Handwriting Without Tears is a name known to homeschoolers, private schoolers, and public schoolers alike. Their hands-on approach to this important skill is a successful one. So if they are so well known, why have I never tried them before? I figured that writing letters was something easy enough, I could figure it out on my own.
I won't bore you with all the ways in which this failed. Suffice to say, all of my children have atrocious handwriting. They are all set to be doctors with their handwriting. When the just-turned 5 year old was asking me to help her make letters, I knew I needed to do better. The timing of this review is just perfect - a great example that the Lord cares for even our smallest concerns.
Teacher's Guide ($9.25) and the student book, Letters and Numbers for Me ($8.25). There are other items available that add so much to the curriculum but are not an absolute necessity, or can be substituted. Now, these items may be considered optional, but I strongly urge you to do what you can to incorporate these elements.
The Teacher's Guide is essential to implementing the curriculum. I'm not crazy about the order of the information in the book, but I am so happy to have it all there and cross-referenced to be able to find what I need. The suggested schedule has everything spelled out making it easy to plan for and implement the lessons. All of the various multi-sensory activities are explained. In many cases there is additional information at a link found within the book - goodies such as extra pages for practice, videos demonstrating a lesson, Mat Man's insides (ties in with our anatomy - Love it!). Don't miss these bonuses!
Wood Pieces for building the letters. In the book and online there is a printable pattern for making your own. We made our own with materials we had on hand. Using the pattern, I cut pieces from felt and medium weight corrugated cardboard and glued them together. While they are not as great as the wood pieces, they are more durable than paper and sturdier than the felt alone. I'll be adding magnets to the back (once I buy some magnet tape) so they can more easily be used on a cookie sheet.
personal size slate (chalkboard). This the most asked for activity of all the multi-sensory things we are doing. The biggest thing (besides the size) that appealed to both my daughter and I is that smiley face letting you know where to start your letters. Small pieces of chalk and sponge cubes are essential items for the Wet-Dry-Try activity.
Another favorite activity has been the songs. Lyrics and information for each song are included in the Teacher's Guide and/or printable from the specially accessed area of the website. In addition, videos on the website show just how these songs illustrate skills and activities. The Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn CD ($13.75) has 25 songs that provide both catchy lyrics and movement. They aid in teaching skills necessary for the steps of letter formation(Where Do You Start Your Letters?) and for proper pencil grip (Picking Up My Pencil) to name just two.
Books are available for pre-K through 5th grade.