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Handwriting: The Education of Our Fingers

Did you know the Common Core no longer requires the teaching of cursive writing, even though many educators are aware that the physical act of writing benefits cognitive development?

Assuming you’d like to teach handwriting to your kids, Oak Meadow  would like to share some of their tips for teaching handwriting and making it fun–

Pre-writing activities

Children need to experience the letters with as many senses as possible. In addition to telling stories and drawing pictures about the letters, make sure to include physical activities using each letter shape. The more, the better! Try these ideas:

  • form letters out of bread dough and bake them (delicious for an afternoon snack!)

  • draw them in chalk on the sidewalk or rug, and walk the letters

  • make letters out of clay or beeswax

  • draw them in sand with a finger or in the dirt with a stick

  • cut them out of sandpaper

  • hammer together bits of wood in letter shapes

  • make letter shapes with rocks in the garden

  • make letter collages

Use your imagination and see how many ways you and your child can explore letters.

Make writing fun

Try the Three Color Road Race game, adapted from Peggy Kaye’s Games for Writing: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Write. Here’s how: Draw a “road” on a large piece of blank paper, and then draw an identical road on a second sheet. The road should have two parallel lines a few inches apart (the two sides of the road), and the roads can be curvy roads, roads with sharp turns, roads with straight parts and with twisty bits.

Using colored pencils, each player draws a line down the center of his or her road. The goal is to finish the fastest without touching the edge lines (sides of the road). If you touch the sides (“run off the road”), you have to return to the beginning of the road and start your trip again. When you reach the end of the road, use a different colored pencil and draw a second line, again without touching the edge lines and if possible, without crossing your first line. For the experienced “drivers,” repeat with a third color!

Encouraging emerging writers

Encourage the idea that children “draw” each letter, and take care to make it beautiful. When your children are practicing their writing, ignore their failures and praise their successes. If they continually makes the same mistake on a particular letter, draw attention to it gently: “When I make the B, I always make sure that its back is straight and tall.”

Find things for your children to write throughout the day. Create shopping lists, notes for the frig, or signs for yard sales. Friends and relatives are always pleased to receive a handmade card or letter. By integrating such activities into daily life, you help your children develop a sense of the importance of writing while providing practical opportunities for the expression of their unfolding abilities.

Oak Meadow’s carefully crafted and engaging homeschooling curriculum is infused with imagination and heart. Use it independently, or enroll in our fully accredited distance learning school for expert teacher support and official school records.

And yes, Oak Meadow teaches handwriting!  Oak Meadow students are introduced to writing in an artistic way that encourages beautiful form and careful thought. The addition of cursive writing in 3rd grade continues this appreciation for the art of handwriting.

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