Monday, January 13, 2014

The Personal Touch

20140113 pencast pt1

20140113 pencast pt2

20140113 pencast pt3

We're trying various things at home, including having my daughter type her Christmas thank-you notes on the same Smith-Corona she used on last year's Typewriter Day. That seems to be a big help, since she can focus less on forming the letters and the mechanics of holding the pen properly, and can pause to check spelling before she commits the letters to the page. We'll see if it becomes part of our homeschool toolkit. We also picked up a Pelikan "Pelikano Junior" pen for her to try with her handwriting time. It has a grip that subtly enforces the triangle grasp.

It's interesting to me that we're combining "old school" tools in her schooling, along with modern options like handwriting-practice apps and a Franklin speller. Very holistic-Californian, no?


Richard P said...

I do a fair amount of handwriting, which looks a little fancy-pants because I fell in love with Victorian capitals when I was 17 or so.

I'm always amazed by the extreme variety of handwriting shown by my students -- everything from tiny, neat capital letters to extremely slanted, long cursive, to chicken scratches.

teeritz said...

You may have already tried this, but there are those exercise books that are given to students in primary school which have the alphabet in them in 'ghosted' lettering for the kids to trace over until they become comfortable with doing it on their own. It's all cursive, of course, and my son has pretty decent handwriting, whereas my daughter's runs the risk of looking quite messy and illegible. The only real solution, as with anything, is practice, practice, practice. My kids are currently still on school holidays, but they'll be back at school in two weeks or so and we've told them to bust out their Pelikan juniors or ballpoints and just write a couple of sentences each day about whatever comes to mind, be it what they did that day or their opinion of the last dvd they watches, etc. They'll go thru a few cheap notebooks as a result, but I'm hoping that their writing will improve a little. My sone is in year eight this year and they're introducing net book laptops this year. So, the battle to maintain decent handwriting is, for me, more important than ever. Despite the fact that my cousin, who's a teacher, said to me recently; "What job will these kids have when they're older where handwriting will even matter?"
In some ways, I weep for the future, but I remain hopeful that good handwriting will still be regarded as important.
It's the visual equivalent of our own voices, unique to each and every one of us.
Have your daughter just write one sentence a day, perhaps, with no pressure. Dictate the shopping list to her. Try to make it a somewhat enjoyable activity. But of course, as a fellow parent, I don't want to tell you how to go about it, as I'm sure you'll find methods that will work best for you all.
Best of luck!

Elizabeth H. said...

I originally learned Palmer (my mother could write exactly like the exemplars, which was not intimidating at all, oh no...), but mine was often a mess. Mom had us practice writing both by copying sentences and by writing in a journal at the beginning of the school day--that's how I got started with that practice. But my handwriting was always pretty lousy, despite her best efforts.

I ended up switching to cursive italic a few years ago (via the book Write Now), and I think it's a great style for practical daily use. Fast, clear, maybe not as elegant as the prettier styles, but...I can read my own writing.

Not sure where I'd go when teaching a child, though. The old styles are pretty when done right...

Anonymous said...

There are special names for handwriting techniques? O dear... I only know the term "calligraphy"!

My personal handwriting is very round, but when I'm tired it starts to wobble and looks like nothing.

Anonymous said...

I can tell by your handwriting that you're not a doctor.

Rob Bowker said...

I honestly don't ever remember being taught handwriting but there's a ghost of an image of cursive 'u's and 'm's on a dodgy brain cell back o'the brain somewhere. So, I ended up an all-caps scrawler which even I have trouble decyphering. Hence the typewriter habit!