schedules to choose which one works best for your student and 10 fun games to help with the process. From there, the book has practice pages for each letter. The letters are categorized by type and starting with lower case: swing letters, curve letters, loop letters, bump letters. Next are the capitals: curve letters, roll letters, loop letters, circle letters, slash letters, and miscellaneous letters. Each individual letter has its own practice page with 2 lines each in 4 different sizes. This leave the opportunity for the student to choose his own line size. There are also practice pages throughout the book that focus on connecting letters and making words.

Quick Reference Chart -- This colorful foldout chart includes systematic directions for forming each letter. It also has instructions for each of the strokes that are combined to make the letters. Just like the book, the chart groups the letters by type, making it easy to follow.

Tactile Cards -- These Montessori-inspired sandpaper letters provide a sensory experience for learning the letters. On the back of each card is the same rhythmic instructions that are seen in the workbook and the reference chart. Each card also includes the sounds made by each of the phonograms and sample words written in cursive.

Student Whiteboard -- This high-quality whiteboard is double-sided. The first side has one large spot for large-motor practice. The other side has multiple smaller lines for small-motor skills and writing words, phrases, and sentences. It is stain resistant and will not peel.

I primarily focused on Jake (8) for this curriculum. He had been asking me for a while when he could learn cursive. When I told him we were starting, he was very exciting. He had tried drawing some letters in rice or using the tactile cards, but he really just wanted to start writing on the whiteboard. He sat at the table and began to write letter after letter. By day 2 (picture above), he was connecting them to make words. He had never written in cursive before, so I was very impressed with how easily it came to him. I do have to encourage him to practice more and work on his technique (because in his mind, once he write it 2 or 3 times he's ready to move on) but he is doing wonderfully. He is even reading cursive in various places and quite proud of himself.

I have started Alyssa (6) on the program as well. She is requiring a slower pace and more practice, and that's just fine. She gets discouraged when she can't keep up with her big brother, but gets excited when she makes a letter better than he does in his haste. It's been a good challenge having the 2 of them practice together. We all enjoy using the tactile cars, and it's helping me improve my skills as well. Who knows, maybe I'll love writing eventually after all! All right, let's not get carried away, haha. This program is very thorough and is working well for our family. We will continue to use this and make it a point to write more.

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If you're interesting in checking out the the other products or in reading more reviews of this one, head to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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