I would like to know what others have used in starting out with teaching handwriting? I would like my ds to like to write instead of dread it like my older ds. My older started out in public school though I did work with him at home as well. I have looked at HWOT but if I buy everything it would be very expensive. What do I actually need?
Handwriting for 4/5 year old?(9 posts) (9 voices)
I don't know if it really matters what materials you use as much as your approach to it. I pushed my dd too hard, too soon with handwriting when she was 4.5 and it was a fight to get her to do it for a long time. Thankfully, no permanent damage there, she enjoys writing now, but in retrospect I wish I had started a little more slowly/casually/as she was interested. My son is 4 now and just starting to show interest in writing, so we are taking a very slow, casual, interest led approach to it. I printed off some simple handwriting sheets for for him, placed them into one of those presentation folders with plastic sleeves to make him a 'handwriting book', and we use dry erase markers to practice in it. Usually I'll have him trace the model with his finger, then I'll model how to write the letter, and then he tries it on his own next to what I've written. We do one, or maybe two letters in each sitting, depending on what he's interested. So far this is working well for us. At this point it it most important to me to model the correct strokes from him from the beginning so he doesn't develop bad habits, and to keep it light and fun since he is young and has lots of time.
in retrospect I wish I had started a little more slowly/casually/as she was interested.
I agree totally with Jen...
The only thing I would add is that using high-interest words can help, so that instead of isolated letters that are meaningless, they might want to learn to write their name or something.
Of course, if their name is ten letters long, this might actually be a very bad idea.
We use the ETC books for that age. My 5yo is still working through the ETC primers. I like that it doubles as phonics and handwriting! If that's too much, many children like to "write" letters in a tray of rice, sand, applesauce, pudding, etc. They get the letter strokes down without having to hold a pencil (and they usually find it fun). ;)
For first grade, I add a bit of copywork and keep it around 5-10 minutes of writing. They start with a poem line per day and work up to a stanza a day (or more) as they are able. If they are doing a notebook page or other writing, I'll often have my 1st/2nd grader skip the copywork. I've noticed my DS doesn't write as well as DD which seems fairly common for young boys. I keep an eye on DS and try to make sure he's not getting too frustrated with writing...some days he's capable of more writing than other days.
ETA: My DC also enjoy making their own books. They love to draw and will go back and add words to their pictures. It's a fun way to get them writing (and they don't consider it "school").
We did do Handwriting without Tears. I think the workbook and a chalkboard are pretty important. The wooden letters are nice, but you could just use rice or sand like others mentioned just as easily. I have seen those little chalkboards in the dollar store before. Then you can get an inexpensive sponge and cut it yourself.
HWT is a miracle! Neither of my boys are great with fine motor skills and my 6 year old has just terrible handwriting. My 5 year old can write his name, but not all that legibly. We just started HWT and they both LOVE it and are improving by leaps and bounds!!! I mean, I'm absolutely amazed. I was dreading handwriting this year and was really beginning to worry if there was something seriously wrong. We are just starting our 4th week of school and I can't believe how far they've both come so far. It seems like people either like it or hate it, but I definitely love it.
I would say you could get by with just the workbooks. I just sat down one day and read through the teacher's manual or whatever it is called (I was given the teacher's manuals and a bunch of the paper by a friend) and haven't looked at it since. I just cut out out my own "mat man" pieces and we just did that once. Really, a lot of it you can just do on your own. Just cut out shapes on cardboard, get your own little chalk board, dry erase, etc. Use shaving cream to write in, a wet finger on the chalk board, a cookie sheet of sand.
I got HWOT Get Ready For School for my 4.5 yr old. My girl is VERY interested in learning to print, but she has small motor issues that make it very challenging for her, so her occupational therapist suggested Handwriting Without Tears.
I got the teachers guide and student workbook used for only $10. I got a slate and chalk/sponges for only $4 along with it, otherwise I would have gotten that at walmart. I made the "wooden letter peices" out of cardboard for free, the teacher's guide has a pattern. I will be using New Century font as suggested on the HWOT website to print the letter for the roll-a-dough letters, I'll just put the paper in a plastic cover while my darlins' are putting playdough on them. I think we have covered the most important parts, and I can't believe how cheaply I was able to put it together! I surprised myself. ;-)
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