One of the first products onboard was this handwriting program. I enthusiastically volunteered for this, as I knew Morgan would be excited to try it out. We have used Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting throughout our homeschooling journey after I extensively researched handwriting methods and programs when we first started homeschooling 5 years ago (or at least I thought I had done my homework!)
Morgan has been through all of the italics manuals, and Taylor is currently working through the 4th manual which works on reducing cursive size. Both Morgan and Taylor have fairly neat and legible handwriting, but being the artist she is, Morgan is not altogether happy with hers, and both complain of writer’s cramp.While we have enjoyed the Getty-Dubay Italics, this made Peterson Directed Handwriting a very exciting possibility for us.
To begin with, I was asked to spend some time at the website to get familiar with the program and determine where we needed to start. I could immediately see that this movement-based strategy was way different than anything I had seen before. There is so much information on the website that I spent a few hours just amazed at the sheer abundance of useful teaching tips and presentations offered in their information directory. TAKE A LOOK!!
I was immediately drawn specifically to the teaching tips for left handers since Levi is definitely a "Lefty". I remember the challenges my brother faced growing up as a "southpaw" not only with handwriting, but playing guitar, using scissors, and a multitude of other things associated with a left-to-right based world. I also must interject here that I am definitely a left-dominant, writing right-handed. To complete my story here, I will mention that both of my girls are true-blue right handers.
After familiarizing myself with this new exciting information, I met in a live session through an Adobe Connect Meeting Room with the very knowledgable and tremendously helpful Rand Nelson. He offered even more expert insight and personal help for my little lefty, as well as personalized help for each of my girls in a very professional yet friendly manner. We even talked about my own handwriting which stemmed from a conversation of the legibility of doctor’s handwriting in filling out prescriptions and patient charts. My own handwriting is legible, but I have always had the desire to write "fancy" like some of my former classmates. I admitted to Mr. Nelson that I even had traced over notes written to me to try and reproduce their "style". He mentioned that there had been many adults and professionals who had benefited from learning this fluent handwriting method (and that tracing is a big no-no! )
We determined that we would begin our journey with Grade Three "Making the Transition to Cursive," and I proceeded to place an order for an extra level three student book for myself to learn along with the girls.
I also went ahead and ordered the pre-K and K Homeschool basic kit for future use with Levi,
as well as a seven pack of pencil grippers
an extra dozen triangular number 2 pencils
and a dozen Peterson Position Pens.
This was actually one of the beginning episodes from which my neighbors took note of my racing to my mailbox a few times daily in anticipation of the arrival of my goodies. Once they arrived, I dug immediately into the teachers manual, learning how to implement this unique program. I found the methods easy to teach and learn, and the support incredible. It really was not a problem to start at the Grade three level since the lesson plans always focus on "how" to write, and the sequence of instruction is based on motor control science.
We began with learning basic position skills which allow students to move fluently. Included in the materials is a self-adhesive position guide which helps students obtain an effectivie writing position. We learned proper pencil position, posture-body/desk position, and then moved on to an initial self-evaluation. Throughout the teacher’s guide is a wealth of information on classroom organization and preparation, letter patterns, explanation as to the uniqueness of the materials developed for this program, how good handwriting patterns enhance developing language skills, evolutionary cursive, fluent motor patterns, and how teaching this handwriting method helps sluggish readers and reduces teaching time.
The lesson procedure is laid out in simple, direct steps, involving chalkboard writing, describing parts of the letters, saying the action words as each letter stroke is developed, air-writing patterns with controlled rhythm, fingertracing models, practicing on paper gradually reducing size, and then practicing again on chalkboard emphasizing starting and stopping points. Each of six units is laid out in weeks, then days, with simple instruction of what to teach and review, numerical counts for words, and other tips and instruction.
The program includes an "animated letter cards" cd-rom which is a really neat learning tool that coordinates with the colorstroke rhythm guide. The child can follow along with the computer in forming of each letter. The complete kits also include a handwriting songs audio cd.
This program does involve a time commitment to learn the method and really understand the science behind it. Personally I was thrilled to find this information and feel it is a valuable resource to further my children’s development and learning. It has definitely been worth the time investment!
THANK YOU to Rand Nelson for being such an awesome resource and being actively involved in helping us to understand the urgency of teaching our kids movement dynamics as an important key to language skill success!! Your skill and understanding is as unique as this wonderful method that you support.
Go write with your kids!!