Handwriting often seems to be a neglected subject in a child’s education. With the popularity of word processing programs and text
messages on cell phones students may not see the relevance of learning good handwriting. But learning and using good handwriting is important for taking notes or tests, doing homework, labeling maps or charts, writing letters, and later in life the job will require legible handwriting. In addition, some research seems to indicate that writing the letter while saying the name of the letter and the letter sound all helps to make a connection in the brain with early learners.
You have an advantage in the homeschool setting because you can work one-on-one with a child to practice the correct formation of letters. You can also use a variety of techniques. Learning the foundation of handwriting by working diligently with manuscript writing (printing) will make cursive writing much simpler to learn. Time invested in the early years is worth it before bad habits are formed. So let's get ready for homeschool printing and cursive lessons!
Several of the alphabet letters require complete or partial circles which need to be formed in a counter clockwise movement: a, c, d, g, o, q, C, G, O and Q. It’s important to form them correctly so that cursive writing will be simple to learn later.
1. Begin with large motor activities. Give your child a paintbrush, a ruler or magic wand and ask the child to rotate their arm in a large circular counter-clockwise direction. You can demonstrate it! Then with a paintbrush and a bucket of water the child can paint large counter clockwise circles on the driveway, sidewalk or patio. Remind them to do this in one fluid movement without picking up the brush.
2.Scale down the activity by working in a smaller space. Use shaving cream, whipped cream or pudding spread on a clean surface. Instruct the child to make small counter- clockwise circles. Remind the child to be careful not to touch the eye area.
3. Use a baking tray with sides and pour salt or sand in it. The child can practice making letters in the tray using the index finger or a paintbrush.
4. Keep a white board, chalkboard and scrap paper handy for practice in letter formation.
5. Purchase a chart with manuscript and cursive letter formation pictures to hang in your study area.
Take Advantage of Available Resources
1. This site shows pictures of the correct way to hold a pencil and offers information about the different styles of handwriting. Study the different styles such as Zaner-Bloser or D'Nealian. Then choose one that you will teach your child and be consistent with it.
3. Print out worksheets for additional cursive practice using this site. It allows you to choose the style and content.
4. Here is another site that allows you to choose the style and a small amount of content to print out for practice.
Make It Relevant!
When practicing the handwriting, provide your child with a relevant project on which to work. Have them sit with a good posture and proper paper placement on the work area. Check for the correct finger placement on the pencil. Here are some ideas:
1. Write a letter to a relative: thank you note, birthday or holiday greeting. Combine this with a calendar activity by writing special dates on the calendar and then prepare cards/letters to send as the date approaches.
2. Begin a pen pal program and write to the pen pal.
3. Create a postcard on a large file card. Color a picture on the front and write a message on the back. Include a space to write the address of the recipient.
4. Write to a military person wishing them well.
5. Write to children in a local hospital and send along a decorated bookmark or picture.
6. Write a letter to a favorite author.
7. Write to the president, governor or senator with an idea to help other children.
Homeschool printing and cursive lessons do not need to be a chore. In this setting it can be fun and relevant! Insist on good habits in the beginning and it will show in later learning.
Importance of handwriting by Louise Spear-Swerling