I have heard a lot about Handwriting Without Tears handwriting curriculum throughout my years of homeschooling and have always been intrigued by the title. For my kiddos, however, handwriting has not been one of those things that has been particularly stressful, therefore I’ve never explored this curriculum until we had the opportunity to review the First Grade Printing Teacher’s Guide and My Printing Book.
The 1st Grade Printing Teacher’s Guide retails for $9.25 . You can see sample pages by clicking over to the HWT website. This guide is packed full of the theories behind the HWT method, explanations, links, support, guidelines, strategies, and has specific lessons outlined and illustrated every step of the way. This book is a multisensory masterpiece and includes activities and methods to teach every type of learner, with what seems like endless extensions for mastering handwriting. There are even video links to demonstrate lessons to help you get a feel for how to teach it. This guide has each page of the My Printing Book student workbook illustrated with lots of additional hints, tips and discussion to make the lessons come alive for your student. This is way more than just illustrated copywork. It includes many language arts concepts and even some math and counting.
The 1st grade student workbook is called My Printing Book and retails for $8.25. You can view the consumable user-friendly format for yourself by downloading some sample pages on the HWT website. We particularly liked that the student book is created to be lefty-friendly with copy words on left and right of the page making it easy for the lefty to see what he is writing. Great idea, and definitely a bonus!
This program begins with a review of what was covered in the previous levels, making it easy to teach concepts unique to this program before jumping into this level. The HWT program teaches capital letters first, with the 1st grade level covering lower case letters. If your child is already writing either capitals, lower case or both, the first section of the teacher’s guide goes through the methods of teaching the HWT way, and the beginning of the student book reviews the prior lessons of writing in a gray box, then writing on lines using capital letters and the “Frog Jump” method of writing capitals. After the review, the book jumps right into teaching lower case letters with the “c” letters first. The child writes the letters, then there is a box for the teacher to check the work before the student moves on. This makes the program really nice for the student to be able to begin working independently. The next pages are writing whole words, and encompass many different language arts concepts.
Handwriting Without Tears at Gunn Ranch Academy
I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of reviewing this program was the fact that I confirmed my thoughts that my 1st grader is quite advanced in his handwriting. While his reading skills have come a bit slower, his writing and physical small motor development has always seemed accelerated. He has learned to write both capital and lower case letters at this point and has already mastered the spatial relations of the letters to lines. He is still needing a bit of work on spacing the words correctly because he has a hard time judging the space between words due to being a lefty. He tried to put his finger down but he can’t manage writing with his left hand crossing over his right hand. The format of the book has helped him with copying words and has also helped him in spacing his words. I really love the short “15 minutes per day” lessons. They definitely fit into our day and help keep Levi moving forward and practicing his writing.
The teacher’s guide should be re-titled the Handwriting Bible for Teachers. I have never had a teacher’s manual/guide so packed full of concepts, instructions, theories, guidelines, ideas, the whys, hows, whats, and-ifs, and how-to’s of teaching kids to write. It includes a daily plan with easy-to-follow lessons, outlined with hands-on activities, songs, and games to make the lessons come alive. I promise you will never see handwriting as boring or unnecessary again after exploring the Handwriting Without Tears method. Every aspect of handwriting, from development of fine motor skills to building self-confidence is in there.
The outside support materials, links, videos, and supplements provided by this company are phenomenal. There is really something for every style of teaching and learning here, giving you ample opportunity to develop a unique learning experience for your homeschooler.
While the teacher’s manual can seem a bit overwhelming at first, the program is not. It’s as simple to start as sharpening your pencil and opening to the first page.
This is a wonderful, well designed and nicely put together program. Really a fabulous way to put kids on the path to excel for a lifetime.
Two thumbs up from Levi, and two from me too!
Visit our Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to read about my Crew Mates’ adventures with Handwriting Without Tears!
Enjoy your Journey,
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.