Our four are still very small and we are at the beginning of our homeschool journey. These are our current curriculum choices – the ones we have loved this past 3 years and ones that are really working for us right now.
For handwriting, we love Handwriting without Tears which we found through Sonlight. Thanks Sonlight! Shipping is cheaper if you order through Sonlight but they don’t stock all of the available products.
HWT is a fantastic curriculum because it is much more than sheets of handwriting to copy.
We started using this when our oldest was 3 years old (she’s now 7) and now we even have fun with it with our 2 year olds.
The tools for teaching handwriting are as follows:
- A teachers handbook and CD with songs about handwriting,
e.g. Where do you start your letters? (at the top)
and songs that help you to use your arms and fingers to make shapes
e.g. I love it when it rains (use fingers to make rain falling)
Then there is a box of wooden shapes called lines and curves which you use for all kinds of wonderful things with and without music:
We gather the little ones, grab the lines and curves, put on the CD and then make a circle, make a smiley face, a sad face, an umbrella, a boat, hold it straight, hold it up, hold it behind your back. etc (the children are learning much more than handwriting as you go!)
MAT MAN – a wonderful invention where you use lines and curves and the letters mat to make a mat man – there’s even a song for that – the children love to do this! This even helps them with learning to draw a person!
and most importantly – you use these to shape your capital letters on the letters mat.
There is a stamp screen with lines and curves to make your capital letters on. the child can stamp the letter shapes with the lines and curves and then draw the letter shapes using the stamp screen pen within the same size rectangle as the letters mat
Then there is a small chalk board – like a slate – the same size as the letters mat and stamp screen. the child draws a capital letter with a piece of chalk, then takes a tiny damp square sponge which is held between the fingers like a pencil (strengthening the fingers again) and “draws” over the chalk with the wet sponge erasing the drawing, then they take a piece of tissue and go over it a third time to dry it – and then they can try with the chalk again.
There is also playdo with capital letter shape cards. the child creates long worm shapes by rolling the dough (strengthening the fingers for holding a pencil) and shapes them onto the capital shape cards.
These tools are such a fabulous way to introduce handwriting and have lots of fine motor skill activities along the way.
So, if we are learning the letter F this week:
- On Monday we would listen to a song and do actions using the lines and curves. we would focus on learning to put together the big and little lines in the F shape.
- Later at the desk I the child would practice make an F on the letters mat using 1 big and 2 little lines.
- Then we would reinforce that shape each day.
- At the desk on Tuesday we would use the stamp screen to make the F
- Wednesday we would do the chalkboard version of F
- Thursday we would do a playdough F
- Friday we make a rainbow F using crayons (a big F that they can write over or inside with different colours of pens). My children love animals so we have printed out an animal for them to colour to stick opposite the letter it begins with. Here is a great link for printing pages for rainbow letters including little pictures to colour with objects that begin with that letter.
Another great HWT tip that helped our children learn how to hold the pen properly is to use only very short crayons while they are learning to write (this forces them to hold it in their fingertips)
Then there are HWT workbooks from K to grade 5. These are great – we do a page per day starting at age 4 after a year of so of lines and curves, etc. We still do the lines and curves, stamp screen etc to reinforce learning each week.
The curriculum progresses from capital letters to learning lowercase and then to cursive which is what our 7 year old is starting.
LOTS OF FUN!
See also: Our Homeschool Curriculum Grows and Changes
“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:” Isaiah 30 v 8