Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting Cursive

One of the things I want to work on with both kids this year is cursive. I was excited to find out that my first official review for The Old Schoolhouse magazine was going to be Peterson-Directed Handwriting.

Both of my children learned to print easily. I never used a writing program to teach them to write. I showed them how to write the letters and both just kind of took off from there. With cursive, it's been a bit more challenging to teach. I think it's because they learned print first and it's so easy they just want to do what is easy. That means I actually have to spend time teaching them cursive.  I did spend some time with Precise Prince last year on cursive but not much time with Creative Princess.

The first few pages of the Peterson e-book explain proper pencil holding technique, the proper way to have your paper on the table and instructions on the Peterson-Directed technique. There is some good information to help you with your left-handed child. (I don’t have a left handed child, but I do have a left handed husband with handwriting that would benefit from this product.) You can also go to their website and watch the how-to video and not even need to read the instructions in the manual. 

Here’s the Peterson-Directed method in a nutshell: The children use a group of strokes that they then learn to put together to form the letters. For example, an n is written by writing two round top strokes. Here are some videos showing how we used the method in our house.

First, the kids use their fingers to write the stroke(s) we are learning in the air.

Next, they finger trace the strokes on their paper. The Peterson method says do not have the kids trace the strokes with their pencil. There is research and more information on why here.

Now it’s time to put pencil to paper. They practice their strokes on paper.

The last step is connecting needed strokes to actually make a letter.

(I do want to mention that I recreated what we had already done in these videos.  These were not our actual lessons.)

Here are a couple of pages the kids worked on:

Precise Prince doesn’t like saying the words aloud. As he learned cursive last year and knows how to write most of the letters, I haven’t made him speak out loud every time we practice. Creative Princess however, knows a lot less cursive and she seems to  enjoy speaking the words aloud.

I am noticing an improvement with my children's handwriting though honestly, I don't know if it was the method or just the fact that we actually focused on cursive for a period of time.  We will continue to use this program until the children are writing cursive well.  Actually, I wish we had started off learning cursive with this program.

If you have any trouble with anything in the program, there is online help available.  You can start with their online resource library here.  You can also link directly from their front page to get live help during the week.  Rand (the owner of the site) is very helpful and willing to answer questions.  The website is full of information, almost too much.  Don't let that overwhelm you.  If you are looking around the website confused about where to start, start here.  You can also send them an email and your questions will be answered quickly and efficiently.

What I really liked about this program:

  • It's easily adaptable for many ages.  One cursive e-book will cover all your children.
  • You can make it fun.
  • Lessons can be kept short.
  • There is lots of on-line help.
  • The cost is reasonable, especially considering the amount of help you can get from the website, including live help.
  • There's minimal teacher preparation time.  Just print out the pages you want and go.

The con’s of this program:

  • The website is packed full of information and can be overwhelming. It took some time to figure out which product I actually would order.  Be sure to start here if you are overwhelmed.
  • Older kids who just need to improve their cursive may not like the talking out loud and may see the method as too young.
  • The instructions in the manual were a bit sparse; however, the on-line instructions make up for it.

Because of all the on-line help and how professionally presented this product is, I was expecting the cost to be high. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can download the e-book for only $19.95.  Here is the specific book I used for Grade 3 for my children.  The on-line support you receive comes with the product-no extra cost.  Do check out the website for specific details however.

You can spend a little more to get a paper positioning  guide, pencil grips, a CD_ROM and other items but they aren't required.
You can read more reviews about this product here.

(I received this e-product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.)

1 comment:

Linda said...

Loved the videos. Nice review. :)