Handwriting is a skill that powers the development of language and literacy, as well as math skills. This is an important early foundation skill. Keyboarding does not replace writing at any age. If you doubt me, gather up all your pencils and pens for a day or two. See what happens.
If they are truthful, most early education teachers will tell you that they received very little training in how to teach young children to write. They are using the curricula that their principal or lead teacher has chosen. It usually has not been chosen because those professionals have actually used it successfully. Often it is a district-wide decision and teachers may not even be trained in the basics of using the program, let alone the principles of teaching any handwriting curricula to typically-developing children.
Luckily, my favorite handwriting curriculum is easy for parents to use when they homeschool. This will be one of those situations where your children’s skills will almost immediately exceed their public school peers, and stay that way through the years. Even if your child has learning differences.
Handwriting Without Tears is an affordable program, has easy-to-understand parent/teacher guides, and multi sensory activities that engage young children right away. The materials for cursive and above are not insulting to the older child that needs review and support. Most importantly, if your child has learning differences, your child can use this program successfully because the materials support children of all stripes.
HWT provides pre-writing materials like wood pieces and Mat Man that are fun for 4’s or older kids working at that level. Their workbooks are simple and uncluttered for kids with visual-perceptual issues, and the teaching progression is developmental, not alphabetical. Kids that have motor issues will be supported to build control before they have to work on the tricky diagonals or curves of the letters “A” and “B”. You can still teach phonics and any other literacy program that you desire. HWT allows you to teach writing and reading separately or together. You get to decide.
Kids on the spectrum are often literal thinkers, and get overwhelmed with complex teaching language. You will be using repetition and routine with this curriculum, helping them learn by supporting their strengths and their desire to have structure and familiarity. This will not slow down a sibling that isn’t on the spectrum. That child will simply sail ahead! The ultimate goal of handwriting instruction is simple: legible automatic handwriting. For all the excitement about spontaneous and free writing for literacy in kindergarten, if your child is constantly erasing errors in first and second grade, he or she will start to write less and less. Making too many mistakes will reduce creativity and writing output.
The program is also written in Spanish and French, which may be helpful for children learning English or desirable for families that want a multicultural curriculum. Same excellent and easy-to-teach format.
Visit their website, where you can download some free samples and try them for yourself. Homeschooling requires parents to make many decisions, but this is one choice that makes things easier.