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Language Arts

Homeschool Handwriting Curriculum



Handwriting is an important tool to teach in your homeschool curriculum. Although there are no national standards for handwriting, it is taught widely. This article explains the stages of learning handwriting and gives tips for fun handwriting activities in your homeschool.

Handwriting can make writing, and learning, a more personal experience. Though most schools spend very little time teaching handwriting because of the prevalence of computers, studies have shown that students who are proficient at handwriting generally express themselves better. This article offers ideas for creating a homeschool handwriting curriculum.

First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Handwriting Curriculum

When planning your homeschool handwriting curriculum, check with your state’s department of education to find out what standards or guidelines it recommends. You can find your state’s department of education web site by going to nces.ed.gov/CCD/ccseas. Your state’s web site may offer resources or suggestions for your handwriting curriculum, and you can also search other states’ department of education web sites for more ideas and resources.

Planning Your Homeschool Handwriting Curriculum

There are no national standards for handwriting, so once you know your state’s minimum requirements for a handwriting curriculum you can begin planning your own curriculum. Handwriting can be incorporated into other topics by requiring children to do some of their assignments by hand, and you can also set aside time for children to practice their handwriting.

Zaner-Bloser, the leading publisher of handwriting educational materials, suggests the following sequence for learning handwriting:

  • Preschool - Introduction to the basic strokes and letters
  • Kindergarten - Introduction to manuscript (print) handwriting
  • 1st grade - Development of manuscript (print) handwriting
  • 2nd grade - Mastery of manuscript (print) handwriting, possibly the introduction of cursive handwriting
  • 3rd grade - Introductory cursive handwriting
  • 4th grade - Mastery of cursive handwriting
  • 5th and 6th grade - Maintenance of manuscript (print) and cursive handwriting skills
  • 7th and 8th grade - Development of proper handwriting techniques

As with most skills, students must practice handwriting to maintain their abilities. There are many fun ways to encourage students to keep using their handwriting skills.

  • Celebrate National Handwriting Day on January 23rd, the birthday of John Hancock, who was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. You can find creative ways to celebrate, like writing fun notes to family members or giving gifts of stationary.
  • Help young children practice their letters with finger paints on large sheets of paper, like butcher paper or newsprint.
  • Let young children practice making letters in fun ways, like using chalk on the sidewalk, salt dough, or cooked spaghetti noodles, or writing in the snow or dirt. Or, make pancakes in the shape of letters.
  • Find opportunities for children to practice their handwriting, like by writing out shopping or to-do lists and marking events on the calendar.
  • Encourage children to keep a hand-written journal. An inexpensive notebook or a fun journal can work, and you can help young children think of things to write about like their favorite parts of the day, things they see, hear, and smell outside, or prompt topics like “What would happen if I ran the world.”
  • Help children keep a scrapbook and write captions under the photos and other keepsakes.
  • Give children fun paper and encourage them to use it to write letters to family members or thank-you notes. You can also write secret friend notes to give to friends or neighbors, or find a soldier stationed overseas to write to.
  • Leave secret notes for your child and encourage them to write back. Writing with lemon juice, which is an invisible ink that can be read in the sun or close to some bright lights, makes this even more fun.
  • Encourage your children to take notes by hand on field trips, at church, or other times when they may want to remember something they are learning.

Sources

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting, "Materials by Grade" - zaner-bloser.com

Alpha Omega Publications, "Homeschool View - National Handwriting Day" - aophomeschooling.com/

Margaret Webb Pressler, The Washington Post, "The Handwriting is on the Wall" - washingtonpost.com/