Last year, about this time, I started taking notes on each school subject that I teach; what I valued in the subject being taught, what curriculum or books we had used successfully, and what the scaffolding of that subject looked like in our homeschool. I was able to put the curricular outcome of that thought process and note-taking into the 13-year plan I created last year, but I didn’t take the time to turn my notes into a well-expressed and meaningful composition which I could easily refer to when I begin to question “why I do what I do” (which happens at about this time every school year). So if you don’t mind, I’ll use this forum to compose my thoughts, just in case it might be helpful to any of you. It will be a short series, as time allows, covering most of the core subjects we study in our homeschool.
Penmanship in Our Home
It could be entirely sentimentality that has caused me to value cursive writing. I love the handwritten notes from my Grandmother that I have tucked away in various places. They make me smile. And her writing was beautiful. She lived during a time when fine penmanship was valued and a subject all its own. I, myself, was excited to learn cursive in my 3rd grade class and strived to write well. My writing is nothing compared to hers, but I practice and improve each year that I teach one of my children the strokes of cursive writing. We don’t start with cursive, but I know there are some schools of thought which would suggest that is best. We have been successful in mastering print first, and then moving on to cursive.
There are articles you can find which would explain the academic and scientific reasons for learning cursive. I’ve read them and I agree. My purpose here though, is why I value it. I value cursive writing because it is beautiful, because it takes patience and diligence to learn it well, because it takes good posture and self control to execute it well, and because it enables the writer to flow in his/her own hand at a faster pace than print. It’s also a logical 2nd step in my “scaffolding” approach to our family’s learning.
Penmanship is a subject in our home. In fact, after math, it is usually the 2nd subject we sit down and do together. It seems to work well as a “warm up” to our school day. Following is the flow of our penmanship curriculum. Rather than a grade-level based progression, I simply move the kids on to the next book when they’ve finished the one they’re on. Thus, some have transitioned from print to cursive in 2nd grade and others not until 4th or 5th grade.
The Penmanship Scaffold(Curriculum)
Rod & Staff Penmanship Books 1-4
Prescripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations (1-2 books)
Journible Copywork book
Spencerian Penmanship-child receives special, beautiful pen
Calligraphy (if interested)
I will supplement with copywork blank books if extra practice is needed aside from what is provided with the curriculum.