To add some variety with our handwriting, we’ve been using Patriotic Penmanship Transition (manuscript to cursive) from Laurelwood Books. This is a great handwriting book for an up-and-coming second grader, though I think it could be used with any grade. While we reviewed the transition book of the Patriotic Penmanship series, there are books for kindergarten through high school! Check out the reviews of my fellow crew members if you want to read about other levels.
Something that I found unique about the transition book is the fact that there is both cursive and manuscript on the page. I feel it is very important for a child to learn cursive, and I believe that this is an excellent way to go about learning to both read and write cursive. It begins with letter practice. First the child practices the Aa in manuscript. Then he practices the Aa in cursive, right beneath it. This helps him learn to read his own handwriting.
From letter practice the book moves into lesson one, a quote. Each lesson is a quote of some kind. You’ll find the full quote on the page to read and discuss if you wish, then a piece of the quote written in manuscript. Following that is a model in cursive. The child then traces each line in cursive and manuscript, then writes it on his own. The last part of the lesson he writes the full bit of copywork, following the same model of trace/write manuscript and trace/write cursive.
The quotes are interesting, unlike some handwriting books I’ve looked at. Some of the quotes are religious in nature, such as little bits of Scripture, but I don’t find this to be disturbing at all as a secular homeschooler. It gives me a chance to discuss these beliefs with my son and talk about what they mean. Other quotes are from famous people such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
I absolutely love the way this book is set up. It is very simple to use. Simply open it up and go! It’s a very no-nonsense approach to learning cursive and one that I appreciate. There are no bells and whistles and it’s black and white. This means no distractions. Boobear isn’t wanting to color pictures and stop what we’re doing for an hour to fill in all the blank spaces with color. Instead, he wants to compare his cursive to mine and talk about the quotes and who the people were.
That’s right – he’s actually interested in who said it! I’ve had to get books from the library on certain people such as Benjamin Franklin just so Boobear could learn more about the man he first heard about in his handwriting book. I’d say that’s a major win for sure!
And what does Boobear think about the book? While I love the setup and find it clear and easy, he finds it challenging. I think it has more to do with his fine motor skills than anything. He has to learn to coordinate everything and I feel this book gives him a good bit of practice learning to retain the letters long enough to write. Overall, he quite enjoys it.