Is handwriting the bane or the delight of your homeschool?
I have to say, in general, handwriting practice used to rank just below a visit to the dentist at our house. That is, before Jackson and I received Logic of English‘s Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive-Complete Set to use and review. It has been transformational in our handwriting time!
What is Rhythm of Handwriting?
Logic of English, which has created incredible language arts products ranging from phonics to spelling to handwriting, has continued its excellence with its Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive-Complete Set. This handwriting course is designed to be used by any student from the age of 4 all the way to adult ages. Although we’ve been working on cursive handwriting for a number of years, as I said before, it hasn’t been a particularly enjoyable subject for Jackson. We used a well-respected curriculum. We practiced faithfully. Yet handwriting times were generally challenging, stressful and unenjoyable. Not because of the difficulty of cursive writing….just because, I believe, that particular curriculum wasn’t best for Jackson. But, had I been aware of the quality and simplicity of Logic of English‘s handwriting program, I would have selected Rhythm of Handwriting years ago, to begin with!
One of the things that sets this curriculum apart is something that Logic of English does so well in all of its curricula. It is designed to be used successfully and competently by all kinds of learners; visual, auditory and kinesthetic. This 4-product handwriting set utilizes all of those learning styles to produce enjoyable handwriting time for any kind of student. Also, author Denise Eide’s instruction, whether it’s for the student or the teacher, is always full of clarity and simplicity.
So what is included in Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive-Complete Set? Quite a bit, actually; and much more than I’ve seen from other handwriting curricula. Here’s what is included:
- The Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Workbook
- Handwriting Quick Reference (the cursive chart)
- Tactile Cards
- Half-Size Student Whiteboard
How does Rhythm of Handwriting work?
Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Workbook includes wonderful material for the teacher as well as handwriting instructional pages and worksheets for the student. Author Denise Eide has created a system of handwriting instruction that is clear, simple and absolutely stress-free. She plainly instructs both the teacher and the student so that success can be achieved in each lesson, whether it’s via teaching or learning. At the beginning of Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Workbook, Eide has written a complete section for the instructor, covering the following topics:
- Steps to Teaching Handwriting (a step-by-step process for teaching cursive using this curriculum)
- Handwriting Tips (starting with lowercase letters first; giving clear and explicit directions; emphasizing handwriting’s rhythm; connecting letters; extra fine-motor activities; and more)
- Suggested Schedules (depending on the student’s age)
- Ideas for Handwriting Practice (10 different games or activities to promote success in handwriting)
Following the teacher’s section at the beginning of Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive,
the instructional pages and handwriting practice begin for the student. The workbook divides the instructional pages into lower-case letters and upper-case letters, plus pages of words using the letters learned that can also be practiced. The letters are grouped into type (swing letters, curve letters, loop letters, etc.) and the student, depending on age, can learn 1-4 letters per day. We worked on two per day during our review period. Then, when the student has practiced all the letters in a particular type, there are pages where all the recent letters are practiced.
The Handwriting Quick Reference, which is also labeled The Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Chart, is a laminated and colorful 3-fold guide to each lower-case and upper-case letter; what it looks like, how to form it and what phonetic sound it makes. In addition, it lists the 11 steps for teaching handwriting that are also mentioned in the teacher’s instructions in the workbook.
The Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Tactile Cards are a third key component to this system. Each Tactile Card is sized 4.25″ x 5.75″ and contains a combination of textures; a smooth, coated stock card with raised sandpaper texture cursive letters. These can be traced by students to help them get used to the motion and feel of each letter.
The last component of the Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive system is the Half-Size Student Whiteboard. This whiteboard is just narrower than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper. It has two sides. One with a large baseline, midline and topline, for beginning lettering:
How did we use this?
For the review period, we replaced our regular handwriting curriculum with Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive. We used it four days per week, with the schedule of two letters per day. I followed Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive‘s step-by-step recommendations for teaching each letter, which enables the student to process the information four ways: seeing, hearing, doing and speaking. The workbook starts with the lower-case “swing” letters; k, t, u, s, j, p, r and w.
You can see, on this page for practicing “y” in its lower-case form, there are varying sizes for the letters to be written, identical to the the Half-Size Student Whiteboard. There are 8 sets of lines in total, starting very small and getting larger as the lines move down the page. I particularly liked this because all of us write in different sizes of letters at times, don’t we? The student starts with the very small and writes a bit larger as he moves down the page. This worked really well for Jackson.
What we thought of Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive:
Here’s what my son Jackson says:
“I do like this so much better than my old one. It made handwriting a thousand million times more enjoyable than it used to be. I think this explains the letters better. For parents who want their kids to just start on cursive, this is the curriculum to use. And that’s my thoughts on it!”
I have to agree. This makes teaching SO simple for the teacher or parent. Directions and instructions are so clearly laid out; there is no doubt on the part of the student OR the parent HOW a letter should be written. This was really just what we needed and, I believe, is why Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive is so fantastic at removing stress, whether it’s on the part of the parent or the student. And it not only removes stress, it enables the student to write beautifully and legibly! (Don’t tell our old handwriting curriculum, but we are NOT coming back!)
Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive-Complete Set costs $65 for the four components of the set: the Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Workbook, the Handwriting Quick Reference laminated three-fold card, the Tactile Cards and the Half-Size Student Whiteboard. It is definitely worth every penny. You can purchase Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive-Complete Set and other language arts curricula from Logic of English.
Other Crew members reviewed this and a variety of other products from Logic of English, and you can read about their experiences at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.