Warning: Lots of pictures and a long post here!
You know I can’t talk to you unless I have lots of pictures.
Too, I wanted to keep the formal part of how to teaching writing all in one post so it’s easier for you to see the progression.
Today, in teaching handwriting when homeschooling the early years part 3, I am going to show you samples of our transition in handwriting from the beginning of kindergarten to second grade. But first, if you missed Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 1 , I wanted you to take away the fact that you want to create a print rich environment and trust the natural process that a child has in wanting to learn how to write.
Sometimes the process does not always require a lot of intervention on your part. Think of yourself as a partner or coach in the writing process.
In Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 2 , it is important to allow plenty of time for your child to focus on strengthening the fine motor muscles, which happens through a lot of play and NOT asking your child to write on a line at the preschool ages.
Scooting down through the years now, we want to begin what I call the “formal” teaching writing years, which is about kindergarten to first grade. Obviously, children will continue to work on improving the legibility of their penmanship in the later grades, but today is about focusing on the nitty-gritty of teaching handwriting.
The reason we want to pay attention to these grade levels or years (not necessarily ages because all children are different) is that children can undergo a significant change during this time. They can go from writing illegibly at the beginning of kindergarten to some beautiful beginning cursive by second grade.
I say second grade because that is the end result of the formal teaching which is happening in kindergarten and first grade. Again, remember it does not mean penmanship is completely mastered, but you will see the beautiful transition as they keep fine tuning what they have been taught.
The metamorphosis in penmanship during this time was always amazing to me with each son. Too, Mr. Awesome and Tiny progressed close, but not exactly to this same timeline. Each child is different like I mentioned but wanted to repeat that again because teaching each child has not been an exact science.
I know too that when I was new to teaching handwriting that seeing actual samples of penmanship progress and understanding the growth process would have helped me more. Providing that here for you, I am hoping it will help to give you a gauge for when you are teaching penmanship.
In addition to working on fine motor skills in kindergarten, I worked with each son on beginning sentence writing. I would start the sentence and write it down. Then, they would copy it, think of the ending and write the word or words. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but the less I knew about homeschooling the better teacher I was at the time.
After I read about so many different learning styles and about how I was suppose to teach writing, I started thinking I was a public school teacher. I forgot the teacher mom part of me. In other words, I didn’t even know about copy work and was already doing that when teaching kindergarten.
No, I couldn’t leave well enough alone because I was afraid Mr. Senior 2013 would be behind. So I started off as a good teaching momma, then turned Nazi momma because I focused more on teaching him “penmanship” than just the skill. What do I mean by this?
Well take a look at the picture below. Instead of teaching him how to write, I had to now push him to learning how to compose sentences. So I moved from what I knew to do naturally, which was having him to copy what I wrote, to thinking I was running a classroom. And though composing and penmanship are linked, I couldn’t expect him to learn something that I had not modeled or introduced to him yet. I guess I expected him to know what a title was for his beginning compositions by one of those Vulcan mind melds they do on Star Trek.
I did allow him to transition between print and cursive up to this time. All the while I was teaching cursive, he was still using his print. Looking back now, I should have focused on one or two well written sentences using his beginning cursive instead of insisting on 5 well written sentences, which is a lot for this age.
Too, I corrected his spelling, no doubt in red (awful, awful momma) on his page. Though you do want to correct spelling errors as they are writing, it’s better not to jump ship and teach yet another skill like spelling. Simply showing him how to spell ski on a separate page and not on his writing like I did in the picture above, then going on would have been much better to do. Of course, I expected him to compose, spell and learn penmanship at one swallow. A TRUE mistake of a FIRST TIME homeschooler!
Though Mr. Senior 2013 survived my teaching him writing, I shed a few tears here and there as I think how hard I was on him. He excelled and wanted to learn NOT because I needed to constantly poke and prod him, but because he loved me.As the teacher mom, I realized I held a lot of power over my little guy and that because of his love for me, he always showed up to try his best. Thankfully, the other kids that come after the “first” get the full benefit of your experience.
Only another homeschool mom can know the utter feeling of sheer delight by you when you have taught a child the writing process. Yes, I made plenty of mistakes, but learned in the long run to trust my natural instinct. Staying balanced about what I learned about the how-tos of penmanship and not always applying it to my family has been important too. Sometimes all the tips just did not apply to my situation at the time.
I hope you do the same thing with what I have shared here with you and apply only the tips that will benefit you. I would love to celebrate your tiny triumphs with you when you have taught a child how to write. Have you had the honor yet?
I am not done yet with this topic. I have one more post to share about some of the activities we did and and supplies I used in teaching my crew how to write.
Hugs and love ya,