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Handwriting Question


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  #1  
March 11th, 2010, 08:35 AM
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I've been looking at different handwriting teaching programs, and something seems really odd to me about the letter N. It seems that in every single program that I've looked at, they have the child start the capital letter N from the top left point. So they do one down stroke and then lift their pencil to do the rest. Some of the programs have the student draw both vertical lines before drawing the slant, some have the student draw the left vertical in a down stroke, lift their pencil, and then draw the slant down and the second vertical on an upstroke.

So my question is why in the world would you teach someone to write like this? What is wrong with starting the capital letter N on the bottom of the first vertical and do the whole letter without lifting your pencil? That's how I write. What is the advantage of starting at the top and lifting your pencil 1 or 2 times?

Edited to add pictures of what I'm talking about:
http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo-t...G_no_title.jpg
http://images.schoolbellart.com/imag...atermarked.jpg
http://www.phonics.net.au/userimages...images0041.jpg
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Last edited by silverlife; March 11th, 2010 at 08:39 AM.
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  #2  
March 11th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 83
My *opinion* is that writing letters top-to-bottom helps you write neatly, but we end up writing a lot of them bottom-to-top because it's faster. Children need to learn to write neatly before they are free to develop their own penmanship style. My inner rebel thinks all that I just said doesn't matter - they will most likely end up with legible, but less than beautiful, penmanship no matter what. Regarding writing left-to-right, I think it helps reinforce the difference between letters like 'b' and 'd'. My inner rebel has nothing to say about that part.
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  #3  
March 11th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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I don't have issue with left to right, that makes complete sense. Which is part of why the making both verticals on the N before the slant seems the most strange of all! I suppose if you have your child lift their pencil more, it causes more concentration.

Part of me thinks I should just find handwriting papers with no arrows or start points and teach them to do it the "wrong" way. It must be my inner rebel.
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  #4  
March 11th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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One reason (and a very good one, imo) is that it helps make the transition when you move to cursive rather than manuscript. Only G, I, J, S, and Z start at the bottom in the uppercase alphabet in cursive writing. Many children who learn to form their manuscript letters incorrectly (ie, starting from the bottom and going up) end up having serious issues writing in cursive, or their cursive is rather illegible.
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  #5  
March 11th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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The transition to cursive makes a little bit of sense.

One handwriting curriculum I looked at was boasting about how there was very little difference between their print and cursive fonts, making the transition easier. But then I saw their cursive font and realized why that was the case--they didn't form the cursive letters correctly! The 's', for example, looked exactly like a print 's', but with a tail to connect to the previous or next letter. If you completely change the definition of cursive, of course you'll have an easier transition!

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good handwriting curriculum? I like the concept behind "A Reason for Handwriting" (writing actual words, building to copying a Bible verse at the end of the week, giving the verse to someone to encourage the child to use their best penmanship), but I don't like the stick and ball style of print that they use (it doesn't seem efficient and also doesn't translate to cursive very well).
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  #6  
March 11th, 2010, 01:07 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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I started with cursive (Abeka) and then moved to print (handwriting w/o tears). I like the concept of starting with cursive, but it's not for everyone. We'll go back to cursive again when Ben's out of therapy (therapy uses HWT), so we'll go back to Abeka. I don't like the HWT style for cursive.

I agree that everyone forms their own style at some point, but I'd like for him to learn it "correctly" at first. The N's and such drive me insane as well. That's not how I remember learning them.
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  #7  
March 11th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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Have you looked at the Italics program? I have friends who used it and they have GORGEOUS handwriting (both manuscript and cursive). It's a bit different from anything else I've seen, but it's really nice stuff.
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  #8  
March 11th, 2010, 06:40 PM
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For print, I bought a pad of kindergarten paper and some pencils. I probably got the top-to-bottom, left-to-right idea from a cheap preschool or kindergarten workbook.

For cursive, I bought a cheap cursive workbook (this one to be exact) from the book store. It has worked just fine for me and my son as a guide on how to form each of the letters. I give him words and sentences to write in cursive. He also writes the definitions from History Odyssey in cursive. Personally, I do not like the modern versions of cursive. I like loops and my son has had no problem with them.

I have also heard that writing top-to-bottom helps them transition into cursive, but I am not sure I buy it. We write way more lower case letters than upper case, and most of the lower case letters in cursive start at the bottom even though they start at the middle line or top line in print. I'm certainly no expert though.
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  #9  
March 11th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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I had looked at the italics program because I had read some good reviews. But it's the program with the completely made up style that they label "cursive".

The letter formation of top down seems silly to me, but I guess if it helps make cursive easier, it makes sense.
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  #10  
March 11th, 2010, 09:48 PM
dalynnrmc's Avatar pronounced (day-lynn)
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: near Waco, TX
Posts: 3,305
We use ARFHW here and love it. We have Getty-Dubay for my older one, but really haven't messed much with handwriting with him. I need to find something for him because at almost 11yo his handwriting is still atrocious and I noticed recently that he's forming some letters backwards on occasion. (BTW he's the one who finished 1st grade in the ps, so that's not all me there. LOL)

Anyway. The littles use and love ARF because it's short and sweet, and makes so much more sense to them than just a page of letters (which is what G-D is). We love copywork and there is plenty out there including sites that will create a printable sheet saying whatever you want it to in either Zaner-Bloser, Italics, or Cursive fonts. Google is your friend!
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  #11  
March 12th, 2010, 05:41 AM
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I have a question about HWT. I've heard that it starts with capitals, is that true?
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  #12  
March 15th, 2010, 09:43 PM
in_mommy's Avatar I am just me
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What letter groups do you use when teaching cursive? We are starting with lower case a d g q c, then moving to i u w t, and then e l h k b f j, then n m v x, and lastly p r s o y z.
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