Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Crew Review-Peterson Directed Handwriting

The Product
TOS Review

Today I bring to you our review on the  Peterson Directed Handwriting Cursive e-books Levels 1-4, priced at $19.95 each.
Never heard of it? Well let me fill you in.
Peterson Directed Handwriting teaches children to internalize rhythmic, movement modules that come out as fluid, legible, intuitive writing rather than relying upon visual feedback (a counterproductive technique for all ages, even adults).

Understand that? Okay, let’s see…uh…this handwriting program teaches children to become so familiar with certain movements learned at a rhythmic pace that the output is beautiful writing that becomes a natural part of the child. No where in this curriculum will you find “Now, have your student copy a lowercase 'a' 600 times”. No, pencil tracing is actually discouraged. You can listen to an informative presentation here.
This program is dedicated to improving and strengthening motor skill development in your young children in order to be efficient in their writing. This is done by finger-tracing exercises, proper pencil grip (phenomenal in and of itself!) proper paper placement, sitting posture, oh, even desk height.

There is so much information on their website that will educate you beyond your wildest dreams about all things handwriting.
Here is a quote from their materials, “Teach the student to hold the page in writing position and use the pointer finger to trace the movement model. Cursive strokes are produced with lateral movements. Position skills are critical for control of fluent movements. Chant the Action Words, Count or Colors aloud and move with the voice. The challenge to move smoothly with the vocal when finger-tracing, air-writing and with the pencil on the practice page, greatly enhances the internalization process.”
That really was our daily handwriting practice in a nutshell…but read on for a little more detail.
The Experience
We began each handwriting session with “air writing” and “finger tracing” exercises. I would write a stroke (or letter if we had learned all strokes for that letter) on the chalkboard and each child would then air write it a few times and then finger trace it. Now we did this all while saying the key words out loud-each and every time. This is suppose to help with rhythm and causes the child to actually write and not draw his letters (something that letter tracing encourages).
After that Brother would be done and the Big girls would head to the table (lowered to the correct height) to do pencil work. Again, they would not trace but, using the motor skill memory gained from the earlier exercises, they would try to write a certain stroke or letter as best they could. I would have them try to write at least 4 very good models and then our lesson for the day would be done.
The execution of our day was easy and the kids really have enjoyed this curriculum. This is a very CM friendly curriculum in that it can be done in a small amount of time and engages the children wholly.
Something extra that I did do was to purchase the Crossover Pencil Gripper, Triangular Pencils and Position Guides. These products just added to our great experience with this product.

The Thoughts

Honestly the Peterson curriculum is not the most user-friendly right off the bat. There is a lot of information with technical words that really did confuse me at first. As homeschoolers I know that often we want something that we can just open up and say “Okay, tell me what to say and do.” This curriculum isn’t like that. Take the time to study and learn, I was so glad that I did. I think that getting to know this curriculum before I plunged into it made all the difference. Just by reading the information available on their website I became more convinced that their methods were the best I have ever seen. And gained confidence in teaching it.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in this curriculum to take a few weeks and read as much of the information you can from the website. It will make you much more confident as you begin this with your children. That being said though I could not write this review without mentioning the fact that Mr. Nelson was always available and accommodating to those who needed help or had questions! No better customer support anywhere!!

Oh yeah, another great testimony:  the children never complained about this!! The last two years handwriting was an unwelcomed guest at our house, not this year!!

Isn't it bee--u-t-ful?!
Also! The other night while sitting in church Brother (my almost 5 year old anit-drawing, coloring, writing boy) taps me on the arm and points down to the paper that he had been writing on. When I looked down at it I saw a wonderful "sharp top" printed on there. I was so thrilled. Remember, the only things that we have done with him have been the air writing and very quick chalkboard exercises. He has yet to place a pencil to paper to sit and reproduce stroke after stroke "ad nausium". This beautiful little stroke (the basis for lower case 't', 'i' and 's' to name a few) is a result of him "internalizing"-as Mr. Rand Nelson would say-the stroke itself. What better testimony of true understanding and a program that works!

The Breakdown
  • Cursive ebooks $19.95 each
  • Take time to understand the reasoning behind this method.
  • Excellent support available at their website.
  • Great supplements available for purchase as well.
Wanna see what others have to say about this? Click on the banner for more Crew Reviews.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.**

Lovin' Learnin'

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