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Italic Science Review by Melissa Theberge

Wendy Shaw
Italic Builders
P.O. Box 393
Oakhurst, CA 93644

For five years, our girls have enjoyed learning handwriting with the Getty-Dubay Italic program, and we are so pleased with the program's simplicity and with their beautiful cursive handwriting. For this reason, it is quite exciting to be able to review a product that is designed to complement this program!

This thirty-six page book is soft-cover and staple-bound, and while it is not a Getty-Dubay publication, it does utilize that style of writing in its models. The subtitle is "Learning Science Through Handwriting" which is the theme of all the handwriting lessons. The book assumes understanding of all Italic cursive handwriting techniques, so its purpose is to provide additional meaningful practice. Rather than practice with just ordinary sentences, this book provides an opportunity to learn or review scientific concepts in a unique way. The book is set up to provide twelve weeks of lessons based on eleven scientific principles with an additional week for review:

First Law of Thermodynamics

Second Law of Thermodynamics

Fourier's Law

Newton's 1st Law

Newton's 2nd Law

Newton's 3rd Law

Newton's law of universal gravitation

Kepler's 1st Law

Archimedes's Principle

Doppler Effect

Bernoulli's Principle

Each week's lesson follows a consistent pattern, with lessons broken up into five-day segments, with appropriate lines for the cursive handwriting to be done below the model. In some cases the writing is done line by line below the model, and in others the writing is done in a full paragraph below the whole paragraph model. On day one, the full text of a scientific principle is the model for copying. On day two, the common definition for that same principle is provided for copying, which provides a simpler wording of the actual principle. Day three provides a description of a practical example of the principle for that day's copywork. Timed practice of the common definition is scheduled for day four. Day five is an optional lesson of timed dictation on separate paper. This pattern continues for eleven weeks, with a five-day review lesson set up for week twelve.

The book begins with a single page of introduction and instruction about its use, followed by a page of Italic cursive letter samples for reference. In the back of the book are eight pages of blank lined pages, perfect for Italic handwriting practice or for the dictation exercises in each week's lesson. The very last page of the book has a bibliography of all science resources used for the lessons.

This program offers lessons in a consumable book format that can be used in numerous ways. It would be an excellent complement to a related science program, providing relevant copywork, but even if the program is used outside of science, the lessons will be interesting and informative. Since we are still using Getty-Dubay books for our primary handwriting lessons, I will be using Italic Science as a supplement. We may take more than one week to complete a week's worth of lessons, which means the twelve weeks of lessons could be stretched out into twenty-four weeks or more. In future years, when our primary handwriting lessons are complete, Italic Science (or other similar titles the author offers) might be used as our replacement program to provide ongoing practice.

At first I wondered why I would use a program like Italic Science for ongoing practice. . . why not just practice handwriting within the context of regular schoolwork? I've come to the conclusion that spending a few minutes in the day on careful copying of exact Italic models is preferable, and will encourage full-time and natural use of the handwriting technique. Because the models in Italic Science are written in a font that models correct Italic handwriting, the student copies not just the words, but the exact style, and this is what sets it apart.

Product Review by Melissa Theberge, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2009