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theWeedyRoad
11-18-2011, 08:01 PM
I learned to print using ball and stick in the 80's. ALL of my letters start at the top and go down.

My kids learned an entirely different way (I want to say HWOT but I'm not sure). they start at the bottom.

I've remediated a few problems- no more arm hooks for either (on right handed kids). I've helped pencil grips for each, and my ds's writing no longer floats above the line.

What I'm not sure about, though, is basic letter formation. I wonder if their handwriting is not as neat as I'd like because of the way they write their letters, but I'm not sure? Example: dd makes her 'a' by starting at the line, drawing around in a circle back down to the line (sometimes ending up with something egg-shaped). Then she picks up her hand and makes the stick part. her 'n' starts at the line, she does a mountain, then she goes back (and struggles to remember which side) and makes her stick. Ds makes his sticks fine, but because he starts at the bottom, half the time the stick is too tall (not quite an 'h' but too tall for an 'n')

I'm not exactly sure how to help them write a style I don't know, and frankly don't like LOL.

*sigh* poor kids. I think I've remediated every basic skill ds had from ps (his phonics, his posture, his reading, his math) and he was an 'A' student. dd was younger when I pulled her, but she's had a lot of remediating as well- she just doesn't know it because she had shaky skills to begin with.

Maybe I'm just being too picky? Their handwriting is better than it was, although lately dd sometimes switches to her left hand just because.

KristinK
11-18-2011, 09:39 PM
is you dd naturally left handed? curious about her switching...

I'd let it be. Honestly, does anyone really care how pretty printing/writing looks? when does it matter, so long as it's legible? maybe that's the wrong view to take, but I was forced to write/print properly in school, and did pretty well for a long time, but now it's a scrawl and does it really matter? especially in the computer age? I think if it's nice, legible, and looks like the letters that are intended, then all is well.

My kids taught themselves. they refused to follow any arrows in copywork, etc. Both dd8 and dd6 do everythign upside-down and backwards - for almost every letter they start at the bottom right, and form the letter backwards (according to the ways I learnt...I always start at the top left). I don't know why they both learnt that way, but they didn't learn from each other, it just seems their natural way. Their writing is legible and comfortable to them, so I'm letting it be.

Accidental Homeschooler
11-18-2011, 10:01 PM
We use HWT and it starts at the top. There is even a song about starting at the top. My dd, when I sang it to her, said that she remembered it from kindergarten. It is important to me that she learns how to write well but it is tedious sometimes. That is why we only do two pages a day. It takes maybe 15-20 minutes. If she really fought it I might put if off for now and try again later. She is OK with two pages and is actually really looking forward to cursive. Her sister taught her how to write her name in cursive and now that is the only way she writes it.

theWeedyRoad
11-18-2011, 10:13 PM
Ok, I tried to multiquote.. clearly I don't know what I'm doing LOL.


At any rate..

KristinK: I don't know how much it matters either. I actually tend to think handwriting will naturally get neater as we practice... once one knows what the basic formation is. That's just my vho, though. Probably one of the few areas I haven't done ad nauseum research into. She isn't naturally left handed.. or I didn't think so. But she's one of those kids who always tries to do what is expected of her, so if everyone was writing right handed, she would have done so as well. I don't see her writing as neater with one hand or the other (which is odd since she hasn't practiced much with the left that I'm aware of.) I might secretly watch her just to see.

Accidental Homeschooler: thank you for clearing that up for me! I have no idea what method they learned. Hmm... interesting. Both write identically (and had the same bad grip in the same places) so I don't think they made it up. Right now, we are doing very short dull handwriting sheets just so I can see every letter- I still need to work on the ones with tails, since both kids are forever trying to end the tails on the bottom line instead of dropping below it. Getting better though :)

dbmamaz
11-18-2011, 11:00 PM
I did HWOT with my son, but he insists on starting from the bottom. he's so stubborn, its not worth fighting about. if he'll write at all, i'm holding my breath.

hockeymom
11-19-2011, 07:38 AM
I tend to think that decent handwriting is actually pretty important even as adults. And if they are taking *too* long forming their letters, I'd be a little concerned that would lead to hand fatigue once they need to start writing longer pieces of work. I don't, however, subscribe to the idea that every letter needs to look as tidy as a first grade teacher's.

Learning cursive might help, because it really is imperative to make each letter the "right" way. Even my son, who seriously dislikes writing, is loving learning cursive. It might even help knock some bad habits out of their printing, and reinforce the idea that there really is a "best" place to begin forming each letter.

dottieanna29
11-19-2011, 09:35 AM
We are doing HWT too. I'm having a struggle with my son since he always wants to start at the bottom. I'm trying to decide how much I want to push it since just him writing at all, in anything but all upper case letters, is progress. Once we do cursive, he will have to form letters a certain way for the continuity so I'm not sure it matters what he does for lowercase as long as the letters look right and he's not doing a lot of extra strokes.

Gabriela
11-19-2011, 09:47 AM
dd makes her 'a' by starting at the line, drawing around in a circle back down to the line (sometimes ending up with something egg-shaped). Then she picks up her hand and makes the stick part. her 'n' starts at the line, she does a mountain, then she goes back (and struggles to remember which side) and makes her stick. Ds makes his sticks fine, but because he starts at the bottom, half the time the stick is too tall (not quite an 'h' but too tall for an 'n')

My son does this too, and other weird things. It drives me crazy, but I've decided not to care if it looks pretty, as long as it's legible.
I don't want to spend too long on it, I'd rather do science or history. And he'll probably type more than handwrite in life anyway.
I do think handwriting is important, but it would just be too frustrating to insist on him changing his backwards ways.
He writes a lot. In grammar workbooks, the handwriting is not as bad, but when he's free writing, it's terrible.
Strangely, his spelling is much better when typed.
I think the creativity works a lot faster than his hands or spelling skills.
Anyway, I guess it just depends on how much time you want to spend on it.

Accidental Homeschooler
11-19-2011, 09:49 AM
When I ordered the HWT I got the slate and we started with that. I think it helped with starting at the top (little smiley face in the upper left corner) and it helped my dd with not making reversals. She also liked using the slate so that helped a lot. We are almost done with the first book, just numbers left and I am looking forward to her being able to stop doing reversals on those. I decided to not make an issue out of this during math as that would drive her CRAZY. She reverses her numbers as much as she gets them right. She hardly ever does it with letters and just flipping through the book I can see the difference in her writing. So I guess I am pretty happy with HWT for us. I need to decide how to proceed once we finish the workbook. They do sell paper with a line across the bottom and room for a picture above and dd loves making up stories so I am thinking that I will get some of those and try doing that for more practice. I don't know what I am going to do for cursive. I have read mixed reviews for HWT cursive.

Avalon
11-19-2011, 10:31 AM
My son frequently starts letters from the bottom. I have made several efforts to train him to start at the top, but he often slips back into his preferred method. I was just thinking that I would get after him again, but then we had a friend over for a science day recently. She is 11 years old, spent 5 years in school, and she can write quickly and neatly. She also starts her letters at the bottom! I was so surprised when I noticed it that I couldn't help watching her write. I was genuinely, truly surprised that she could form most letters completely "backwards" (in my opinion), and still be fast and neat.

Now I'm not sure if I'm going to address my son's technique or not.

Hampchick
11-19-2011, 10:59 AM
I started from scratch almost with DS using HWOT last year. In his case some of his lower case letters were so badly formed that they looked like two different letters. a, b, d - specifically all looked like 'o' next to either an i or l. The only thing I'd like him to do that he refuses to do is to angle his paper correctly which I've decided to live with. At this point his writing is approximately where I think it should be for his age and now he just needs to develop.

There's a little test you can do that might illustrate why starting at the top is more efficient and helps with consistent letter formation: draw a series of 4-5 quick little lines (lowercase 'L') starting from the bottom. Then draw a series alternating starting at the top and bottom and finally do it a third time starting from the top. I keep thinking it sounds silly, but every time I have tried it, clearly the lines that start from the top are more consistent, better formed than the other two versions and also faster. I had DS try it and got the same results which helped him understand WHY I was asking him to learn printing all over again.

Avalon
11-19-2011, 02:24 PM
There's a little test you can do that might illustrate why starting at the top is more efficient and helps with consistent letter formation: draw a series of 4-5 quick little lines (lowercase 'L') starting from the bottom. Then draw a series alternating starting at the top and bottom and finally do it a third time starting from the top. I keep thinking it sounds silly, but every time I have tried it, clearly the lines that start from the top are more consistent, better formed than the other two versions and also faster. I had DS try it and got the same results which helped him understand WHY I was asking him to learn printing all over again.

That test was fun! I just did it with my 9yo son, and his speed was about the same on bottom-up and top-down, but the top-down lines look ever-so-slightly better. The up-and-down row of lines looks terrible. When I tried it myself, all the lines looked identical. Can't tell the difference at all. I tried it with my left hand, and top-down looks best.

Clearly, this is much more interesting than the housework that I'm supposed to be doing!