Handwriting - Questions, especially on legibility expectatio

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
cbollin

Handwriting - Questions, especially on legibility expectatio

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:18 pm

TriciaMR wrote:Okay, writing is not my dd's best subject, but she has improved greatly in the last 3 weeks. But then, she can get so sloppy, to the point of being illegible. She has asked several times, "Does it really matter if I do this right (or get this right)?" I've said, "Yes, it does." (I also always make her correct her incorrect answers.)

I've talked about math and how if you were an engineer and made a mistake designing a car, you could hurt or kill someone. I've talked about being a doctor and having neat handwriting so the pharmacist can read your handwriting and get the right medicine (the wrong medicine could kill you). We've talked about how God wants us to do our very best.

I've told her that if she doesn't write neatly I'm going to make her re-write her papers. But, then I think, "Am I being too hard on her? She is only 7. I probably didn't care about any of this stuff when I was 7 either." I don't want to make her a "perfectionist" (believe it or not, she does have a little of that in her, in spite of the sloppy writing and messy room), but I often feel that she isn't really doing her best work.

Trying to find out what other moms and dads do.
-Trish
Some ideas:
*If she is just not ready for cursive writing, take that into account. I know the curriculum you are using teaches it now, but that doesn’t mean it has to be done now.

*Yes, it is important to do our work neatly. Maybe it would work to just let her "practice just one assignment again". Instead of making her do everything all the way over, encourage her to choose one assignment to Practice it Again. Don't try to fix everything all at one time.
My girls take dance and have to practice it again. Their teacher gently says “let’s practice this again”.
And yes, let your 7 y.o choose which one assignment even though she will choose the shortest assignment. That's ok.

*It is my experience that trying to get a 7 year old to think too far in the future—well uhm…it just doesn’t work. It is too abstract for a young mind to think that way. Look for ways to give her a concrete incentive that has meaning to her. How about if you encourage her to practice her handwriting pretty so that she can be ready to send a pretty card to her cousins when they are in the hospital? (Hi Uncle Mike’s kids) Or to be able to write a letter to Grandma. Something that has a positive meaning to her might work better than an abstract concept that is taught in a negative fashion.

*make sure that you are providing proper physical elements so that she isn't getting too tired while writing. In other words, get a pencil grip if she needs one. Make sure she is sitting properly at a desk/table that is the right height for her size. (Kitchen tables are *not* always the best thing for that.) Sometimes we overlook those real simple solutions like that when it comes to penmanship and writing.

hang in there --- I think all teachers have these learning moments when learning how to teach. I even see this kind of thing with one of the rookie preschool teachers at my dd’s preschool. The multiple decade veteran teacher and I just look at each other and smile. You’re doing a good job, Trish! Laugh gently at yourself knowing that I've been there, done that too :)

p.s. doctors are known for sloppy handwriting. <grin>
-crystal

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Unread post by TriciaMR » Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:43 pm

Thanks Crystal... (Yeah, she has her own school desk that is adjusted for her height to do her school work on.)

We've been doing cursive for a year and a half now, and she really wanted to learn it. And, writing letters to Grandma (that was one of our first assignments in January) is a good incentive. She does have a "mental block" trying to get her own thoughts down on paper, so I have her dictate to me and write it out for her to copy, and I do that for any assignments that call for it. (Her cursive is now neater than her printing, so I really don't want to go backwards.)

I think you're right, letting her pick out which one she'll "practice" again might be a good idea. And me not being so hard on her. And just even practicing the things she has problems with instead of the "whole" thing might be good, too. (Like double bb connections.)

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

Mercy
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:34 pm

Unread post by Mercy » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:28 pm

Been there in MANY areas of life. I have been overly hard on my son and it's formed into a habit (not just in handwriting but work ethic, attitude, etc.).

I wish someone would have been honest and told me truthfully like Crystal did. I am much easier on my daughter and I have REALLY tried to relax with my son. I love the gentle ways of MFW, they don't push. They allow it all to happen smoothly. They don't cram too much info into the children to make them super brainy, they instead give them a taste and make them hungry to learn.

Learning new tasks is hard on it's own and forcing them to do it right (and perfectly) just adds to the stress of learning that new skill.

I am not in your home, I am just speaking from my own experience. I have driven my son away from writing because he is VERY much a perfectionist now. He doesn't want to do it wrong. It was ME who made him feel that way. It turns into a big battle anytime he's asked to write. So, I've stepped back - a lot. I don't require too much and I'm taking him step by step, easing him into writing again. And, I'm being an encourager instead of a critic.

There is a balance. I think Crystal mentioned gently saying, "let's practice that again." That's the correct way to do it. By doing it that way you are not ignoring that there is a problem, but at the same time you are not making it into a a big issue.

I just wanted to pop in to give my perspective. I am practicing being a better teacher and a better mom. MFW has helped me to learn so much!

Blessings to you,
~Mercy~
Wife to Superman
Mother to 8yob, 3yog & 3mob
started in ECC, switched to ADV
http://ourhomeschoolingadventures.blogspot.com/
http://ourhomeschoolingfun.blogspot.com/
~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." H.W. Beecher

rachel
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:50 pm

Practicing handwriting without realizing it!

Unread post by rachel » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:56 pm

Posted: Sat May 26, 2007 6:13 pm
One thing that I learned with my daughter is that when she is creating something of her own chosing (making a story, a card, or writing the words to identify a picture she drew or something like that...) she practices her handwriting without even realizing that she is doing it.

I also try to praise her in the times that her handwriting looked like she put any kind of effort into it and it seems to have helped.

It's been difficult for me too, to not think about how she "should" be writing, but there has been progress and I guess as long as we are progressing in a difficult area like that, at this stage, I feel pretty good about it. Hope you enjoy Adventures. We are looking forward to it.

my3boys
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Legibility expectations

Unread post by my3boys » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:21 pm

courthart246 wrote:I have a left-handed third grade son who is struggling with handwriting. Well, maybe I'm more of the one struggling trying to read it. He doesn't seem to mind. He is doing cursive now, and does better with that than with printing, but I am concerned with the printing. We have mostly just done the MFW writing (copywork, notebooking, etc) and have supplemented with A Reason for Handwriting. He is doing well in reading, comprehension, etc. It is the art of writing....the fine motor parts. I also can't tell if this is a physical issue or if it is just that my son is in a hurry to finish writing.

Perhaps I am concerned over nothing, but I just want to know what I should be expecting from this age of boy in the area of handwriting. Thanks for any input.
I would say that fine motor problems with boys under fifth grade is a common problem. My 9yo ds is having a slow go of it picking up cursive, as he did printing when he was younger. I use the HWT program and it does help. I've heard from many, many other mom's of boys who struggle with this as well. It may indicate a processing disorder, but it may just be slow development. My 9yo cannot write anything with more than a few sentences without having a meltdown due to frustration - maybe that gives you something to compare your third grader to. How much can he or does he write?
Alison
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:50 pm

Hi Courtney,
I can confirm what Alison mentioned about boys & writing!

There are some good conversations in this thread.
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=1009

My ds is now in 7th grade. So to follow up on whatever I may have written in the past on that thread, I will say that there is some improvement this year. My ds is definitely still qualified to be a doctor, as far as poor handwriting goes. But he is getting old enough that communicating in writing requires a little effort (longer sentences to decipher etc), and he's getting annoyed if he can't figure out what someone else has written. So I think he watches himself a bit more.

My personal method is:
Keep working on it gently until you don't need to work on it any more.
For some kids, that's in 2nd grade; for others it's in 12th grade.

As I told a child I tutored with today (who kept saying, "That's just the way I write that..." for each letter), the purpose of writing is so it can be read. If you write something & no one can read it.... it's pointless!?!
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

RachelT
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Unread post by RachelT » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:26 pm

Hi Courtney! My ds is still 7, but will be 8 in Feb. Handwriting and art, coloring, any fine motor task have been challenging for him. I used HWT alongside of MFW Kindergarten, then last year in 1st grade just used the MFW and it became a real struggle. So, after our summer break, we started up with HWT again and we do a page or part of a page almost every morning. It has helped a lot! We are using the 1st grade book (although he is in 2nd grade) because it still has wider lines and we've been reviewing the formation of each letter. One great thing about this HWT book is that many of the pages have two columns so either a "lefty" or right-hander can see the words that they are copying.

Another thing that has helped in our case is getting occupational therapy! I am not telling you to rush out to your doctor and find out about it, but if you have concerns you might share them with your child's doctor and see what they say. After struggles in gross motor and fine motor skills, he was evaluated and has been doing OT since August. It has been the biggest help!! *What I have learned from OT is that his larger muscles in his shoulders, core area, etc. actually have to strengthen first, so he has been doing pushups against the wall, on an exercise ball, Tae Kwon Do, etc. And those larger muscles are carrying over into his smaller muscles. Even if you don't investigate OT, you might try some strengthening exercises regularly and see if they help.

Just my thoughts!! I hope they help!
Rachel
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/

doubleportion
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Contact:

Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by doubleportion » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:43 am

705emily wrote:My 9 yo dd's handwriting is sloppy--I mean VERY sloppy! She is a kid who wants to do everything FAST! She's very bright--but she makes so many errors throughout her work simply because she wants to get done! The thing is--the content of her writing is GREAT. She's creative, and she's imaginative--so--how much should I get on her case for the handwriting. I think that her head thinks faster than her hands and that's an issue too. Every day we do handwriting exercises--and many days I make her do them over because it's so sloppy! This brings on many tears! ;( She CAN write neatly when she's forced to--but her inclination as I said is just to get done. I guess some days I just feel weary of the handwriting battle! I'm sure others have this struggle so any suggestions would be very welcome! :)

Blessings!
Maybe have her type more of her assignments and cut down the ones that require writing. You could have her neat writing be required on things like memory verse and certain notebook pages. You could encourage her that if she writes neatly on the required writing then she will get to do other assignments orally or on the computer typing them.

HTH

Edie

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:58 pm

Nine is still young. My 14 year old still works on handwriting... :~ Here are some things we have done, but I will say that in the end, not everyone will have neat handwriting.

- Typing, like Edie said. My ds types almost everything. He doesn't even use correct fingering, but he is fast and doesn't cry %|

- Letter formation is key to making a letter look like the correct letter. My ds taught himself to read & write, so I don't think he ever got any training in letter formation either in public school or at home. Once he came home to school, we went over handwriting every year (3rd to 8th so far). I used HWT for a while, because they really "make" kids start with a "magic C" to form the rounded letters, and so the letters come out actually rounded. Other years, I've just sat and shown him myself. Sometimes that is best.

- Copywork is good handwriting practice because the student isn't trying to think of what to write at the same time, yet it isn't just busywork to be done carelessly, either.

- I've used a handwriting font program so that I can pre-print the copywork in the exact font I want, with the proper letter formation. Some will even allow you to print things to be traced or things with arrows to show where to start. Other folks on the boards have hand-written things in a yellow marker to be traced.

- Both at home and where I tutor, I make a big deal about letters that look like the wrong letters. I use real examples, so kids can "see" what the problem is when you try to form the letters any way you want. I'm really a flexible person in most areas, but this is one of the few that I'm kinda hard-nosed about. To me, the only purpose of writing is to be read, so if it can't be read, then it hasn't been "written," but the child has simply had fun scribbling. (The one exception might be taking notes just to help put something in you brain, but even then I wonder if it will go in you brain at all if it's just an illegible scribble???) Almost every kid who needs to work on handwriting will admit they can't read their handwriting at times, especially if you have a sample on hand to try to decipher. Having those real samples helps a lot in showing why an "e" looks like an "o," an "n" looks like they wrote an "h," and so on... Seeing and understanding the problem can help quite a bit.

Just a few ideas. No guarantees :-)
705emily wrote:Julie--what is the name of the handwriting font program that you said you use?
Like Chris mentioned, I have Educational Fontware. It has all the homeschooling fonts I've ever heard of, including HWT cursive. However, I think they are marketing more for public schools these days and not for homeschools. I think there is another big font program out there but I can't remember -- is it ABC Teach? Hopefully someone who knows will chime in.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Laura M
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:14 pm

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by Laura M » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:13 pm

I hear ya! Although my handwriting woes is with my son. Maybe you could come to some sort of agreement or deal where you could replace some of the handwriting assignments with verbal work providing that she agrees to do her very best at the handwriting that she does do.
~Laura

Married in 1998 to Nathan, the love of my life, and blessed with 4 great kids: Jonathan('99), Josiah ('00), Avalon ('02), and Elijah ('05).
Currently doing Exp - 1850

sojen
Posts: 65
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Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by sojen » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:50 pm

705emily wrote:the content of her writing is GREAT. She's creative, and she's imaginative--so--how much should I get on her case for the handwriting. I think that her head thinks faster than her hands and that's an issue too.
You seriously could have described my 7yo! Her handwriting has been been unreadable since the moment she picked up a pencil and nothing has helped her. She is very smart and has amazing ideas, just zero ability to get them across on paper because no one can read a thing she writes.

I finally broke down and bought Handwriting Without Tears. I had hesitated in the past because it is a little pricey and I didn't think it was necessary. But it is a great program! We've only been using it for a few weeks and I noticed a HUGE difference on her History notebook page today. You could even maybe just buy the 1st or 2nd grade teacher's manual and implement the ideas.(They have cursive also, if that is what she needs work on. We haven't even gotten close to crossing that bridge!) You don't need all the extras, especially with an older child. And I will say her handwriting got worse before it got better when we started the program. It was quite difficult to change all her bad habits. But well worth it! Now I am proud to show off her creative, imaginative work!
Jen in GA
mom to dd 11, dd 8, and ds 5
traveling through the medieval world with RTR.
Slowly starting kindergarten with my little guy.

705emily
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by 705emily » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:37 pm

Thanks for the ideas! I have a typing program that she started using a couple of years ago--but I kind of wanted her to learn to type "correctly." That is taking more time than I thought because we mostly practice it during the summer months. I guess I could let her do hunt-and-peck--but I learned to type very fast using the "correct" method--and I figured eventually she'd need to learn it so why not start out right. KWIM?

I do use Zaner Bloser handwriting, and it is heavy on the letter formation--particularly cursive--which we are doing now--so I don't really think it's the program--as much as her desire to do things as quickly as possible. I haven't tried HWT--but maybe I do need to give it a good look! ;)

Thanks again.....
Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

RachelT
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by RachelT » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:47 pm

Hi Irmi! HWT has been a lifesaver for my ds. Along with dyslexia, he has dysgraphia which effects writing. Writing is VERY difficult for him. However, HWT really simplifies it and has helped a lot. We do about a page every day and it has been good practice. This is where we really work on making our very best effort at letter formation and neatness. On any other written assignments I am not as picky about the look of the writing, if it's legible.

The other thing that is really going to help is if she can type with all of her fingers. I also learned to type (on a real typewriter!) with all my fingers, not looking at the keys and can type really quickly. I think it is important in the computer driven time that we live in. Last year I required my ds to do Typing Instructor for Kids twice a week for about 10-15 minutes. He is really learning to type! It is something fun that he can learn to do pretty much without me. On this particular typing program, I can also adjust settings like the goal for words per minute, check his progress, and even choose from a variety of types of background music. (He did a computer project this summer for 4H and my dh helped him to learn to use Power Point, but my ds really typed all of the captions on each slide himself. It went to our state fair!)

My dh is also a Pediatrician and he has several patients who are having similar struggles in school like our son. He was just saying the other day that one of those kids is using the same reading and spelling program that my ds is working through, but doesn't know how to type and my dh was suggesting that for him. I allow our ds to type for written assignments and it frees his mind to express himself when he is not concentrating so hard on the mechanics of handwriting.

I really do value writing by hand, but realistically anything of length that I write now is on a computer, so I think that is also a valuable skill.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/

club190
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:12 am

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by club190 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:26 pm

Your child is still kind of young for this product, but it may be helpful for you:

"Write Now" by Getty and Dubay

It has a bunch of neat "testimonial" type letters written by doctors (before and after). It's helped us a lot.

Other than that, our neat find is "Educational Fontware," which allows us to create our own handwriting sheets. It was $25 when I bought it about 6 years ago. Honestly though, teach them to type too.

Blessings,
Chris
Wife to Jim since '91
Mom to:
Matthew, 18, Ursinus College student
Andrew, 14, ECC 7/8 + a few extras to make it "official" for high school credit
Daniel, 5, wanting to "do school" but still not really ready

TriciaMR
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Handwriting woes!!

Unread post by TriciaMR » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:48 pm

I use StartWrite software - but it doesn't have as many fonts as Educational Fonts does. But it does have HWT.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

mgardenh
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Needing some encouragement

Unread post by mgardenh » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:12 pm

mommysweird wrote:I'm feeling a little inadequate right now and just need some encouragement that I'm doing the right thing for my kids. We are currently in Adv with the oldest being 8 (almost 9) and in 3rd grade. He is doing beautifully with language arts. He REALLY struggles with writing. As in handwriting. It's mostly my fault because I haven't made that a priority. He can write out all the Bible verses in MFW, but when he's asked to write a summary of a historical character or something it takes him F O R E V E R. About 20 minutes for 3-4 sentences. Which indicates to me that he needs more practice. I'm sure his muscles are weak due to lack of practice.

I've gotten caught up lately comparing him to other kids (I know - dangerous!) and I am feeling like I'm failing him in that area. I have friends who send their kids to public school and friends with a more 'school at home' approach to homeschool that seem to be pointing things out to me without even knowing it. Maybe I'm ultra-sensitive. I know this is a fight not with them but with the Enemy of my Soul. I also know that because God called me to do this, He WILL equip me. But sometimes it's good to hear it from another human ;) Thanks in advance! This board has always been a source of encouragement to me.
Just want to say. Please don't compare your child. You are doing fine. If you are concerned about his handwriting I have some thoughts.

My dd hates to write it is physically hard for her so I let her type most things. She would be considered 4th grade. I started her on cursive this year. To my shock and my wife's she loves it. She is through all the lower case and started upper case (I use mfw recommendation). In fact yesterday she choose to write her letter for the week not on the computer but in cursive. I almost fell out of my chair :-) . This from someone who doesn't like math and spelling only because she has to write (but does extremely well with them).

He is young yet so he may just need some time or something different like cursive. I know other people have said they saw huge improvement in ability and desire to write when there kid started cursive.

Also you are doing fine your child will turn out just as God intends him to. Hope you get more and better encouragement then this.
Mike
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alexisg
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

tangomoon
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 4:03 pm

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by tangomoon » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:21 pm

My DH teaches 4th grade at a public school, and I can assure you that handwriting is very, very low on the list of priorities in most schools. And honestly, with technology the way it is now, handwriting isn't nearly as important as it used to be (shh! don't tell the kids). The suggestions to try cursive are good ones, but if it turns out that typing is a way for your child to communicate his thoughts better, it's probably not the end of the world. :)

Don't let Satan push you to make this bigger than it really is.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:56 pm

HI Kim,
It's so hard with your oldest to know what is enough. I'm working with my youngest, and believe me it's smoother sailing.

Here's a post I wrote about my youngest, who has been using MFW from 3rd through 9th grade, and has not used the pencil much. He does use the keyboard a lot, although he doesn't use correct fingering. I hope it encourages you.
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 748#p66748
mommysweird wrote:Oh, Julie! Thank you so much!! I'm sitting here in awe of how God has used you to encourage me. I count myself blessed today because the God of the Universe listens to my prayers and answers them. Thank you, thank you!
Aw, Kim, you've made me happy, too :-)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by TriciaMR » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:53 pm

Kim,

I have a dd, and in 3rd grade writing was EXTREMELY difficult for her. The actual physical act of writing, but not the ideas. We did (and still do, now in 5th), a lot of double dictation. She tells me what she wants to write, I write it, and she copies it neatly. But, over break, we were working on thank you notes, and she wrote them herself! And did a good job. I found Handwriting Without Tears helped her a whole lot.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

Wendy B.
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by Wendy B. » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:23 pm

Sounds like you have already found some encouragement! This is a great board, isn't it?

One thing I do each quarter is to find a particular skill that I want to focus on with each child. I develop a plan, write it out and share it with my child. Most of all, we pray about it! Each week, I review my written plan to make sure we are doing it. At the end of the quarter the child and I compare a "before" and "after". It is always very encouraging for them (and me!) to see their progress! It is a great lesson for a child to learn that with a little focus work over such a short period of time ( 3months) they can make improvement.

I recently made a plan for my 8yods for writing/handwriting. My plan included daily copywork and handicrafts that helped improved manual dexterity(tying knots and lanyards) .....among other things. I shared my plan with him so he knows why I'm asking him to do these particular activities. He detests copywork and crafts! There were plenty of school prayers that were "Please, Lord, let me have a good attitude today about copywork 'cuz you know I do not want to do it." In addition to becoming the fastest knotter in his Scout Pack, his handwriting has dramatically improved this quarter. I think it is awesome that his improvement is directly related to the amount of work he put into the goal.

HTH
Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.

mommysweird
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:34 pm

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by mommysweird » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:42 pm

That was great Wendy. And a really good small bite to a really big elephant!

All the responses have been so great! Thanks everyone for coming to my rescue ;)
Kim
DH Mike (12/96)
DS Brady (02/02)
DS Jackson (04/08)
http://www.initialoutfitters.net/kimwine

rxmom
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:29 am

Re: Needing some encouragement

Unread post by rxmom » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:43 pm

Kim,
I can relate so well to your post. My oldest son (now 12) really struggled with writing---that is the physical/motor part of handwriting. Our first year we did Adventures and the history summaries were tough. I was new to hs'ing and thought maybe I was not qualified to teach my kids and should have stayed with my first profession of pharmacy (haha)! I had no idea that this was a common problem with many kids (esp. boys). My younger two do not struggle in this way but they certainly have other areas of struggle. Here was/is my approach with my oldest:

1. We did some Diane Craft activities to help with the motor skills...check out her website for more info...she is always a hit at our local homeschool convention (in VA)...I highly recommend this.. Also, Handwriting Without Tears...

2. I finally let go of my own public school background/Type A personality and "allowed" us to do dictation some and boy was I amazed...When I separated the "physical" act of writing from the thinking/creative part, he did very well. I had a great little writer-- until I stuck a pencil in his hand.- I discovered that it took so much "energy" for him just to focus on the skill of forming letters that he had little "energy" for the most important part- forming thoughts and ideas about what he had learned. After he dictated to me what he wanted to say in his summary he would then copy it. He was 8 then so we kept our summaries very short--maybe one (4-5 sentence) paragraph. By the time we got to CTG, his summaries were longer and now he has somewhat grown out of this extreme hatred of the pencil.

3. Learning cursive did seem to take some of the frustration out of writing for him.

4. We are also learning to keyboard this year and this is helping. He wrote his first official 5 paragraph essay (for our IEW lessons) on Augustus Caesar in November--most of which he wrote by hand(rough drafts) over about a 2-3 week period. I know that seems like a long time but I am so pleased ! The final draft was typed. We use dictation less now but if we have a lot of writing at one time (IEW plus ILL plus History summary ) I don't hesitate to allow him to dictate his thoughts for me. It is more important to get those thoughts out in an organized way to reinforce learning and practice communication skills....IMHO. We have come a long way but we are still working on these issues. We certainly have not "arrived" yet!

Hang in there, I finally learned to stop listening to those "perfect" homeschoolers who seem to have "perfect" kids who never struggle (everyone struggles in some academic and/or spiritual areas--we are all human); this board is wonderful because these moms and dads for the most part are so honest, open, and "real" about their hs'ing experiences. This board has been a constant source of encouragement--esp. Julie, Crystal, Trish, and many others..Thank You! Most importantly, pray... then trust and follow God's direction for you and your child....a lesson I am still learning myself.
Blessings,
Delcey :)
Blessed beyond measure...Lovin' MFW in SW VA
ds (14) ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT, Coming Soon...AHL!
ds (12) 1st grade, ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT
dd (9) MFWK, MFW1st, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT

schoolmom2
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:50 pm

How to encourage neatness.....

Unread post by schoolmom2 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:16 am

Jamie wrote:I'm just full of questions tonight!! This question is in regards to encouraging neatness in my kiddos' work. For the most part, they're eager to get to their bookwork (so they can get it done), but somewhere in the shuffle we've lost a lot of neatness. How can I encourage them to be neat in a way that doesn't seem like a drudgery......or that it would take so much longer to do? I like the eagerness, but I miss the neatness. Any ideas?
We struggle with this one as well. I have two boys who love to fly through their math assignments. I finally told them that if I cannot read (or find) the answer, I will simply mark it wrong.

For writing assignments, I feel like the whole point of writing is to convey our ideas to others. If someone else cannot read it, your voice cannot be heard. I jokingly asked my son, "What if Moses had written the first 5 books so sloppily that nobody could read them? Where would we be?!" They are only in 4th and 2nd grade, so I try not to nitpick too much, but I do insist on being able to read what is written.

Learning cursive has helped so much with neatness issues. They are much slower at writing in cursive, so their writing tends to be much neater and well-thought-out.

I laughed at a handwriting sample of my own the other day - I think it was from 6th grade, complete with loopy letters and i's with hearts over them. Gotta love the 80's!

baileymom
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:33 pm
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

Re: How to encourage neatness.....

Unread post by baileymom » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:32 am

I'm sure this is what you meant by "drudgery," but I require neatness, and if it's not neat, it gets re-written. My kids have learned this, so they all do pretty neat work.

Also, I think it's important to NOT require too much writing before they are ready. My DS, 8.5, does PLL orally, because he is just not ready to do alllllll that writing.

Another thing that helped with my girls, is allowing them to use pen and a white out roller. I'm not sure why this helped so much, but their writing is much neater, and easier to read.

Charlottemasonhelp dot com's Copywork section helped me a lot in this area, and gave me a lot of the ideas we use.
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1

Jamie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:04 am
Location: Montana

Re: How to encourage neatness.....

Unread post by Jamie » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:22 am

Yes, both of my older ones are using the cursive book this year. That's been fun, but my 9 yo is the only one trying to use it a bit outside of her cursive workbook.

I can also see where I may need to be closer when they're working in them, as I can see where some of the cursive letters are not being written correctly. (My 11 yo was just reading over my shoulder as I was writing this, and informed me that he doesn't want to write cursive outside of his cursive workbook until he has it down. Isn't that cute? :) ) I've been thinking about getting the next one for them to do this next year. I may have to take a look at that Charlotte Mason website that has ideas.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think it would help if I could "get my ducks in a row" so that if something does need to be redone, I can catch it right away. I can see where we may need some help in other areas (i.e. attitude), as I can imagine that if I asked for something to be totally redone, we would see some grumpiness emerge. :~ I'm glad we get to be home together to work on all of these fun learning things in life.
Jamie
Married to my sweetie for 16.5 years
14 ds, 12 dd, 10 dd, 7 ds, 4 ds, 1.5 dd
MFW K, ECC, CtG, RtR, Ex to 1850, & 14 yo currently in 1850 to Modern

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