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    Pencil recommendation

    I wanted to share an epiphany we have had in our homeschooling this summer. I made a change in our writing utensils, and have been so happy that I thought I would share in case I can spare anyone the angst I went through.

    First the backstory: We started out homeschooling 15 years ago with Ticonderoga pencils. They seemed to be "the best" of the standard pencils, having good graphite and good erasers. But there was a big BUT: constant sharpening! My kids could not stand to have an unsharpened pencil. They would stop after every five minutes of writing (or less) to sharpen again. The noise of the electric sharpener drove me nuts. Then we tried personal, hand-held sharpeners. Those got opened and dumped out on the carpet more times than I can count. Then I tried to find an old-fashioned rotary sharpener - which I did, but it was so shoddy that it broke within just a couple of months (could have been from constant use!).

    IT WAS MADDENING!

    So then I recently tried mechanical pencils. I was not crazy about them because of the grip...that is, that they needed a grip to fit small hands...and then we learned that they broke. A LOT. As in, ALL THE TIME. "Click, click...break. Click, click...break" ARGH!!!

    This summer I decided enough was enough and dug through the forum for all the posts I had read about writing utensils. I know a lot of folks like erasable pens, but that was not the route I wanted to go. And then I found a post written by Cheryl Swope in a Simply Classical thread, in which Iris Hatfield made a recommendation: the Pentel .9. OH MY! I love it! My little ones started school Monday (their request), so we got to pull them out and give them a try. Game-changer. Heaven. So happy to have such a simple part of our day return to being just a simple part of our day. One less little bit of angst is always worth it!



    AMDG,
    Sarah

    I have copied the original post below:

    I contacted Handwriting Expert Iris Hatfield, creator of NAC, with your question. Here is her response to you:

    "I would suggest her son try the Pentel Twist-erase 0.9 mechanical pencil. It is stronger and should glide across good paper more easily.

    As for the pen he could try the Pilot Erasable and retractable Roller gel. Let him try different pens and choose what works best.

    Pen or pencil is fine; just let him use what is most effective and comfortable.

    The correct pencil/pen grip is extremely important for left handers. He needs to grip the pencil/pen higher up from the point than a right hander. That way he can see what he has written and not smear the writing.

    They can review the left hander video, https://www.memoriapress.com/curricu...rican-cursive/.

    Practice cursive in all of his seat work and he will gain fluidity."




    New American Cursive | Memoria Press
    https://www.memoriapress.com
    A Note from Iris Hatfield New American Cursive 1 Sample New American Cursive 2 Sample (Scripture) New American Cursive 2 Sample (Famous Americans) New Ameri
    2020-2021
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    #2
    “The noise of the electric sharpener drove me nuts.”

    Sarah!

    I just put three two-packs of these in my Amazon cart, along with lead and eraser refills. We go through an electric sharpener every year or so (right after the warranty expires). And while the sound annoys me, to my autistic, perfect-pitch son, it is like fingernails on a chalk board. He will yell for the kids to stop while covering his ears. All the handheld sharpeners I buy mysteriously disappear. They are probably hanging out together with the umpteen missing pairs of scissors and the really good colored pencils.

    Not to mention:

    “Why are you up?”
    “I need to sharpen my pencil.”
    “Again?”

    All day long.

    Blessings,
    Jude
    DD24
    DS21
    DS18
    DS16
    DD14
    DS11
    DD9

    Comment


      #3
      Preach! And bless you for this post. Pencil point perseveration drives me nuts.

      "Just write the ONE!"
      "It's not sharp."
      "Write it."
      "I don't like it."
      "Write it here."
      "Just let me sharpen it." Crrrick! Crrrick! Snap! "It broke."
      "Mmm-hmm."
      "Can you fix it?"
      "Mmm-hmm."


      I was just about to come here and ask for pencil sharpener recommendations. I have resigned myself to the Crayola Dollar Store kind. Buy 10. Throw them away when they get dull. The test of a sharp blade is a continuous shaving. When it gets to bits, toss it.

      I think I will try this new pencil you speak of...only because I apparently collect writing implements.
      Mama to 2

      Spring start MP1
      Summer start 5A

      Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
      SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

      Comment


        #4
        My pencil sharpener recommendation is: go handheld, and go German, as in Made in Germany stainless steel blades. I think we have some Staedtler here at home: one for each child, for their personal drawing, and a couple in the kitchen drawer right above the trash can for school hours - and if those are taken away, I roar.

        But we're not heavy pencil users when we do school, I've always preferred pens for most of their work.
        DS (15)
        DD (14)
        DS (7)

        Comment


          #5
          Oh, for us it was not at all the quality of the sharpener. My eldest daughter is an artist and definitely loves the Staedtler sharpeners.

          It was the climbers climbing up to get at them without anyone noticing before the shavings are all over the light tan carpet. ??

          I am seriously *OVER* sharpening!

          ?
          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2020-2021
          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
          DS, 17
          DD, 15
          DD, 13
          DD, 11
          DD, 9
          DD, 7
          +DS+
          DS, 2

          Comment


            #6
            I just bought cheap Bic 0.9mm tip mechanical pencils for the rising 3rd grader. I had no idea they even made them that large until a few days ago when I stumbled across a multi pack from Target. I'm a solid "extra fine point in everything, thank you very much," myself. I never even thought to look.
            Festina lentē,
            Jessica P

            2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
            12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
            10th • HLN, Latin online, MPOA
            7th • HLN & Home
            4th • HLN & Home
            Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
              “The noise of the electric sharpener drove me nuts.”

              Sarah!

              I just put three two-packs of these in my Amazon cart, along with lead and eraser refills. We go through an electric sharpener every year or so (right after the warranty expires). And while the sound annoys me, to my autistic, perfect-pitch son, it is like fingernails on a chalk board. He will yell for the kids to stop while covering his ears. All the handheld sharpeners I buy mysteriously disappear. They are probably hanging out together with the umpteen missing pairs of scissors and the really good colored pencils.

              Not to mention:

              “Why are you up?”
              “I need to sharpen my pencil.”
              “Again?”

              All day long.

              Blessings,
              Jude
              Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2020-2021
              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 17
              DD, 15
              DD, 13
              DD, 11
              DD, 9
              DD, 7
              +DS+
              DS, 2

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
                I just bought cheap Bic 0.9mm tip mechanical pencils for the rising 3rd grader. I had no idea they even made them that large until a few days ago when I stumbled across a multi pack from Target. I'm a solid "extra fine point in everything, thank you very much," myself. I never even thought to look.
                Okay, Jessica. A lot is riding on this. Pilot G-7 Gel Pens. .5 mm, .7 mm, or 1 mm? <Final Jeopardy theme music>

                Blessings,
                Jude
                DD24
                DS21
                DS18
                DS16
                DD14
                DS11
                DD9

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post

                  Okay, Jessica. A lot is riding on this. Pilot G-7 Gel Pens. .5 mm, .7 mm, or 1 mm? <Final Jeopardy theme music>

                  Blessings,
                  Jude
                  Haha! I actually have to recuse myself one this one because I don't like gel pens. I make such a mess with them!
                  Festina lentē,
                  Jessica P

                  2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
                  12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
                  10th • HLN, Latin online, MPOA
                  7th • HLN & Home
                  4th • HLN & Home
                  Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

                  Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                  Comment


                    #10
                    That’s a bold move, Jessica. The correct answer was .7mm. 1 mm is too thick for anything but doodling, .5 is like a sewing needle scratching across the surface of the paper, but .7 is just right.

                    Thank you for playing. As your parting gift, you will receive a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat. <ding ding>

                    Blessings,
                    Jude
                    DD24
                    DS21
                    DS18
                    DS16
                    DD14
                    DS11
                    DD9

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
                      That’s a bold move, Jessica. The correct answer was .7mm. 1 mm is too thick for anything but doodling, .5 is like a sewing needle scratching across the surface of the paper, but .7 is just right.
                      Phew, I passed that test then... Now what about ink color We love the G2 pen, and my left handers don't have any trouble with them, so that's a major plus for me. We also use Pentel's Hi-polymer erasers: I became slightly obsessed with Pentel products when I was a teenager, and have been a faithful fan ever since.
                      DS (15)
                      DD (14)
                      DS (7)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
                        “The noise of the electric sharpener drove me nuts.”

                        Sarah!

                        I just put three two-packs of these in my Amazon cart, along with lead and eraser refills. We go through an electric sharpener every year or so (right after the warranty expires). And while the sound annoys me, to my autistic, perfect-pitch son, it is like fingernails on a chalk board. He will yell for the kids to stop while covering his ears. All the handheld sharpeners I buy mysteriously disappear. They are probably hanging out together with the umpteen missing pairs of scissors and the really good colored pencils.

                        Not to mention:

                        “Why are you up?”
                        “I need to sharpen my pencil.”
                        “Again?”

                        All day long.

                        Blessings,
                        Jude
                        For personal use, I don’t particularly care for 0.9mm lead because it never seems to actually be sharp. My personal chose is 0.7mm, but I can see the 0.9mm for kids. I refuse to buy 0.5 because it breaks all the time. With any mechanical pencil you really have to teach them not to keep clicking the lead out too far. I used to always use the blue pentel - it was my “lucky” pencil in high school and college - but the eraser is tiny. I always carried a pentel click erase eraser. I second the twist erase pencil recommendation as it seems to be a good compromise.
                        Dorinda

                        Plans for 2021-2022
                        15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                        DD College Freshman
                        DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                        DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                        DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
                          I just bought cheap Bic 0.9mm tip mechanical pencils for the rising 3rd grader. I had no idea they even made them that large until a few days ago when I stumbled across a multi pack from Target. I'm a solid "extra fine point in everything, thank you very much," myself. I never even thought to look.
                          I think if they like the thickness of the lead you should invest in the twist erase for home use -not as sturdy as the regular pentel, but a really nice pencil that fills easily and doesn’t jam up the lead. I really hate the bic mechanical pencils...the eraser is small and they just feel flimsy. Some of those cheap mechanical pencils aren’t refillable either and are finicky about advancing the lead. The only upside to them is if they are being taken to places where they are likely to be left behind.
                          Dorinda

                          Plans for 2021-2022
                          15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                          DD College Freshman
                          DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                          DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                          DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mrs Bee View Post

                            Phew, I passed that test then... Now what about ink color We love the G2 pen, and my left handers don't have any trouble with them, so that's a major plus for me. We also use Pentel's Hi-polymer erasers: I became slightly obsessed with Pentel products when I was a teenager, and have been a faithful fan ever since.
                            Pentel is the best on the market. I like their high polymer eraser, but I prefer it in the click erase. It is the same white material that erases clean, but in a shape for more precise erasing. I was hooked in high school as well (I did a lot of erasing)
                            Dorinda

                            Plans for 2021-2022
                            15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                            DD College Freshman
                            DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                            DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                            DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The true trick is finding .9 lead refill!

                              I hunted down this thick lead mechanical pencil for my little lefty and my son with autism. It's seriously a game changer over here. If you find .9 pencils or lead, load up. Wait another month and they'll be on clearance. Yay!

                              It was enough of a game changer that I went through all our pencils. I only kept that thick lead and Ticonderoga. Everything else was donated.
                              DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                              DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                              DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                              We've completed:
                              Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                              Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

                              Comment

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