Do your children need a little extra help with their handwriting? Or are they just learning how to form the letters of the alphabet? Over the past few weeks my children have been using the Rhythm of Handwriting Manuscript – Complete Set by Logic of English.
I’ve never seen two children so excited to start a handwriting program. Tristan and Kallista were so keen to do this review and they waited rather impatiently for the delivery to arrive. There had been a little mix-up with delivery so we didn’t receive our package as early as we should have, but once the error was caught the fine folk at Logic of English were very quick to sort everything out and we soon had the postman at the door. When the children found out what was going to be in the box they literally started jumping up and down in the hallway shouting! The look on the postman’s face was priceless!
The children immediately opened the box which contained a student workbook, a quick reference chart, tactile cards and a lined whiteboard (all in manuscript font for our beginners). Within five minutes the tactile cards had been “claimed” and were being gently carried around in Kallista’s small bag. The only things you need to provide yourself is a dry-erase marker and a pencil.
I thought I’d have to spend a night reading through the directions before starting the lessons…but they’re so easy and straight forward I was able to read them in about 20 minutes (with the children bouncing about wanting to know what I was doing) and start the first lesson right away.
You may imagine learning handwriting skills are boring – but it doesn’t need to be! There are many suggestions in the student book on how to play games to keep kids interested and having fun. Some of them reminded me of what I loved about my teaching days in Japan! I loved the games I played with my students. Playing hide-and-seek for the tactile cards really went over well!
The Rhythm of Handwriting is very portable with the quick reference chart, whiteboard, and the tactile cards so you can practice handwriting on the run – excellent for home education and while waiting for after-school activities to start. We’ll be using it while travelling on the train to the dentist next week.
The pages of the soft-cover student workbook are perforated so that you can remove them from the book to lie flat, or to keep one handy in your bag to pull out when the opportunity presents itself. We usually work on handwriting skills at the kitchen table, but we also took it with us on a walk to the pond. The children had a snack and settled in for a little outdoor learning fun.
The whiteboard is very sturdy yet lightweight and it easily fits in a backpack. And you don’t need a lot of time at once. It’s possible to do a lesson in five-minute intervals if needed due to time restrictions or attention levels. We usually start with a letter for both of my children and then when Kallista (3) grows impatient she hops off to do something else and Tristan will practice another letter or two.
The Rhythm of Handwriting system goes in a particular order, but there is some flexibility within it. You start off with the sound of the letter (some letters have more than one sound), so children are learning some reading skills here as well. Then there is a description of how to form each letter which is repeated, then the children can trace the letter on the tactile card while telling you how to do it. Next the children print the letter on their own while saying what they are doing. They can use the whiteboard, the workbook, the lined paper available on the Logic of English website (with 5 sizes of lines and with 5 layouts, and 2 page formats, that gives 50 ways to practice!), or in a sandbox or sensory bin, or anything else you can think of.
I like that both the paper in the workbook and on the website have different sized line spacing. At first Tristan thought the small lines would be too difficult, but it turns out he does much better making small letters than he does making large letters! The Rhythm of Handwriting acknowledges this and encourages children to find the size that best suits them.
There are two ways to teach handwriting-either as the separate pencil strokes, or as the whole letter. The order in which the letters are taught is not from a-z, but rather grouped by the pencil stroke with which the letter begins, making it easier for children’s muscles to memorize the way to form the letters. You can also choose the pace that best suits your child. One letter a day, two, or three. We started with a couple of letters where they were very similar; like l and i, but when we reached s we spent a couple of days on it as it’s a trickier letter.
The Rhythm of Handwriting Manuscript Complete Set sells for $65.00 for the package I received. Broken down it is $18.00 for the Student Workbook, $10.00 for the Quick Reference Chart, $9.00 for the whiteboard, and $28.00 for the Tactile Cards. I think that this is good value for the progress that is made in even just a short period of time. It would take some time to be able to complete the workbook, and I don’t think the course would be as effective without the tactile cards.
The Rhythm of Handwriting is available in both Manuscript and Cursive fonts, and is aimed at the ages of 4 to adult. You’re never too old to practice your handwriting! I’m thinking it would be good for me to practice some calligraphy at the same time the children are practicing their letters. It will keep us all learning together. This program would also be great for children learning English as a Second Language as they could learn both the sounds of the letters and their formation at the same time in a fun way.
In this age of electronic gadgets and spell-check, I still think good handwriting skills are a must. My children see me writing every day. Whether it is one of my never-ending lists, letters to pen pals (does anyone else still correspond other than me?) rough drafts of reviews, etc. They see writing in action and know it’s important.
We are all looking forward to seeing the results when they have finished The Rhythm of Handwriting course. Even after just three weeks there is a very noticeable difference when the children’s signatures are compared.
If you’d like to keep up with The Logic of English and find out more about them, you can find them on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter. The folks at The Logic of English are very friendly and are super-prompt answering any questions you might have as I have learned. You can also read more Schoolhouse Review Crew reviews of the various language arts programs available by clicking on the graphic below.