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Character Italics, Level IV (Books A and B) Review by Kathy and Linda Gelzer

Martine Cox and Wendy Shaw
Italic Builders
PO Box 393
Oakhurst, CA 93644

Are you using italic-style cursive in your homeschool? Do you want an easy way to incorporate handwriting practice, character study, and copywork? Character Italics could very well be the answer.

Using Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting as starting point, the authors (two homeschooling moms) have put together a series of spiral-bound, "lay-flat" workbooks for children to practice handwriting and learn character traits at the same time.

In the front of the book is a cursive italic alphabet for reference. The directional arrows and numbered steps are difficult to read due to the small font size and the close proximity to the actual letter strokes.

Character trait definitions from Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) are on the facing page. These are the 12 traits listed and defined in Book A: obedience, joyfulness, truthfulness, attentiveness, love, loyalty, patience, determination, virtue, forgiveness, humility, and responsibility. The 12 character traits in Book B are: self-control, diligence, gratefulness, compassion, bravery, hospitality, contentment, gentleness, wisdom, thriftiness, justice, and generosity. Because of the source, some of the definitions are difficult to understand. My ten-year-old had trouble with this one, for example: "Obedience--compliance with a command, prohibition or known law and rule of duty prescribed."

For each character trait, there is a definition to copy, a sentence describing the trait, and a personal application question for the child to answer in cursive. Following that there are several numbered quotations to copy. Many of these are taken from the Bible. These are printed twice, once to be traced (if desired) and then copied line by line. The second time, the section is to be copied after reading the entire selection.

The books I received for review are considered Advanced Cursive (font size 22). It doesn't say, but I think it would be appropriate for grades 4 and up. A third grader could use it, but it would be a challenge due to the size.

Classical homeschoolers will love the choice of people quoted: Aristotle, Plutarch, Sophocles, Cicero, Homer, Isaac Watts, Martin Luther, and John Calvin to name a few, as well as several United States presidents and other famous Americans.

Since the passages use sophisticated vocabulary, this would be an excellent choice for an older child who needs handwriting practice but would be insulted by babyish copywork.

Even if you don't use the italic style of cursive in your homeschool, I think you will like the choice of fine copywork presented in Character Italics.

Product review by Kathy and Linda Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2009