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new american cursive vs. hwt

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    new american cursive vs. hwt

    One of the challenges my 8 yo son faces are his fine motor skills. Right now he likes to print everything in caps. He dislikes writing any letter with curves. One of my goals this year is get him printing in upper and lower case. After that I would love to begin cursive writing. Does anyone have any ideas about which program might be easiest?


    Thanks,

    Jen
    Students-
    8 ds, 15 dd

    Former Homeschoolers-
    18 ds- senior at public school headed to niu this fall
    20 ds- Building Contractor/Artist
    23 ds- world traveler- currently in Goa India

    #2
    Hi, Jen.

    I attended Iris Hatfield's persuasive demonstration of New American Cursive at the Memoria Press summer conference. In her well-researched design of NAC, Iris gave special attention to crafting a cursive system that would enable even special-needs children, students with fine-motor difficulties, and writing-averse children to learn to write beautifully.

    While HWT offers some great supplemental techniques (tracing letters in sandpaper, writing with fingers in cornmeal), such techniques can benefit our children in any writing program we select.

    NAC engages the child in writing. Iris carefully and intentionally avoided the pitfalls of some other programs, such as the common practice of offering one model to be copied 8 or 10 consecutive times, because she knew from experience that children with difficulties will not look back to the original model, but will copy their own deteriorating models across the page!


    Another benefit of NAC is the accompanying StartWrite CD. We have used StartWrite for many years in our own homeschool, because StartWrite allows me to create my children's spelling words, numerals (for math-facts practice), and Scripture verses in the same form as their cursive program, all with larger font and inserted tracing lines whenever needed.

    From Cathy Duffy, cathyduffyreviews.com :



    New American Cursive

    New American Cursive is a simplified cursive that is easy enough for children in first grade to learn, and possibly even easy enough for younger children. It was created to allow children to learn cursive rather than manuscript printing as they begin writing, thus avoiding the transition to cursive at a later time. (Printing is easily learned later, but it doesn't hurt if a child has already begun to print.)

    Points raised in favor of learning cursive first are:
    - Cursive is quicker and less laborious than printing.
    - Cursive develops neurological connections in the brain that help children acquire fine motor skills.
    - Cursive is especially helpful for children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia because letters like "b" and "d" that look like reversals in printing, are not so easily confused in cursive.
    - The connectivity and flow of letters is more appealing.

    New American Cursive eliminates unnecessary strokes--the publisher says there are "26 fewer strokes than the top three most common cursive programs." NAC is available in an introductory level workbook at this time, with additional books for subsequent levels to follow. Very simple to use, it is self-contained with instruction and exercises in a single book. Teaching information included in the book explains how to test and grade children's handwriting. The book has a metal comb binding at the top so that it can open flat and not have the comb in the way for either right- or left-handed writers as they complete their exercises.

    ...Students learn both upper and lower case forms and how to join letters. They practice writing a few words and sentences as they build their repertoire of letters.

    You can purchase a software program, StartWrite ... to create your own exercises or tests for children.


    Hth-
    Cheryl


    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith
    www.memoriapress.com

    Comment


      #3
      Cheryl,

      Thanks so much for answering so quickly. I actually own the startwrite software. I guess we'll give it a go after a few weeks of working on lower case printing.



      Jen
      Students-
      8 ds, 15 dd

      Former Homeschoolers-
      18 ds- senior at public school headed to niu this fall
      20 ds- Building Contractor/Artist
      23 ds- world traveler- currently in Goa India

      Comment


        #4
        I just wanted to add my oldest brother writes in all caps because he found all the curves too difficult, too. I think the main goal of handwriting is legibility.
        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

        Comment


          #5
          My eleven year old son who has Aspergers struggles with reversals, capitilization, general control (writing is wonky), and consistancy in height (a lowercase "a" might be taller than a capital "T"). So far he's only written manuscript and honestly, I think he's plataued, and I'd like him to move into cursive.

          I like so much of what I am seeing in the NAC samples, but I'm concerned on two points and am hoping for input.

          1) do the fewer loops make for more start/stop points? If so, do these additional points also require additional effort to control?

          2) do the straight lines take more effort to control than slight upper/lower curved lines in a more traditional cursive?

          Thank you for any insights.

          Comment


            #6
            Dear PrairieLaura,

            Iris Hatfield says that children -- especially those with special needs and fine-motor difficulties -- write far more neatly with cursive than with manuscript. A student need not master manuscript before moving to cursive. Iris urges earlier, not later, instruction in cursive for our struggling and special-needs students, because our children often find cursive far easier than manuscript to learn. Reversals common in manuscript (b, d; p, q) often disappear with cursive.

            She especially designed NAC to have the fewest "loops" necessary to create beautiful penmanship, so boys would appreciate the method as much as girls.


            To answer the specifics of your question, I consulted Mrs. Hatfield.


            Tips from Iris Hatfield, creator of New American Cursive:

            -- You need not to wait until a student writes manuscript legibly before starting cursive.

            -- Cursive eliminates the reversals that often occur in manuscript.

            -- Fewer extra loops in NAC than in other forms of cursive create fewer starts/stops.

            -- Yes, straight lines take more control than a slight right slant in the direction of the writing.

            -- Cursive will be simpler than the stop and start of manuscript. Just think, it takes four separate strokes to make a capital E. All of those decisions make manuscript writing more difficult.

            More from Iris ... "As soon as the student knows all the cursive letters, have him write everything in cursive or he will go back to manuscript. It usually takes about three weeks of constant checking to make sure he writes in cursive. Have him copy it over again if he doesn’t write in cursive. After three or four weeks of writing all work and correspondence in cursive, the speed increases and it will get much easier for him. I would also suggest she buy or make a cursive alphabet desk strip so he can have a quick reference right in front of him. She will be pleased with his progress."


            Blessings,

            Iris Hatfield, Handwriting Coach

            Author, New American Cursive

            Penmanship Program

            www.NewAmericanCursive.com



            If you ever have an opportunity to attend a workshop with Iris, I think you'll find the topic both fascinating and encouraging as it relates to our special-needs students.

            If your son appreciates little gifts, the bridging from manuscript to cursive would be well worth celebrating in some way. Perhaps a tidy box of newly sharpened pencils?

            In just a few months, he may find that he can write much more quickly than he could print. As a boy with Asperger's, he may appreciate the elements of efficiency more than the beauty, so this might be something to emphasize.

            Cheryl


            Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
            Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith
            www.memoriapress.com

            Comment


              #7
              My goodness, Cheryl, my sincere thanks to both you and Iris. That is a very thorough and helpful answer.

              I'll be purchasing a few of the NAC workbooks shortly, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the advice on moving *fully* into cursive. We will do that.

              And I agree, a little congratulatory gift will be in order. I like the pencils idea.

              Thank you again,
              Laura

              Comment


                #8
                You're welcome, Laura!


                Just a quick note to all -- my family and I will be enjoying an electronic-free weekend early Friday morning through Sunday evening.

                If any questions are posted over the weekend, please feel free to answer or respond until I can access the forum on Monday.

                Have a good weekend!

                Cheryl



                Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
                Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith
                www.memoriapress.com

                Comment


                  #9
                  Iris Hatfield, Handwriting Coach

                  Cursive develops fine motor skills and establishes the size difference of capitals and lower case letters. New American Cursive (NAC) is fast, easy to learn and user friendly. Check the cursive alphabet of both programs to see which is more pleasing to the eye. Do you want him to end up with a straight up and down rigid script or a simple flowing cursive?

                  Startwrite/NAC supplemental worksheet CD can be ordered from Memoria Press. Startwrite does not directly sell the NAC software.

                  If 6yo writers can learn NAC cursive, it is not too soon to start your son at 8. See handwriting examples at the New American Cursive web site. After your son learns cursive, his writing will become faster and more mature.
                  All the best,

                  Iris Hatfield, Handwriting Coach
                  Author, New American Cursive
                  Penmanship Program
                  www.NewAmericanCursive.com
                  502-253-1954

                  NAC developing brains, one writer at a time.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Iris,

                    Thank you for answering personally. I have ordered from memoriapress and am going to drop printing and start cursive right away.


                    Jen
                    Students-
                    8 ds, 15 dd

                    Former Homeschoolers-
                    18 ds- senior at public school headed to niu this fall
                    20 ds- Building Contractor/Artist
                    23 ds- world traveler- currently in Goa India

                    Comment


                      #11
                      early cursive

                      More from Iris - some new information suggesting multiple benefits of early instruction in cursive:


                      In a study on the topic … “718 Québec students and teachers in 54 second grade classrooms, demonstrates the influence of three handwriting teaching methods (print, cursive, or print and cursive) on the acquisition of graphic-motor skills (speed and quality of writing), spelling, and text construction. The results, published in 2012 in the journal Language and Literacy, show that students who learned cursive benefited the most.”


                      To read the entire study, http://www.newswise.com/articles/lea...helps-students


                      Cheryl


                      Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
                      Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith
                      www.memoriapress.com

                      Comment

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