I haven’t been this excited about a curriculum product in several years! Handwriting/penmanship has always been the sort of “thorn in my side” subject with homeschooling. I have good handwriting, however it is “old school”, lots of loops and hoo haa. My husband’s handwriting is adequate; it’s legible, and that’s an accomplishment in our culture, today. My kids are writing basically by the “skin of their teeth”. I tried so many different things with them, it’s a wonder they can write at all and some of them still only put pen to paper when forced. I feel that admitting this to you, shows that I am evolving as an educator and am more willing to learn something new. Right? 🙂
Were you aware that only 16% of high school seniors are writing in cursive? Before the 1940’s (and before there was Kindergarten in many communities), this was taught in the first grade, because students were fully capable of learning it and adults recognized those abilities. Our expectations continue to diminish as does our proficiency in penmanship. There are important neurological connections in the brain that develop from the use of fine motor skills needed in cursive handwriting; and students are more able to focus on the content of their writing when their brain can help them to automatically write letters from memory, rather than puzzling over how to form each letter. Cursive is also superior to manuscript writing when teaching children with various learning challenges, including Dyslexia. Their are fewer problems with reversals that come from letters looking so much alike. Students have no need to make a difficult transition from manuscript to cursive, if they are given the tools to create neat, legible, cursive from the beginning.
Throughout our 20-year homeschool journey, I have heard about those who start with cursive, rather than manuscript writing. However, I never knew anyone who had personally done it. There are many who will tell you I am “a little off the beaten path” in my approach to homeschooling and I don’t favor grade-specific “packaged curricula”. I’m not sure why I’ve adhered to the failing mainstream techniques that are reducing penmanship to chicken scratch. It doesn’t really fit with the way I approach education, yet I have done it, and I don’t have an explanation. I have experimented with, reviewed and used more handwriting programs than many of you will ever be aware of and none of them have provided the results that I wanted for our children. After a thorough review of New American Cursive, I am hopeful that that is about to change.
New American Cursive can be taught as early as Kindergarten/First Grade, in fact it’s recommended. After studying Level One, I am convinced that the method would be a quick way to remediate the penmanship of older students as well. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the Level Two book that is designed for these older students and who already use cursive, but I will be acquiring a copy, based on what I have seen in Level One and the Level Two Sample.
This is a simplified and yet beautiful script that will be easy for students to learn and for others to read. Memoria Press designed this program to use 26 fewer strokes than the top three most common handwriting programs. Level One focuses on correct letter formation, with the end goal being accuracy and legibility. It helps to encourage and motivate students by leaving artwork spaces throughout the book.
Level Two adds exercises in proficiency, plus copywork and practice using Scripture and character-building quotes. Level Two also includes reproducible practice pages. Both levels have instructions and guides for the teacher included right in the text, and the inside front cover is a complete cursive alphabet. The text’s for both levels are spiral bound at the top, so binding never interferes with proper paper placement or hand position. I love that!
Another feature that sets this curriculum apart from the rest is the opportunity to pair it with StartWrite/NAC® software, which allows you to create your own lessons and practice pages, printed in the New American Cursive font. Students can follow the examples you print to practice writing their own names, addresses and other papers that are relevant to them and their personal schoolwork. I can speak from personal experience that the Start Write software is a great way to produce your own lessons and now that it incorporates the New American Cursive font, it is the perfect solution for our homeschool. Use it to create Book Report Forms, Reading Lists, any handouts that you give your student. Reinforcing the penmanship you expect them to use when providing them worksheets is an excellent option to continue penmanship practice in all subject areas!
If you can’t wait to have your own copy of Memoria Press’s New American Cursive, visit their website and order this excellent penmanship program for your family. However, you also have an opportunity to win it by entering our Giveaway Drawing. One copy of both Classical Phonics and Level One of the New American Cursive curriculum have graciously been offered by Memoria Press for one of our Busy-at-Home readers. Visit the Giveaway page to be entered.
Memoria Press provided a complimentary copy of New American Cursive in order for me to write this review. No compensation was received for the review and the opinions expressed are wholly my own.