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Handwriting in SC C

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    Handwriting in SC C

    How much emphasis should I place on letter formation in SC C? My 5yo has the kitchen sink of delays and such, but he is reading hundreds of CVC words (albeit with blending every single time, as it's not automatic recognition). He is slaying recitation (so proud!) and the book comprehension questions. He is counting to 40 unaided, has the ABCs down by sight and sound, can pick out beginning and middle sounds of words, identifies rhyming words, and does calendar time perfectly, including reading a vertical thermometer to the nearest 10. He knows the numbers & names of all the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and weather words as sight words and orally in order. He just has no idea how to form letters, even after we do everything prescribed in the SC C manual.

    He got nothing out of letters being drawn on his back. He's 0 for 0 with that approach. He hates the feeling of drawing in salt or sand, although he'll sometimes trace our sandpaper letters. He did recently form a few letters with chalk (a first), but every single time I put a tracing line in front of him, if I look away for ONE second, he will try to form the letter a different way. We've taken 3 extra weeks to review (we started at the end of the July) and we're only on week 6 in the CG. It's hard to keep blazing forward without mastery because so many of the workbook pages are just repeats of letters and numbers he has not mastered and cannot form without inserted dotted lines. I have printed off tens of sheets with just those letters (A, D, C and F) in isolation, and sometimes we do those letter sheets daily. He cannot write #2 to save his life, and 3s are hard as well. He does okay with 4s and 5s, but not from memory. We moved on to 6, but it was not fluid and he didn't seem to get the idea of what it was. If nothing, all the fine motor practice has really made his coloring a lot nicer! I went to a local homeschool book store and they laughed that boy + lefty + delay = it will come later. What do we do in the meantime? Do I hold back and wait for mastery of letter formation? Do I push forward for exposure but not mastery?

    Please advise.
    Mama to 2, Married 17 years

    SY 19/20
    DD 8-3A
    DS 5-SC C

    #2
    Will he tolerate hand-over-hand writing? My daughter's OT encouraged hand-over-hand for writing (and, in her case, scissors work) until greater independence could be gained.

    He is doing very well otherwise, so I would look for work-arounds like the above rather than holding him back further.

    If you are concerned, you could look into an OT evaluation.

    For now do not have him write independently if he is doing little more than practicing poor habits.

    You can use the various fine-motor suggestions at the front of SC C to nudge along his writing readiness. Omit anything that detracts from his progress and keep whatever works best for him. If you can squeeze n hand-over-hand to assist muscle memory, teach letter formation in that manner through SC C. His progress in all other areas in worth celebrating!

    Comment


      #3
      One thing I did (and still do sometimes) is I trace the bottom line with green pencil as the "grass line" and trace the top line with blue as the "sky line". This helps some kids 'seat' their letters correctly. The traced lines give some feedback when they hit that line, like whoops I felt my pencil go above the sky line. You could also trace those lines with crayon to make that sensation greater.

      Tracing things on my kids backs was also a flop here. They just couldn't translate that into anything productive. Ever.

      Just today in week 8 of first grade, my little lefty misformed her 2, 3 and letter e....even with an example to copy. Oi! So, there's hope, but still struggles. It's not like these skills are one and done. Just keep plugging away.

      My kids all really liked the wikki stix. You could also have them be the eraser. You write a letter with a dry erase marker and they erase it with their finger. You could put some shaving cream into a bag (tape that thing closed!) And they can trace letters on the outside. These work great for kids that want to stay clean or prefer smooth surfaces to bumpy textures.
      Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

      DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
      DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
      DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

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

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks, y'all. These are helpful suggestions. He often wants to do tasks by himself (alone or just without help). I'll try this and see how it works.
        Mama to 2, Married 17 years

        SY 19/20
        DD 8-3A
        DS 5-SC C

        Comment


          #5
          I was (and still am) in a similar predicament. He is a lefty, a boy, and he has dyspraxia. His skill levels are all over the place, with writing being at the way down rock bottom of them all. If we had waited for his writing, we'd be sooooo far behind his capabilities in all other areas. He is currently 11 1/2 and will finish SC3 this month (most likely will be in SC5 by the end of the year as he has been making many gains over the past year and a half) and still can't properly form letters without tracing. In May I posted how I've been managing writing for him using StartWrite. Here is the thread in case it's helpful to you:

          https://forum.memoriapress.com/forum...with-dyspraxia

          In this thread, there is much talk about hand grips and other things for lefties (my son was having difficulty "spearing" his page with his pencil, and I was wondering if a pen would be better).

          https://forum.memoriapress.com/forum...-pencil-vs-pen

          PS. I'm not at all suggesting that your son has dyspraxia. I'm just explaining why it's still such an issue for my son even though he is 11 1/2.
          Cheryl, mom to:

          ds 24, graduated
          ds 23, graduated
          dd 15, 9th Grade
          dd 12, 6th Grade
          ds 10, 4nd Grade

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks, Cheryl in CA . We know the etiology of his delay, but unfortunately it is not a very predictive diagnosis. We spent a few years in SP and OT, but it got so costly once our insurance changed that with his incredible success and my presence at all of his therapies, I felt well-equipped to do what we had been trained to do at home. His OT actually recommended Handwriting Without Tears before we left her practice. He was a little young at the time, so we shelved the idea and wanted to give SC's approach a try. It's not a bad approach. I also have all the components for LoE, but it's a cursive first approach, and I'm afraid to go down that path with a special needs learner. A mommy from our PE co-op has a son with dyspraxia who reads and writes beautiful cursive, but the manuscript is like a foreign language to him. I respect Cheryl Lowe's advice to learn the writing alongside the reading. And I see the fruit. As he's gotten better at writing his lowercase d's, he is seeing how it's different from the b's he hasn't yet learned to write. That is nice. But he's also trying to write tall flags for lowercase a's (like the d's) and struggles with keeping letters inside the correct lines. I'm considering doing a lesson on top line, mid line and base line. I like the idea of the crayon on the lines. I've also seen the paper with the raised edges
            Mama to 2, Married 17 years

            SY 19/20
            DD 8-3A
            DS 5-SC C

            Comment


              #7
              We taught "rooftop", "house," and "basement" for my two. I used the raised paper to help with tactile feedback. In our house, g's, p's, and other basement letters often stayed errantly on the line, so we made sure they dipped down into the basement. Letters such as a's were to stay in the house, rather than climb up into the rooftop.

              Colomama's sky and grass, blue and green, can be similar cues.

              Given that he likes to do things independently, spending your time on visual teaching sessions such as these may be better for him than hand-over-hand instruction.

              Comment


                #8
                Cheryl in CA Those elephant grips you showed in another thread have been amazing. I've paired those with the .9mm mechanical pencil you mentioned (I think that was you), and although it took some doing to get the grip in place, it's been a major life savor. For my righty and 2 lefties.

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                That little hook ring for the middle finger is amazing.

                The back drawing technique didn't work - only created about 10 minutes of giggles and tickles.

                Also, my 5 year old is a lefty too (not pictured here - these are my older 2), and last year had a lot of trouble. It was my first year with MP so I did a bit of a mix and match curriculum for all of them. This year he's doing MPK pretty much as written, and I'm throwing in a few extra things. However, his handwriting was horrible. It's much better this year. Maybe your son does just need more hand strength and time. Mine is also using that elephant pencil grip. Here's the link.
                https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

                Here's an example of my son's hand writing last year, and this morning. He just turned 6 a few weeks ago.
                Click image for larger version

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                Good luck Mama!
                Melissa

                DS (MP3) - 9
                DS (MP2) - 7/8
                DS (K) - 6
                DD (Adorable distraction) 2 1/2

                Comment


                  #9
                  MBentley I'm so glad that they worked for you! It was someone else who posted those pencils (thinking Cheryl Swope from Iris Hatfield). I ended up using a different one with my son but did order two of those and my daughters like them. What do you mean the back drawing technique?
                  Cheryl, mom to:

                  ds 24, graduated
                  ds 23, graduated
                  dd 15, 9th Grade
                  dd 12, 6th Grade
                  ds 10, 4nd Grade

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Cheryl in CA In the first post, one technique to teach letter patterns was to draw a letter or number on the kid's back using your finger. It didn't work for us - unless I wanted the hour to dissolve into a fit of giggles. For some people it works - for mine, it was too much like being tickled.
                    Melissa

                    DS (MP3) - 9
                    DS (MP2) - 7/8
                    DS (K) - 6
                    DD (Adorable distraction) 2 1/2

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MBentley View Post
                      Cheryl in CA In the first post, one technique to teach letter patterns was to draw a letter or number on the kid's back using your finger. It didn't work for us - unless I wanted the hour to dissolve into a fit of giggles. For some people it works - for mine, it was too much like being tickled.
                      Oh, okay. I did see that, but didn't connect them. Thanks for explaining :-)
                      Cheryl, mom to:

                      ds 24, graduated
                      ds 23, graduated
                      dd 15, 9th Grade
                      dd 12, 6th Grade
                      ds 10, 4nd Grade

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The Animated Letter Cards from Peterson Directed Handwriting have been helpful here because it is something my son can do independently. He is watching the letter be drawn on a screen while he air-writes (using gross motor). It flashes for a bit at the starting point, and then each stroke is in a different color. Mine is old enough it’s on a CD, but it looks like it is now sold on a flash drive. https://peterson-handwriting.com/pro...-letter-cards/
                        2018-19:
                        Daughter 5M
                        Daughter 3A
                        Son SC C

                        HighlandsLatin.org/Bentonville

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Following because we’re having similar issues...

                          This is my five year-old’s work this week in SC C. We finished most of the content of B, but his occupational therapist has been pushing the writing of letters (We’re only supposed to be working with her short term and I’m hoping to make the most of it!) so I thought we’d try moving to C. (And combining what we hadn’t finished in B with each letter.) Cognitively, he’s loved the first two weeks, but he’s having a hard time with the much smaller letter and number size. He gets confused with just the “starting dot” also...He does much better with tracing a letter instead of doing it on his own. His coloring is still immature, though it’s a HUGE improvement from earlier in the summer, where he would just scribble randomly on the whole page. He seems to be focusing lately on covering an area completely without leaving any white spots, and staying in the lines is an afterthought. The coloring pages in the Alphabet and Number Books (color by letter or number) are going to be beyond his ability.

                          I’m not quite sure if I should carry on slowly with C, or go back and do review work in B, just adding in some more letter and number work in a larger size? Maybe adding the Numbers and Colors book? The font size on the sample looks kind of in-between the books used in SC B & C. (We also had My Father’s World Kindergarten on our shelf, which I had purchased before I found SC... he seems to be doing okay-ish with the size of their handwriting sheets as an extra add-in. He does the best with the larger size found in Counting with Numbers and Adventures with Books, though.)
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                          Comment


                            #14
                            We can’t do the writing in his back either... waaaay too ticklish! 😂 And the sandpaper letters are not a favorite.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              As long as he is both understanding and enjoying SC C, you could proceed slowly, although I think you could also make a case for reviewing within B for a little while longer with OT. This is really your call. If you proceed with SC C, do so slowly, as you suggested.

                              A few tips:
                              - While you have the services of your OT, ask as many questions as you can to learn from any techniques she is using successfully with your son.
                              - Before he colors, draw a hard outline of the object. It appears as if you might have already done this with the apple & alligator.
                              - Set a goal of 1/2" outside the line, then 1/4". I love his desire to color until no white appears. (As you mentioned, his coloring is making good progress!)
                              - Consider creating your own very large single letter to introduce each letter hand-over-hand, and then begin on the page with the smaller font.
                              - Note that his letters deteriorate across the line, so pre-write additional letters before you give him the page to copy. Example: A ___ A ___ A ___ . Then he is copying from a good model each time. He will write fewer letters overall but will practice writing them well. You do not want him copying his deteriorating models. (This is especially noticeable with his uppercase A.)

                              I used the last tip with my daughter for several years. She began full-steam-ahead but then dwindled in energy, desire, and accuracy as the row progressed. This was true with both numerals or letters. Just make a few careful strokes to create your own models before he ever sees the paper. Then ask him to write no more than 1 or 2 before he encounters another model.

                              More:
                              - For softer or more tolerable sensory suggestions, consider Colomama's ideas --
                              My kids all really liked the wikki stix. You could also have them be the eraser. You write a letter with a dry erase marker and they erase it with their finger. You could put some shaving cream into a bag (tape that thing closed!) And they can trace letters on the outside. These work great for kids that want to stay clean or prefer smooth surfaces to bumpy textures.


                              Your OT may have other suggestions. If he tolerates hand-over-hand, you can guide him to encourage muscle memory.

                              For what it's worth, my daughter's cognitive abilities outstripped her fine-motor skills for years (and still do!). I could not justify holding her back for a sufficient time to allow her fine-motor skills to "catch up." If you feel you would be holding your son back solely because of his motor skills, I would feel free to move forward. Just continue encouraging approximations. Continue following the various suggestions in this post, in our June discussion, and from your OT.

                              Know that you can always allow him to trace, rather than copy, whenever this would help.

                              Last, but certainly not least, be sure his vision is tested if you have not already done so. My daughter wears glasses. We needed a clever, adept pediatric ophthalmologist who could ascertain an accurate reading with Michelle to be certain (or as certain as possible) that she was truly seeing everything on the page before her.

                              With all of the above, truly whatever you think is best -- B to solidify or C slowly -- can work well here for your son.

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