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Thread: Pencil SOS

  1. #11


    Ticonderoga at my house. I try to get a bunch of boxes in August when they are on sale. Halloween, themed, Target brand...they are all crap. It is like the take them and bend them to break the graphite so that as soon as you sharpen them the points fall out. BEST one was an old school one that was one you turn the handle. It had TWO rotating cutters (It was probably 50 years old.) I got a new one that looked the same...nope. It only had one cutter in it. I went to Amazon and got the best rated electric one at the time. That has seemed to work pretty well...if I use good quality pencils in it.

    I feel your pain. Both of my sons needed vision therapy, and until they got that and the letters stopped moving...they both pressed really hard. We went through a lot of pencils.

    And yes, there is something to be said for teaching a kid to cross out once, and rewrite. Not a horrible habit to get into if needed.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member Enlightened Artmama's Avatar
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    Jan 2015


    We have a similar issue that is compounded by a teen that seems to loose about 50 mechanical pencils a year. I tackled the issue by getting a box of golf pencils and a couple of packs of erasers. so far so good!

  4. #13


    As was mentioned by others, my absolute favorite pencils for my 9 year old are the Ticonderoga brand. They hold up much better than other pencils, particularly the no-name ones.

    For a pencil sharpener, I prefer the small, metal manual ones that you find at art supply stores. They are sharp, sturdy and I like the no-moving parts. I have one that will sharpen to different kinds of points, very fine to more blunt. That can help with breakage.

    I love the Faber Castell colored pencils for kids. They have a wonderful feel. They are DS' favorite too. We have never had a problem with breakage.

    For erasers, I use Pentel Hi-polymer or Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers. These erase nicely without ripping the paper.

    While I am an advocate of cross it out and move on, DS isn't. We use pencils because of his need to have the ability to erase. I don't like ball-point pens because they require too much pressure to write. Fine-point, felt-tip pens are great for practicing not needing pressure to write.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 10-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
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  5. #14


    I think the reason battery powered sharpeners are bad is the power levels are uneven and that makes it not work as well. The crank ones seem hard to keep calibrated or something. The older ones are better.

    I assume the OP knows that core strength issues can play a big role in this and that sometimes the best way to work on handwriting is to work on core strength - seems unrelated, but long term, it's one of the best things you can do.
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  6. #15


    IKWYM! But there is a good pencil still on the market: USA Gold by The Write Dudes. Made in USA, sustainably harvest cedar, sharpen great, smell great, good quality leads. Everything I love about a pencil and nothing I hate, and not pricey...even Walmart carries them.

    I was weak and got some cutesy Halloween Pencils recently, and they are such junk! Even got some cutesy colorful-wood "fun" pencils for school supplies this fall, and threw them all out, because the wood pulp they are made of bends in my hand and they just break, break, break.

    USA Gold smell like real pencils, sharpen like real pencils, and they don't break, stay sharp a decent amount of time...basically the same quality we all used to be used to. Dixon Ticonderoga used to be USA made, not anymore, and the quality isn't bad, but these are better, for the price.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  7. #16


    I just want to say that I love the fact that so many of us care deeply about the pencils that we use.

    CrunchyNerd - I have never tried those pencils out before. I have added them to my list!
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 10-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
    I also share free and low-cost educational resources at

  8. #17


    I had poor grip strength as a child and my favorite pencil was a mechanical one with an extra large lead - I'd guess 2mm. It was 40 years ago so I'm not sure they even make them anymore - it also had a fascinating mechanism - like a six pronged claw that opened to allow the lead to slide out with gravity when the button was pushed and then clamped back down to hold the lead in place. I would guess it was a drafting pencil and likely pretty spendy - I'm not even sure how I got a hold of it, but I was terribly sad when the lead was gone.

    I do know that Duluth makes a mechanical contractors pencil with a 5mm lead, which should be impossible to break.

    My kids have a hatred of pencils and will use nearly anything else, including a highlighter, to avoid using one. DD even asked if she could paint her handwriting. I understand since I have a hatred of smeary erasers and keep white hi-polymer ones on hand at all times.

  9. #18


    My Staedtlers arrived today. I guess the ones I picked are called Wopex. I really like them so far. They have a nice feel in my hand. DS said, "I can control it better because it's thicker."

  10. #19


    I love the Ticonderoga thick three-sided black ones. I favorite mechanical pencils have always been the SumoGrip .7mm. But, a few months ago I bought my NEW favorite: ooly VERY BEST mechanical pencils Extra Thick #2. They even come with a little sharpener for the lead!! My son finally does not break the lead on a mechanical pencil with this one. I picked them up at a natural grocery store in Northern California of all places.
    For regular pencil sharpening, I LOVE the CARL ANGEL-5 from Japan (hubby got for me as a homeschool gift). For handheld, I have a cool one with multiple size holes I picked up at a museum. It goes from teeny tiny to really wide.
    Mariam, I, too, am very happy we all are "into" pencils haha.
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  11. #20
    Junior Member Newbie
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    Oct 2017


    I only buy Ticonderoga pencils and zebra mechanical pencils. As lefties we only survive with pencils!

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Pencil SOS