Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition - Handwriting

Well, I'm back again for another review of what we do in our homsechool. Have I mentioned that I love it? Well, I do!

I started ordering homeschool materials for James when he was 3. I ordered from Sonlight and A Beka. I purchased the entire Pre-K curriculum (now Level B) from Sonlight and the phonics/handwriting from A Beka. A former A Beka representative attends our church and I had an ongoing discussion with him regarding handwriting.

As you may or may not know, A Beka begins with cursive. It never teaches manuscript, although this rep told me that it was recommended to "teach" printing the summer between 1st and 2nds grades. He said that it probably wouldn't be necessary because the student would most likely be able to do it already, just from observation.

I ordered the cursive handwriting curriculum. Then the rep, also our friend, felt guilty for pressuring me to order cursive and he included a complimentary manuscript version. He had many convincing arguments for beginning with cursive, and, after much "deliberation" I began cursive with James at age 4.

It was awful!!!!!!! He started out doing fairly well, but he hated it, I hated it, and it was becoming a discipline issue. Finally, I decided to quit handwriting since I do at least verbally espouse a somewhat Charlotte Mason philosophy. To be quite honest, I had major feelings of guilt and failure because James' best friend, who is 1 year his junior, had already started handwriting (manuscript of course)and was quite good at it.

I pulled out the handwriting curriculum for this year and decided on manuscript. James is doing great! In fact, he loves handwriting. Since Christmas, our handwriting program has consisted of writing thank-you letters to family members and friends for Christmas gifts. He writes between 2-4 sentences a day and has often asked if he can do more.

Guess what, though? I think if I would have started cursive with him this year, he would be doing just the same. I think I jumped the gun! Any of you out there like that? I am regretting it to be honest with you. Next year, when we could be working on some more advanced copywork, I will be teaching cursive. Was this year a waste? I think not. Manuscript is necessary, and he is only in kindergarten. I do believe though that we would have been a step ahead if we would have done cursive this year.

Remember, through my failings, our children progress in all areas at different rates from other children. James is years ahead in reading and comprehension but is probably average in most other areas. Don't guilt yourself if/when your child is not reaching the milestones you've set for him/her. Reevaluate, give it to the Lord, and be patient. Unless you think there is truly a learning disability, allow the child to develop at his/her own pace. Sometimes it's a little scary, but use it as an opportunity to thank the Lord for making your child unique!

Join me next week as we discuss math!


drew olanoff said...

I have just joined Learning By Grace, and I'll be focusing on speaking with the community of parents homeschooling, as well as their children. I will be coming back to check out how you're doing!


Resa said...

I realize this is an older post...but thank you for sharing your story! I just ordered the cursive A Beka materials for my 5.5 yo dd who is starting K next month and was searching for feedback from experienced moms! We're gonna go for it and see what happens! ~Resa

Resa said...

Thanks for your story! I just ordered the cursive materials for my 5 yodd...we're gonna go for it!