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    Kindergarten Handwriting Question

    Hi,
    I have a 5 year old doing Kindergarten this year, and he never wants to lift his pencil up from the paper when tracing / copying / handwriting, etc. So, to make an E, for example, he does the down stroke and then moves his pencil over, then back and up and over, then back and up and over again. Even after being shown repeatedly how to make the letter properly, he "reverts" to keep his pencil-tip in contact with the paper. He told me he likes it better.

    I can certainly sit next to him and enforce the proper letter formation, and I do, but I'm curious if this is just breaking him of a habit which I will then have to reteach him to learn cursive next year? Is there any compelling reason not to just teach him cursive now? He's proficient at recognizing manuscript letters and basic reading, so I'm not worried that he would be confused.

    Thank you!
    Julie

    #2
    Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

    I'm curious to hear what the pros will say.

    When my eldest was in Kindy (at a Montessori school), her handwriting and letter formation were so abysmal that I started homeschooling in the PM with the explicit intent of correcting her malformations. She had turned 6 when I taught it to her in the Spring, and she did just fine. She loved it, and I loved that she was the only kindergartener (and even 1st grader) who could read cursive writing.

    I know there's a fine line between forcing an issue for the sake of compliance & rule-following and keeping little hands writing. K is the time to put major writing on hold to really work on the nitty-gritty of handwriting. With my 4.5 yo, I get so much "but that's how I want to do it." I just offer his favorite incentives (fruit popsicles after dinner) and ample praise and rewards (stickers, free time with cars, a trip to the park or pool, etc) for doing it the book's way.

    There's always the E that is made as a squared off C in one continuous piece with only one lift of the pencil to make the middle dash. But you may find resistance there, too. You could also try going back to tracing sandpaper letters and writing with his finger in salt to get all of the strokes down before moving back to paper for the letters where he won't pick up his pencil. That's what I did for my K-er.
    Mama to 2

    Summer:
    MPK with SC1 Phonics & Math
    SY 20/21
    4A

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      #3
      Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

      Thanks for the input!

      I think my main concern is that the habit I am trying to break him of to force compliance in printing is the same habit I will then need to reinforce for cursive. If it were pencil grip, or paper position, or sizing, or starting position, etc., I'd just power through.

      I am curious to hear what the more experience / experts say. My oldest learned to write in school and his handwriting follows none of the known rules, so I guess we can't do worse...lol.

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        #4
        Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

        Good morning! Handwriting is one of those areas in which specific formation needs to be set. Whichever font you select for your child D’ Nelean or NAC or other there will be a specific formation of letters that needs to be adhered to. The developers have studied formation to arrive at the most efficient manner in which letters must be formed.

        In my class as I showed students how to form their letters in manuscript I talked them through the correct way to write the letter. We did several examples with their fingers in the air or on their desks to get the “feel” of formation before writing in their books which I monitored closely watching formation. When a student didn’t form correctly I would talk them through the correct way several times, noting I needed to continue to watch. This is the process I suggest you follow for your child. Next year there is more writing to be done and trying to print all the letters of all the words without lifting his pencil will fatigue his hand and take too much time.

        My suggestion is to break this habit now. There is no need to worry about it effecting his cursive, that isn’t a problem. In fact you can tell him next year when you learn cursive you don’t have to lift your pencil, but for print you do. Tell him "This is the way you print." Make it matter of fact, this is right way it is done and that’s how we are going to do it.

        Blessings,
        Michelle T
        Last edited by Michelle T; 08-22-2018, 07:55 AM.

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          #5
          Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

          Michelle,
          Thank you! It's always nice to hear how it is really supposed to be done.

          I understand the how, but can you explain the why? I guess this is becoming a general question of why to teach printing first! I know that there is some difference of opinion on this, and I'd be curious to hear Memoria's reason for manuscript first...usually your reasoning is far better and more thought out than mine.

          Thank you!
          Julie

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            #6
            Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

            Originally posted by julie View Post
            Even after being shown repeatedly how to make the letter properly, he "reverts" to keep his pencil-tip in contact with the paper. He told me he likes it better.
            This part concerns me. I’ve learned the hard way that if a particular child/situation doesn’t respond to the usual levels of instruction, tips, and parenting, then there’s often more to it than meets the eye. Does he do this with all his handwriting, drawing, coloring, etc? Even if it’s just his handwriting, I would ask him why he likes it better. Or what about writing this way makes it better. His answers may require some reading between the lines, but you want to be sure that this preference isn’t due to him finding it physically hard or mentally confusing to form the letters the correct way.
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
            DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
            DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
            DS11: SC 4
            DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
            DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
            DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

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              #7
              Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

              Julie,

              We teach printing with the First Start Reading program because printing is one of the important pathways of learning (hear, see, say, and write.) Students are seeing the letters in their text and copying them to look the same within their workbooks. Printing is reinforcing that visual memory at the very basic level, with students copying letters. The visual imprint gained by slowly and accurately tracing letters, sounds and words is very valuable to a beginning reader. Cursive is like a foreign language. The letters look different than the ones which students see when reading. During the First Start Reading year, typically kindergarten, we are learning to read which is akin to learning a foreign language so we don't want to try and teach two foreign languages in one year. If writing were the only new skill being taught, cursive would be fine. It was for this reason we placed it in the first grade year, after student reading has begun to take off. In K we teach reading, 1st we teach cursive and 2nd, Latin. Those are the major "foreign languages" of the primary years.

              Of course you know your child best. Should you elect to go ahead and teach cursive first, that may work with your direct and consistent oversight. But either way, at some point your child will need to know how to print and will have to pick up his pencil in order to achieve this. If not taught in kindergarten we suggest you take 3 weeks in 3rd or 4th grade taking a break from cursive during that time.

              Blessings,
              Michelle T

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                #8
                Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

                Michelle,
                Thank you! The foreign language explanation makes perfect sense. I really appreciate that there is always a reason behind the Memoria lay-out.

                We will continue with printing as it's scheduled. My son became much more amenable when I counted with him how many more pencil strokes it took for each letter - he's clearly math minded .

                Thank you again!
                Julie

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                  #9
                  Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

                  You are welcome!

                  Michelle T

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                    #10
                    Re: Kindergarten Handwriting Question

                    I write a capital E like a sideways staple then add the middle line. Same with F. I have also always made capital A, M, and N by starting at the baseline then forming the letter in one smooth motion. It always made more sense to me and my kids. If this is what he is doing, I don’t think it is wrong or something to be concerned about. It is more logical, Captain.
                    The Homeschool Grads:
                    J- 6/96
                    S- 11/98

                    Still Homeschooling:
                    G- 4/04
                    D- 5/05
                    F- 7/08 (my only girl)

                    Future Homeschooler:
                    M- 9/16

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