Homeschool Printing or Cursive

How to Teach Handwriting

Should we even homeschool printing or cursive writing? While we communicate with computers our children need to have legible handwriting. When our children are teenagers and adults they will need to fill out job applications and other forms. They may also need to sign their name.

For most children handwriting is not easy. They make mistakes and do not like to practice. Here are some ideas to make writing easy and fun.

I started my children using thick pencils for writing. The thicker the pencil the easier it is for children to hold. There are also plastic grips that you can place on a regular pencil.

If your child is making letters backward tactile letters can help. The letters have raised directional arrows. Your child can use their finger to trace the letters and feel the way it is made.

Which is Better?

I first taught my children to print then we learned cursive writing. I have learned that if your child struggles with learning it is better to learn cursive first. When you write in cursive all the letters except capital letters start at the line.

You can write faster in cursive than in printing because you link the letters together. Cursive is also used for signatures.

Printing is easier to read. It is good for labeling. It is useful in answering questions on forms.

Kinds of handwriting

There are several styles of handwriting. You need to decide what styles to use for homeschool printing or cursive. Some of the examples are D’Nealian, Zaner-Bloser, and Handwriting Without Tears. You can view different styles online.  Most styles have a printed and cursive form.

Some styles are simplified others are more fancy. Some use more of a ball and stick approach to forming letters. Other handwriting styles are more slanted.

There is also Italic writing. I taught my older daughter to write in Italic. She has very neat and pretty handwriting. With Italic it is easy to go from printing to the cursive form.

When to Teach

Your child should have small muscle coordination before you start teaching handwriting. One of my children had a lot to trouble learning to write. He had difficulty making letters on the kindergarten sized paper. I feel that we should have had him write large letters in shaving cream or rice.

Cursive is usually not learned until around the fourth grade. Some schools are teaching earlier, even as early as second grade. Since you homeschool you can decide which to teach. If you think that it is easier to learn cursive then teach your children cursive.

How to Teach

Here are some techniques that you can use when you homeschool printing or cursive.
A child should first write large letters on a carpet, shaving cream, or rice cornmeal mixture. My children loved write in cornmeal.

The next step would to make large letters on paper. Fill the entire 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper. Do not use lined paper yet.

Another activity that we did was to make yarn letters. I would form a letter with glue on a paper. My child would take a piece of yarn and follow the glue.

After your child has learned to form all the letters and has enough small muscle coordination he can start to learn to write. First use really large lined paper. If you can find it use paper that has 3 inch lines. Then go to 2 inch lined paper. You can find line paper in most drug stores or even at dollar stores.

I feel that a child should learn to write by copying Scripture. Copying Bible verses can help children remember the Word. You can copy a verse of scripture on Monday for your children to copy throughout the week. On Friday your children could make the final copy leaving a border to decorate.

No matter if you homeschool printing or cursive teach your child to write so that he can communicate on paper. 

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