Topic | Handwriting and my cardinal sin of homeschooling

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  • Kelley

    Good evening everyone! We have homeschooled from the start, and my almost 7 year old daughter is in second grade this year.  I’ve stayed fairly relaxed, but this is our first true Charlotte Mason year. A little background:  My mother in law is a public school teacher.  We don’t live near her, but when we do have a visit, she manages to jab at homeschooling, so while she hasn’t outright said that she disagrees with our decision, it’s pretty obvious that she does.  Mostly I keep my mouth shut, talk about all of the wonderful things we do together, and move on. A few weeks ago we were visiting with her and some of our nieces and nephews.  My niece and my daughter are very close in age, and have become pen pals.  My mother in law watches the children often, and sent my daughter some letters.  The letter written by my niece was very, ver neatly written. And my sin – I compared her handwriting to my daughter’s handwriting.  We’re working through SCM’s Delightful Handwriting, and for a while I guess it didn’t bother me as I do see some improvement.  I just figured my daughter’s handwriting isn’t established yet.  But now, I’m wondering if I’ve slacked too much on it.  We do a few minutes a day, and I really try to get my daughter to focus on establishing good habits with neatness.  When she writes just for fun, it’s like the habits go out the window though.  Now I feel like I’m not doing enough, and worse (yet honest) I don’t want to send my daughter’s letters to let my mother in law see them!  Because I KNOW based on some of her previous comments that she already doesn’t think I’m doing a good enough job.  We’ve had a little bit of a tumultuous past. Someone tell me to quit worrying about it!!


    I know plenty of public schooled high schoolers with terrible handwriting (and spelling).  😉

    If it bothers you that much, could you make one of the letters a copywork project?  That way she’d take her time with it.  You could even take a few days to re-write the letter on some nice paper and make it a fun project.


    I understand !  My girls’ handwriting is so messy compared with some of their homeschooled friends.  I finally decided that I need to be RIGHT THERE while they’re doing their handwriting……and while the lessons are very short (1 or 2 lines), if it’s not done neatly (to my satisfaction), they must do it over again.

    Since I started being “mean”, I have seen improvement.  Not as much as I want, but i provement.  My oldest daughter is finally (at age 11) taking on some of the resposibility herself and will write things ofer again on her own.



    So as an almost 7 year old, should I be worried?  Or just keep focusing on trying to establish good habits?  When does their handwriting become “established” anyway?


    Personally I do not stress creative and fun writing, how it looks. My DD has beautuful writing, but when writing to a friend or just having fun she writes fast so it can get sloppy. I know she can do it, so for school it is required, but other writing I let her write away. 🙂

    I think it is part of finding their own comfort style. I know I can write very nicely, but if jotting down quickly it can get sloppy.


    Dear Kelley, Don’t sweat. My mother, a retired elementary school teacher that lives next door to us has finally become our cheerleader, 2years ago, after homeschooling fro 7 years. It isn’t our job to convince them that this is our personal family choice.

    But, two years ago our family started poem recitation. we make a list of people that would be callers and every homeschool a.m. a child is asked to pick someone from the list, we call them and the children( 13 yr.,son,9,daug, and 6, son), take turns reciting their poems to the caller with me in their ear to remind them of words or phases forgotten. Needless to say when gma gets her call about once a week, she is simply delighted. Our 6 year old has memorized “the charge of the light brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. This method has been well received and we have many older people from church and in our neighborhood on the list. I bet your” Gma” would love this! We practiced the poem severy morning for 3-4 months before we called. We pick difficult choices. It’s amazing how fast we memorize it, Bible verses too.

    also, with writing, our 9 yr. old girl didn’t start copywork til she was 7.5. so don’t put so much pressure on her and you. Now before school starts one child’s chore is to sharpen the Ticonderoga pencils for school. I just love these pencils. they make writing neater and the leads don’t break as easy and the points stay sharper longer. Actually gma asked to buy school supplies this year and I suggested Ticonderoga pencils and glue sticks.
    With writing I copy the copywork on large lined paper. Tracing my line and copying onto line two. I ask before I look if the letters and punctuation look like mine.. Then I look and show her/him with a pen over her letters the corrections and then she can use line three to start again. Now, they pay very close attention to accuracy and neatness. Every copywork dad is shown to and praised by him and especially beautiful work is displayed at our house and gma’s. hope this helps!!!! Martha



    I’ve taught ages 7-9 many times in our homeschool co-op and the majority of them have pretty sloppy handwriting at these ages.  There are a few with nice penmanship, but I think they are the exception rather than the rule.

    My DS is a lefty and a boy (both of which are said to often lead to slower penmanship development).  He’s 10yo and this past year has shown great improvements on his handwriting.  He still has a ways to go, but can now fit numbers into the regular graph paper when he does math.  Writing on wide ruled paper is possible, but a bit of a challenge…he still does best with 1/2″ lines.  Copywork has really helped him in this area.

    My oldest DD was writing fairly well by age 8 and at age 13, has better handwriting than me.  I think just like learning to read, there is a range of ages where the handwriting suddenly improves.

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