There seems to always be a debate going on in the educational realm for one thing or another. Lately, I’ve seen people discussing whether it’s important to learn cursive handwriting or if it should, like most art, music and physical education programs, be tossed aside. Iris Hatfield, the author of New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1, gives some great insight at the beginning of this book in support of teaching cursive. Personally, I love to read and view old documents, back when everyone took such pride in their penmanship.
While I admit that I love to write, it is a skill that causes my children to cringe. And not just cursive, they hate to write. Period. I hate to admit that often, I will allow them to use the computer to avoid the argument. However, this has only resulted in poor penmanship. You know what they say about practice.
I’ve been thinking of introducing my eight year old to cursive since I’ve read that cursive is actually better to learn early and some reports say to even start out teaching cursive handwriting. It was perfect timing, when I received the opportunity from Memoria Press to receive their New American Cursive book for review.
About the Book
As I stated earlier, the book starts off with an introductory of why we should be teaching cursive. Very valid points are given and if I wasn’t already convinced that children should still be taught cursive, I definitely would have some problems keeping any convictions against it. Then comes the Teaching Guide. The “3 P’s” are taught: Posture, Pencil Position and Paper Position. I firmly believe that so many kids struggle with penmanship because these basics are not covered first. Bonus: This curriculum will also work well with left-handed students and being a mom of a lefty, I’m glad that they are not being overlooked.
Let’s get started. First, the student is introduced to Mr. Meerkat who is the character that helps to teach. He starts off teaching the 3 P’s first with clear illustrations. Then, cursive is broken down into the three simple forms needed to form cursive letters – the dot, the straight line and the curve. Simple enough, right? This alone with defeat any child’s complaint that cursive is too difficult. Three pages are dedicated to teaching each letter:
The Instruction page covers both the lower case and the capital letter. The letters are clearly marked where to start and then follows the pattern of numbered lines so you can follow the direction. Reminder of proper paper placement is shown. With each letter, you are told to say the letter, feel the letter and write the letter.
The Practice page has the letter that you are learning shown in dotted lines. Don’t worry, the instructional image is shown in the margin so you don’t have to flip back a page. There’s enough space to copy the dotted letter and then write it on your own. The child is encouraged to circle their best letter when the page is completed.
The Play page is titled “Fun Exercises and Artwork”. This is where the child reviews what has been taught, practices connecting some letters and even has space to draw.
After the basics are taught, there’s some more practice – writing your numbers, number names, often used words, days of the week, and even the Pledge of Allegiance!
What We Loved
Yes, we all loved this curriculum!!
- It wasn’t overkill. Lessons can be completed in fifteen minutes or less.
- It uses New American Cursive. One of my graduated daughters helped Jeremiah with his handwriting and immediately grabbed the book when she realized the font wasn’t what she was taught and looked for the “F”. She immediately declared that it was unfair that she did not get to learn this way. Most of us struggle with traditional capital cursive F and that’s unfortunate when your last name begins with it!
- To teach how letters connect it uses “smile”, “grin” and “jump”. This is not only fun but makes it much easier to remember how to connect the letters!
- It uses the house method to teach what lines each letter cover.
- Doesn’t leave out lefties!
- Reproducible sheets are clearly marked so that you can make copies of pages for additional practice.
- A Handwriting Evaluation Checklist is given so you, as the teacher, know exactly what to look for to see if your child has mastered cursive.
- If you need additional practice, there are Workbooks 2 and 3 available. Workbook 2 comes in Scripture or secular to give more writing practice while Workbook 3 teaches good manners and correspondence protocol. You can also purchase StartWrite supplemental software which uses the same font where you can design your own worksheets.
- Very cost effective with a retail price of $22.95.
- Even though a meerkat helps “teach”, I could see my teen boys going back through this book and improving their handwriting!!
Be sure to click on the graphic below to see what my fellow Crew reviewers have to say.