Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting Cursive

Are you looking for a new handwriting curriculum? Looking for something unique and innovative? Tired of the "same old" workbook style handwriting program? I would like to invite you to consider Peterson Directed Handwriting curriculum.

My oldest son is a left handed writer and struggles with cursive so I was excited to hear that I was going to be able to review this product as part of the TOS Crew. After an online meeting with other TOS crew members and the contact at Peterson Directed Handwriting I was excited to try this new curriculum and teaching approach with my son.

To begin this new handwriting curriculum I first had to teach my son how to hold his pencil according to the Peterson method. With his pointer finger and thumb only on the pencil and the other three fingers laying relaxed off to the side we began the formal instruction of this unique handwriting approach.

The Peterson Directed Cursive Handwriting approach is unique in that it does not begin with teaching students to write their cursive letters small and within the lines. Rather, the Peterson Directed Handwriting method initially instructs students to write big and flowing letter across the handwriting page. The goal of this approach is to get the child to relax their hand and their hand movement as they write. Having learned the "formal" way to write cursive already, my son struggled with this step. A flowing and relaxed hand movement did not come easy for him. Eventually though, with lots of practice he is steadily improving in this aspect of the curriculum.

Having for the most part mastered the relaxed hand movement portion of this curriculum we moved on to the letter formation. Peterson encourages students to talk through their hand movements to help further reinforce their learning until it becomes memorized. Repeating words that correspond to the hand movements encourages kids to focus on what they are doing and assimilate better what their hand is actually doing on the paper. For example, "round top, sharp bottom" is repeated over and over again until the hand motion becomes fluid and relaxed. Again, my son initially struggled with this step of the curriculum because it was not something he was accustomed to doing when he wrote. After some time and encouragement he over came the silly "talking to myself" feeling and realized that it was getting easier and his movements were better the more he practiced.

Initially the Peterson Directed Handwriting method encourages large hand motions. However, as the curriculum progresses hand movements become smaller and smaller until the letters resemble a more typical cursive letter. As our contact at Peterson Directed Handwriting pointed out, this method can be especially effective for left handed writers because it allows for a freer hand movement across the page. As the left handed writer begins to improve with this method their letters eventually look like typical cursive letters but the path taken to get there is more accommodating for the sometimes awkward left handed writer.

When purchasing Peterson Directed Handwriting for your homeschool you have a few options. You can buy the basic kit which according the the Peterson Directed Handwriting website includes the Teacher Handbook, Position Guides, Student Text and Pencil or Pen that are specific for the level ordered. This version does not contain the Animated Letter Cards CD. You can also choose from the complete kit contains all of the materials in the Basic Version along with the Animated Letter Cards CD ROM. If you want to acquire materials to work with children at different levels, you would need to order only one Complete Kit. Order the Basic Kit for the other children to avoid duplication of the animations CD. You may also choose the ebook version of this curriculum if you would like to save the time and cost of shipping. This option allows you to print as many practice pages as your little heart desires.

Cursive Individual License $19.95

Additionally, you have the option of purchasing one-on-one assistance from their support staff to help you to most effectively use this curriculum.

This curriculum was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion about this product.

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