How to Teach Handwriting in Your Homeschool
I truly enjoy teaching our children how to write. Though it can be a tedious subject for them to learn, it’s a fun subject to create a foundation for learning in your home.
I’ve had many friends reach out to me with questions as to how in the world I teach handwriting. Many of them have children that start off excited and after the third lesson, they're wanting to throw their pencils and run off to play. My answer to them? Give them time!
Every child is different. Just as some children learn math and reading earlier and others later, the same situation exists here. Children are generally ready for writing around the age of 6 or 7 but some enjoy it earlier and others later than this age.
If your child is not ready, don’t force it. It will not be enjoyable for you as their teacher, nor will it leave them pining to write anything for your homeschool.
Here are my tips to teaching pre-writing and handwriting skills:
In my experience as homeschool mom and friend of many elementary teachers, children that are forced to do writing when they’re not ready end up with poor developed skill. Their hands are not ready for writing and therefore, their penmanship suffers. Children need to have the opportunity to develop all of the muscles in their little hands in order to form letters and numbers correctly. Before you start searching for the best curriculum to teach handwriting, be sure your children have had time to get their hands messy and opportunity to build those muscles.
I started having our children ringer paint as soon as they were ready to eat solid foods. All babies make a mess right? Just let them play in it. Allow them to get a hold of using their fingers. Once their slightly older setting up paint in a zip bag or just finger painting on a big poster is a great activity to help the muscles in their hands.
Give them bins full of rice, water, shaving cream, snow, slime, etc. so they can squeeze it through their fingers.
Fine Motor Skills
These skills can be acquired through clips, pins, tongs, droppers, etc.
**Again, I do not recommend starting handwriting or any kind or copywork if your child hasn’t had the opportunity to spend hours upon hours a week doing this.
If your child has mastered opening clips, used droppers, and is ready for writing, I highly recommend getting a reliable curriculum that they can learn to form letters correctly.
There are a lot of handwriting curriculums out there that skip the most important part. Teaching the child the FIRST time how to form their letters correctly is crucial. Once they’ve learned it a certain way, its tough to unlearn and learn it the correct way.
Our favorite handwriting curriculum to use and the one that has been used for all of our children thus far is Handwriting Without Tears. I truly think the order they teach the letters is spot on! For instance, they teach the letter “c” first and build from there. From the letter “c” the children learn how to form an “a, g, b, d” and so on. We have gone through each of theses programs and I recommend doing them in the order they suggest so you aren’t missing any steps or practice your child needs.
Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum
Once your child has mastered forming these letters, you can start copywork. There are a number of resources that you can pull copywork from, the Bible, Shakespeare, hymns, and poetry to list a few. A wonderful way of learning good writing, spelling, and grammar is from simply copying good writing and grammar.
Some of our favorite resources to use for copywork are:
Simply copying straight from the Bible
Lastly, if your child has mastered letter formation and has practiced printing with copywork, your child can start with cursive.
We use Cursive Kickoff from Handwriting Without Tear and then use copywork just as I mentioned above. I have included both print and cursive in my Hymn-A-Long curriculum if you have multiple aged children or if your children have mastered print and are ready for cursive copywork.
I’m hoping that by giving these recommendations, it will help your child to enjoy the process of writing. Make it fun for them, Mama. Enjoy playing before you start handwriting and copywork. When you start have them copy beautiful pieces that will stick with them from life. Remember that these pieces should be quality over quantity!
Happy homeschooling a remember to “willfully serve His children” each and every day.