I have tried a lot of handwriting programs throughout the years with my kids. My favorite by far has been Handwriting Without Tears.
Much to my utter homeschooling mothers joy, as part of the The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given the opportunity to review some of their materials.
I received the Kindergarten Teachers Guide, which retails for $9.25, and the Kindergarten Letters and Numbers for Me Student Workbook, priced at $8.25.
All About Handwriting Without Tears:
Handwriting without tears is a multi-sensory handwriting curriculum that offers ease not only the student, but the teacher when tackling handwriting. The philosophy of Handwriting Without Tears is for mastery in handwriting as a core skill that is taught effectively with joy. Their curriculum starts with a pre-K book and continues all the way to the fifth grade level.
The Kindergarten Curriculum:
The Teachers Guide is a softcover 198 page book that has lesson plans enough for one year worth of handwriting that include, guidelines, tips and common core standards in building the foundation for writing letters and numbers. The multi-sensory instruction comes into play with suggestions of activities and additional products that serve the visual, tactile, auditory, and kinesthetic learner alike.
The Kindergarten Student Workbook is a softcover book with 95 pages. The workbook correlates with the lessons in the Teachers Guide.
How we used Handwriting Without Tears for Kindergarten:
Little Mama was the primary user. She just turned five. She has had no formal handwriting curriculum up to the point that we started this review. We typically did one page a day, which would take around 5-7 minutes.
My Thoughts About Handwriting Without Tears:
- As I stated, I have used Handwriting Without Tears before, specifically the third and fourth grade books. HWT is the only handwriting curriculum that has proven successful for my son, who is in fourth grade. But, I gotta tell you, I have never once even thought of purchasing the teachers guide. I was a simply, open-the-book-do-one-page-and-then-you-are-done-with-handwriting-for-the-day kind of Mama. This time, with the teachers guide in hand, I totally see how HWT is multi-sensory. While I did not follow each days lesson to a T, that guide is chock full of ideas that reinforce learning how to write letters and numbers, that I would have never even thought about. Things such as the, wet-dry writing on slate, songs and hand motions about letter formation, connections to Math, Science, Language Arts and a plethora of other ideas all focused on handwriting. Who knew? :)
- The only drawback about some of the manipulative ideas in HWT is that you would have to purchase them separately such as the CD songs, wooden pieces, and slate board. Please note that these extras are not mandatory to the curriculum just suggestions. We improvised here with a white board instead of a slate board off tune singing by yours truly, and a lot of writing within a square on paper as that with the slate board
- The Teachers Guide is written for whole classroom instruction as opposed to a one on one homeschool setting. This was no problem for me at all. I think homeschooling Mamas are highly adept at working a program in the best way that their child learns. As I said earlier, the teachers guide really does give you a lot of those options in drilling the lesson home no matter if you are working with a tactile, kinesthetic, auditory, or visual learner.
- The student pages are very simply put. There are no colorful illustrations, just black and white ones. Little Mama loved coloring those illustrations in when she was done with her letter writing.
- The pages do not have endless amount of blank lines for "practice". This I like....a lot. I have seen a lot of handwriting books that want the student to copy, and copy, and copy the same letter over and over again. In my experience, that was very frustrating for my kiddos. I love HWT because the focus is more on doing one letter, or one word in neat and correct form without becoming overkill.
- Price point is very important for our family when purchasing materials for our homeschool. An entire years worth of handwriting instructions for less than twenty bucks, and yes...that includes the teachers guide...is a fabulous price.
I think handwriting is becoming a lost art. The more technology we get infused with the less actual pencil to paper writing that we have to do. Handwriting, however is still important....still essential in our everyday world. Handwriting Without Tears is a winner in our house. We highly recommend this curriculum.
To Purchase pre-k to 5th grade quality handwriting materials in manuscript and cursive check out the Handwriting Without Tears Website.