For years we did not use a handwriting program. Miss 18 learned cursive from Richard Scarry’s big picture books and the handwritten examples I made up for her in a little scribbler. She was enthusiastic and learned quickly.
My son, on the other hand, was not enthusiastic. He even had trouble printing. When I tried to teach him cursive using my own examples, I soon concluded he was not ready. The trouble was, he never, ever did become ready, and now he’s 16 and still finds cursive difficult.
Even though Miss 13 learned well and quickly, Miss 10 is as reluctant as her brother.
So I’ve made a decision. Ready or not, the Little Misses are learning cursive. If it’s hard, they can go slowly, but they will practice. Regularly.
There are many beautiful and involved handwriting programs out there, but we chose a simple, convenient, no-frill set of workbooks with a solid track record, the Canadian Handwriting Series.
Books A to G are available, with the transition from printing to cursive in Book C. Each book has 80 pages full of careful examples and lots of practice space.
Each letter is taught on its own page, and similar letters are taught consecutively. Numbered letter strokes show the child exactly how to make each letter. The first three books have dashed-line examples for the children to trace before they try to make the letters on their own.
In later books, more detailed instruction, including written description of the letters, is given. Common mistakes are pointed out, and troublesome letters and letter combinations are carefully reviewed. Students are even taught how to evaluate their writing and improve it:
Sometimes the practice sentences discuss Canada, so this handwriting series teaches the students some geography and interesting facts as well. However, the Canadian content is not overwhelming, at least in levels C and D which we have used. Here’s the page on Canada at the end of level D:
All I, as a mom, have to do is encourage, help with a few tough letters when the transition to cursive is made, and correct the pages. That’s a whole lot easier than making personalized lessons for each child!
The only complaint I have is that these books teach children to make loops in the bottom of the ‘p,’ which leads to messy-looking writing. I’ve told my children to avoid the loops, and that works most of the time.
I’m pleased with the Canadian Handwriting Series and wish we had used them for all our children.