Michael (8) has always been the child whose handwriting has concerned me the most. Nicholas (10) has messy handwriting, but he can be neat when he chooses, and his cursive is surprisingly neat. Somehow, my right handed Michael (how two lefties produced four righties I'll never know) ended up writing with both a hook and a tripod grip. The combination has meant both that his hand fatigues easily and that his handwriting is, well, bad. Needless to say, anytime a handwriting product comes down the pike, I'm interested! Enter Logic of English's Rhythm of Handwriting!
Logic of English suggests beginning with cursive before manuscript. Prior to Michael, I would have scoffed at this idea. Now, I'm a convert. At 8, Michael has been writing for 3 or so years and has been hating every minute of it. He reads at a junior high level. He loves to write stories on the computer. However, his spelling is not great and he hates to hand write anything. According to Logic of English's website, it is not a coincidence that his spelling and his handwriting are both bad, since they are inherently linked. I can say, though, that since beginning cursive with Rhythm of Handwriting, Michael has actually enjoyed handwriting! Since cursive requires less picking up of the pencil and is so much more fluid than manuscript, his hand doesn't become as fatigued. Since he is now doing cursive like his twin sister, his ego has gotten a much needed boost. All in all, it's a huge win-win for him.
Rhythm of Handwriting is 174 pages long. It uses a very simple, modern cursive font and teaches cursive using all four learning modes: seeing, hearing, doing, and speaking. In the picture below, the very large space for writing is actually for finger tracing the letter prior to writing it with a pencil, thereby using large-motor movements before engaging the fine-motor muscles. This is so helpful for kids who have trouble writing, and it is only one of the helpful tips in the introduction to the book. The introduction also contains suggested handwriting schedules for kids based on age. Again, that is very helpful. Handwriting is one of those subjects that I am never quite sure how much is enough and how much is too much. My girls (12 and 8) have always regulated their own handwriting quite well and they both have great handwriting. My boys...ah, boys!
Each letter is taught as can be seen in the picture above. First, the student traces according to the directions provided (the second small picture). Then, he turns the page and practices on the lines on which he is comfortable. The choice of lines on which to write is a great feature of the this program. Because kids of all ages may be using it, some may need the really large lines, but some may be ready for much smaller lines. Michael chose the lines right in the middle and they were just right for him.
The book proceeds through the alphabet, first lowercase letters (swing, curve, letters that connect at the baseline, loop, letters that connect with a dip connector, and bump) and then uppercase (curve, uppercase letters that connect at the baseline, uppercase letters that do not connect, roll, loop, circle, slash, and miscellaneous). By the end of the book, students are writing three and four letter words.
The Cursive Quick Reference Chart summarizes the directions for all of the letters in the order that they are taught, which means that I don't have to sit right on top of Michael to make sure that I can dictate a letter to him. It is a great tool to add to the book!
Michael and Rhythm of Handwriting
Michael really likes his handwriting book! It is the first thing he does in the morning while we wait for all the kids to assemble for group subjects. He does handwriting for about 15 minutes each day. I go over any new letters with him, reading the "rhythm" of the letter and making sure that he is forming it correctly. So far, his cursive is so pretty! It is so, so much nicer than his print. In fact, after he finishes this book, I don't see him ever printing again. Cursive is just so much easier for him. He doesn't complain about writing when he is working in this workbook. This is the best cursive program I have seen. Here's a secret: I am a big fan of very formal cursive. It is what I taught Therese. I just think it looks nice. It is *not* for every kid, though. For a kid like Michael, it would mean never learning cursive. For him, a simple and modern font is PERFECT. Rhythm of Handwriting is perfect. I am so grateful to have been given the chance to review it.
Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive is available for $15.00 and is recommended for students of all ages who want to master cursive.
The Cursive Quick Reference Chart is $10.00
Crew members got to review other Logic of English products, some of which I am considering buying myself, so be sure to click the banner to read the reviews!