Curriculum Choices: Handwriting Resources

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Handwriting curriculum is one of the first purchases new homeschooling parents make, eager to get their child started off on the journey of communicating through the written word.

Learning to write their own name feels exciting and important to young children, so as parents it can seem like a big responsibility to choose the best resource.

Well worry no more! This post contains six of the most helpful, popular handwriting choices currently on the market.

1. A Reason for Handwriting

This curriculum uses as its foundation verses from the Bible. Each week a different verse is memorized and used as copywork practice.

Lessons are designed to be completed in 10-15 minutes, and the program covers both manuscript and cursive writing. Levels go from Kindergarten up to Grade Six if necessary.

2. Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears was developed by an occupational therapist. It therefore follows a developmental sequence, initially introducing the letters that are easiest to write and proceeding in difficulty from there.

This curriculum uses a two-lined approach for handwriting, as opposed to the more traditional three lines. Some customers report this as an advantage, while others find it confusing for children.

3. Getty-Dubay Italic Program

The Getty-Dubay method uses italic writing from the beginning of a child’s lessons. The main advantage comes when transitioning to cursive, which is said to be significantly easier when using this method as many of the letters are formed the same way.

Getty-Dubay begins with a Kindergarten level and continues through Grade Six.

4. Copywork

In the Charlotte Mason style of education, copywork is used for handwriting practice. Students are initially taught their basic letter shapes, and then practice by copying inspiring quotations, poems, or Biblical passages.

Head to Simply Charlotte Mason for several print-ready, free copywork pages to use with your children.

5. Draw Write Now

This series of books was created to combine drawing instruction and an interest in handwriting. Each book contains a series of simple drawing lessons, followed by a writing passage about the object being drawn.

The authors of Draw Write Now also created StartWrite Handwriting Software, which allows you to create, customize, and print handwriting pages for your child, based on his interests and practice needs.

6. Your Child’s Imagination

Bear in mind that you don’t have to use a formal handwriting curriculum.

In our home we have a shelf with inexpensive handwriting workbooks, paper, pencils, and lined white boards. Our children are not required to do writing lessons, but regularly choose to spend time working on letter formation and asking for help while creating stories or writing captions on their artwork.

Children naturally want to communicate through written words, especially as they see parents model the importance of writing. Choose the best resource that fits your children’s learning style and watch them take off with their newfound skill.

Please share the experiences you’ve had with these and other handwriting curriculums.

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Kika says:

    We’ve used three of the above programs. We truly enjoyed Draw Write Now for beginning printing (K-gd2). My kids like to draw so this was a hit with them. We used the G.D. Italic program and in the end left it b/c it felt boring and confusing to my kids. Moved to A Reason for Handwriting and I’d say this is decent for clarity. The only thing is that we switched after the book that shows how to properly form your letters/joins (maybe around grade two level?) so it was still more hands-on for me. With our next child I’d probably buy that book which has the little arrows to show how to form the letters. Overall, though, I don’t put too much emphasis on books like these, preferring to simply get my kids writing things that are meaningful to them. Also, my oldest – son – has always disliked writing by hand and prefers to type (and is fast!). I don’t know if he’ll ever develop decent handwriting but I’m learning to be ok with that. My middle child, on the other hand, developed pretty writing at a fairly young age. Sometimes we (I) get hung up on details that aren’t all that important…it helps when I realize that my husband (10 ys university) has really messy writing. Hasn’t slown him down at all :)

  2. Kami says:

    I looked into GD Italics, but decided that although nice to look at, it would make every other hand writing worksheet or workbook that we may use difficult, because pretty much everything else you come across is in regular print. So we went with HWT and are very happy with it. We have found the two lines easier to work with, and my son has no problem using three line writing sheets when necessary.
    .-= Kami’s last blog: Making pipe cleaner leis =-.

  3. aimee says:

    what a wonderful wealth of information! thanks so much, jamie. this provides great options. ironically my mother (high school public english teacher) and i were just lamenting last night the poor job schools are doing in the penmanship department these days.

  4. Mother of Pearl says:

    We don’t use a handwriting curriculum per se, but we have workbooks that cover each part (lowercase manuscript, capital manuscript, lowercase cursive, capital cursive) and we go through them repeatedly over the years. Both of my older kids are lefties (and my honey and I are both righties – go figure) and I did a lot of research on handwriting before I started them on it. Everything I found said that d’nealian style is better for lefties. So we got some d’nealian workbooks and I couldn’t be more pleased. The kids enjoy it and the transition to cursive was easy.

  5. Karen says:

    We use HWT and love it! I use DWN for fun but use the HWT paper for the writing portion. My children love how the drawing is broken down into simple steps and they are able to make very clear pictures so easily!
    .-= Karen’s last blog: Unfortunately: my modus operandi =-.

  6. se7en says:

    I just love your resource posts!!! We’ve used handwriting Without Tears for years – I like it. It’s easy, just a snippet of writing a day, a line or two… Only one kid in our family is right handed – the rest of us are all lefties… so I was looking for the simplest easiest handwriting program I could find. I make sure they get lots of writing practice… they write shopping lists, library book requests, little postcards to everyone I can think of and I could go on. They love writing and practicing their writing skills if it is for a reason… So I try and give them lots of “real reasons to write.”
    .-= se7en’s last blog: Another Week and Another Birthday… =-.

  7. Caitlin says:

    This post is perfectly timed for me! We just got back from looking at a bunch of different books at a homeschool conference. We’re probably going to go with A Reason For Handwriting, but also heard Explode the Code was very good too.

  8. Deb says:

    Oy, out of all the subjects that I have spent time poring over, handwriting is the one that vexes me the most.

    I wanted to like HWT, but it just didn’t work for us (plus I thought it was a little expensive). Then I got Start Write, which is a software that enables you to make your own practice sheets. It’s fantastic, but I needed more information on telling my son HOW to form the letters, not merely provide practice. So I got the Frog Street Press video, which has the top line as the sky, the bottom line as the ground, and the middle line as the fence. It gives instruction on how to form each letter. Which is great, but I also need to incorporate copy work or something….

    In a few weeks, we are going to begin Getty-Dubay Italic. It looks nice, and I like that I can assign an actual page to be done each day.

    My daughter is turning out to be the only person on either side of our families to be left-handed so now I have to figure out how to teach that….*sigh*

    This subject is frustrating to me. And now I feel like if I had just picked something and stuck with it, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. So GD Italic it is.
    .-= Deb’s last blog: Things I Love =-.

  9. I’m planning on using HWT with my 5 year old this fall. I’ve never used any handwriting program before so it will be new to me.

    Thank you for the link to Simply Charlotte Mason–I love the poems they have there to be copied out. Good stuff!
    .-= Laura @ Getting There’s last blog: A bit about our toys. =-.

  10. kathleen says:

    I’ve used GD Italics for both my kids (3rd grade and 2nd grade) and we love it. The transition to cursive was effortless and very exciting for my oldest. We did slow it down a bit as it was a bit overwhelming. I think in book c we started to slow down to half page a day. Now in book d we do one page a week. It kind of evens out to two or three lines a day, very Charlotte Mason style. It will take longer than one year to finish the book but her handwriting is beautiful and she does write other places during the week. My youngest just finished book b and is very excited to move on. She does one page a day but we will see if she wants to slow down later on. I let them work at their own pace and when done with one book they just move on to the next one, not try to do one book per year. Handwriting is definitely one of their favorite subjects…the first one they want to do each day.

  11. kathleen says:

    Oh I wanted to add, my husband is right handed, I am a lefty, my oldest is a lefty and my youngest is right handed. The books do a good job explaining how each type (right or left) should sit, hold their pencil and how their paper should be positioned.

  12. We don’t use print at all for writing, only reading. This link: http://media.wasecabiomes.org/pdfs/subcats/Cursive_Masters_PDF.pdf has really helped us immensely in teaching my kindergartener to write. He loves the little stories and it helps him to easily remember proper letter formation. When he is having a little trouble with a certain letter we tweak the story a little bit to address his issue and it worked great to help him self correct. My oldest learned cursive from the start at his Montessori school and by 1st grade had better cursive penmanship than alot of adults I know. And they don’t have any trouble recognizing print letters (or forming them) because you see print everywhere you go. I highly recommend going straight to cursive and sandpaper letters are a great tool too for little ones to help them learn to form the letters without the frustration a pencil and paper can sometimes provide when the letters don’t come out like they had hoped.

  13. vireuse ellis says:

    with my 5yr old granddaughter I had her write a page ful of eeach letter n her name and when we were through we put each page on the wall to spell her name she seam to like that

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