Tag Archives: handwriting

Write the Word -Thanksgiving

Write The Word - ThanksgivingThis month, we are going to be writing The Word and focusing on Thanksgiving. Armed with paper, pencils, stamp pads, and verses, we are ready to go. Today we did the cover and the first verse. Here is what we did.

And the list of verses for the month:

Phil. 4:6

I Chronicles 16:34

Psalm 34:8

Psalm 100:4

Psalm 29:2

Ephesians 5:19-20

I Thessalonians 5:18

Psalm 34:1

Psalm 156:1

Psalm 107:1

I Chronicles 29:13

Colossians 2:7

Psalm 126:3

Psalm 95:2-3

Colossians 3:17

Isaiah 12:4

Psalm 107:22

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 30:12

Psalm 7:17

Deuteronomy 26:11

Psalm 92:1-2

I Corinthians 15:57

Colossian 3:16

Colossians 4:2

I Timothy 4:4


We will pick and choose a verse each school day. Not all of these will be used but I wanted to have a variety to choose from. I had to stop myself here because the Bible is so full of things I want to remember. Writing The Word is something I want to do more often so hopefully this will get us into the swing of things and I can get another month’s worth decided on before we end November.

At Home.



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Brookdale House: Writing Through Ancient History ~ a TOS review

When we began reviewing Writing Through Ancient History Level 2 Cursive, I was pretty excited about it. Brookdale House seemed to have something really appealing here in teaching writing using history.

 Brookdale House Review

Brookdale House designed this curriculum with the Charlotte Mason style of teaching. By reading, copying, and studying the structure of quality materials, the theory is that the students will gain knowledge about how to write high-quality material. The materials that are used in this curriculum are living books, original source materials, poetry, and historical narratives from the chosen time period. This allows the student to study writing, history, and handwriting all at the same time.

 Brookdale House Review

If you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, then this might be a fantastic fit for you.  By studying the writings of historical authors, the student learns sentence structure, word choice, and more. They practice their handwriting by using a true handwriting font. The students also learn about history by using selections from various primary source documents and historical selections from the four year history cycle so many homeschoolers use.

These four time periods for Writing Through History are:

  • Writing Through Ancient History,
  • Writing Through Medieval History,
  • Writing Through Early Modern History, and
  • Writing Through Modern History.

Each of these time periods offer some choices in curriculum. You can choose either cursive or manuscript for the copy work. You also have a choice of level 1 or level 2 materials. The difference in these is the difficulty of the reading and copywork passages. There are also different authors and source documents used. We received this as a downloadable PDF document. There is also a printed version available. (See sample pages for more information on levels and materials.)

The appeal of this curriculum for me was that we would be able to complete several subjects simultaneously – handwriting, history, and writing. The basic way it works: read a passage; narrate it; copy pieces of it; repeat using other high-quality, historical works. However, it was not a home-run program for our family.

copywork model

First off, it took me an extraordinary amount of time to figure out how this was supposed to work. Part of the difficulty is that the teacher materials are not all together in the PDF. And there are multiple sections I needed to go back and forth to. I read and reread and re-reread all of the teacher pieces of the puzzle. I still didn’t feel like I knew what was supposed to happen and I didn’t have a clue where to start my student at. This was a truly frustrating part for me. So, I ended up printing all of the teacher materials. Once I did that, it was better. Printing and highlighting were key to figuring it out.

Second, there are no breaks in the PDF and there are not any clickable links to help move around in the file. With a document that is almost 400 pages in length, that is burdensome. Especially when you need to print and read from more than one section on any given day. Perhaps adding clickable links or separating the materials into several separate downloads/PDFs would make it a more useable document. That would certainly have helped with figuring out the way it was all supposed to work. This difficulty meant that I had to access everything. I have a very independent student but with the frustration I felt accessing the different pieces, I knew that she would not be able to.

Lastly, you need to know that this is not a creative writing method. This is strictly copywork from historical documents and other source material with some grammar work included. I found that the student was studying various passages for grammar and copying passages for handwriting. The word writing really causes me struggles because of my preconception of what that word means/implies. In this case, writing indicates the copying of historical writers, allowing the student to note sentence structure and word choices.written summation

We used this program with our oldest child, an 11 year old. She enjoyed the reading material but was not very happy with the copywork. I think that the readings were appropriate for her age. We have not done a lot of copywork Charlotte Mason style and that impacted her impressions of the program. We will probably continue reading the selections and narrating them, as she loved that part of it. I think the handwriting practice could be of use for our middle child so we may revisit it for her after the new year begins.

I believe that a large part of our disappointment with this curriculum could be alleviated with the print version of the program. At almost 400 pages, it was not feasible for us to try to print this. I still am intrigued with the idea behind this curriculum. I haven’t given up on it yet but for Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers, this is a good program to look into.

At Home.


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New American Cursive – a TOS review

Without any direction, it is hard to find an ending. Yet, that is exactly what we were doing in teaching cursive. We had no program, no guide, no direction. Only the enthusiasm of a child to learn how to write in cursive. So when we were given the chance to review New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1 from Memoria Press, I was thankful to do so. And I have been pleased.

a review of New American Cursive from At Home: where life happens

New American Cursive was developed by Iris Hatfield. With a passion for handwriting, Ms. Hatfield created a program that is ideal for teaching young students how to write in cursive. It is designed for students as young as first grade. One reason Ms. Hatfield felt like a more efficient, effective program was necessary is because students that can write fluidly can get their thoughts onto paper more quickly and the thought can flow unimpeded.

New American Cursive

The lessons in the NAC workbook are not time consuming and can easily be completed in sessions no more than 15 to 20 minutes. (Unless you have a very creative child who enjoys drawing, like L does. She always enjoyed spending quite a bit of time on the creative section of each lesson but I’ll share more about that in just a minute.) To complete each lesson, you must have the workbook and a pencil. It is also recommended that some classical music be playing to calm the student, improve their writing rhythm, and help focus their attention during practicing. L loved this part. She thrives when listening to classical music so this helped make this practice time even more enjoyable for her.

practicing with NACThe workbook comes with several pages for the instructor. There are a couple of pages telling you more about Ms. Hatfield and why she created NAC. There are a couple of pages discussing why teaching cursive is needed and why starting it young is good. These are followed by a Teaching Guide, which will help you implement this program well.

For the student, each letter has three pages of exercises.

  1. There is an instruction page showing and describing how to form the letter correctly.
  2. There is a practice page for the student to trace the letters and then write them.
  3. There is a play page, where the student has some fun exercises and free space for artwork or trying new letters.

Mr. Meerkat, the mascot of NAC, helps the student learn the basics of cursive writing throughout the book.  Mr. Meerkat shows the student, through examples, how to slant the page, hold the pencil, and form each letter. The mascot is cute and fun to see how he is going to show up in each lesson.

Some of My Favorite Things

NAC sprial binding


My first favorite thing is the way the book is bound. When I first saw the spiral binding on it, I just knew we were going to have problems. But Memoria Press bound this with the top of each page on the binding so that the spiral is always out of the way of the student’s wrist and arm while writing. It doesn’t matter if the student is a leftie or a rightie; the binding does not get in the way.


My next favorite thing is the clean, simple way each letter is taught. There are no confusing terms. The pieces of the letter formation are not broken down into such small pieces that you are putting four or five different slants and curves together to form the letter. It is clear and precise and understandable. It is simple enough that L, a bright 8 year old, can do this with very little assistance from me. I do check all of her work and watch her from afar, correcting when necessary. However, she is fairly independent with this program because she is an instruction follower.

Another favorite thing is that each lesson pushes the student’s ability slightly beyond what they have already worked on. Within each letter, there will be a series of letters or words containing letters the student hasn’t learned yet. The student traces these and it stretches the mind just a bit farther.

artwork and exercises



The final favorite thing I want to share with you is the creative freedom given to the student at the end of each lesson. This is a space where the student can create on his own or draw whatever she want. L chose to use this space to be create with the letter studied. When she finishes this book, she will have a bound collection of some very creative drawings. It will be a neat memory book.

Final Thoughts

I have been pleased with this program. I am going to explore whether I want to purchase New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1 for J to use next year when she is in first grade or if I am going to invest in the New American Cursive StartWrite Program. Either way, I like the way this program is working and the progress L is making with it.

At Home.


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