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!

Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting Set Beginners' Handwriting BFH Fluent Handwriting Manual Fix it...Write Review by Courtney Larson

Nan Jay Barchowsky
Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting
P.O. Box 117
Aberdeen, MD 21001
(410) 272-0836

Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting is a handwriting style that is based on italics. This type of handwriting allows students to move seamlessly from printing separate letters to printing joined letters. As the name suggests, the goal of this program is to allow the student's handwriting to become fluent, with speed and legibility. Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting has three different products available, making it possible to teach this style of penmanship to anyone, from young beginners to adults who need some handwriting remediation.

Beginner's Handwriting focuses on pre-writing skills and teaching lowercase letters. It is suitable for preschool or kindergarten age children. This package includes twenty-eight loose 11" x 17" practice sheets and a Teacher's Guide. The practice sheets are reusable, as long as a dry erase or washable marker is used, so plenty of practice is provided. The Teacher's Guide is a short 27-page guide, but it is full of information. It includes specific teaching instructions for each of the twenty-eight practice pages, and letters are taught by rhythmic chants.

BFH Fluent Handwriting Manual w/CD-ROM is the most versatile of the three products offered, and is suitable for all age groups. This spiral bound manual begins by explaining the proper pencil grip, posture, and paper position for both right and left handed students, and then moves onto the rhythm of writing. It teaches all uppercase and lowercase letters, along with numerals. There are rhythmic chants for each letter, and plenty of words and sentences to practice. After all letters and numerals are taught, the student is taught how to join the letters. Finally, several handwriting problems are addressed. This manual comes with two CD-Rom disks (one for PC and one for Mac). This disk reinforces what is taught in the manual, complete with short demonstration videos. It also includes exemplars, which are practice pages that can be edited, saved, and printed, providing customized practice for the student.

Fix It...Write is for older students and adults who need to remediate their handwriting. This product is loose leaf and three hole punched, so it is ready for a binder. Fix It...Write is broken down into two parts. The first part address all of the penmanship issues that may need fixing, and explains why they need to be corrected and how to correct them. The second part contains the penmanship lessons. These lessons are broken down into daily assignments that should take no more than ten to fifteen minutes. Part One of this section instructs students on how to write using Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting, and takes the student from printing to joining the letters in eighteen daily lessons. Part Two of this section instructs students in traditional cursive. This is great for students who prefer the look of these letters, but need remediation. This section includes fifteen daily lessons. Both parts include practice pages that can be reproduced.

I have had difficulty teaching handwriting to my 9 and 7 year old sons. The tips and explanations provided in these books have been very helpful, and I have hope that their handwriting can improve, both in legibility and speed. I've always been intimidated by italic handwriting, but the BFH Fluent Handwriting Manual with CD-ROM breaks the teaching of this style down into easy steps. My 10 year old, who has legible handwriting, thinks this penmanship style looks cool and is excited to work through the Fix It...Write book. My 4 and 6 year old sons have thoroughly enjoyed the Beginner's Handwriting pages, and I love that they are reusable. I think all three of the products from Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting are wonderful, and I would recommend them.

Product Review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2010