Handwriting (& Coloring) - Ideas for children who resist

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum

Handwriting (& Coloring) - Ideas for children who resist

Unread post by cbollin »

Writing - Suggestions for a child who does not want to learn
mom4Him wrote:Hello All....I have been doing MFW-K with my 5yo daughter and she is doing very well and enjoying it.
She gets easily frustrated with the handwriting part. We are working through that, but any advice there would be great!
What kinds of things are frustrating to her? That might help us a bit with other ideas and advice. Is it the amount of work, the spacing of the letters, hand gets tired, needs it to look "perfect".

Many children at this age need more practice with tactile handwriting --- use a salt tray, a chalk board, practice it in pudding, tracing with finger on the Lauri letters. 5 is still young and the paper and pencil task just may need a bit more time to develop.


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi Melissa, and welcome to the boards!

I know with my daughter, while she doesn't have the perfectionist tendencies my son has, she very much wants to do things well. She likes to get it right, doesn't like to have to erase, etc. At this point in her education, I am spending a lot of words - words to remind her that learning is a process, that her mistakes can be useful, that with more & more practice she will see improvement, etc. With my kiddos, I've found they need our words of affirmation so much, in addition to cuddles, back pats, or other signs of our love & approval. Also, we have enjoyed referencing the Turtle lesson about persevering. Talk about your practical application...

I'm not sure if any of this constitutes advice, but maybe it will serve as encouragement to continue encouraging! :) This is something they certainly would not get as much of in the public setting.

Paige in NC
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Thank You!!!!

Unread post by mom4Him »

Thank you so much Cyrstal and Paige. It was all really helpful! I probably need to do more of the tactile letter activities with my 5yo. She is a perfectionist and wants the letters to look just right. My struggle is with how to correct her mistakes without causing a meltdown. Last year, when my oldest was in K in a public school, his teacher didn't at all stress any kind of proper technique saying that every person develops their own writing style anyhow. Now, though, he lacks a lot of that technique and his handwriting is pretty bad.

I said all that to say that I am trying to be sure that my 5yo learns the technique (like where to start the letter and whether the letters live in the whole space, or just from the dotted line down, etc.). Perhaps the tactile activities will be real helpful with that. I will admit that I am a perfectionist, but I have tried not to place that on my children. My 5yo also has a hard time making her bed because she wants it to be perfect even though I have never required that of her. She is just an emotional girl that needs a lot of encouragement and praise. Well....that's enough for now! Laundry is calling :) In Christ, Melissa

Unread post by cbollin »


A couple of ideas popped in my mind for the handwriting. let her try with things like markers on a dry erase board. Chalk on a chalk board. Something that can be practiced over and over and then move to the paper later.

and as you already said, she needs gentle encouragement and praise along the way. She's young and it will improve with practice. Even your son's writing can improve. He may enjoy having some kind of wipe off board to practice as well.

I've noticed when I try to give too much instruction at one time with they are writing on paper, it gets my kids too tense to do it right. But when I give the instruction during a non-paper practice, it is easier to pull it together. There is just something nice about being able to immediately erase and try it again that helps my children relax while trying.

Merry Christmas


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi again :)

I stumbled upon this article yesterday, which offered a 'nugget' for correction:
http://www.lovetolearn.net/homeschoolin ... dex3.lasso

Because my son IS a perfectionist, I am constantly looking for ways to correct without frustrating him. About halfway through this article, Diane gives a very practical application for correction. The article involves keeping a notebook & writing down things we're not mastering or needing work on (as well as many other things). Rather than address it out loud at the moment, we write it down & find another way (ie, her example: practice on the chalkboard the next day) to practice without ever saying a negative word. This article has more to offer than just an idea for correction, and I think it will be helpful for me in many areas (specifically because of my memory/retention issues :0/ ). Check it out - maybe you would find it useful as well. HTH!

Paige in NC
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Unread post by niki »

I'm new to the forum, but I'd like to add my two cents...a friend of mine uses her window as a dry erase board - my kids crack up when we use the window write on... (it's actually our sliding glass door) it's not hard to get them writing at all.

Last edited by niki on Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Like pulling teeth

Unread post by LSH in MS »

NewHSMom wrote:My 5 y/o (turned 5 in Dec.) has been working through MFWK this year. She really enjoys it but HATES the writing and drawing. It is like pulling teeth to get the worksheets done.

She does not mind the writing if she can trace the letters or words but if she has to write them on her own she gets very frustrated. We have been playing with playdough, working with scissors and other things to try and increase her small motor skills. Does anyone have any ideas that worked with their children? Should I not worry about the handwriting and try again later? She is ahead in phonics reading short and long vowel words now so I wanted to move her to MFW1 in the fall but I think the writing will really overwhelm her.

I would skip the writing for now and just do the tactile writing suggestions (make letters with playdough, write letters in dry pudding etc). Then you could just do all of the worksheets after you finish K for a review. After that, if she isn't ready, just read easy readers, do some math, and a handwriting book to practice writing. She needs to be able to write all of her letters and able to do 2-3 words at a time for 1st. They have you copying Proverbs and other writing. It's a lot more than K.

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Unread post by Homeschooling6 »

I wouldn't stress over it. I think what your are doing: playing with playdough etc. is fine.
My five year old (who is doing K) doesn't do a whole lot of writing. With the handwriting sheet, he usually does only one or two rows and we stretch it out for the whole week. Once we are done with MFWK I plan on using a handwriting program if he is not ready for MFW1 yet. MFW has a lot of writing. My 6yr old couldn't do all the writing required in MFW1
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MJ in IL
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I just wanted to chime in and agree with the other advice to not worry about it too much. I have one child who does not do well with the physical part of writing (10ds). His current manuscript is fairly legible, cursive is a bit better, and he is learning to type and loving it! This is the first year I have required much in the writing area and he seems to be doing fairly well.

We did a lot of writing in salt, using the puzzle pieces to "write" and stamping in K. By the time we started 1st (he was 7), he did the Proverbs a line or so a day and finished it by week's end and I continued to modify some of the writing tasks. He also liked writing on the easel with markers... probably using more gross than fine motor.

Enjoy the time in K!
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Unread post by Lisa B »

Hi! I have a dd who is a young 5 like yours (turned 5 in Nov.) and although she is coming along in writing her letters, she struggles with some of the drawing assignments. I've been wondering, too, if she'll be ready for the writing and drawing required for MFW 1st (I've used it before with some of my older children). I appreciate the suggestions for transition (handwriting books, easy readers, math concepts, etc.) and will think about them.

Back to kindergarten writing, I frequently draw dotted lines for dd to trace letters or words that she finds frustrating. I know the handwriting will come with time and maturity! In the meantime, I want to encourage her and make learning a fun experience, so I don't stress her with writing that she's not ready for. We use a "cornmeal tray" as well for tactile writing experiences.
Mom to Chase (22), Bailey (20), Christian (17), Bethany (17), Hannah (14), Sarah (12), Joshua (10), Daniel (7), and Caroline (5)

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Try this website for additional practice

Unread post by bethben »

Susan on the Space Coast
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Those are good ideas

Unread post by Susan on the Space Coast »

I like the stamp idea and the writing in marker on the board. I wish I had thought of that when my 2 were younger.

For 1st grade, my dd would rather cut out pictures and glue them on the Bible notebook pages than draw her own. She would write but it was horrible looking. I shouldn't say that, but in a year she has really improved! Now she's tackling cursive writing because her 9yo bro is learning, and she's not to be outdone! Even he is terrible about writing. I wish I had made him take a week to write his Bible verse--he would count how many letters until he was done, so laborious!

So I hope the drawing/cutting picture part helps. I got the pictures from an old Bible coloring book or another book about timelines that I had accumulated over the years. The handwriting will come as they get older, more than likely. More is not necessarily better; patience with them works better.

Teaching them to type may work, too. We love JumpStart typing!
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Writing without lines

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:13 pm
I just looked back through my dd's K work. (I save everything, I'm crazy.) Her writing was so sloppy and uneven in the beginning, and there's evidence of my leaving little dots to trace everywhere. We didn't start school until January and went so slowly at first (it actually bothered my dh that we didn't have a schedule, but he was the one telling me not to push her!) Anyway, she turned 5 y.o. in March and the writing started getting a little better. Two months later, at Lesson 11 Ii Insect, is when the switch happened and her writing is beautiful from there on through the rest of the lessons. So, it took us 5 months to get to lesson 11, but it was worth going slowly because of her physical development. We both started really enjoying school time more and it became more focussed, and we finished the next 15 lessons in 3 months. That's our story.

And I had actually talked to David Hazell about skipping K altogether and starting MFW1 at 4.5 y.o. because my dd was so advanced in reading and math skills! Can you even imagine?! Praise God for the Hazell's wisdom, and thank you David for the wonderful advice. They do know what they're talking about regarding placement. The moms on this board are an incredible resource, but calling the MFW office may really help you get some peace about this decision.
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Re: Writing without lines

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:10 am
It may just be that she is not quite ready to write on lines yet as the K program is set up. I would let her practice on a white board and blank paper to form her letters for now. In a few months you may want to start using the lined sheets provide in MFW K and go back to the ones she has missed.

Also something that I found out when my son had some difficulty is that many kids need to know how to do the main strokes of letters in large motor before being able to do them in small motor. So practicing lots of big circles, zig-zags(w), and up and down movements can be very helpful for some kids. This would need to involve the whole arm not just the hand. If you have any Zaner-Bloser books or HWT then in the front of those books are strokes to practice. These are the kinds of things you would practice. A fun way to do this is to go outside and draw with sidewalk chalk. You can play copy cat and then just let her draw what ever but draw it big.

After doing this for a while then move those strokes to blank paper and then finally to lined paper.

Again, it may just be a matter of readiness but these are a few ideas to try in the mean time.

These are just some thoughts from my experience and some reading that I have done. I think that the others have also given you some good ideas to work on as well.

Posted: Sat May 10, 2008 4:15 pm
My son learned to read in K but he was just not ready to write. It has always been hard for him. So do not worry to much about that. I would actually have him practice writing for now on unlined paper to learn the shape and feel.

Also something else I learned (after I had already messed my kid up, LOL) is that learning the large motor feeling of a letter before going to fine motor can be very important for some kids. So have him practice it really big in the air, with chalk, in the pool this summer, and have him involve the shoulder as he does it.

Now to your other thoughts about doing K again, go for it! Some of us just are not ready until later and it is just fine.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Sat May 10, 2008 6:04 pm
Tagging on a bit to Lucy's large motor/fine motor thing...
*Remember to have him trace the Lauri letters with his fingers.
*Practice writing in shaving cream on a mirror or tray
*Use activities that are part of Step 5 of day 1 (not all of them everyday of course)

For that fine motor/pencil issue stuff....
*lacing toys.
*play with clothespins -- open and shut them (develops some strength)
*use tongs (or whatever that thing is that you pick up ice cubes with???)that are more like over sized tweezers and have him pick up legos/blocks or whatever and drop them in a bucket. All of that can help too with the grasp.
*get a pencil grip. It can help to position the fingers.

Go for it again. My "baby" will be 6.5 in the fall and she's just officially starting K. We'll be fine.
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DS doesn't like to color

Unread post by RachelT »

nagada wrote:DS doesn't like to color - at all. So all the picture cards and other things that are "supposed" to be colored, aren't.
A note about coloring - my ds hated coloring anything at that age and still doesn't like it, but can do it when necessary. At that age I found some "Dot to Dot" markers (like Bingo markers) and they have a round circular tip that's bigger than other markers and he liked using those. They cover more area, so it made coloring doable for him. I've also learned after his year of occupational therapy that there are lots of other activities that can strengthen fine motor skills, so don't feel like it has to always be coloring. Working with clay or putty, painting, using dry erase markers on a white board, playing board games or card games where you have to hold move cards or small game pieces are all good things to do, too.

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Re: DS doesn't like to color

Unread post by jasntas »

I would like to add to Rachel's advice on how to get through the rest of K. My dd likes to color but not all the time so on the coloring/drawing assignments for K this is what we have been doing.

Day 1 #4. Picture Cards Page: My dd colors them if she wants to. She prefers to use markers and sometimes colored pencils. (She almost never uses crayons for anything.) Sometimes she only colors 1 or 2 of the pictures or doesn't color them at all. When she is finished cutting them out and putting them into an envelope she tapes the letter on the outside of the envelope. (She uses way too much tape but she wants to do it herself.) Then I take that envelope and all the previous letter envelopes and lay them out on the table in a mixed up order. She then puts them in alphabetical order with help if needed. BTW, she does not like to trace the letter but loves to use a "salt box" or a small white board with erasable markers to practice her letter for that unit.

Day 3 #4. Math Page. We use stickers. My dd decides how many she wants to use and picks which stickers to use. We usually use stickers that go along with the unit we are on at the time or I let her choose. (I am always on the look out for the $1 stickers at Target, Michaels, etc.) For a while now she has even been making the sheet into a math problem. X# of big butterfly stickers + X# of small butterfly stickers. That was her own idea.

Day 5 #2 Drawing Page: We reuse the Cut and Paste page from day 3. She picks 4 of the 6 pictures from the day 3 page and cuts them out and uses a glue stick to glue the picture to the Day 5 worksheet and then writes the word below it. (She never wants to color them, btw.) She has also used stickers, rubber stamps and stencils in lieu of drawing but she likes this method best as it becomes difficult to find the right stickers, etc. for the words she wants to use.

I can't think of any other pages that require coloring/drawing but hopefully these couple of ideas may help or even spark some of your own ideas as to how to work around this particular problem. I also have other things that we have done to tweak our K program to fit my dd better. If interesed, let me know.

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MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by meagabby »

MuzzaBunny wrote:DD is 4 (bday in July) but we are doing K over 2 years (every other day for 8 months per school year) because she met all of the Hazell's readiness criteria. We are now on day 12 of school, so Day 2 of the S-s-Sun Unit. We came to the handwriting page and it was a challenge for Adah. She did beautifully tracing the grey letters but struggled mightily with forming S on her own.

My question is, for this year, really our Pre-K year, will I be doing any harm if I give her little dots to follow? She does just fine with that. Perhaps we can wean away from dots in her K year? Otherwise, she's doing well. Good retention, good coloring, cutting and pasting, good interest level and attention span. Thanks for any help you can offer!
Hi Vicki,

I think it is totally acceptable to add the little dots for them to trace. Tracing is a first step to writing.
S's are very hard for alot of children. You might find that she may not need the dots to trace on all of them, either.

Do you have the textured letters or let her try the letter in sand, pudding,or shaving cream? That whole arm movement also helps prepare for the pencil to paper.
And that reminds me, our son does better using a crayon rather than a pencil.

Loving learning with MFW!

Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by cbollin »

Yes, it will be fine. It is a common point that seems like a snag, but really isn't.

the big picture moment to understand is that it is not expected that the student master writing the letter S during this week/unit of school. It is one of the harder letters to form, and therefore gets a lot of practice all year. It's essential to get the letter early in the learning to read stages due to frequency of use. But the handwriting will come. As Dena said, practiced with tactile methods. Do some hand over hand help. trace is fine for a while. Also offer specific out loud instructions to turn the curve and turn back... Start with making the letter very big in the air with your arms and fingers. Stand up and do it together while talking the instructions for making it. It's hard to learn about the switch in the middle. So, use the "script" somewhere around page 37 of the manual.

it will come eventually. S is one of the harder letters to write.

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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by Mexmarr »

I'm glad to hear that S is one of the hardest, lol. My daughter simply CAN'T do it!!! She is legally blind, and does struggle, but she is not too bad with most letters! But the S just isn't working! We have made 100's of S's in all kinds of ways, and I finally decided to just move on. I think that she will be just fine.
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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by cbollin »

Yes, It's even hard for children without the challenges your daughter has.

she may just have to skip the handwriting sheets for several months, or just use the lauri letters and trace with her finger on them for a longer time. save the pencil stuff for a year or so from now.

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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by 1974girl »

On a glass table, put a little bit of dad's shaving cream. Let her practice her letters in the shaving cream. If you don't have a glass table, just put down some seran wrap or plastic of some sort. Mine loved to practice that way.

However, my 2nd grader still makes pretty bad s's. I think it is just a hard letter.
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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

MuzzaBunny wrote:will I be doing any harm if I give her little dots to follow?
Just another vote for giving her dots to trace. You are training her, not giving her a crutch or doing any harm. Think about the cursive books you will be using in a few years down the road -- how do they work? By giving the child (that already knows how to print) something to trace. It's all good.
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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by Mexmarr »

I think that writing it in salt is one if the best ideas! We have a tupperware container with salt in it just for that. We keep the lid sealed when not in use. It requires no prep to use, and no clean up. She can make her S shake it a bit and go at it again. She loves it. I hold her hand and help her trace it. Again and Again and Again@
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Rosy age 8 - 3rd grade, ECC
Gracie age 7- K and ECC orally (legally blind, Aspergers)
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Re: MFW-K hit our first little snag

Unread post by MuzzaBunny »

You are all angels! Thank you so much for the quick replies and all your help! It's so easy to second guess myself and fear I'm doing harm if the manual doesn't say "do it this way". We were planning on the salt try next week for our tactile activity, so I'm super happy to hear good responses to that. I didn't think of shaving cream! I even have a full can in the bathroom because dh grew a beard! lol Adah will love that! We do use the textured letters and she likes "tracing" with them. We'll add the finger in the air part as well. We'll continue with the dots and keep working. BTW, dd has a little LeapFrog Scribble and Write -we used that for a review this afternoon and it seemed to be quite helpful. More ideas are always super welcome ;)
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