Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review of Laurelwood Books

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

Handwriting, or penmanship, is not one of those things that our students should stop with elementary school. In fact, my high school aged daughter still does handwriting many days. The problem is finding penmanship resources for the older grades, though. If that has been a problem for you the way it has been for me, look no further! Laurelwood Books has you covered with its Patriotic Penmanship - Grade 7&8 Jr. High (cursive). Best of all, when you fall in love with this title, you'll be covered for penmanship all the way through high school, since this series goes K-12 with review and transition titles!

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

We received the Jr. High (7th and 8th grades) level of Patriotic Penmanship to use with Nicholas (my rising 8th grader). The book has 30 lessons and is 68 pages long. The lessons are excerpts from, you guessed it, patriotic Bible verses, patriotic speeches, the Constitution, and even poetry (Robert Frost - yay!). There is a great mix of material here making it appropriate for boys or girls equally. No child is likely to get bored (sometimes a risk if all you are doing is Bible or poetry or, really, *any* single subject handwriting or copywork). 

The format of each week (or Lesson - how you divide up the penmanship book is up to you!) of handwriting is the same. The week's selection is in the box. Tracing practice is first (after the first couple of lines, I let Nicholas skip this. At 13, he really doesn't need the tracing practice, and he has never liked it.). In many cases, with an especially long quote you don't copy the whole thing. The entire quote is given for context, but the key part is the only thing that is used for handwriting practice. In this case, it is the famous verse regarding the love of money being the root of all evil. After tracing practice is writing practice. The dotted words are on one line with a blank line underneath. The dotted words can be traced again if so desired and then the verse written again underneath freehand. Finally the student writes the quote/verse himself with only the first word of each line provided in dotted form. It is easy to break up penmanship into weekly lessons when the format is done this way.

On Day 1, you do the tracing practice. On Day 2, you do the Writing Practice, and on Day 3, you do the Full Quote, so penmanship becomes a M-W-F type of subject at these upper grades. Of course, Nicholas (13) does not ever do things the traditional way! He tends to dive into subjects he likes headfirst, so at the close of this review, he is on Lesson 11 (of course, remember that he is not doing the tracing and that cuts down substantially on how long it takes to do a "week's" worth of penmanship).

N.B. Nicholas' handwriting posture is not that recommended by the books's author or by me.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it is hard to find penmanship books for the higher levels, so I am really happy to have this one. I only have one issue with Patriotic Penmanship, and that is the amount of tracing included at the Jr. High level. I could see including tracing at the beginning of the book, but the amount of tracing I detailed above continues throughout the entire book. If you have a child who doesn't like or need all that tracing, a substantial part of the book will end up going to "waste." Of course it's not a deal breaker, and this is still an excellent resource, but I would love this book a lot more if it contained more handwriting and less tracing. 

Laurelwood Books has a tremendous amount of really neat homeschool resources, and the Crew got to review many of them, so be sure to click the banner below for Latin, Scripture, and other Penmanship resources!

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

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