My 8YO's handwriting

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MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

My 8YO's handwriting

Post by MelInKansas » Wed May 29, 2013 3:24 pm

So I have had this mentality that my 8YO, who is in Unit 19 of Bigger, has poor handwriting, or that she doesn't try very hard with handwriting. A close friend of mine, who is a homeschooler and used to be a teacher, has heard me talk about this. So when my daughter wrote her son a thank you note after her birthday my friend told me that she thought my daughter's handwriting was actually very neat, and that she wrote small, and all of these things that I had been lamenting. So now I am wondering if it is either a lack of effort on her part in some of the writing (notebooking is usually done right before lunch and we are in a rush to get to lunch and I admit I don't check over it that carefully either), or if the problem is there not being lines in the history and science notebooks, or if her handwriting is just pretty normal or even good for her age. If so, I need an attitude adjustment! I am wondering what some of you experienced moms out there think. I know these samples could elicit some commentary on how I am having her do some of the assignments (vocabulary for example, I have not checked over or set up a good structure having her do the definitions the way they are written in the guide and I realize I need to work on that).

Thanks for any input. I would love to have thoughts on how I need to help her improve in this area in the last 16 weeks of Bigger (which will take us more than 16 weeks to complete) - how I can gently urge her to grow in the ways she needs to in order to move on. Handwriting has been the one area that has been a battle of wills so I don't want to push her too hard.
Vocabulary
Vocabulary
Abigail Handwriting 1.jpg (24.84 KiB) Viewed 1212 times
History Notebooking
History Notebooking
Abigail Handwriting 2.jpg (42.02 KiB) Viewed 1212 times
Cheerful Cursive - her favorite
Cheerful Cursive - her favorite
Abigail Handwriting 3.jpg (33.74 KiB) Viewed 1212 times
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by MelInKansas » Wed May 29, 2013 3:38 pm

I will also add that I have been helping her write some of the Science pages and the DITHR pages (she just can't seem to write small enough to fit it on the worksheets in the student book). I am probably going to start weaning her off these helps. The DITHR yesterday suggested I write her answers on a whiteboard so she could copy them on the worksheet so that's what I did. She does R&S English 2 as written, Oral parts aloud to me and written parts in a notebook and actually her R&S sample from today looks pretty good to me too. Maybe I've just been misjudging her all along! (Or she improved and I didn't notice).
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

laurapella
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by laurapella » Wed May 29, 2013 9:39 pm

I am not a good judge of handwriting, but I wanted to address your question about the notebooking page. My 8yo son is in Bigger right now, and what I have done to help him with his history & science notebooking is to use a Sharpie to trace the lines on a piece of wide-lined notebook paper. Then he puts that sheet under his white paper so he can write in straight lines. Hopefully, this makes sense to you. It has helped him tremendously! HTH.
Laura - Loving HOD!!
DS11 (5th) - CTC + DITHOR, Math Mammoth
DS8 (3rd) - Bigger (4 days/week), Math Mammoth
DD6 (1st) - LHFHG (1st grade options & ER - 4 days/wk), Math Mammoth
DD5 (almost K) - LHFHG (K options & TRL - 4 days/wk)

joyfulhomeschooler
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:05 pm

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by joyfulhomeschooler » Wed May 29, 2013 10:37 pm

My guess is that her handwriting will improve leaps and bounds after she gets the hang of cursive more. Her cursive is actually very neat!
DS 11 CTC
DD 9 CTC
DS 4 Before Five in a Row
DS 2 Before Five in a Row (tag along)

my3sons
Posts: 10599
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by my3sons » Thu May 30, 2013 2:38 pm

Well, her cursive is neat, for sure! :D Bigger Hearts is intended to help dc learn to write better, and that is a challenge skill in that guide - meaning it is a skill to grow into throughout the year. :) I had to really focus on helping my dc with this skill in Bigger Hearts, and I learned I had to stay nearby to oversee it more at this stage, rather than walking away as I kind of wished I could do. :wink: I think this is a great question, and you are asking it at the right time! You have half of Bigger Hearts left to help dd in this skill, and it will be time so well spent because the habits she forms now she will take with her in the subsequent guides to come, and then... you DO get to walk away and let her finish on her own! That time IS coming - I promise. It just isn't now. :wink:

In general, the kind of pencil (clicky, not clicky, heavy lead, light lead, etc.), and the kind of paper (lined, not lined, partially lined, drawn lines, etc.) can make a big difference. In fact, I found this to be so helpful to my ds moving through this skill that I took pictures and did a post on it at this link (in case this would be helpful) :D ...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5605&p=41147#p41147

I would look at this last half of Bigger Hearts as a key time to stay by dd's side and help her continue to strengthen her fine motor skills. Specifically, in learning to write straight, to write letters with uniform height, and to write increasingly smaller - eventually ending up being able to write on wide-lined notebook paper fairly well. The markerboard is a wonderful tool! Dc focusing on spelling and on remembering what they were trying to say have a hard time also focusing on writing neatly and smaller. Writing my dc's answers on a markerboard on lines helped them then be able to copy them, focusing on writing neatly looking at a proper model as they did so. If dc are not 'seeing' the stopping points of lines, hi-lighting them can help. Experimenting with different pencils and paper and lines can help too. I think your dd's writing is good - she has made good progress for the first half of Bigger Hearts. :D It can keep getting better this last half of Bigger Hearts though, and then you will have her at the point in PHFHG that you can walk away and let her finish on her own with success. HTH!

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

MomtoJGJE
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:20 pm
Location: Gastonia, NC

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by MomtoJGJE » Fri May 31, 2013 1:05 pm

From the pictures and comparing them to what my kids can do....

The notebooking page looks quite good, and the cursive looks great!

What it looks like to me on the vocabulary page is that she really doesn't know what to do with the lines. It looks like she is trying to figure out how to use those like handwriting paper. I don't know if you've tried this or not, but what if you had her dictate it to you, you write it on lined paper, and having her copy that way? Have you explained to her that her letters are to fit nicely on the lines?

But the vocabulary page is the only one where I see anything at all that I'd be concerned about fixing.

ETA: I still will sometimes draw lines out for my 10yo if she's writing on plain paper. Just very light lines. She has just started doing her own lines if needed this week in CTC.

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by MelInKansas » Fri May 31, 2013 9:21 pm

Thanks so much ladies! I appreciate the input. I have known all along that she actually has/had the capability to do it well, but me lurking over her and trying to help her with little stuff has always been a recipe for disaster in our relationship, makes her feel like she can't do it or doesn't want to, etc. I am encouraged to see her growing and trying to make it look nice. I lament over all the dropped letters in this particular history notebooking sample, and I do notice them on occasion. Again, it is related to how rushed of a job she does. Do you think I should go back and have her correct them (I mean when they happen, not go back through the whole book now to correct all errors)? I will seek to be more involved or just keep a closer eye on the writing she is doing and make sure she is doing it well. Definitely lots of praise and encouragement for what she does well!

I will think through the issue with the lines. All of our different paper/notebooks have different kinds of lines on them. This certainly can cause an issue. I was having her use the lines like they were for the handwriting paper, without a dotted line down the middle, just placing her letters between 3 lines instead of 2. But this makes the handwriting very big, and she can and should be doing smaller. I could easily make light lines for her on the notebooking pages, because they are unlined. I will go back and work with her more on some of the spacing and sizing guidelines and see if that also helps. Again, I appreciate you ladies' input! Blessings!
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

my3sons
Posts: 10599
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by my3sons » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:51 am

MelInKansas wrote:...Do you think I should go back and have her correct them (I mean when they happen, not go back through the whole book now to correct all errors)? I will seek to be more involved or just keep a closer eye on the writing she is doing and make sure she is doing it well. Definitely lots of praise and encouragement for what she does well!...
I need to say first of all, that I first read your post thinking she was older than 8 yo for some reason. :shock: For 8 yo, she's doing pretty well. :D However, you are thinking about this at a great time, because habits are formed now, and they tend to stick - good or bad. :wink: In regard to your question above, I would sit near her for the first sentence or two each time, and have her correct them as she writes them at first, rather than going back later and correcting them. I know it seems silly, but I have done a tiny reward type thing during this to make it more positive. I don't have a set way of doing this. But, I have sat nearby with those little circle stickers when my sons are writing in their handwriting books. Each time they write a good letter, or remember something I've asked them to work on (like trying not to drop below the lines with letters), I slap a little sticker by it and shout "Hooray!" :D Or, I have sat next to them with a pile of little marshmallows or M & M's or chocolate chips or yogurt raisins, and every time I see them doing something right, I say, "Ohhhh! That's worth ANOTHER marshmallow!" I don't do this all the time, but when they are in a phase where handwriting is difficult and my constant corrections are frustrating, this has been a positive way to encourage them and put a little fun back into writing. When I do this, I 'give' generously. :lol: Then, sometimes I walk away for the last sentence or word or however much I feel they should attempt on their own, and come back and have them fix those few errors and award some things at that point.

Specifically, looking at the samples you shared of dd's writing, I'd personally use blank index cards for her vocabulary and draw lines for her. At first the lines can be farther apart, but then I'd gradually draw them smaller. I'd also model one card for her (using the size she can realistically try to do right now as your model). Then, gradually get closer together with your drawn lines. For notebooking, I'd draw a light pencil line (or if its on lined notebook paper, highlight the red margin line), and let her know to snuggle her words up to that left line as she writes. I'd also draw a light pencil line (or if its on lined notebook paper already, highlight the right margin line), and let her know to try to look at that as a stopping point to get as close to as possible without going over. She should begin to understand that the left margin, other than the first line, should all line up, but the right margin doesn't have to as much. :D

As far as the size of her writing, you may want to just explain to her that it is a skill to learn to write smaller. This skill takes time and gradual practice in "shrinking" handwriting. Show her some places you take notes... sticky notes, index cards, grocery list, planner, calendar, b-day cards ... and explain that all of these places are small. Space is an issue these days. :wink: The smaller, the better. Maybe have her start to jot notes on a sticky notes when she has to remember something (i.e. Maybe she might be saying, "I have to remember to take Sarah's b-day present today" and you can say, "Hey, grab a sticky note and write 'Sarah, b-day gift' on it so you remember!). Or, just having her add things to the grocery list is a good idea. We have done this with our dc starting about age 8 or so. When things run out, they are to jot them under the right category on the list hanging with a magnet on the side of the fridge. I had to laugh when I grabbed the grocery list and saw a HUGE 'mrshmelos.' My 6 yo had attempted to write 'marshmallows' and it was huge. When I saw it, he said, "Yeah, I got my marshmallows too big, mom." :lol: At this point, I didn't mention the spelling. :shock: She can also copy one sentence and sign her name to b-day cards as practice too. Those are just a few ways you can show her the practical side of needing to write smaller. It seems like when our dc understood that learning to write smaller is a skill everyone must gradually learn to do, they realized it wasn't a personal problem they were having. It also helped them to notice how small Rich and I have to write for this or that. These are just my personal ideas - not HOD's specific recommendations. But, we have found them to work for our sons. She will get it - for sure! You are realizing this at exactly the right time! HTH! :D :D :D


In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by MelInKansas » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:13 pm

Thanks again Julie!

My daughter would be absolutely thrilled if I sat by her with marshmallows. I will try that one for sure! Stickers are fun too. I will try to observe as she is copying and have her correct mistakes immediately. Overall I am really proud of how well she is doing in Bigger, she is well placed in it in all areas except the handwriting. But I don't want to get further down the road, say into Preparing (which will probably be November or Christmas I am guessing. right before she turns 9) and have her still not very prepared for the work she will be doing in it. I think improvement and a focus on handwriting is really needed at this point.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

pamh
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:16 am

Re: My 8YO's handwriting

Post by pamh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:44 pm

Ohhhh, I'm a stickler with printing and cursive. I've always told my boys that their writing is a reflection of them. I've always stressed the importance of doing their best and that it takes longer to do a sloppy job because then you have to re-do the work. Yep, I've made them re-do sloppy work (they're not aloud to erase because that takes longer and it looks sloppy as well).

When my boys learned to write (except for preschool when they were just learning the formation of letters) they had to master the size of each letter; lower case c's could not touch the top line and had to stop in the middle, p's head sat on the line and their leg/body came under the line, etc.. Another good tool for writing and math is the different size of graph paper (they have large and small squares) to print their letters in.

I think thought ultimately you have to decide what you let your children get away with. In third grade and up, if a child turned in sloppy writing, it wasn't accepted until it was written correctly. However, they didn't put much time into cursive...only printing and typing. BTW....your daughters cursive looks very nice!!!

Hugs,
Pam

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