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 Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Pre-Writing Activities for the Toddler Review by Emilee Roberts

Gail Brubaker
Applied Grammar
313 Scotch Pine Rd.
Dillsburg, PA 17019

Getting our son to even attempt writing has been a challenge, but it is, of course, a necessary skill. Pre-Writing Activities for the Toddler is the First level for Personal Penmanship.

Pre-Writing Activities for the Toddler is a beginning penmanship preschool packet containing 94 laminated pages to help toddlers and preschool age children use their gross motor muscles to form shapes, letters, and numbers as well as pages to help form spatial awareness. Pages contain dashed lines for tracing, mazes, and connect the dots.

The laminated pages can be used in multiple ways. There are a number of suggested activities for the pages with dashed lines. Suggested activities include: lining up beans or macaroni on the dashed lines, using playdough to fill the spaces, using water-based markers to follow the dashed lines, using a damp sponge to erase the lines, using a paintbrush in diluted and colored glue, and using a toy to follow the dashed lines.

There are no specific instructions or guidelines such as how many pages to complete in a day, so I allow our son to complete them at his own pace. He generally completes two pages (front and back) at a time, though he has completed as many as six or seven in one sitting. He likes to use a dry erase marker and then erase it.

The directions on the pages are simple to follow. The beginning point is marked with a green star and the ending point is marked with either a solid red circle or open red circle. A solid red circle denotes stopping at that point, and the open red circle denotes going backwards and retracing the lines. Letters are marked with starting and ending points that follow how a letter is written.

The mazes are fairly easy to follow and encourage kids to trace within the lines. They come in a variety of basic shapes as well as fun shapes like apples and fish. The connect-the-dots pages also have a lot of fun creatures. They are divided into multiple sections so each connect the dot area of the creature is only numbers 1-10 so it is easier for younger children.

Although our son is kindergarten age and academic level, he has extensive fine motor and gross motor delays, so although he is older than the recommended ages, it is exactly what he has been needing. He not only is tracing numbers and letters without complaints, he is actually doing it happily. In fact, he eagerly asks each day if he can get out his sheets and start working. Because the pages are reusable, he do them over and over and gets to continue improving his pre-writing skills.

As the pages get reused, the marker is harder to completely removed, so the pages had a slight color to them. I eventually discovered rubbing alcohol solved this problem.

Despite not having specific instructions, I found this preschool penmanship packet to be a simple to use, and it is something our son really enjoys and has him encouraged about learning to write. At $40.00 I do find the price to be a little high for the product.

Overall, though, I do feel this is a nice packet for early penmanship. It does offer a variety of activities to encourage different types of writing strokes as well as writing numbers and letters, which are all essential skills. Activities are presented in a way that doesn’t make it intimidating. It has changed our son’s attitude towards writing.

—Product review by Emilee Roberts, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2016