Need help with slow handwriting

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  • Wings2fly

    My son will be age 11 soon and is in grade 5.  He has an assignment sheet to work through each day, and he does his work in a timely manner, not easily distracted.  But his writing takes a long time.  We use Spelling Wisdom, Writing Tales, Can Do Cursive, and Presidential Penmanship (not all on the same day).  I started him with manuscript print in grade k.  And he started to learn cursive in grade 2, but he still prefers to work in manuscript print.  I tried to explain to him that cursive is faster, but he still prefers print.  This year, I started requiring all work to be done in cursive, except Spelling Wisdom.  He says he learns the spellings better in print, so I allow that since the point is to learn correct spellings.  But even his print on SW takes him a long time.  In fact, I think it takes him longer than his cursive work does.  Should I require SW be done in cursive too?  I have tried pencil grips and am now using a larger triangular pencil for him.  I thought with more writing practice, he would naturally get faster, but he is still just as slow.  Is there a way to encourage him to speed along his writing, without sacrificing neatness and spelling?  Is it time to teach keyboarding?

    Hope to Learn

    Hello Wings to Fly!
    Glad you posted this and it’s great to get to say “HELLO!”

    I want to encourage you to think in different terms about handwriting.  I also want to preface this post that I am not a professional in this area and am not giving medical advice.  I am giving you my perspective as a homeschool mom and what I would be looking at in this situation.

    Here is a study done in 2000 on children from ages 7-11.  It compared slow hand writers to normal speed hand writers.  The findings are very interesting.  Here is their conclusion:

    Results of regression analyses showed that the slow handwriting group was not just slower than the normal speed handwriting group: They were qualitatively different in the way they processed written information.  The performance of the slow hand writers seemed to heavily depend on visual processing, whereas that of the normal speed hand writers was motor based.  Findings of this study suggest that intervention for slow hand writers should focus on facilitating visual processing, including memory and visual-motor integration, rather than the fine motor training so often emphasized in occupational therapy programs.

    Here is a link to the study to read it for your self:

    I just find this study very helpful in understanding that slow handwriting can be a sign of different processing.  This is just one of many studies you could review.   Is there anything wrong with different processing – NO!  It’s just different.  We are all individuals and one of the reasons we homeschool is to meet our child’s individual needs.  If we understand how our child is looking at something, we can better set them up for success.   I’m not saying this is what is going on, but it sure helps to think differently about it, and what you can try to see if there are improvements.

    Google “slow hand writing 11 years old” and I think you’ll find a lot of articles and suggestions.

    I know my daughter really hated writing last year.  When I started using visual perceptual exercises, she made significant improvements in her writing and thus in her attitude towards writing.  I cannot prove it was this verses her developmental timing, but it sure seemed to correlate.   We use “Brain Breaks” while doing “academic work” and this has helped tremendously in all areas.   I recommend Googling “Brain Breaks” and you will find a lot of free ideas.  Brain breaks that focus on crossing the midline are great for visual perception.   Personally, I feel these are great for everyone (children and adults) and they are fun.

    I do want to restate, I’m not saying that is what is happening here, but if it helps you or another family in any way it’s worth throwing this idea out there.  I encourage you to do more reading on the topic of handwriting and apply it how you feel is appropriate for your children.

    Please know I’m praying for you and your family.   Hope you have a blessed day!!!



    Teaching keyboard is a good idea anyway, so it would be good to start.  It is ok to change some assignments to oral work, shorten assignments or scribe for him as needed. Since he is being a good sport and practicing handwriting each day,  I would reward him for that.

    You can always add more written work later when his writing and/or typing get faster.

    Just my 2 cents.

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