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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cursive. Boo or Yay????

This is a review.

We are trying out a cursive writing from from Classical Conversations called Prescripts Cursive Letters and Coloring - Medieval to Modern World History.

I still believe in cursive.  I really do.  There are many that say it is pointless to teach it, since most communication is handled via technology these days.  Most things are typed can even sign things electronically via a fancy-dancy signature.

But, I still believe my children should know how to actually sign their names...or write a letter to someone in cursive.  So, we got a chance to try this program for cursive that was for ages 3 to 7.  Wow.  That sounded sort of young to me, but sometimes I am a bit too old school in when I start teaching things.  So, I was willing to give it a try.

In our house, the time when you learn to write in cursive is a big right of passage.  At the beginning of 2nd grade, all of the kids who have taken 2nd grade in our household (that would be 4 already!) have taken their penmenship book and flipped through it until they find the magical lesson number that let's them begin the "curly" writing.

So, I felt a little bad letting S-girl and V-girl get a sneak peak or headstart learning cursive.  But, not bad enough to actually not try this book out.

It is a very simple book.  Simple concept.  Simple lessons.

The book starts with just having the students trace with their finger and then a pencil some lines.  That is it.  No actual letters....just different lines....different curves....different shapes.  It gives them a sense of flow and continual writing without the pauses between letters like printing does.

You do actually learn the letters...starting on page you don't have to wait too long.

Did you read what this book is actually called?  Here, I will show you again:

Prescripts Cursive Letters and Coloring - Medieval to Modern World History.

This is also a coloring book.  But, it isn't just any old coloring book.  It is a smart person's coloring book.....or, I suppose in this case, a coloring book that you hope will help make your kids smarter!

You color things like this:

 A sketch of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine.

Or this one.....

Graffiti from the Berlin Wall.

I know.  It is sort of genius, isn't it?  Get your kids asking questions about things and just letting them color it.  I can see this working really well if you use unit studies where all of your students, regardless of their ages are working on a world history study around the Berlin Wall.  Your younger ones can be right there with you "doing school" just like they want to and not just being kept busy with Legos (not that Lego time is bad).  It is spiral bound sideways, so the coils don't get in the way of writing or coloring.

I will say that V-girl, age 3, really was too young to get much from this book...not that she didn't try...but her hand eye coordination and patience just isn't there yet.  S-girl, at 6, did a whole lot better when she tried.  She could easily trace the lines with both her fingers and a pencil.

We will still make a big deal out of officially learning cursive in the 2nd grade, but, what I have noticed that this book did is make it possible for S-girl to read things that are written in cursive....something that my other kids have not been able to do.

If something was in cursive, they would just announce that they didn't know how to read cursive and give up.  S-girl doesn't recognize all the letters yet, but she does pretty good at making an educated guess....although cursive "z"s are still troublesome....but, really, come on....have you seen an actual cursive Z lately?


As you see from the above pictures of S-girl, I wasn't a stickler for sitting at a table and having proper posture when she was working on her cursive, which she loved.  I think that will come later, for now, this course succeeded in making cursive a much less scary thing for her.  These weren't even pictures I asked her to pose for.  We were watching T.V. and I looked down and there she was working on her cursive school.  A homeschooling mother's dream to look up and see.

She actually had fun with this course and I got a little sneaky teaching in too with the world history coloring pages.

You can try out this quick and easy cursive lesson book for $11.99.

Here is a little video preview of the Prescripts series (which has other notebooks that offer cursive along with art) from Classical Conversations.

The TOS Crew got to try these different books for the different age levels in teaching cursive, so, if you have older kids, go check out what they thought.