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Teaching Cursive Handwriting

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Cursive = Dodo bird?

Every year during homeschool assessments I get asked the question. “Should I be teaching my child how to write in cursive?” Years ago I would respond to this by saying I think everyone should be able to read important historical documents and be able to sign your name on important legal documents. But, after reading and more research, I have learned there is much more to knowing how to write cursive than just that. Here are just a few of the benefits of cursive.

You can read all forms of written communication. It surprises me as to how many of my junior high students say they cannot read cursive. I have to write in manuscript if I want them to be able to read the comments I have made on their papers.

It is good for the brain. By writing in cursive, both hemispheres of the brain are engaged. It is also multisensory, using the brain, the hands, and fingers to coordinate in order to produce letters.

It is good for fine motor skills. We use our small muscles for movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. It also involves gross motor skills because cursive involves using your arm and has been referred to as whole body writing.

It increases the speed of writing. In cursive writing, letters are connected and nearly all are made in a forward motion. With print, your pencil (or pen) must be taken off of the page and placed nearby the other strokes you have created to form a letter. For instance, a lower case k is taught by first drawing a vertical line and then picking up your pencil and making a sideways v that needs to connect midway onto the vertical line that was just drawn.

It helps dyslexic students. I have written about this topic before, so here is the link to read if you are interested. CLICK HERE

Cursive can be individualized. If you have a creative, artsy child, they can make cursive their own style after they learn how to read and write traditional cursive. Calligraphy is a fun to learn as well.

Ready to get started? Here are some resources for you.

A Reason for Handwriting  This series has scriptures that are copied after the letters have been learned. The publishers have a transitions book that will be helpful in teaching cursive.

Horizons Penmanship Grades 1-5  Cursive is introduced midway through 2nd grade. Correct placement of hands, letter formation, and posture are all covered. Each book has a theme that is used throughout the book.

Handwriting Without TearsMany families with boys love this program and say this is easier than anything else they have taught.  It is simple and straightforward.

Draw Write Now incorporates penmanship, writing and drawing! You can pick from different themes and levels. My sons loved using these books.

Looking for online programs ? Handwriting Worksheets and Writing Wizard would be great places to start. These programs allow you to create your own worksheets, everything from single words to paragraphs.

Happy Writing!  ~ Lisa ~

 

 

A Fun Writing Activity

Sometimes trying to get a child to write is like trying to get an overtired child to take a nap. It. isn’t. easy. I understand your frustration and exasperation since I have been there with my sons before too.

I was reading a blog today called Education with Docrunning and they were talking about creating a newspaper using this free tool at fodey.com. I was curious to see what it was all about and found this to be so fun that I spent more time than I had on creating a newspaper article. There is something about seeing what you have written in a newspaper format that makes it intriguing. I had so much fun that I created two articles and had to stop there. It is perfect for reluctant writers because not much is seen on the page. Of course, you can break it up into several newspapers if you like.

You can use my newspaper as a guide since you can see that you need to keep the name of your newspaper pretty short. Mine was McAfee’s Almanac and it was too long.  You can also make the date whatever you prefer. It would be great to use this style of summarizing an event from history, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, that occurred on August 28, 1963.  If you are interested in looking into this,  CLICK HERE

Teaching to Interests

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Teaching to your child’s interests is this week’s post, thanks to a friend of mine’s suggestion. So, how does one go about doing this? Do you need to ditch the textbooks? It’s really a great way to get your child interested in learning and can be done at any grade on any topic.

What really interests your son or daughter? I am sure you already know the answer to that question! Several years ago I tutored a young man who hated writing and just plain ol’ refused to do it for his mom. He was in 5th grade and his wise mother knew that he could not continue in his ways. Enter me, the tutor, to get this young man to write. I quickly found out that he was passionate about space travel and spent hours drawing models of ships. Not only did he draw them, but he had an extensive Lego collection of various types of Star Wars aircraft and other types of space modules. THIS was his passion and that’s how I reeled him in and got him to write. The first writing project was for him to describe the details of these spaceships.  Gladly writing, the young man enlightened me on a subject about which I knew nothing.This took several weeks before he exhausted this topic. Next, he went on to make paper towns and houses and writing billboards and descriptions to advertise houses that were for sale in his town.  Writing was not as tedious and gut-wrenching as he had thought. 🙂

If your daughter loves horses and your son is crazy about snakes (Just examples as we know anyone can be interested in these topics), why not incorporate these into your school day? You don’t need to get rid of your curricula, but you can use it to enhance what you are doing or replace a topic that is going to be covered next year. Horses or snakes (or whatever the topic) can be studied, drawn, read, researched, and written about, and a poster or PowerPoint can be created to wrap up the study. Look at all of the subjects we just included using those areas of interest: science, fine arts, language arts, and technology. You can even make up math problems involving that topic. For instance: 5 snakes were sunning themselves on the horse path. Along came 3 horses, but they got frightened and two ran away. How many were left? I couldn’t help myself! I had to combine both into a story problem. lol

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Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~ 

 

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

When I first saw the title of this book, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas,  I thought maybe Elizabeth was an oceanliner. It turns out that she is actually a Southern Elephant Seal who makes her home in New Zealand.

This endearing story written by Lynne Cox is the true account of one particular Elephant Seal who didn’t live in the ocean, but rather in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch. She loved being in the city and stretching out on busy city streets to sun herself. Unfortunately for her, drivers didn’t know what to think of her and nearly had her tail run over! The people of the town were concerned for her and decided to remedy the situation. I won’t ruin the story for you, you’ll just have to check it out and read it to your son or daughter.

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Here are other activities to accompany the book:

Geography– Here is a FREE lapbook on Australia. It not only includes Geography, but reading and math as well.

Art- If you want to see some amazing origami this site has a walrus and a sea elephant. CLICK HERE How about a simple toilet paper craft of a seal for your youngster? CLICK HERE Here is a coloring sheet for your daughter to enjoy. Coloring Sheet

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Beach Chair Scientist.com

Are you interested in learning more facts about the Elephant Seal? Check this out: Elephant Seal Facts

Have fun!

~ Lisa ~

March Poetry

Put on a kettle of water, and grab some cups and tea or hot chocolate and some Girl Scout cookies to enjoy these poems. Here are some poems for copywork, memorizing or reading aloud this month as we celebrate Spring!

A Prayer In Spring – Poem by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Here is a fun poem to recite…

Spring, The Sweet Spring – by Thomas Nashe

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!

The Year’s At The Spring – Poem by Robert Browning

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!