Handwriting Programs for Homeschool
Choosing a Program for Teaching & Practicing Penmanship
Whether you desire your children to have beautiful cursive penmanship or simply want them to master the basics of manuscript printing, at some point you will need to select a handwriting curriculum.
Most homeschoolers begin a handwriting program as early as kindergarten when children learn the sounds of words in their phonics program. Most children adapt well to whatever curriculum mom chooses, but occasionally there is need to change programs mid-stream when something is not working. Here are three well-respected handwriting programs that I recommend, starting with my most favored handwriting curriculum.
Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is a complete program, teaching manuscript and cursive handwriting. This program works very well for two reasons.
1. HWT is hands-on.
Children who are learning to write are developmentally at a concrete stage, and they need very concrete teaching methods. HWT uses a set of shapes for children to use in learning the formation of the alphabet. You can either buy HWT's wooden set or create your own from foam or other material.
Besides the shapes, which children love to play and learn with, there are many physical activities -- modeling after a teacher, using large body motions, tracing, and more. HWT is designed to be used with a small chalkboard that serves as a frame for the capital letters. Besides writing in chalk on the board, children also use a wet finger to outline the letter shapes. HWT is filled with a variety of sensory input so that children have many chances to master the letter formations.
2. HWT uses a simple line style of two lines.
Instead of the traditional primary lines with a top and bottom in blue and a center, dotted line in pink, HWT uses a much less complicated layout. Two black lines represent the bottom and the center.
A Reason for Handwriting
A Reason for Handwriting is a traditional penmanship program with a twist -- the words and passages to practice are all Bible verses. This Christian material is designed to reinforce knowledge of scripture while handwriting is learned. The idea is that a child has to be writing something. Why not make it something of value and instill Truth as they write?
A Reason for Handwriting covers grades K-6. Teaching guides as well as student workbooks are available.
The books come with practice writing paper that has themed borders which children can color in if they choose. My daughter always enjoyed choosing which bordered paper she would use for her weekly handwriting practice.
Because of the reliance on Bible passages, A Reason for Handwriting is probably not a good choice for secular homeschoolers.
Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Course
Getty-Dubay is a unique handwriting approach because it is an italic style of penmanship. Instead of a straight, up and down manuscript form, Getty-Dubay Italic teaches a slanted style that is supposed to make the transition to cursive faster and easier. View a sample of in this PDF.
Like the other handwriting programs featured here, Getty-Dubay Italic has workbooks and teacher guides for levels Kindergarten through sixth grade.
This is the only one of the three programs featured here that I have not personally used. I have heard great things about the program from the moms who have chosen it. They say that this style of writing is very natural for a child to form on paper, even easier than the rigid lines of traditional manuscript.