Support for cursive

For many reasons, I’ve decided to use cursive as our first choice for learning.  It really is the hard road, when so much is in print, other kids are taught print.

Izaac has been struggling with handwriting.  From what I have learnt from his reading adventure, is not to stress and not to push!  🙂  I’m so glad to say that our little 5 yo now can reads away.  I’ll talk more about this journey later on.  At 5.5, he reads Roald Dahl!  Not perfectly, but enough that he gets the context of whatever he reads.  It’s incredible.

Back to cursive.   I have found it so hard getting support for cursive handwriting. I don’t like the cursive font used for handwriting without tears. I found the New American cursive really minimal in teaching.

But our chiropractor worked out that Izaac had a left-over-right reflex delay – so struggles to cross over the mid-line.  An easy test to do, to check.  So even if we do intense handwriting, it is only going to be a battle with someone who has this core reflex delayed.  Also, his perception on a page is way out!

Via lovely friend in Gambia, I have found an excellent book for developing motor skills for writing and perception.

Write from the start

Write from the start: Unique Programme to Develop the Fine Motor and Perceptual Skills Necessary for Effective Handwriting (3 volumes)

This book I believe can be used by all fonts, starting from age 3.6 – 11, if you
struggle with untidy handwriting. But it does encourage more in the way of
cursive flow in the later chapters. My 5.5 yo is devouring the book. He loves
it. The graphics are just fantastic and no handwriting in sight! Yet. 🙂
What is interesting is that they go from small exercises (small motor skill) to
large (large motor skills). Developed by a guy in Romania who became a
principal of a boy’s orphanage in Romania and a woman OT.

What i’ve discovered is the best place to look for cursive support is in Europe
– they still use it extensively in lower primary. But then I found this little
tool for doing worksheets!

http://www.cursivewriting.org/joined-up-handwriting.html – there is print too.

It’s a macro from MS Word to convert your text. And only costs $10.95 per
license.

And this is an interesting article on teaching the letter ‘e’ in cursive
http://www.nha-handwriting.org.uk/publications/selected-articles/the-trouble-wit\
h-e

Spelfabet

Spelfabet moveable alphabet

Have you seen this Australia resource – which has the tiles so similar to All about Spelling, which she calls a moveable alphabet, called Spelfabet

http://www.spelfabet.com.au/materials/index.php?route=product/product&path=60&product_id=52

Might be very tempting to think this is a replacement for MA – but not really, because I don’t think enough duplicates to aid story writing.  So I plan to still use my regular moveable alphabet for story writing.

But in this link, have a look at the great video she has done to show how she makes a take-along moveable alphabet, made from felt and velcro.  Such a great idea.

If you love her sequence of teaching spelling, in the video, here she goes into detail/narration (for you to use) on her little sequence.  It is just fantastic!

http://www.spelfabet.com.au/2013/03/word-sequences/

Last sounds sound race bingo

Then look at her games – I am definitely getting these!
http://www.spelfabet.com.au/materials/bingo

Silver polishing

Polishing tray Yes, I have FINALLY started Silver Polishing, after so long of thinking and reading about how to do this activity.

Amongst my albums and books, I found the Karen Tyler’s manual to be the most adaptable.  And then I worked out, easiest.  I loved Karen’s course.  It really gave me the support I needed when so young into Montessori.  And just such a great resource to have on board.  I use many other albums, but I do just love having hers to my collection.  She has homeschooled, so understands the needs of a homeschooler, as I discovered in this activity, namely the little paper towel, that none of the other albums mentioned.

One thing, I constantly have to remember, is not only how to present new work, but also how to put it all away.  Kids get so excited about doing the activity, they want to take over and it’s so hard to ‘whoa’ the excitement.  One then forgets about how to finish – and before you know it – you’ve actually lost a really important part of the work cycle.  So I was really friendly, smily, yet firm, about letting Mummy have a go first.

OK, the tray layout.

  • Flannel cloth (don’t forget to have somewhere for this to be thrown, ready for washing)
  • Paper towel (this was the best idea of all!)
  • Bowl with cut in half q-tips
  • Bowl with cotton swabs
  • Jar of Polish
  • Silver item

Metal Magic

The polish I used I researched to try find non-toxic.  Here in Australia, I found Metal Magic, that is only really sold through smaller stores, like IGA.  So I phoned my local IGA who was quite happy to order some in for me.

S Silver polishingPresentation: You are going to work on the Kitchen Towel.  Lay out the kitchen towel, putting on it from left to right, in order, the jar of polish, q-tip, cotton bud, flannel.

Dip the q-tip into the polish and then dab-dab-dab over the pot.  (Favourite part).  Then rub-rub with cotton ball – try get all the polish off.  Now scrunch up clothe in hands and rub-rub-rub – try to get your smily face reflection.

And they will go in, again and again, q-tipping, more cotton buds.  It’s just lovely to watch their concentration.

To put it away, put the lid back on the jar of polish, put the bowl onto the tray, throw the flannel into prepared basket.  Then the fun part, scrunch up the rest of the used goodies into paper towel and throw away.  Put it all back on shelf.

As they then put it back, don’t forget to quickly replace another flannel, q-tips and cotton balls.

I had to continually remind to work on the kitchen towel.

Remember to mention little things, like the interesting smell of the polish.  In the Margaret Homfray video, she even brings out the polish and reads what it is, that’s it toxic etc – details on the polish.

What I love about this presentation, is that between all the polishing activities, you can use the same format, except the item and polish changes.  In classes I’ve observed, there are a few items of each for the children to choose what they want to polish.  Even items around the room, like a wooden ornament.  I’m struggling with wood polishing, because I made beeswax polish, but it’s not as easy as a liquid to work with, and won’t work with a cotton ball.  So I might just use an oil.