My handwriting has always been neat. Manuscript or cursive doesn’t matter. I get compliments on it often. My husband’s, however, is barely legible. Oh he can write fairly neatly if he absolutely has to, but his “normal” handwriting rivals that of the best-known surgeons and attorneys.
Since I have neat handwriting, it never dawned on me what kids might think with less than neat handwriting – until my husband tried to fill-in one day. Our oldest saw his dads handwriting and couldn’t understand why it was so messy. Our son asked his dad how he could teach him, if his own handwriting wasn’t neat. That was the moment I had realized it might be difficult to teach handwriting if yours stinks.
A couple months ago we were able to review a curriculum here on the blog that many of you said you wanted, but your handwriting wasn’t great. And that got me to thinking…how can you teach handwriting if yours isn’t neat? No worries…it can be done and here are some tips to help!
Find a good curriculum
First, a good curriculum is important. You need to find one that gives clear instructions on prewriting – lines, zig-zags and shapes – to help develop those fine motor skills. If the fine motor skills are not developed properly, it will make handwriting that much more difficult as they get older. Working on those skills and getting their muscle-memory working will go a long way in their handwriting. And remember…its all about practice. The more they do it, the better they will get – generally speaking.
Re-Learn it with them
When our oldest pointed out the fact that my husband’s handwriting wasn’t great, he sat down and began to work alongside our son. He showed him that you’re never too old to work on your handwriting as well as, learning proper handwriting is important. Showing them our flaws can be the best way to teach our children. We show them we’re not perfect, but learning new skills…or re-learning old ones is important at any age.
Use yours as an example
You might be embarrassed by your handwriting, but use it to your advantage! When our oldest was struggling with his own handwriting and not wanting to practice, my husband used his own handwriting as an example. He showed him how fast he could write with his messy handwriting, which thoroughly impressed my son. Until my husband went to read what he wrote and couldn’t. He told our son that taking notes in school was nearly impossible, because he could rarely go back and study from them, as he couldn’t read his own handwriting. I’m not sure how much that all sunk in to a five year old, but he did try harder after that.
Our Favorite Handwriting Curriculums
Write Through the Bible Junior – this is a great beginner curriculum as it works on all areas of fine motor skills.
A Reason for Handwriting – this is what I used with our oldest from the beginning through 3rd grade. I like that it coordinated with their spelling curriculum and gave us some Bible throughout the week as well.
Explode the Code – We tried this with our oldest as it combines handwriting and reading/phonics, but he was bored with them because he already knew his letters and sounds. However, with our Middles, it has been great. It helped improve their handwriting and we’re learning to read as well. It has been a wonderful fit.
Try our Mastering Handwriting Curriculum
This digital curriculum goes from prewriting, in the beginning stages of teaching your child how to properly hold a pencil, into manuscript and cursive writing side-by-side.
Letters are introduced in alphabetical order. Rather, I introduce them in an order I have seen effective in my own children. From the formation of the letters to the sounds they make, I believe this order works best.
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