What curriculum do you use for penmanship/handwriting? I know many of you don't use one or make up your own, but I'm looking for those that do to tell me what they use so I can look at the options. Also, if your child has learned cursive, how do you decide which to use for assignments? Do you just switch between cursive and manuscript, or do you have certain activities always done in cursive and others done in manuscript?
We are going to be using Handwriting without Tears starting in Jan. I have heard a ton of good things about it, it looks like it will work well for DS and it isn't that expensive. We will be working on cursive. He will have to use cursive while he is using it. After that it will be up to him which he wants to use, unless I have a specific thing in mind.
Right now we are using our own. I have them copy important, encouraging or influential quotes. However, I have thought about A Reason for Handwriting or Handwriting without tears. I also really love Abeka which is what I plan on using for my kindergartener. I think that once cursive is taught and mastered that is what I will require on all writing assignments.
I started out using some handwriting worksheets I got off of Edhelper.com, but frankly, most of the time I just showed him the letters, he practiced and that was it. Right now we don't do "formal" handwriting. He normally does English writing assignments in cursive (we're using Writing with Ease 2 and English for the Thoughtful Child), but he's allowed to do spelling tests using printing. That seems to give him enough practice. He's almost 7, so I figure that there is no need to "overdo."
Each worksheet focuses on the main letter for the day, the connecting those letters, then connecting those letters to previous letters, eventually I will make sentences. They have to copy or trace what I write.
i had gotten books 1 2 and 3 of Handwriting Wihtout Tears free and I didn't particularly care for them. THey dont' hav emuch to practice per page. I find my kids needed and still need A LOT of practice forming letters and numbers - they didn't seem to get it the first time and still revert to doing things any old way.
I researched my own methond based on how I remember learning cursive. Back in school I remember starting with doing lines and pages of loops like a lowercase L or e. lines of humps line an N, lines of Us, lines of curves and squiggles, geometric shapes, etc. SO I have my kids do lots of random things like that to practice their grip and fine motor control.
Then, I write a page of cursive - words or sentences, sometimes random, sometimes spelling lists, sometimes sentences... and have them trace.
Now we've worked up to tracing words followed by recopying them below without tracing. So, we're a ways away from doing an entire assignment in cursive independently.
Continually reminding them on their grip is helpful if they have an akward grip.
I use abeka. The kids have to use cursive on their penmenship papers, and when writing reports, but all other papers may be done in manuscript if they so choose. My oldest son does cursive on everything, while my oldest daughter chooses to do both.