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Can you help me choose between HWOT or ARHW for handwriting?

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Can you help me choose between HWOT and ARFW for handwriting?

We are definitely using Heart of Dakota this coming year. I am deciding between A Reason for Handwriting (ARFW) and Handwriting Without Tears (HWOT) though. I think my son would like the CD songs that come with HWOT. But, I like the Scripture basis of ARFW. It also has excellent reviews! I guess I could go with HWOT first. Then, I could possibly do ARFW A when he is ready for the sentence handwriting with the Scripture. Cursive handwriting is around the corner too. Sigh. I remember hearing you used HWOT with your oldest son, Carrie. I see you carry ARFW instead. What has been your experience with handwriting? Help!


“Ms. Please Help Me Choose Between ARFW and HWOT”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Choose Between ARFW and HWOT,”

You can easily use Handwriting Without Tears HWOT (or any other handwriting program that you desire) without affecting the flow of your Heart of Dakota guide. We do find it to be a good recommendation for kiddos with special needs. However, we used HWOT for several years for manuscript printing with my oldest son (and again for several years with cursive). We found that for us it was not a good fit.

Our Experience with Handwriting Without Tears

Without having an upper line, it was hard for my son to know where to stop his letters (and they just seemed to go up and up and up). The printing style used within Handwriting Without Tears (HWOT) is not a pretty or graceful font, and we found that it lends itself to large writing that is harder to make smaller. We ended up purchasing the special HWOT paper for my son to write on, as he was used to their two-line approach, so it didn’t lend itself well to writing on regular notebook paper either. We switched to A Reason for Handwriting for manuscript in order to address these issues.

When we headed into cursive with my oldest son, we again tried HWOT. We came across many of the same issues, and even after several years of doing cursive the HWOT’s way, we found we needed to switch to a different program (BJU) to gain a more flowing style, to reduce the size of the cursive, and to gain consistency with being able to use it. My oldest son never truly mastered cursive, and we did HWOT for multiple years just as recommended. It honestly should not take years of workbooks to learn the basics of cursive handwriting. We now carry Cheerful Cursive, which addresses all of these concerns. We have had great success with the rest of our sons learning cursive in only a year and then moving right into copywork.



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