Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TOS Review - Peterson Directed Handwriting - CURSIVE


I recently reviewed this homeschool product from "Peterson-Handwriting”. You can visit them here.

I was provided with free copies of the e-books for Steps 1-4 in Cursive writing for review purposes in exchange for my honest, personal opinion. I received no other compensation. These products retail for $19.95 each.

It is always exciting to get new products! This product was very timely too as my 7 year old son asked me to teach him cursive writing. Since my 9 year old daughter started cursive last year I thought I'd use this product with both of them.

Peterson Handwriting has a range of products to choose from... anything from beginning handwriting, wall charts, pencil grips all the way through to advanced cursive. Products are available for individual home use as well as classroom kits.

I found the website packed with information and advice. What really impressed me was the availability of Rand Nelson, the man who created this product. Not only did he give the reviewers a full hour of 'training' in an online meeting room, but he is also available for ongoing online support. What amazing customer service!

Here is a link to an online presentation by Rand Nelson telling you about this product.

I do encourage you to visit the website and have a look for yourself. It is well worth the time. 

So how did this work for us?

At first I was a bit confused as to how to go about it ... you see in my mind things that look too easy must have some catch to it...

After spending a bit of time on the website, reading up on their method I discovered that it was ... well, that easy!

PDH is a movement based strategy. It focusses on how the letters are formed rather than just copying it from a printed page. All the letters are based on 4 different strokes - sharp top, loop top, round top and roll top. You teach these strokes first before you teach the individual letters.

So first I showed the kids on the screen what the strokes looked like and explained the movement for the particular stroke we were learning.

The kids then finger traced the stroke on the screen and then practiced it by 'air writing'. We then moved on to the white board.

With making the strokes you say the phrase 'sharp top' as you write it. The idea is to start with 'sharp' as you start making your stroke and finish with 'top' as you end your stroke. Their is a little 'target game' in the e-books which helps with this concept. You start on the left side of the page and say "slide to the right"as you draw a line (finger trace or with a pencil). Your aim is to hit a 'target' (circle / square) drawn on the other side of the page by the time you say "right". The aim is to finish your line as you finish your sentence. So the kids not only see the stroke and do it, but also hear themselves saying it. A full sensory experience!

Once they've learned a particular stroke you go on to practicing that stroke and the letters that is formed using it on the printable worksheets.

With the way this product focuses on the movement of the different strokes it starts out with big movements so the brain makes a connection, then it goes on to making the movements smaller as you move from 'air writing' to writing on the worksheets.

Of course this doesn't happen all in one lesson! Rand suggests, as Charlotte Mason did, to have short lessons. Great minds think alike : )

I am definitely going to continue to use this product with both of my children.  Since my daughter started cursive last year, she found it a bit easier, but my son had absolutely no complaints about this product... always a good sign!


One Mom said...

Good review! I'm a new follower now! http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the encouragement: ) I'll go and follow you right back.

Michelle Smith said...

Good review! I love the photos you have included of your children--and you are totally correct to highlight Rand's availability and helpfulness. This company does have great customer service! :)

Denise said...

Loved reading your informative review! I feel I know so much more about the program now- I have never heard of it till the Crew this year (I didn't review it).
On a side note- I LOVE your computer monitor! :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the comments Denise. Always good to know we do justice to a review : )

We are VERY lucky with having an IT man in the house. The screen is our tv screen, but DH connected a computer to it. We do loads of our work there and because it's a good size we don't have to cramp around a small screen.