Tag Archives: handwriting

CursiveLogic ~ a Crew review

Crew review

Miss J has worked on her handwriting in various ways over the past couple of years and so when the CursiveLogic review became available, I thought it would be a good way to cement the cursive that just hasn’t really transformed her writing yet. It has been a very good experience for her using the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive.

CursiveLogic is a company that has developed a unique way of teaching cursive. It is a process that works well for young students just beginning but also works well for older students and adults. This cursive program is different than any other I have ever seen and I am so excited about the help it has given Miss J.

CursiveLogic workbook

The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack includes one CursiveLogic workbook and access to a teaching webinar. If you have more than one student who will be working on CursiveLogic, you will need an additional workbook for each student. These workbooks can be purchased separately.

The workbook is thoughtfully created. Bound of the top of the page instead of at the side makes it easily used by either right or left handed writers. While both sides of the page are used, you progress through the workbook on the front side of the pages, turn the book over, and go back through the remainder of the lessons on the back sides of the pages. Miss J would tell you that the very best part of the workbook is that there are dry erase pages at the back to practice on. She would practice her letter string, erase, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until I told her to move on. She loves the dry erase pages.

dry erase pages

getting started with CursiveLogic

CursiveLogic gives us a wonderfully fresh approach that is multi-sensory. There is the physical, or kinesthetic, component of writing, both with the writing implement but also by finger tracing and big muscle movements to help ingrain the pattern. In addition to this physical aspect, there is a visual cue (color), a auditory cue (a statement for each letter string that reinforces the motor skills), and quick paced curriculum that moves the student very quickly to practical application, writing words by the end of the first week. This multi-sensory approach appeals to the student.

CursiveLogic has a shape-based approach that guides the student through letter connections from the very beginning. The letters are not learned in a vacuum but rather are learned in a connected string. There are four of these connected letter strings. You will notice on their website that there are basic shapes that letters share and these are grouped together to make the student’s grasp of the connection simpler. It is a logical program that students seem to really respond to, if Miss J is any indication.

practicing letter strings

Miss J has done very well with CursiveLogic. The combination of letter string, color cue, and catch phrase has been really helpful to her. I have seen great improvement in the few short weeks we have been using this program.

In addition to the workbook, the Quick-Start Pack gives access to a webinar on teaching cursive with the CursiveLogic program. I learned a lot listening to the webinar and seeing the program in action. The webinar will walk you through a lesson with the program and help you see how to guide the learner. Some tips I learned included how to phrase things in teaching to help reinforce the program and the purpose and order of the letter learning. This was a very informative video to watch and I found it useful to prepare myself to teach this program.

The Art of Cursive

If you are an adult who is wanting to refresh or tidy up your own cursive, The Art of Cursive might be for you. This is an adult-style coloring book, with intricate images and copywork. The images to color are actually made up of connected letters and the copywork quote. They are lovely! They provide some different ways to practice letter connection and to work on the uniformity of the letter formation, while providing the relaxation and fun of a coloring book. This also served as an incentive to Miss J to work hard on her cursive since I told her should could not use the book until she had completed all of the lower case letter strings. She was successful and got to use The Art of Cursive.

One note about The Art of Cursive: While it can easily provide a practice for a youngster, it is not intended to teach a child cursive. It is intended as a refresher for an adult or to help an adult learn through abbreviated lessons. There are reference pages in the front of the book that show letter formation and give practice, allowing an adult to learn cursive through the shortened lessons. This book is not intended to teach cursive to a child; the CursiveLogic workbook is where children need to begin.

I had never thought out the fact that a shape based approach to cursive might be a more logical and helpful way to teach writing but this type of approach has really made a difference with Miss J. Her writing still has a way to go but whose doesn’t at age 9? She has made significant progress in the past month using CursiveLogic and is able to write in cursive now. Her letters are more uniform in size and it is becoming a more automatic way of writing for her. Progress has definitely been made.

Before CursiveLogicafter using CursiveLogic

I definitely would suggest you check out CursiveLogic and their products: CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive. During the month of March 2018, CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, which is the combo of the webinar and one workbook.  Use the code CREW2018 at checkout. Now is a great time to get this program.

Blessings,
At Home.

Other Homeschool Review Crew families used this program, as well, and you can see their results by checking out their reviews. Click on the banner below.

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}

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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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Counting Pinecones

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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