Topic | Cursive recommendations?

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  • kurtjenvb
    Participant

    I have used HWOT for my children thus far, (and love their approach for print, but don’t like the style of their cursive.) I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for learning cursive?  If anyone could specifically give recommendations for a good cursive program following HWOT – that would be super!

    Thank you!

    crazy4boys
    Participant

    Mine use Presidential Penmanship to learn cursive.  2 are using the HWOT program – one for manuscript and the other for cursive.  Child #3 wanted to learn a different style of cursive so we bought a separate program for him (he just chose the style he wanted).  There is one grade where they can trace over the faint lines then write it on their own below that, and it seems to be working for helping them learn.  Basically they are teaching themselves by looking at it, copying it over and/or copying it beneath.  I just check it daily to make sure they are forming the letters correctly and are making their best effort.

    HollyS
    Participant

    We’re currently using SCM’s Print to Cursive Proverbs.  I used Cheerful Cursive with my oldest and liked it as well.

    missceegee
    Participant

    Pencil Pete Software or Cursive first. I avoid tracing. 

    Angelina
    Participant

    New American Cursive. You can order direct from them, or sometimes the books can be ordered on http://www.bookdepository.com

    Follows the same “less strokes, clean and upright” of HWT, but to me it’s slightly more…hmmm….flowing than HWT, if that’s the right word. You can buy software directly from them and make your own copysheets, or use books 1 and 2 to get started. They have books that use scripture and hymns, or a secular version. My boys didn’t love the flow or prettiness of Zaner Bloser, so this worked well as a compromise. It has taken a year, but it’s coming along nicely now.

    Here’s a wacky tip: my kids’ cursive improved dramatically when I started letting them do it using and ink gel pen! Who knew?

    sarah2106
    Participant

    I like Cursive First. The simple “Clock Face” style really works for my kids. It just makes sense.

    I found the practice sheets to become a bit of “overkill” so we just practiced the basic style/shape of the letters and implemented that into our copy work.

    I like that if they are trying to think of the letter I can prompt with “clock face” or “attic loop” or “basement loop” and they remember the shapes and how they go together. It has made for very easy learning of cursive.

    crazy4boys
    Participant

    So here’s a question for y’all….I have 4 boys ages 13, 12, 9 and 7.  All know manuscript already (HWOT) and have pretty decent handwriting for boys.  There is no option to teach them cursive first now!  

    The 2 oldest did the HWOT cursive books.  Then one rebelled and said he wanted a ‘more old-fashioned looking’ cursive and chose Presidential Penmanship but he’s self-teaching, and doing a pretty good job!  As in it looks nice but he would benefit from actually learning how the letters are formed instead of just looking at it and figuring it out.  The other older boy likes the PP in the HWOT style.  Both of them LIKE what they’re using so I don’t need to change….I see though where change might be worthwhile.

    The 2 youngest boys haven’t started cursive yet. 

    After reading your recommendations and checking out samples/reviews online I think I’d like to try something different, but which?  Does Cursive First even work if they’re already writing?  Which would work best for older boys who already have a lot of manuscript and a fair bit of cursive under their belts?  And two of them are lefties…rebel boy and youngest.  I read the New American Cursive works especially well for lefties, but is that true?  I have a Mac so the software they recommend with NAC won’t work.

    Thanks!

    Angelina
    Participant

    crazy4boys, not sure I can answer your question exactly, but I can tell you also about NAC that in addition to learning the strokes step by step in Bk1, 2, 3, there are now really nice looking copybooks available in the NAC via Memoria Press. Longer paragraphs in both; one book is paragraphs of scripture, the other book is hymns. They are the only copybooks besides the SCM ones that I’ve seen that truly use great literature and verses to copy. I got a bit excited when I saw the copybooks, because for me 1) my boys still need a lot of practise and 2) I actually don’t have the NAC software to make up my own copywork…never got around to ordering it, and 3) for some reason my boys love to do this kind of thing in a “real” workbook! For you…I guess what I’m saying is, the software-not-working on MAC might not matter because you could conceivably have 4-5 years worth of material/practise on NAC through workbooks alone, and if you think it’s best for your lefties, maybe give it a shot. I will tell you, for us, it still took a lot of practise, and even now (granted my oldest is just 10yrs) my boys only do cursive in their cursive book. Truth be told, I’m thinking of doing the HWT cursive book for the first half of this year(to get even practise/review of the strokes and connections…HWT being so similar to NAC) before we go and do the long passages of the NAC/Memoria copybooks.

    I hear stories about kids that put in all the hard work on cursive “training” but then never actually transition to utilizing it regularly. Can someone here comment on “when” that transition actually happens? i.e. when my son will start doing his spelling dictation or a written narration in cursive? It feels a VERY long way off at this point. We’ve been in cursive training just over a year, I realize in my case that’s really not very long, but what have other kids done…transitioned in year 2 or 3? I just mindful that at THAT point they’ve also been beefing up their keyboarding skills, so I could see my guys wanting to just do their narration on the computer. Thoughts welcome.

    sarah2106
    Participant

    We started CF after both my kids could write letters. DD was in 1st and ODS in preK. Both took very well to it. They write in cursive and print but ODS actually forms letters better in cursive, they are more consistant. He is almost 6.

    Copy work DD does in cursive, but for “fun” she tends to prefer to print. In the end I do not really care which firm she uses as long as it is nice/easy to read and that she knows how to read cursive. I can write in cursive but prefer manuscript, so it just comes down to personal preference.

    missceegee
    Participant

    Two of mine could write in print before learning cursive. For older kids, you might try Donna Young’s free cursive animations and simply practice. Or if you have an iPad, there is an app by FizzBrain that will help with letter formation. Once letter shapes are down, copywork is all that’s needed. I start with simple words and then move to regular sentences.

    For my family, I look for:

    – all lowercase letters including a,c,d, etc. start on baseline. This is called D’Nealian or Modern/Contemporary cursive.

    – line spacing in copywork pages/books. Too big = drawing, not writing; Too small = frustration. 3rd grade size is good.

    – if I’m using ready made copywork, I prefer non twaddle

    Personally, I wish there were a cursive as clearly well done in workbook format as HWOT, but in a D’Nealian style. It doesn’t exist and I would know bc I’ve searched high and low!

    Programs and “my” opinion

    – HWOT – too straight up and down

    – NAC – doesn’t start on baseline; dislike how they use print letters for some capitals (it isn’t too hard to learn these in cursive); the m makes me crazy

    – queen’s pictures in cursive – doesn’t start at baseline; twaddle; doesn’t teach formation

    – Light Home Publications copybook downloads – good starting point, uses baseline, lines good size; not for learning formation

    – StartWrite – nice to make your own, but I would rather not. Not always Mac compatible; doesn’t teach formation

    – FizzBrain Cursive iPad app – excellent for formation practice of individual letters

    – cursive First – simple to do, meets all my requirements, requires mom at younger ages though older should be able to do on own; short lessons; we skip some sheets; I hate making copies, but I just do all at once; love the talk through for formation

    – pencil Pete software – simple and easy, no parent needed; not Mac compatible; may seem babyish to older kids I guess; my ds9 learned from this at age 6 completely independently

    – master writer copybook downloads – huge selection; doesn’t use my preferred style but that is less important after a year or so of practice

    For the coming year:

    – dd12 will begin a long term Commonplace book in a beautiful journal; I will require weekly entries, but its her choice

    -ds9 will copy onto notebook paper from print 3x week; 1 from quote jar; 2 from his literature book (I typed up selections from each chapter as he’s not quite ready to go straight from a book

    -dd6 will finish learning how to form all letters; begin simple words and then use a Light Home publications book.

    Just thought I’d explain my reasoning a bit. Btw until the 1950s or so, cursive was ALWAYS taught first. Those of an older generation have lovely penmanship bc of it. Lots of benefits – easier, even for littles; can read cursive; no reversals; no spacing issues; we often learn best what we learn first.

    Christie

    Angelina
    Participant

    Christie, love the detail, thank you. I think you have reached expert level on this! I had never given thought to that baseline comment, but you are on the money there, I can see how the consistency of always starting at baseline would make it easier for the child.

    Here are a couple more ? for you, Christie, if you would be so kind:

    – Having learned cursive “first”, I’m guessing your 12 yr old knew no other, so to speak, and does her Spelling Wisdom and written narrations in cursive…yes? Has she gotten quicker at her cursive by this age?

    – you mention your DS9 used pencil pete almost independently at age 6 — did you opt not to bother with the cursive first program with him? (I had always thought I would put my DS6 in HWT grade 1, haven’t ordered it yet though…you have me re-thinking this!) I’ve never did a manuscript “program” with him in kinder, he just taught himself good printing with care and patience…couple of stroke/order lines I corrected from time to time, but he knows print quite well now. So I’m asking myself why I would bother with HWT gr 1 manuscript… Based on all your research on this would you be thinking Cursive first program, or pencil pete for this kind of 6 yr old?

    – I think I’m seeing from your comments that what you like least about HWT cursive is the style of the font. (too up and down) Outside of this point, do you like the way the program “teaches”, and did you find it followed the starting from the baseline criteria that you look for? (I personally don’t mind the look of the font…my boys actually like the up-and-down….I just want the teaching to be thorough and easy).

    Comment welcome, and thank you to the OP for bringing this forward 🙂

    Angie

    missceegee
    Participant

    Hi Angie – I’ll answer in bold below your questions.

    – Having learned cursive “first”, I’m guessing your 12 yr old knew no other, so to speak, and does her Spelling Wisdom and written narrations in cursive…yes? Has she gotten quicker at her cursive by this age?

    Actually, dd12 learned print with HWOT at 4.5-5. At 5.5-6, she asked to learn the pretty way. I used Cursive First because I liked that it used phonograms and met the above criteria. She learned all the letters and how to connect them in about a month at which point she said, “Mama this is so much easier, why didn’t we start with this.” That prompted me to research and I discovered that ball and stick or manuscript came into being rather late. There are articles on the web about this and I’ve linked them in previous posts on this forum. I’m sorry, no time today to do so here. 

    All school work from the point of learning cursive til now is done in cursive. She has nice penmanship and it flows well. Like most things, practice begets speed and comfort level.


    – you mention your DS9 used pencil pete almost independently at age 6 — did you opt not to bother with the cursive first program with him? (I had always thought I would put my DS6 in HWT grade 1, haven’t ordered it yet though…you have me re-thinking this!) I’ve never did a manuscript “program” with him in kinder, he just taught himself good printing with care and patience…couple of stroke/order lines I corrected from time to time, but he knows print quite well now. So I’m asking myself why I would bother with HWT gr 1 manuscript… Based on all your research on this would you be thinking Cursive first program, or pencil pete for this kind of 6 yr old?

    when ds9 was 6, he had not learned to print. Because I had a 3 year old who was in the midst of baby booty camp training Wink aka serious habit training, I needed something rather independent. I found pencil pete and it fit the bill. He has always done school work in cursive. I have never taught him to print. He can, bbut learned by sight, I guess. 

    I would decide what your end goal is – cursive or manuscript? I want my kids to write in cursive so I work toward that. Either program I mentioned will work well, but Pencil Pete (similar to Donna Young’s animations which are free but don’t all start on the baseline) is more independent, if that’s important in your current season.


    – I think I’m seeing from your comments that what you like least about HWT cursive is the style of the font. (too up and down) Outside of this point, do you like the way the program “teaches”, and did you find it followed the starting from the baseline criteria that you look for? (I personally don’t mind the look of the font…my boys actually like the up-and-down….I just want the teaching to be thorough and easy).

    I strongly dislke the HWT cursive look. That’s just personal preference. I prefer it over illegible writing! It does NOT start clock face letters on the baseline which is important to me. 

    All in all, there are many ways that can work. I’m simply particular and this is what has worked for me. 

    Blessings,

    Christie

    kurtjenvb
    Participant

    Wow – lots of good advice and things to think on here – thanks so much!  And thanks Christie, for all of the great detail – appreciate it tons!

    Angelina
    Participant

    Thanks Christie!

    Robin
    Participant

    I know this is an old thread but I’ve been reading through a few language arts threads and happened upon it.  I just wanted to add that I found a cursive program a few years ago called Loops and Other Groups:  A Kinesthetic Writing System and have been using it with my children with pretty good results.  It isn’t very common in the homeschool community and I can’t remember how I came across it but I thought I’d share b/c it also starts all lower case letters on the baseline.

    What’s funny is I was browsing another forum earlier today and there were discussions about how it was bad to have children forming their letters from the bottom as opposed to the top and it was very important to break this bad habit. (They were discussing print.)  However, because I started my children with Loops and Other Groups cursive first, I do notice they form a lot of print letters from the bottom as well.  I guess there are those who believe this is bad and it might slow them down but I don’t know if I mind it that much to worry about it…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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