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Peterson Directed Handwriting Review by Christine Hindle

315 S Maple Ave.
Greensburg PA 15601

Peterson Handwriting provides a downloadable PDF file called a Reproducible Lesson Sheets Ebook. The Grade 1 e-book is 54 pages long. All but the first few instruction pages in this e-book are reproducible worksheets. The instructions include directions on slanting the paper and holding the pencil and explanation of the method used. The Peterson approach teaches the various strokes used in handwriting and then how to put them together. They point out that the old method of pencil tracing is not conducive to learning to write effectively. Grade 1 teaches the basic strokes, and the worksheet practice includes lowercase printing as well as numbers. Grade 2 starts with slanting letters and ends beginning cursive handwriting. Grade 3 has more cursive practice, including some of the more complicated capital letters. Grade 4 is for grades 4-6 and continues working on cursive skills, including the sub skills of form, slant, size, spacing, smoothness, rhythm, and control.

The student does not write typical copybook sentences in these lessons. In Grade 1 they learn only the movement of the strokes until near the end. When they do complete copywork toward the end, the sentences are about penmanship rules or writing skills. For example, "Please don't pinch your pencil." Grade 2 is also all about strokes. A few names are practiced to enforce learning the capital letters at the beginning of names. None of the practice is in sentence format in this level. The same can be said for Grade 3. There is a lot of stroke practice and, towards the end, lists of words to practice. At the end, the student is given a statement in manuscript letters and instructed to write it in cursive. Grade 4 is the same--mostly strokes and a few lists of words. It is all about getting the proper flow, space, and positioning. It is essentially a mastery program for handwriting.

The methods employed here are very different from the ones I have seen used previously, and I am looking forward to using this method from the very start with my youngest grandchild. It makes perfect sense, and something completely logical like this has a big appeal for me. I really like the way it is done and believe it will be much more effective than the worksheets I used with my older grandchild. I may even use some of the later worksheets to do some brush-up skill work with her.

I recommend this to other homeschoolers and believe it would be a great resource. And what could be more convenient than a downloadable e-book? I am for anything that saves paper and space. If your homeschool room is like mine, space is at a premium.

Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010