The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Something Worthwhile: Review by Kate Kessler

Handwriting Exercises for the Beginning Student
Handwriting Exercises for the Intermediate Student
EditedCompiled and Edited by Yvonne Mutch
XL Group
7160 Calero Hills Ct.
San Jose, CA 95139

Something Worthwhile is exactly what it says it is. How often have you thought how fantastic it would be to put together handwriting exercises with beautiful literature experts, poems, wonderful sayings by great people, scripture references and more? Yvonne Mutch has taken the time to do all this for us. Something Worthwhile is a spiral-bound resource from the same people who bring you Latin in the Christian Trivium. You will find the same high quality in this resource too.

Listen to some of the samples of great things your children will model for their handwriting practice from the beginning book:

If you're told to do a thing,
And mean to do it really,
Never let it be by halves;
Do it fully, freely!
Do not make a poor excuse,
Waiting, weak, unsteady;
All obedience worth the name
Must be prompt and ready.
-Phoebe Cary First Poems and Bible Versese

And Philippians 4:8, Micah 6:8, and quotes like this:

From Virgil: "He who lives in fear will never, in my judgment, be a free man."

From George Washington: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

From Herman Melville: "He who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great. Failure is the test of greatness."

And from an inscription on the wall of a concentration camp:
I believe in the sun, even though it doesn't shine,
I believe in love, even when it isn't shown,
I believe in God, even when He doesn't speak.

From the intermediate book your child will become familiar with items like this:

From William Hutton: "The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation."

From Thucydides: "The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it."

There are portions of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and quotes from Aristotle and Cicero and excerpts of letters of great men like John Quincy Adams after his mother's death. There are beautiful portions like this:

"Good painting draws near to God and unites with Him,it is but a copy of His perfections, the shadow of His brush, His melody and music,So it is not enough that the painter should be a great and able master. What is more important, in my view, is that his life should be as pure and holy as possible, so that the Holy Spirit may guide his thoughts."

These books are designated for children who have mastered the basic skills of letter formation as there are no specific handwriting instructions given, but rather lines for writing. These will better suit your children after they have been writing for a while and are comfortable with their pencil. I would not recommend them to a new writer because they will probably find themselves frustrated with the many words or the deeper (for little ones) sayings. This should not deter you from using these fantastic resources though! I plan to use these beginning with my nine year-old because the content is so wonderful. Modeling one's writing after great literature or great quotations has long been known to help in the formation of better writing skills. These are the perfect resource for this! I am considering using these with my older children too because I know that the content will produce wonderful conversations between us. Even though the older ones may not need the handwriting practice, they will surely benefit from the content!

-Product Review by Kate Kessler, Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2007