Depending on your state’s requirements, you may be able to make handwriting just like it was when you were a child or something approaching an art class. Especially now that writing is supplanted by keyboarding in many situations, an attractive handwriting can be a defining individual mark and give your child a way to personalize important messages. Read on for ideas about homeschool handwriting.
Teaching Standard Homeschool Handwriting
The standard way to teach homeschool handwriting is from a set of worksheets that show a model that students follow. There are model sheets with individual letters both uppercase and lower case, model sheets with sets of letters that use similar shapes or strokes, model sheets with words, particularly focusing on special types of joint in many cases, and model sheets with longer texts or sentences. Blank sheets for the students to write their own compositions are also available. Such materials are available in drugstores, bookstores, and on the Internet (search on “handwriting”), as well as in published series.
You will find some standard styles available for slightly different handwritten letters.
- D’Nealian Style
- Zaner-Bloser Style
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Harcourt Brace
- McDougal, Little
These fonts vary in features such as how tails are made, the length of ascenders and descenders, the inclusion of loops, whether diagonals touch the baseline, slant, etc. Because the published materials are copyright, some of the materials you find for free may be knock-offs made with more or less skill. There are a couple of things you can look for, even if you don’t know a whole lot about cursive styles:
- Is it easy to read?
- Does it look attractive?
- Do the letters use similar shapes and strokes so that the child will be able to transfer learning?
- Does the instruction proceed in a logical way?
- Is there enough substance along with the rote practice that my child won’t be completely bored?
Another approach you could take if you wish is to say, why teach homeschool handwriting that looks like school handwriting when a child can learn to write beautifully?
There are pros and cons to this approach. It opens up the possibilities of a great many more, and a great many very beautiful types of writing. On the other hand, calligraphic instruction may often either be absent from the writing sample that you would like to take as your model or not designed for a child. A middle ground may be found with calligraphy kits for children: they open up the style possibilities, but not endlessly, while providing instruction geared for the young learner.
If the idea of a calligraphic hand excites you and your child, you can turn the class into an adventure. Use the opportunity to study the writing of famous Americans who have left documents. John Hancock’s name is used for a signature for a reason – you can find a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, for example, and examine the document and the signatures. You could also have a look at the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
Taking a different approach, you could explore typography fonts and use one or more of them as the basis of a writing style that you invent. If you have a computer, it may have a built-in way for you to look at the fonts you have there. Besides that, you can try these websites:
- Fontshop http://www.fontshop.com
- Adobe Fonts http://www.adobe.com/type/
- Fonts dot com http://www.fonts.com/
Just as with any other item from the web, you do not want to download a font from a site unless you consider it to be trustworthy.
Whichever approach to homeschool handwriting you choose to take, consider giving your own handwriting a refresher course along with your child. This will give you the opportunity to see exactly what challenges your child is facing, as well as a chance to freshen up or alter your handwriting to suit your current needs, which may be different from those you had when you first learned to write in cursive.