How To Teach Handwriting in Homeschool
Are you eager to teach handwriting to your child?
I often hear parents of elementary school students complaining and worried about their kids’ handwriting skills. They feel their children read well, but their handwriting still looks like a bunch of doodles.
Surprisingly, teaching how to read is easier than teaching kids how to use a pen, a paper, and write.
Handwriting is often a nightmare in homeschooling, and most parents expect the problem to resolve over time.
But if time does not fix anything, the children can always become doctors, can’t they?
Beyond the jokes, what is true is that it’s never late to try.
Let me give you some tips on how to teach handwriting when your kid is struggling with it.
I’ll show you some easy activities adapted for different ages, from preschool through early elementary.
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What Exactly Is “Handwriting” And Why Is It Important?
Handwriting is an attentive and efficient way to write letters and numbers to form words with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in your hand.
Teaching your kids handwriting is more important than you might think.
But it’s not only about having decent writing; there are deeper reasons behind spending time teaching your kid good handwriting skills.
1. Handwriting Improves Memory
Your brain works very differently when you type. Writing down on paper could make you remember things easily.
2. Teaching Handwriting Makes Learning Reading Easier
Young kids retain better the sound and shape of letters if they try to write them down.
The writing process involves eyes and fingers and improves the fine-motor skills. In addition, this effort helps to imprint the letters in a child’s brain.
3. Handwritten Letters and Cards Feel More Intimate
I’m sure you appreciate a handwritten thank you note or a birthday card more than an email.
4. Learning Handwriting Makes Reading Handwriting Possible
Your children will come across many handwritten documents, manuscripts, and facsimiles throughout their life.
They can only acquire their ability to read handwritten papers by learning to write by themselves. You first need to be a cursive writer to be a cursive reader.
5. Your Handwriting Is Unique
Typed texts look similar no matter who the author is. On the other hand, handwriting styles are always unique, like signatures.
What Are Different Types of Handwriting?
There are many types of handwriting. If you’re teaching younger children, it’s more than enough to focus on three basic types:
You should focus first on this type of handwriting. It’s also often called “block handwriting.” This is because it’s easy to write and read as connections between letters don’t exist.
You can download some worksheets here to practice print handwriting style.
This style is a transition stage between print handwriting and cursive handwriting. You can introduce it at the end of the first year of the handwriting classes.
Your child will start adding lead-ins and lead-outs to block letters.
Once your kid knows print handwriting and has mastered the precursive letter formation, you can focus on cursive handwriting. It’s the final stage when writing becomes faster, thanks to letter connectors.
You can start to homeschool handwriting cursive in year 2. You can choose from different types of cursive writing: looped, italic, New American Cursive, connected, and many others.
Activities to Teach Handwriting
When you teach your homeschool kids handwriting, you need to consider their age.
Handwriting is strongly related to fine motor skills; you must work on these with little kids.
You need to work on your child’s finger muscles at this age before you can even teach him how to grip a pencil, pen, or crayon properly.
Your kid needs to peel stickers, transfer small objects such as pom poms or pasta from one container to another using tweezers, and play with play dough.
You don’t have to worry about teaching handwriting at this age.
Just let your kids color and doodle with thin crayons or pencils. By the way, read here to know why experts no longer recommend Jumbo crayons.
You can start writing letters in a box of sand or form them with different objects to teach their shape. But remember, you don’t have to go any further at this stage.
Your kid can probably scribble their name at this age if they have played with doodling.
Now, it’s time to start learning proper handwriting. Remember that all kids are different, so your child can learn some things earlier or later.
You can use a magnetic drawing board to write without pain and start with big letters.
A good workbook is also helpful. You can find plenty online. I like the Learning Without Tears series, specially designed for kindergarten.
Six-year-old kids and older should be practicing handwriting regularly. You can start with workbooks to practice print handwriting and continue with cursive.
I highly recommend getting your kid a journal to give handwriting practice a purpose. My kids are in love with Big Life Journals, which combines practicing handwriting with mindfulness.
If you need more handwriting resources, check out this pdf with a comparison chart of handwriting curriculums by Rainbow Resource.
For more homeschooling worksheets on handwriting and other topics, see 11 Best Websites for Free Homeschooling Worksheets.
And if you’re curious about calligraphy-related vocabulary in Spanish, don’t miss this vocabulary guide!
How to Improve Handwriting
What happens if your child’s handwriting is still illegible despite all the training? Don’t worry; just go back to the first steps.
The problem might be related to poor fine motor skills.
Encourage your child to play with their hands, manipulate little objects, and play with Play-Doh and Legos.
Your kid will love using a screwdriver, sewing, knitting, and stringing beads. Even playing games such as Jenga could be helpful and fun.
You should also focus on correct pencil grasp as it might be why your child dislikes handwriting.
There are many pencil grip aids for kids on the market to facilitate finger posture correction.
Ready to Teach Handwriting?
You can add handwriting to your homeschool schedule and maybe practice it yourself. Unfortunately, there’s not a specific age for handwriting.
And remember, being a sloppy writer is not a life sentence.
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