Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting/Cursive Handwriting Review

Recently our family received the privilege to use a handwriting system developed by Peterson Directed handwriting. When you read the word "system" you might think complicated. That is not the case. The program offers a very clear, easy to understand narrated tutorial that explains the Peterson approach to teaching handwriting. Basically it is a system that teaches 6 handwriting sub skills that can be summarized in these techniques:

1. Illustrate and Describe
2. Air Writing
3. Finger tracing 
4. Write and say

Based on your child's level of handwriting this can all be done10 minutes. My son and daughter already knew the basic formation of the cursive letters of the alphabet. So I reviewed Cursive step1 and the moved into Cursive step 2 which is the appropriate level for them. Step 1 is more of an introduction, and step 2 goes into more mastery.
Also, you can still buy  individual products or kits, BUT, the Ebooks do replace the kits. We used the e-books, and were able to pull up the pages on our screen and print just the letters we needed to work on. If you use the program in this manner you would not need the wall cards or cd's. Essentially all you need is the ebook downloads. There are many optional products such as positioning strips, pens, pencils and grips. We did not use these products but I would certainly recommend the use of these items if you notice your child has trouble in these areas. 
Peterson Direct Handwriting workbooks are designed to make one book take a year in a school, but as homeschoolers, it would really only be a couple of months or so, depending on how often you use it. Mastery is the key so we are adjusting the pace to our skill level. We are still working on ebook 2 but there are a total of 4 e-workbooks. I would suggest that you go to the site and look at each book sample to help you decide where to step into the program. I would also suggest that you learn the skill techniques before buying a workbook at your child's level because this not just your ordinary handwriting workbook. For example, my children have learned the "incorrect" way to form their letters in the past and so were having trouble linking to form words clearly able to be read. By using the skills taught of 1) drawing the letter in air, 2) saying the scripted wording as they form the letters they have really corrected their individual styles.

A parent or teacher can purchase a copy with an individual license for $19.95.  The license fee is a one-time charge. You won't have to pay again next year. The company states "we are planning to offer improved versions and hope you will take advantage of the minuscule cost to keep teachers current as the technology improves."

In my opinion handwriting is a dying art. I think this is a great program to teach handwriting in a clear, concise manner. We are still using it and enjoying it.  This is definitely a program to check out. I think the website is flooded with information and samples so I would suggest listening to the tutorials, consider you individual needs then just look at those resources.

Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to make home school affordable?

I just wanted to share a heads up that this week's Blog Cruise Carnival has some great ideas about this. My favorite resource is my local library. They have great programs, a wonderful collection of books, DVDs and they will get books I am looking for either through interlibrary loan or buy them! So I recommend becoming friends with your local library's children's department. I also recommend sites such as your local freecycle and craigslist. I have found free office supplies, desks, and even homeschool materials for free or very minimal cost.
The another resource I use a lot is the local paper. I look for free events and activities. We live near a state park which offers free naturalist programing and nature crafts.
Join your local homeschool co-op. Many times classes are taught by parents with wonderful skills to share. A local co-op also provides encouragement and a support system if you live in an area where homeschooling is still viewed as unusual. So check out this week's Carnival!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Are you ready for school to start? If not check this out!

I am a planner! I love to plan for school but sometimes I get lost in the planning. I just found a great resource that gives me a guideline from The Old School House Store! On special right now for $39.00! All in one neat little package.

This planner supplies over 600 planning pages for school, work and play all in one spot! The calendar pages cover 2010-2013.

In one book you have menus, blank calendar pages for weekly and daily scheduling, forms for recording attendance and keeping records for up to 5 children. The school calendar portion of the planner covers of July - June. Some of the monthly extras are:

July-5 tips for managing your homeschool while managing your home.
August- Hey Dads!
September- Beating burnout-don't survive thrive.
October- 10 factors that motivate a student's motivation to learn and his rate of learning.
November- Help others while spending time together.
December-American sign language for foreign language credit.
January- Online learning sites that can add to your homeschool.
February- Super Food!
March- The heart and soul of learning.
April, May, June...

That gets you to Spring break. Yeah! Rounding third heading for home! The school calendar part of the planner continues to the end of your personalized school year date.  I should also mention that each month has about 5 other articles, per month, which are just motivational and helpful to Mom and Dad over and above the educational components: course of study, field trip planner, booklist forms, nature journaling, preschool-highschool forms, menus, checklist for home maintenance...You get the idea. So take the stress out of your planning and check it out!

You might think that a 614 page planner seems overwhelming but the format is very user friendly. You can type/save directly  on the forms , navigate through the table of contents via the live links and print forms as you need them. Start the year organized, stress free, and excited to begin! Get your planner today!

Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how I used the product within my family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog. I am posting this information as a sell sheet  for this product because I am participating in a contest.